10/21/2010 08:24 AM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
A look at The Shlenker School's philosophy of Professional Development.

Does Professional Development Matter?

At Shlenker, opportunities for professional development are abundant.  However, the types of classes and services teachers and administrators receive respond directly to their goals and to the instruction in the classroom.  Our experience tells us that when a teacher requests support in an area, that teacher will work twice as hard as she would if a class were mandated.  Therefore, professional development classes are responsive to a particular area or need that is identified by the staff. For instance, several years ago, the Shlenker elementary staff agreed that they would benefit from classes in Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop to help improve the overall reading and writing ability of our students.  Although we had been working on writing for many years and through a number of reliable sources, we still felt our overall program could improve.  Shlenker has brought in two consultants, one to work with the teachers from K-2 and another to work with language arts teachers in 3-5.  By working alongside the teachers and bringing ideas and challenges to the teachers, the consultants successfully helped mold a new way of teaching children to write and also initiated the idea of Just Right books to improve the children’s ability to read and to enjoy reading.  Even though teachers have worked on this program for several years, they still request having the mentors to maintain and strengthen their efforts. 


We work closely with math consultants to align our math program from Pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.  Our Rice University consultant will spend several days on campus again this year to support teachers in their effort to pace the math for the students, to provide additional materials if necessary, and to improve instruction through the use of technology.  At Shlenker, teachers can feel the improvement in the strength of the math program each year.  And without having it as a goal, we see the fruits of our labor in the ERB and ISEE test scores.


The same principles hold true for our early childhood teachers.  Toddler teachers have worked with literacy mentors from Rice University for two years and are about to embark on our third year.  This program teaches our teachers the best ways to read stories, listen to early language, and prepare young students for reading and writing.  Toddlers, indeed, respond to a well-told story! 


Finally, one of the most significant areas of professional development is in the area of technology.  As our hardware becomes more and more sophisticated, teachers require more support.  We are fortunate to have two outstanding technology professionals on our campus to teach innovation, and to support all of our programs.  All of our new curriculum programs are equipped with technology components that make the learning interactive for the students.  Teachers must stay on the cutting edge of technology in order to teach successfully in this new era of instruction.


At Shlenker, professional development is all about driving instruction to be the best it can be.  Through teacher goals, benchmark testing, and analysis of the success of our students and alumni each year, we try to engage teachers in opportunities that will support their teaching efforts and improve student outcomes.


At Shlenker we believe that giving teachers the opportunity to drive the professional development opportunities that they feel will make them more successful in the classrooms has had a dynamic impact on student outcomes.


The Shlenker School:  Dynamic Academics Woven With Jewish Values


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Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

10/01/2010 01:57 PM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
Why do we have it and what organizations accredit Shlenker?

Accreditation — Why do we have it and what organizations accredit Shlenker?

Being an accredited school and licensed by the state are extremely important regulations for schools. At Shlenker, we believe that we need to be “better” than the expectations of our agencies. In order for students to receive credit for their elementary work in middle school, they must have attended an accredited school. Teachers must have full certification in order to teach at Shlenker and to receive years of service credit if they go to a public school to teach. Often we are asked, particularly by out-of-town applicants, what our accreditation is at Shlenker. Some parents will only look at schools that are fully accredited. Receiving accreditations is a time consuming and often strenuous exercise; however, it gives the school a chance to review all practices and improve in areas that need work.

Shlenker is accredited and licensed in the following ways:

  • NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accredits the Early Childhood Program from 15 months through PreK-4
    • This accreditation occurs every five years
  • Licensing — Shlenker's Early Childhood Program, Young Toddler through PreK-4, is licensed by the State of Texas
    • This licensing occurs annually
  • ISAS (Independent Schools Association of the Southwest) accredits the Early Childhood Program beginning with 3 year olds and continues through 5th grade of the elementary school
    • This accreditation takes place every 10 years

These accreditations are very important for parents to recognize as their children move through the grades and into middle school and beyond. It is our intention to always maintain our strenuous degree of oversight and to achieve at a higher level than required.

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Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

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