Friday, August 7, 2009

School Improvement Plan

Our guiding document is the Taft School Improvement Plan. It has a great deal of data regarding the school and identifies key ways we are planning to improve the instructional program at the school. The strategies included are not comprehensive as teachers utilize such a broad range of teaching methods. Title I funds are the source from which the majority of our instructional materials are purchased. Attached is the form used to request purchases. I have set aside funds to purchase items new teachers would like to use in their classrooms, but you need to request them very early in the year. While we are on purchasing, we have a donor that purchases a Walmart gift card of $100 for each teacher. This is basically all that teachers receive to use in their classrooms. The majority of our school budget is used to fund copying (which is unlimited). Additionally, I allow all new teachers to spend $100 at Mardels (or any other vendor of your choice). You may come by the school at any time to get a requisition from Mrs. West our financial secretary. She will give you an overview of purchasing requirements, but remember NO TAX AND GET A RECEIPT (right Sarah Ross). The good thing about using Mardels is that you don’t have to mess with a check. If you want to use another vendor, I will need to know the exact amount of your purchases in order to cut you a check.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Taft has two counselors, Debbie Curry and Ashley Kellert. We split the students by teams. Debbie takes care of 6-1, 7-1, and 8-1. Ashley takes care of 6-2, 7-2 and 8-2.
The department handles all enrollments, withdrawals, student scheduling (including schedule changes within the school year) and maintaining student records.

Within our department, we have Jacquetta Davis. She is our registrar. She maintains student records (which include requesting and forwarding student records). She, also, does daily attendance.

The counseling department is in charge of Taft’s peer mediation program. Forms for making a referral are found on Taft’s portal (you will learn more about the portal later).

Our doors are always open to our students and staff. If there is anything we can help you with, any concerns or questions you may have, don’t hesitate to stop by. We will gladly assist you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


There are two types of evaluation in the school setting. The more informal is formative, which are curriculum “walk-throughs” (form attached) and casual classroom visits. The more formal evaluation, summative, is the only thing that is placed in your official file. I have also attached the guidelines for this process. You will each have one evaluator who is responsible for submitting your evaluation to the Board of Education. Additionally, if you are a first-year teacher, you will go through the Teacher Residency Program. Your evaluator, a mentor teacher, and a university representative will all observe you. This observation is for recommendation for you to receive your certification and is not linked to your formal school evaluation. The link for this form is
Please don’t sweat your evaluation. We do not want to see a dog and pony show and do not expect you to be super teacher your first year. I will give you plenty of head’s up if I am concerned with your teaching before it is formalized in an evaluation.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Each rotation has a team of teachers that cover the core academic areas. 6th & 7th graders have two sections of language arts and 8th graders have two sections of math to prepare them for algebra (there is a really high correlation between failing algebra and dropping out). Each team member has an individual planning period and a team planning period. Grade levels dedicate one of the 5 weekly team planning periods for a grade level meeting which would include both teams of teachers. Grade levels typically plan common field trips, assemblies, etc. Additionally, each “pair” of subject area teachers on a grade level (i.e. both 7th grade math teachers) meet weekly for a “Target Team” meeting to discuss what worked and didn’t work (and why) and what lessons they are going to teach the upcoming week. While many of the team meetings shift towards managerial topics, the real push should be to develop cross-curricular connections which increase a student’s propensity to store information in their long-term memory.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Master Schedule

Please note a few things about the master schedule.
Groups of kids are identified by their grade and level, i.e. 7E. Notice how the groups of kids follow a pattern which is what we call a rotation. When you are on plan, your kids are in electives. All grade levels have "grade pure" electives and lunch periods.