Principal Heidi Haggerty
Dear J.O. Wilson Community,
Welcome back to the 2015-2016 Joyful J.O. Wilson school year! I speak for the entire administrative team when I say we have really missed seeing our students and families! However, we have been fortunate to see so many of our students in summer camps in the building. Our partnerships with The TAP Program, The Fishing School Camp, Adventure Camp and with Ms. Ochieng’s successful Art Days of Summer offered great opportunities for many of our students.
We are very excited to announce the addition of a School Enrichment Model (SEM) teacher for this school year. All students in grades 2-5 will be screened using the Renzulli Learning Profiler to determine their top three areas of personal academic interest. Students who demonstrate high ability, will be given priority to participate in an enrichment cluster. However, because SEM is appropriate for a wide range of student abilities, teachers and administrators may also recommend students who have shown intense interest in one of the academic learning areas. We will share more about this new program at our Back-to-School Night on September 21, 2015.
This year we will continue working with the Flamboyan Foundation to engage even more of our families. Teachers have already been reaching out to families and have completed many home visits since June. We successfully improved our attendance at parent teacher conferences last year, with 66% of our parents/guardians attending conferences and APTT meetings over the course of the year. Thank you so much for your openness to our new work around the home visits, conferences and APTT meetings! We look forward to continuing our work with you this year.
We will also continue our implementation of Responsive Classroom, with a focus on adding daily closing meetings in each classroom. During closing meetings, students can review their daily goals, and continue to build a classroom community that fosters a positive climate. Implementing classroom closing will support the work of the spring staff committee that focused on building consistency into our positive behavior practices across all classrooms.
We are the fortunate recipients of a grant, “Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI)” and four of our teachers participated in professional development for two weeks this summer to hone their coaching skills. Our TLI coaches will be working with their peers on initiatives including using English language arts and math student performance data to improve instruction, leading work on climate and culture with a focus on building relationships with students, and on Response to Intervention. To support coaching we have begun a partnership with the Urban Teaching Center, which will allow for consistent student coverage.
Our ECE (Early Childhood) teachers have spent a week this summer learning about Project Zero’s the Children are Citizens program, which is grounded in the belief that children are not just future or hypothetical citizens—rather, they are citizens of the city in the here and now, with the right to express their opinions and participate in the civic and cultural life of Washington, DC. As the world becomes increasingly connected and interdependent, knowledge of ourselves as individual learners and as members of a community becomes more important. People need to be able to listen to one another, work together to identify and solve problems, and to acknowledge and respect diverse points of view. When children grow up in a culture and begin their schooling with support for thinking, feeling, and acting in groups, they are more likely to participate in and practice democracy as informed and caring citizens. The Children Are Citizens project includes three key components: professional development for the teachers involved, curriculum enactment, and research on the development of teacher and student learning.
These are just a few examples of the highly collaborative work that teachers, staff and administration have been involved in this summer. We’ve spent our summer learning so we can better support our wonderful students’ academic, social, emotional and physical growth. We want to be examples for them in how we hold high expectations for our own work, and help each other learn along the way.
Thank you all for your strong support of our school, your willingness to listen and learn together, and for your commitment to building a community that celebrates all of our families stories, hopes and dreams. It continues to be an honor and privilege to serve as your principal.