Last May, we sent out a survey to TCS families and asked them to let us know how we’re doing. We learned that 93% of you are happy with your TCS experience, which is great news! We also learned that we have a few areas where we can improve, like consistency within and across grades, communication, and academic challenge, particularly in math.
We heard you loud and clear, and in the last six months, we’ve made changes to try to improve in these areas.
Consistency Within and Across Grades
We implemented grade-level planning and grade-level, project-based learning so teachers in each grade meet at least once a week to plan out what they’re teaching. In addition, everyone is trained in responsive classroom, project-based learning, Singapore Math and Writer’s Workshop. Finally, team leads meet every other Monday to guide and support decisions around curriculum development and alignment, professional learning initiatives, faculty meetings, community spirit and more. They also serve as a communication conduit between their grade levels and administration in both directions.
We’re working on making sure Haiku is fully ramped up, and we’re working toward a hiccup-free platform. In April, we hired a director of communications, Sarah Robinson, to think through which channels – Haiku, Veracross, social channels, school blog and email – we use to distribute communications. Sarah developed a style guide which she distributed to all TCS faculty and staff to make sure our communications are stylistically consistent. You may have noticed that Sarah is cross-posting news items on the website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email, and she’s using hashtags (#TCSAtlanta, #TCSHappenings, #TCSWolfPack) to make it easier to find our news on social media.
We’ve spent a lot of time choosing well respected, rigorous math and writing programs – Singapore Math and Lucy Caulkin’s Writer’s Workshop. We’ve brought in experts, like Greg Tang for Singapore Math, to provide our teachers with the best training. We’ve started student support team meetings in each class to help decide which students need more challenge and which kids need more support. With a significant investment from you through our annual giving campaign, our professional development budget has grown from $50,000 to $125,000 over the course of three years. As a school, we are committed to our teachers and their learning.
In addition to choosing Singapore Math, an internationally respected, academically rigorous math program, we’ve moved Tom Pittard to the learning support team as the new math specialist to help teachers with planning and professional development and to support kids with the transition to Singapore. We know how important this is to you all, so we’ll continue to put resources toward math training and support.
Next week, you’ll receive a mid-year survey with questions that will help us continue to fine tune your child(ren)’s experience at TCS and make sure we’re moving the needle on some of the improvements we’ve made. We encourage you to take the mid-year survey and give us your feedback. You’ll receive a more comprehensive survey at the end of the school year in May.
For the children,