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Achievement First is a charter school management organization started in July 2003 by the leaders of Amistad Academy, a high performing charter school in New Haven, CT. A non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization, Achievement First is creating a network of achievement-gap closing charter schools in Connecticut and New York to bring to scale the dramatic, life changing student achievement results produced at Amistad Academy. Achievement First currently operates 19 schools in both NY and CT. Over the next decade, Achievement First will grow to support 30 schools serving over 11,500 students. For more information about the Achievement First mission, model, our schools and team, please visit our website at www.achievementfirst.org .
Teaching at Achievement First:
We believe that every child has the ability to succeed and attend college. Our students work extremely hard and are held to very high expectations regarding both their academic achievement and character development. Students are expected to operate in accordance with our REACH Values (Respect, Enthusiasm, Achievement, Citizenship, and Hard Work) both in and outside of school.
Achieving these high standards primarily depends on placing great teachers in the classroom, thus we invest a great deal into our educators. Each teacher attends New Staff Training and two bi-annual professional development days where the entire network convenes with other leaders in the educational field. Each teacher is paired with a one-on-one coach and the school week is structured so that teachers devote half of every Friday to professional development with their grade-level and/or subject teams.
The Achievement First community is a Team & Family and teachers, school leaders and support staff work together closely to ensure the academic success and character development of not only the students in their classroom, but all students in their school. We invest in each of our teachers with the understanding that they alone have the power to achieve our mission of providing all students with the academic and character skills necessary to succeed in a competitive world.
Responsibilities of Achievement First School Teachers:
Student Achievement & Character Development
Set and hold students to extremely high academic and behavioral standards Relentlessly demonstrate and embody the REACH values (Respect, Enthusiasm, Achievement, Citizenship, Hard Work) and ensure that students exhibit the same values Deliver measurable student academic growth and increase each individual student’s achievement Core Instructional Excellence
Assess every student’s mastery of the content and diagnose areas of student misunderstanding Demonstrate strong content knowledge; all information conveyed to students is factually accurate Model responses and provide visual anchors; lead students through guided and independent practice and regularly check for understanding Ensure academic rigor by asking increasingly difficult questions, accepting only high quality student responses and posting examples of high quality work Use high-engagement strategies (e.g. rapid fire questioning, non-verbal responses, etc) Meet needs of range of students, providing extra support, enrichment, or variation of work Classroom Culture
Create positive, achievement-oriented and structured learning environment with high “joy-factor” so that students are excited about and invested in their academic excellence Set and reinforce clear expectations and routines that are aligned with the school’s overall vision Discuss, celebrate, and reinforce character skills Embrace and use school culture systems Design classroom space to reinforce school values and culture with obvious, posted examples of outstanding academics and character Planning and Data Analysis
Set measurable, ambitious yet attainable goals for the year and for each interim assessment cycle Use data from interim assessments, quizzes and informal assessments to inform instruction Internalize standards and scope and sequence (for own grade/subject and the grades one year before and one year after) and know how standards are assessed Thoughtfully plan lessons and develop and implement specific strategies to ensure that each student achieves dramatic gains Student and Family Relationships
Build rapport with students outside of class (e.g. lunches with scholars, special events) so students understand unambiguously that teachers care about them Invest parents and families in their children’s academic success through regular communication of success and challenges
Personal Organization and Effectiveness
Reflect on successes and areas of growth around all areas of teaching; seek to improve performance; receive feedback eagerly Work with coach, grade-level chair and school team to constantly evaluate and improve mastery of instructional, culture building, and leadership skills Use system to capture and check action items and prioritize work appropriately Enthusiastically participate in structured and informal learning and development opportunities Contribution to AF and School Communities
Collaborate with colleagues to ensure a rigorous, joyful, and safe environment across the entire school Assume responsibility for every single scholar’s success by holding all students accountable during transitions, meals, trips, etc Create unit plans, lesson plans, or other instructional materials as needed to ensure student success across the entire network
Skills and Characteristics:
Strong instructional skills and classroom management Demonstrated mastery of subject matter Unyielding commitment to students, self and school’s constant learning and development Relentlessness - doing whatever it takes to ensure success Team player Excellent communication skills Highly organized Belief in Achievement First’s mission, educational model, REACH and Core Values Maturity, humility, strong work ethic, sense of humor, and “roll-up-my-sleeves” attitude
Educational Background and Work Experience:
Two years of teaching experience with a record of high student achievement Bachelors degree from a competitive college or university Willingness to seek certification if not already certified
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