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Special Education Teacher or Learning Specialist/SETSS Provider
Kindergarten – Grade 12
Start Date: July 2011
About Achievement First:
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 Serve as “owner” of all special education-related services, including writing and implementing rigorous, standards-driven IEPs, managing legal documents and files related to students’ IEPs and 504 plans, liaising with external service providers, ensuring all services are in compliance with mandates, and coordinating annual IEP review process
Core Instructional Excellence Maintain continued communication with content area teachers and coaches to ensure knowledge of grade-level standards and concepts through weekly participation in department meetings Assess every student’s mastery of the content and diagnose areas of student misunderstanding 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., non-verbal responses, etc)
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
Planning and Data Analysis Set measurable, ambitious yet attainable goals for the year and for each interim assessment cycle Continually sculpt instruction around the results of interim assessments and students’ IEP goals 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; communicate regularly with parents about student progress and IEPs
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 Create successful partnerships with outside parties (e.g., district special education office)
Contribution to AF and School Communities Collaborate with colleagues to ensure a rigorous, joyful, and safe environment 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 and classroom management skills 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 Familiarity wth IEP process
Educational Background and Work Experience
Two years of teaching experience in a special education setting with a record of high student achievement Bachelors degree from a competitive college or university Willingness to seek special education certification aggressively
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