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Teacher Appreciation Day May 16, 2012

Posted by latinoschoolleaders in Principal Effectiveness.
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By Titus Campos, Superintendent of Schools, Para los Niños

As the school year is winding down it is easy for principals to get tied down with end of year reports, mandated testing, planning for the next school year, and a myriad of other tasks.  It is important, though, to take time and recognize all of the hard work that teachers do every day.  In the latest issue of Educational Leadership Linda Darling-Hammond writes that “in teaching, your effectiveness doesn’t depend on your own effort alone.  It depends on how well you support and motivate your students”(http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership.aspx).  I would posit that we could substitute “teaching” with “leading” and “students” with “teachers” and the same would hold true.

Last Friday, all of the teachers at Para los Niños Charter Schools were invited to Lucky Strikes after work to eat, drink, and what else?  Bowl!  Each teacher received a bowling shirt with our school logo and the caption “Teachers rock and bowl!” printed on the back of the shirt.  It was great to spend time with teachers outside of school.  At the end of the evening, teachers expressed gratitude for honoring their effort in the classroom.

Let’s face it teachers are not getting rich by teaching.  As principals, if we can support them in the classroom and recognize their hard work, we are likely to foster a community of dedicated professionals who feel appreciated for their endeavors.

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Honor Those That Deserve It. Dia Del Maestro (Teacher’s Day) May 16, 2012

Posted by latinoschoolleaders in Principal Effectiveness.
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By Jose Varela, Principal at Academia Avance Charter School

May 15, 2012 is the official Dial Del Maestro in many parts of the world. It is most notably celebrated in Latin America, while seldom observed here in the United States. Here at Academia Avance Charter School in Highland Park, California our parents and Administration had to opportunity to thank our teachers for all their hard work and dedication. Our Parent Advisory Committee parents honored each teacher with a Starbucks Gift card and also provide lunch to all teachers and staff.  Teachers were also treated some well deserved ice cream on several hot California days. Overall, I feel as if our teachers felt somewhat appreciated. But is this enough? As a whole, I feel that we, as a society, do not appreciate the role that a teacher plays in our children’s lives. Teachers are the artists that create the special masterpiece that our students become. Teachers spent a majority of the day molding and building our students. Yet, all that seems to go unnoticed and somewhat unappreciated. Upon speaking to several of my colleagues that serve as teachers or administrators in Latin American countries, they shared stories of how the entire community partakes in the celebration of El Dia del Maestro. Even local governments and businesses go out of their way to show their appreciation. So the question lies, why are we, as an American society, not showing our support and appreciation for our teachers as it’s done in other parts of the world? Do we take our teachers are taken for granted? It’s bad enough that our teachers are underpaid; the least we can do is show our appreciation for their hard work and effort. Growing up, I was shown to respect and appreciate my teachers, which is the reason why I decided to become a teacher. Recently we conducted a survey of our students here at Avance. The survey asked high school students what career they wanted to follow. Out of nearly 300 students surveyed, only 10% chose a teaching career. I wonder why.

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Building the Foundation for Effective School Leaders May 16, 2012

Posted by latinoschoolleaders in Principal Effectiveness.
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By Feliza Ortiz-Licon, Regional Director, Education, NCLR

Within educational circles, the academic under-performance of Latino children is a conversation that has been going on for 50 years.  Recently, though, the massive surge of Latino children in the K–12 educational system has elevated this in-house dialogue to a national discussion.  Recent Census figures frame a prediction of the “browning of America” by 2050; currently, nearly one in four American kids is Latino.  In California, Latinos account for 51% of the state’s youth population, making Latino children the majority.  The Latino community is young and growing quickly.  Our youth will make up the country’s future labor force, consumer base, taxpayers, and voters.  This startling reality has raised the stakes for educators and policymakers to properly educate Latino students, solidify the Latino educational and leadership pipeline, and work toward reversing the downward academic trends of Latino youth.

Addressing both the widening achievement gap and the increasing dropout rate of Latino students requires the voice of Latino school leaders.  To engage these leaders in advocating for Latino students, NCLR developed the National Institute for Latino School Leaders (NILSL),  an intensive advocacy training institute for school executive directors and principals.  NILSL seeks to improve the quality of education afforded to Latino students by impacting educational reform efforts at the local, state, and national levels.  It will also bridge the divide between practice and policy by providing school leaders the tools they need to advocate for polices and reform efforts that positively impact Latino and English language learner (ELL) students.

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