Corlears Strategic Focus
As Corlears celebrates its 50th year, the board of trustees, administrative staff and faculty have reflected on the school’s mission statement to identify three key areas of focus: Faculty/Staff Expertise, Equity and Inclusion, and Math Education. The areas of focus build on several years of successful growth and are integrated into a long term plan for financial sustainability that includes support from enrollment, auxiliary programs and fundraising.
In our plans we strive to honor the past, celebrate the present and contemplate how we want to shape the future. Success in each area supports the school’s growing position as a thought leader in the early years educational community
faculty/staff Expertise in early years education
Honoring our long tradition of a school solely focused on young children, that is supported by a faculty with specific experience and expertise in early childhood and elementary education, the faculty/staff expertise initiative is focused on professional development, leadership and faculty salaries.
The Corlears teachers and their desire to learn and grow every day are our most celebrated feature! Through our initiative in this area we have extended our investment and deepened our approach to professional development.
We recently augmented and reorganized the leadership within the educational program, which is now provided through our Assistant Head of School/Director of Teaching and Learning who is supporting faculty and curriculum development, and the Dean of Students, who is providing guidance in supporting our students learning and behavioral needs. In addition, support is provided from the Math Coach, Reading Specialist and Developmental Support Counselor.
The initiative includes a multi-year effort to standardize and elevate faculty salaries to shape the way that we recognize the tremendous contribution that our teachers are to the Corlears experience.
EQUITY AND INCLUSION
EQuity and inclusion, Early Years Identity and social Justice Education
The Corlears mission has always been centered on making a space for young children to learn and grow in compassion, imagination, critical thinking and leadership. We honor this approach in all our work supporting this growth through an understanding of developmental needs of young children. As it relates to equity and inclusion, there are two critical foundations that young children need: positive self identities and an understanding of how to acknowledge and celebrate difference in an inclusive and equitable way.
The goal of our initiative in this area has been to examine all aspects of the school’s operations and its mission, through the lens of social justice, equity and inclusion. We celebrate the areas in which we have been successful, such as the creation of community forums to discuss issues of social justice, and the development of the POSOC affinity group, as well as the tremendous attention on the educational program and the opportunity to create inclusive spaces that allow all children to see themselves reflected in their learning.
We are currently planning to administer an inclusion survey (the NAIS AIM survey), as well as exploring a leadership role to help shape Equity and Inclusion at Corlears and evaluating our financial aid program to look for opportunities to sustain and elevate socio-economic diversity within the school.
early years Math education
Corlears specialization in teaching children age 2 through 5th grade, means that we care a lot about how young children learn to be mathematicians. In honoring this focus over the past several years, our initiative in this area has enabled us to take major steps forward in developing a highly sophisticated math program for our students.
Over five years ago we began this initiative with a focus on professional development for all classroom teachers Kindergarten through 5th grade. The training is an essential component in unlocking every teachers’ math teaching ability, and is not a significant enough standard feature of most graduate school teacher training programs.
We are now able to celebrate the enriched program and level of teaching that is growing out of this work. We have worked to create a fully aligned scope and sequence, developed strands for Habits of Mind, problem-solving skills and strategies, math language, organization of math thinking, and conferring with students, along with deepening age-level content knowledge for all teachers.
This year we added a Math Coach position at the school to help shepherd the program and shape the work for the future. We are looking at ways that we can share our expertise in this area, and help parents better understand contemporary elementary math education.