We know that our teachers have a greater impact than any other factor on our students’ learning and growth. That is why nothing is more important to us at SAS than the quality of our teachers.
We are currently recruiting teachers for the few vacancies we have, as this year our turnover of teachers will again be exceptionally low. Hooray!! It is nice to see both our high retention rate of our existing teachers and the high level of interest of teachers globally in our teaching opportunities, This year, we are seeing over 60 applicants on average for the few vacancies we have.
Just as important as getting and keeping great educators is helping them further develop their skills as teachers. The more we help our teachers grow in their very complex—and very rewarding— profession, the better able they will be to help our students grow. Central to our efforts to help our teachers grow are our professional learning communities.
Our professional learning communities are collaborative teams of faculty, led by teacher leaders, who meet regularly and focus in great detail on four key questions regarding student learning:
- What specifically do we want students to know and be able to do in each course?
- What evidence will show if students have indeed mastered their learning targets?
- What do we do differently for kids who are not there yet?
- What do we do differently for kids who have already mastered their targets?
This collaborative time allows teachers to learn from one another and to share best practices from across campus.
To ensure our teacher leaders are best prepared to lead their PLC teams, we offer them targeted leadership development opportunities. This year, I will be working with our Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Sparrow to lead a year-long series of learning opportunities for our teacher leaders. I am looking forward to it, for we will have the chance to go deeper into some of the themes that I got to explore last year when teaching a cohort of educational leaders who were getting their doctorate in educational leadership at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. It will be interesting to explore those leadership themes in our SAS context.
I am excited to build on the high-quality teacher leadership work for which SAS is already well-known. With strong teacher leaders leading our professional learning communities, the sky is the limit for what we can offer our teachers and our teachers, in turn, offer our students.