Professional Development at Journey Prep
At PS 69X, professional development is at the heart of student success. In order to ensure this is accomplished. A multi-faceted tiered approach is taken to ensure that teachers and administrators receive individualized, intense, professional learning experiences that will broaden the skills and abilities to optimize student achievement.
Innovative and groundbreaking findings in education are continuously attempted within the risk-free environment that exists within the school. A tiered approach to support individuals and grade teams: ranging from literacy and mathematics educational partners, instructional leads, teacher teams and administrators, exist with the intent to engage in discourse within a culture of ongoing feedback. Working with shared core values, teachers, as educational leaders present and share pedagogical approaches to education in areas to support all learners; ELLs, Students with Disabilities and other various subgroups. This enables the teachers to take ownership of their professional practice.
Noting common trends and patterns, teachers receive Professional Development learning opportunities on grade level bands as well as individually within their classrooms. Follow up happens within classrooms in the forms of modeling, co-teaching, common planning, and “on the spot” coaching. This ensures that Professional Development is not a “one size fits all,” but differentiated to meet the needs of the diverse adult learner.
An instructional core team was instituted with multiple representations of staff members to support the ongoing mission of the school. This group of teachers meets regularly to discuss next steps for the school as well as facilitate grade level teacher teams. Weekly meetings of teacher teams (both vertical and horizontal) and common grade planning help support alignment of curriculum, standards and assessment within the school. These opportunities also afford teachers the ability to triangulate multiple points of data, read current publications in education and plan next steps, etc.
Teacher teams have been established in multiple areas in the school and are led by teachers. This has helped create and sustain initiatives within the school. A school-wide data team was established to monitor the progress of students within the school and to determine instructional shifts, student progress and school wide change strategies. This team supports individual teachers to ensure the effective progress monitoring of students.
Teachers within the school are the most important aspect of this endeavor. The opportunity for teachers to “see” best practices are commonly found at PS 69X as they engage within inter-visitations, lab-sites, and turn-keying pertinent information to the staff about ways that students learn best.
PS 69 has established collaboration with various partnerships. One such as partnership is Schools That Can, a nonprofit organization that pairs public and charter schools to shares exemplary practices. This partnership has allowed PS 69 to continue to be innovative through seeing and experiencing exemplary schools in action.
PS 69 has fostered a collaborative partnership with Harvard University for the past 10 years. Teachers are provided an opportunity to attend Project Zero at the University every summer as well as the option to take online coursework. The essence of Project Zero is to make thinking and learning visible. Over the course of the decade, teachers have made thinking and learning visible in all facets of learning.
As a result of the professional Learning opportunities, educators have established a community of lifelong learners in pursuit of academic excellence, where all students learn the necessary skills to become caring, creative and productive citizens.
Social Emotional Learning
Peer Mediation Program
Our 5th grade students have the opportunity to participate in the Peer Mediation program. Peer mediators are trained in conflict resolution skills. When they complete their training, students are allowed to mediate between their fellow peers. The Peer Mediators are also on the frontline with raising Anti-Bullying awareness in our school. They help coordinate many of the anti-bullying activities in the school such as anti-bullying ribbon making, assemblies, poster contests, anti-bullying awareness blue shirt days, anti-bullying poetry contests and friendship clubs. Their purpose is more than solving problems that arise, but seeking out problems and providing multiple solutions. During the 2013-2014 school-year, the peer mediation program helped implement many of the Respect for All campaign activities in our school. Respect for All week was celebrated by making and distributing red ribbons to every student to showcase their alliance with the Respect for All initiative.
Kinder Buddies Program
The Kinder-Buddies program is a cross-aged mentoring program for Kindergarten and 5th grade students. The curriculum of this program falls under the Conflict Resolution and Social-Emotional Learning curriculum. 5th grade students spend a semester in the kindergarten classrooms and integrate social skills lessons and literacy skills with their buddy. 5th graders also have the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills by modeling positive behaviors to their Kinder Buddy. This program enhances the self-confidence of all students as they work together on a culminating project which builds on friendship, trust, and anti-bullying awareness.
Project World Club
The Project World Club is a community service club. This club allows students to extend their learning outside the classroom and perform service that tackles complex problems found in their communities and society as a whole. Students participate in local, national and international community service opportunities. They partake in fundraising activities for disaster relief, homelessness, animal shelters, children’s issues and raising awareness on global issues in their school. In our school community, they play a significant role in areas such as tolerance for cultures and differences by present shows and school wide assemblies. This year they were lead players in presenting the Black History month show and showcasing their research through art, skits, dances, songs, and student-made videos. The Black History Month show was open to all of our teachers and their classes performed during the assembly as well. Our teachers continued to teach appreciation and understanding of Black Historical events and current issues that present our student population. The Black History Poetry contest illustrated the breadth of consciousness the students grasped through these RFA activities. Students in Project World have taken ownership in implementing a highly successful Penny Harvest program as well. They work arduously and motivate the school and families to become engaged with the Penny Harvest. After collecting the pennies, students give the monies to charities.
The Student Council program impacts PS 69 students to practice citizenship and democracy. Students in grades 4 and 5 are elected by their classmates to represent their class. Once elected by their classmates, class representatives campaign throughout the school and announce their candidacy. Students running for council positions are then expected to present a speech to the whole student body during the Elections Rally. Students are able to practice their argumentative/persuasive and communication skills. Students from 3rd-5th grade vote for the candidate that would “best” represent their values, views and concerns based on their political platform. Student council members survey the school to identify student needs and issues.
The student council participates in meetings and discussions with the principal, nutritionist, teachers, and parents regarding the changes and issues they believe to be important in the school. They are knows as the voice of the student body. Some of the projects they helped implement in the school are: City Harvest Food Drive, Smile Train Fundraiser, Finger Knitting Scarves for Children in Need, and Surveying the student body about their preferences in the lunch menu. Their preferences were based on our school’s Health and Wellness initiative, which supports healthy bodies and healthy minds. Citizenship and democracy teaches our students to practice fairness and justice in their lives as well as emphasizing that all their voices are valued and heard. .
The I-CARE program focuses on teaching K-1st grade students social skills by using the I-CARE-Cat puppet. The I-CARE Program is developed by the Peace Education Foundation a leader in conflict resolution skills. The guidance counselor provides instruction and scenarios to help students develop skills such as: conflict resolution, manners, respect, accountability/responsibility, caring about each other, tolerance, and anti-bullying awareness. I-Care-Cat and the students communicate with each other via letter writing. Teachers are asked to read I-Care-Cat letters to the class and students respond to questions regarding issues like friendship, respect, bullying, compassion, and honesty. Letter writing helps expand the literacy and writing skills of students, while reiterating the I-CARE-Rules. Our Kinder Buddies program also supplements our I-Care program, as their interactions and work activities continue to reinforce the I-Care-Rules.