This morning started like each of the past few years. Teachers and staff congregated on a cool, August morning under the skywalks while principals whipped up pancakes. Teachers, support staff, and custodians ate and enjoyed each others company and then introduced all the new faces to the group. Every bit of the event was the same as the past. Eat - Chat - Laugh. We then ventured into the auditorium for the annual "Vision" speech.
I hope teachers found a sense of urgency with my opening.
This year, the difference came in that annual vision meeting. I hope teachers found a sense of urgency with my opening. That by staying focused on what our kids need, we will build upon the successes of the past few year. We discussed big obstacles and challenges we face (overcoming language acquisition, ensuring high expectations for all students, and supporting each other through change). For the first time, on the first day, I laid out five non-negotiable expectations that we set to hold each other accountable for increasing student achievement:
The desired outcome of our building goals and non-negotiable expectations is to decrease teacher variability within the building, increase teacher efficacy (both personal and collective), and ensure student learning for all students no matter their unique circumstance.
With teachers implementing the five non-negotiable with fidelity, the building leadership monitoring the implementation data, and leadership focused on supporting teacher success through AIW, SIOP, and Liferacy, we will achieve our goals of improving student achievement and decreasing the achievement gap.
We know it will be tough. It is change and sometimes change gets messy. That is why it was so important to receive teacher input on what each of them needed to be successful. That's why the consulting teachers are using that information to develop a support plan.
I committed to teachers today, and again now, that I have never been so ready to be the "champion" and ensure our teachers are "on the path" and have every support they need to become expert teachers and remain focused on doing what works no matter how hard our jobs are today.
This image is of a quote board. It is on display in the auditorium but will find its forever home in our Professional Learning Community room. The goal is to get teachers reflecting on their current level of expectations. The key will be connecting what we want students to achieve with the supports to help them achieve it.
Ryan Dumkrieger is the principal of Sioux City North High School.