5 Ways We’re Investing in our People this Summer

By Jason Bernal

July is the month that makes YES Prep excellent.  During the school year we focus on students, this June we dedicated our efforts to sharing our practices with educators across the country at our “What Matters” conference, and now we turn our focus internally to hone the skills of our teachers and leaders.  Our great people are what make our organization successful and so we put a lot of energy into making sure that everyone new to the organization or new to a role is as prepared as possible to be outstanding for our students.

  1. On Monday, July 8, we kicked off our first, week-long Coaching Institute, a big step in our efforts to best support our teachers.  All of the new instructional leaders across our system will participate in this opportunity to learn best practices in instructional coaching.  The goal is for everyone who evaluates our teachers’ progress to be excellent coaches for those teachers versus the typical teacher evaluation fly-by’s many educators have to endure.  And we believe training all of our instructional leaders in excellent coaching practices is a good way to get there.
  2. Later in the month both new and experienced instructional leaders will come together for further development at the Instructional Leadership Institute.  We appreciate the incredible efforts of Kyrlyn Chatten, Director of Instructional Leadership and Ashley Harris, Director of Instructional Coaching, as well as the leadership of Nella Garcia Urban, Managing Director of the Talent Pipeline, for making these critical events possible!
  3. On Wednesday, July 10, our team of Instructional Coaches, Teaching Excellence (TE), will begin our Novice Teacher Induction.  During these two weeks, our instructional coaches facilitate high-quality professional learning to over 200 teachers, most of whom are brand new to the profession.  The focus of Induction is to learn the foundations of classroom management, lesson planning, and the early units of their curriculum.  We keep the focus narrow during Induction so that teachers are as close to mastery as possible with how to manage their class and plan a solid lesson before stepping into the classroom.  Higher-level professional development comes as they progress, both from their instructional coaches and through monthly professional learning days.  This is a huge undertaking every year and our TE team of almost 30 people, under the direction of Carlos Villagrana, Senior Director of Teaching Excellence, works tirelessly to prepare for it.  A special shout-out goes to the TE operations team for managing all of the logistics that go into an event this big while at the same time supporting most of these novice teachers through our alternative certification pathway – your hard work does not go unnoticed!
  4. ‘New-to-Blue’ teachers, successful educators who are new to YES Prep, are a segment of our staff that has been instrumental in the continued success of our students.  We know a successful transition to YES Prep is vital for these teachers to feel supported and lead their students effectively, so we provide a rigorous New-to-Blue Academy specifically for these high-performing teachers.  Thank you to Lexy Arroyo, Director or Teacher Development, for heading this up!
  5. Our school leaders also participate in crucial development in July.  Under the leadership of Bill Durbin, Head of Schools, and Kari Thomas, Managing Director of Program, our School Directors and Deans of Students will commit their time to developing a vision of success for their roles and getting essential training to make sure they are equipped to best support their staff and students.

Our people are our biggest asset.  Thank you so much to all the people who are both leading and participating in these transformational events!  I firmly believe that the surest way to serve our students is to serve our teachers and leaders and that’s what this transformational month is all about! 

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