Strategies for Student Success 2015 - Page 4

Andersonville Teachers Take the Lead, Delivering Big Gains for Learners Breakfast is a social time at Andersonville Elementary, a 2015 SCORE Prize finalist school. Volunteers from a nearby church – many of whom are retirees – stop by first thing each morning to eat breakfast with the kids, open cartons of milk, and chat about the day ahead. “It’s the easiest thing to do. It costs no money. And it’s made a big impact – not just on academics, but the whole child,” said Hope Holdaway, a third-grade Andersonville teacher who helps lead the initiative. The program, called Breakfast Buddies, is one of many efforts at Andersonville led by teachers. In fact, Principal Beth Roeder’s expectation is that every teacher takes on some form of a leadership role. Depending on individual teachers’ interests and experience, this can mean taking charge of aspects of curriculum or data, rethinking playground safety, planning the school Christmas program, or helping out in the central office. And 3 all this is in addition to a school structure that gives teachers a key role in decision-making and development of fresh interventions. Ms. Roeder said it’s taken a few years for the current workflow to evolve – this is not something to introduce quickly or to attempt without knowing staff well. The result is a faculty culture of shared buy-in and high expectations, and a school rich in innovation. “The expectations are so high that we almost have peer pressure. It’s not me. It’s the staff,” said Ms. Roeder. “The more confidence you give your teachers, the more confident they feel that they can do something. No one can do it all by yourself, and you can’t do a great job if you’re trying to do it all by yourself.’” Teachers have created and implemented a school-wide disciplinary plan that is consistent in every classroom. All teachers mentor one another, spending time observing one another’s