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Spotlight On the Metro

Continental Colony Elementary  Math Instructional Coaches in Teacher Development at Continental Colony Elementary School

The pivotal role of knowledgeable instructional coaches cannot be understated in guiding instructional support in our schools.  Primarily, literacy and math instructional coaches play a crucial role in supporting teachers, enhancing their instructional practices, and supporting student learning.  At Continental Colony Elementary School, the Literacy and Math coaches have many roles including contributing to planning, professional development, one-on-one coaching, tiered support, and data-driven decision-making.  With shifts in the curriculum and the roll-out of new state standards, their expertise in literacy and math enables them to provide valuable insights, helping their teachers create engaging and targeted instructional plans that cater to diverse learning needs with hands-on applications during PLCs.  During collaborative planning, the Instructional Coaches ensure the scope of their sessions is comprehensive and designed to introduce teachers to innovative pedagogical approaches, share best practices, and address challenges within the realm of literacy and math education.

West Clayton Elementary School
Power Hour at West Clayton Elementary School

All Hands-on Deck! The WCES Instructional Coaches, administrators, special area (EIP, gifted, STEM, and special education) teachers, and paraprofessionals meet weekly for one hour in an arena-style setting with 3rd-5th grade students two days a week. Ms. Dawnia Pieze, Title I Instructional Coach, and Dr. Cynthia Hathaway, the K-2 Literacy Coach, model instructional strategies for teachers, and guide students in engaging activities in reading, writing, and mathematics centered around the novel, Black Brother. The purpose of Power Hour is to provide additional support to all students in grades 3rd-5th using the same instructional resources and strategies. All students are reading, writing, and discussing the same book, which cultivates a shared interest and energy throughout the school. An additional focus of Power Hour is to allow the administrators to connect and support students as well as monitor implementation in the classroom. Power Hour builds capacity for the teaching staff and creates a safe learning community for students. Principal Rochelle Harris says, “We are all rowing in the same direction!” Kudos to West Clayton Elementary teachers and staff!

Mr. Langston Longley, Principal Scott Elementary School, APS

Engineering the reteach structure is a top instructional priority for Scott Elementary Rams! Scott Elementary School is a S.T.E.A. M. site led by Langston Longley, who is committed to providing a challenging learning environment to maximize student academic potential. Principal Longley contributes his academic gains to his collaborative planning protocol; established by the principles of the See It. Name It. Do It. Get Better Faster collaborative planning protocol. The teachers have been involved in intentional professional learning communities centered around data analysis and the use of planning for reteach opportunities. Principal Longley noticed that the teachers were planning reteach opportunities for the whole group as opposed to utilizing student data to construct an appropriate reteach plan. In addition, Principal Longley also noticed that students were not participating in personalized instruction aimed at meeting their needs. The teachers are now planning on purpose by creating an error analysis chart, identifying the instructional gap(s), selecting the appropriate reteach structure based on the student data, creating a gap statement, formulating a reteach plan that addresses not only the misconceptions but personalized small group instruction, and practicing the reteach opportunity. When asked what has contributed to the most recent academic success, Principal Longley stated, “Intentionality and improvement in collaborative planning processes.” The changes in the schools’ collaborative planning protocol have contributed to consistent academic growth on the local benchmark assessments. Based on current benchmark data, Scott Elementary is performing significantly above the performance projection line on the Challenge Index in all subjects! It is safe to say that the school improvement efforts set forth by Principal Longley has the Rams’ academic trajectory flowing positively.

Check out their beautiful school overview video with Mr. Longley and students.

Dr. Crystal January, Principal Harper Archer Elementary, APS

Dr. January and the Trailblazer Student Voice Groups Cheryl Jackson, the Metro RESA School Improvement Specialist has the honor of supporting Dr. Crystal January, at Harper Archer Elementary School in Atlanta. This is Dr. January’s second year leading HAES. It’s evident she cares about not only the students but the adults in the building too. Jackson shared the principal is very visible throughout the school. To keep up with the principal, Jackson said, “I usually wear my tennis shoes to keep up with Dr. January. If she is not observing collaborative planning, she is observing classrooms. In between observing classrooms and collaborative planning, she is meeting with her Trailblazer Student Voice groups and other meetings.” The Trailblazer Student Voice groups consist of grade level students who voice their opinions about everything from personal problems to things that can be improved in the school. Jackson recently attended the fifth-grade meeting and was blown away by the caring attitudes displayed by the young people. As adults, we sometimes forget that students have problems that bother them, and they too want to be heard. During an interview with Dr. January, she shared her philosophy of education, the driving factors that motivate her to get the work done and some of her accomplishments since taking the helm at HAES. According to Dr. January, she believes “all scholars and educators can and must learn. We have a collective responsibility to improve our world by educating our scholars and staff. Together, we must strive to cultivate and maintain the best place to work and learn. In this learning environment, we relentlessly and zealously demonstrate our commitment to empowering all scholars and educators through wellness, excellence, and lifelong learning.” Her motivation stems from her purpose, gratitude and an unconditional love for people and learning. She feels the scholars, educators, families, communities, and the greater world should commit to overcoming barriers, growing, serving, and leaving every place and person better than we found them. Dr. January recognizes that all significant contributions are made through the efforts of her supportive team. She gives accolades to the HAES educators, scholars, their families, community partners, APS district support, RESA support, and GADOE. Each of these parties supports the HAES school village, which consistently focuses on empowerment through learning (Trailblazer Student Voice groups, STEAM access, increased opportunities for scholar competition, scholar-anchored Trailblazer News, staff professional learning, and commitment to providing high-quality Tier 1 instruction evidenced by scholar learning).