Data-driven instruction and leadership development remained the focus in Central Westchester in the 2018–19 school year.
With a strong commitment to professional development, teachers and leaders in the region had the opportunity to attend workshops focused on the integration of data-driven instruction, Google Classroom, and problem solving, while always remembering their foundational commitment to faith-based teachings of our Catholic faith. Using this technology to tailor an individual approach to each student allows our leaders and teachers to further embrace the concept that we instruct each student as the unique child of God they are, at a pace suited to them, one child at a time.
To build on the work we began in the Spring of 2018, we kicked off the academic year with a keynote address by Dr. Raul Escarpio, an author, speaker, educator, and founder of the CatholicEd4All. Dr. Escarpio is one of the nation’s leading experts in inclusive Catholic education. He is the director of Shepherd Educational Consulting (CatholicEd4All), a faith-based consulting company that works with Catholic dioceses, schools, and families nationwide to help develop and implement systems in schools where students with disabilities can thrive and succeed. Teachers and leaders developed a deeper appreciation that all children can learn, just some learn differently than others, and that our Catholic schools are places that support all learners. We used his work to build on the strong foundation that already exists in our schools.
In addition to our work with inclusive education, our school leaders completed over 15 hours of leadership professional development. Our leaders focused on enhancing their leadership skills to better support our teachers in the classrooms. Workshops touched on instructional leadership, enhancing leadership teams, developing school culture, data analysis, professional growth through observations and high leverage instructional practices. To end our leadership series for the year, we had a visit from Principal Kafele. As one of the most sought-after school leadership experts and education speakers in America, Principal Kafele is impacting America’s schools through his message of school excellence. Our leaders spent the day reflecting on their leadership practices and focusing on the essential question – is my school better because I lead it. Principal Kafele presented our school leaders with two of his leadership books, including his best seller, “Is My School Better, Because I Lead It?”
Furthermore, teachers and leaders utilized their professional learning time to analyze student MAP data, making differentiated instruction more meaningful for each child. They also collaborated with colleagues from other schools to ensure that best practices are being performed daily to achieve optimal results for our students as they prepare to become productive citizens in a 21st century economy.
With more of our Central Westchester schools using blended learning in the classrooms, we provided several technologies-based workshops for teachers and leaders to deepen their technology skills and provided several opportunities for teachers and leaders to take workshops to become Google Certified educators.
To fully complement our education, our schools undertake many service projects throughout the school year. During the 2018–2019 school year we added a new service project: Boxes of Joy in partnership with Cross Catholic Outreach. Working in collaboration, our schools collected items to make over 1000 Boxes of Joy for less fortunate children around the world. Our students and families were truly generous and made Christmas special for a child, who otherwise, would not have received a gift. Schools supported local food pantries, Midnight Runs and participated in toy and clothing drives to help the less fortunate. Service opportunities are an essential part of our Catholic Schools and we also took time to thank our troops and veterans with ceremonies to commemorate Veterans Day and Memorial Day.