Friday, March 20, 2009

It's a great day to be a Thunderbird!

I am bursting with pride at the outstanding report we received this afternoon from the Corrective Action Study Team made up of Public Education Department consultants and APS staffers. The four member study team spent all day visiting classrooms, interviewing teachers and parents, and reviewing documents. The visit’s purpose was to assess our progress toward completing our Educational Plan for Student Success. The team visited twenty classrooms and observed student and teacher interactions. The team met with the Instructional Council after school to present their preliminary findings. The following were quotes from the exit meeting:
• “Taylor has an amazing parent component. The parent representative who was interviewed (Tanya Lattin) really did a good job. She obviously likes Taylor.”
• “You have a wonderful student body. The students were very well behaved in class and in the hallways. We did not see students having to be redirected once by the teacher.”
• “There is a strong foundation of respect by the students. “
• “Student work is being honored throughout school.”
• “The school is very student centered.”
• “We are impressed by how much the staff cares about the students.”
• “We saw lots of good things. In chorus class the kids were having a ball.”
• “You have an amazing instructional coach (Lindsay Estes) and the job Ann Hawks did with her class was incredible.”
• “The work you are doing with Monday’s Data Dialogues is really quite remarkable. Your staff is to be complimented for their willingness to collaborate.”
• “Taylor right now ranks somewhere between good and very good with the possibility of being great.”
In addition to the areas of strength, areas of improvement were noted. We were advised to continue to zone in on improving the curriculum and scheduling. We were reminded that teachers need to differentiate instruction to address the individual needs of students – particularly those with disabilities and language differences. The study team, headed by Dr. Patricia Woodard, APS support principal for Restructuring Schools, will deliver their final report on the visit to us sometime in late April. Copies will be made available at that time. My thanks to all of you for the work you did to make today’s visit a resounding success.

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