Hello from Greenlee Elementary!
Chad Tehan here, AmeriCorps member serving out of Greenlee. Since my last blog entry, I have been supporting the special education classrooms more, increasing my service from one to two days a week, and providing literacy and math support to students. The impact of the service I provide in the classroom has allowed teachers to give more individualized attention to students who need it and also allows me to build significant relationships with individual students. It also allows me to practice or utilize instructional techniques that I have learned in my career, as well as, develop new skills or strategies I might not otherwise have known.
The appreciation for my service to these students is acknowledged by my observation that the teachers look forward to the days I will be supporting their classrooms, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. We are able to serve collaboratively to meet the needs of the students. Not having the teacher do all the instruction or support alone. We very much play off each other in terms of our practices and approaches with the students. Furthermore, teachers are willing to support my professional goals by writing me letters of support as I seek teaching positions for next school year 2014-2015.
In another major project, I have started collaborating with the school counselor Margret Guinan to support improved school discipline climate. The goal is to get into classrooms to provide Greenlee Stars (behavior support) to students who are exhibiting the RISE (Respect, Integrity, Safety, and Excellence). I go into the two 3rd grade classrooms for 20 minutes each on Mondays, three 1st grade classrooms for 20 minutes each on Tuesdays, and the two 2nd grade classrooms for 20 minutes each on Wednesday. I am giving stars to kids who exhibit excellence by remaining on task and working hard, among other intrinsic behavior. To date I have given this initiative TBD hours of support.
Additionally, I am part of the process to reconsider these RISE expectations. I am part of a school staff committee that is developing a shift in approach to a more character education based school-wide behavior management program. We are still in the initial stages of selecting from a number of traits identified by the staff in the recent past. I have long felt that social emotional development or competence is a critical component of making children independent and successful learners. Each of these opportunities supporting special education and social emotional competence in a school-wide system speaks to my skills, background, and passions in education. I am enjoying the students and successes of my term of service at Greenlee so far and look forward to many more successes to come.