In order to build a culture of teaching and learning for the students of the Normandy Schools Collaborative (NSC), Department and Normandy staff continued planning this week for the new school year. Top priority for the new district is retaining and recruiting effective leadership and effective teachers for every classroom.
“Deep and fundamental change is the only way to break the cycle of low performance within the district,” said Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro. “We are working with the district to employ skilled and committed educators and provide them with the tools they need to help kids learn.”
The Department has mailed letters of intent to faculty and staff candidates who have successfully interviewed for their positions. There are still open positions, and interviews are continuing. Staff is also working to determine how many classrooms will be needed for each grade.
The Department has developed a framework of instructional changes to promote professional development for teachers and enhance student achievement within the NSC. The new calendar institutes a longer school year and three weeks of professional development for teachers throughout the year. Extended instructional time is effective when combined with rigorous curriculum and relevant curriculum implementation.
Other interventions will incorporate extended learning opportunities including before- and after-school instruction, flipped classrooms, and integrated student supports such as tutoring. The strategies also include seeking focused support from community organizations tied to specific performance goals.
The Normandy leadership team and Department staff are designing professional development for teachers in all content areas and grade levels. Literacy development is central to planning, with new reading materials for primary and intermediate grade classrooms and updated, relevant reading materials to support instruction in content areas. Professional development will occur in the weeks prior to the start of school and in January.
Department staff members will be training Normandy leadership to use the state’s model teacher and principal evaluation system. Staff will be working with NSC principals and teachers this summer to prepare them for next year.
Letters have been mailed to parents, Normandy staff, and community leaders to update them about the status of the NSC and the transfer status for students. The State Board of Education is working to balance the need for choice with meeting the educational needs of the students served in the NSC and establishing a sound fiscal basis upon which to build.