"Education is the key to unlock the golden door to freedom."
George Washington Carver
This past week, I attended the Curriculum & Instruction Steering Committee Leadership Symposium - Leading To Ignite Innovation along with 1500+ superintendents and district and county offices instructional leaders. We heard from some of the great educational researchers such as John Hattie, Larry Ainsworth and Sal Khan. The focus across our state and nation is to graduate students from high school, better prepared than ever with the knowledge and skills for college and career. The movement is to have all students meet the admissions requirements for the Cal State and UC systems as these academic skills will lead to college graduation and successful careers to provide a middle-class or higher lifestyle. I am proud to say that CVCHS has been on this mission from Day One!
Student interest and motivation to excel are keys to academic achievement and college preparedness. Teacher motivation, preparedness to deliver world-class instruction, and student engagement in challenging curriculum that is connected to students' daily lives are critical to maximize achievement. This has been the laser-like focus I have had in leading schools throughout my educational career. It has been my privilege of leading school improvement efforts and is still my passion to date. The quality of the teacher standing in front of the students in the classroom is the single most important factor impacting student learning and college-readiness. It all comes down to equipping teachers with the knowledge, instructional strategies and inspiration to work hard to prepare meaningful and relevant lessons to the students sitting in front of them. I compare it to inviting friends over to dinner and choosing to prepare a seven-course gourmet meal served on fine china with a beautiful setting, music playing in the background for ambiance, and a warm and inviting environment, as opposed to simply grabbing leftovers out of the refrigerator served on paper plates and plastic utensils. What would you prefer?
CVCHS supports our staff by offering incredible opportunities throughout the year and during the summer to enrich the knowledge and instructional practices that occur in our classes on a daily basis. This has made a world of difference in the instructional program touching the minds and hearts of each and every one of our students. Our yearlong focus takes place through our Wednesday professional development (PD) trainings which include lesson planning development, Achieve 3000 Reading/Writing Program training, UC Berkeley Literacy and Writing training, Technology implementation, PD 360 online training, along with gaming approaches to motivating students and sharing best practices. Our Summer Curriculum Institute offers PD opportunities which focus on instructional strategies that are research-based including Marzano's 9 most highly effective instructional strategies, Kagan Structures for student engagement, Common Core State Standards planning instructional units and benchmark assessments, Contra Costa County Office of Education Mathematics Common Core Standards, Character Counts onsite training of implementation strategies, Advanced Placement (AP) Summer training and programming, Model Schools Conference, Summative Assessments using Data Based Questions, Engineering and Technology Standards, and our EdTech Institute to advance staff's technology literacy and utilization within the classroom, just to name a few of our PD offerings.
We base our instructional program upon Dr. Bill Dagget's Rigor and Relevance Framework where we engage student critical thinking skills and make applications to real world scenarios. Further, we focus upon using John Hattie's researched-based strategies and Dr. Robert Marzano's data-proven strategies which yield the most academic gains.
It was amazing to be with a large group of California educational leaders and to see that we are all driving in the same direction with one single focus - to empower each and every student today with the academic skills which lead to college and careers of tomorrow. I am proud of our passionate pursuit of educational excellence here at Clayton Valley Charter High School.