CULTURAL COMPASS: BARNEGAT TWP SCHOOL DISTRICT (8 points of a compass)
Clear focus and high expectations
We have a clear focus on academic learning combined with engaging and creative instruction and a culture of high expectations for all students embedded in the conviction that all students can achieve these expectations with effective support. Learning activities are authentic and applicable to life outside of school and to future learning. Learning standards, which encourage students to become productive citizens, are known by staff, parents/caregivers, and most importantly, students. Every stakeholder and the students are responsible and accountable for establishing and sustaining a quality learning experience which requires: an effective teacher in every classroom, administration that are educational leaders not just managers, a challenging curriculum, adequate resources, continuous improvement, and a safe, secure, non-threatening environment.
Personalized Learning Environment
KIDS FIRST-there is no exception. Our decisions are student centered, data driven, and research based. We are constantly asking ourselves (a) What are we doing? (b) Is it working? (c) How do we know? Every student enjoys strong relationships with their peers, school, and community. Students can expect support both academically and social emotionally. Students are treated with respect, dignity, and warmth so they want to learn. We take students as they come to us and provide for differences in abilities, needs and learning styles.
As professional educators we believe in creating lifelong learners in our classrooms, therefore we must model this belief within ourselves. We know as professionals, we have a responsibility to grow and expand our content knowledge, instructional practices, and classroom strategies. We are effective ambassadors for our schools and our success is assessed on the basis of results rather than intentions. We actively make the shift from beliefs to behaviors by emphasizing collegiality over congeniality and focusing on learning through professional communities rather than just teaching.
We actively forge strong bonds with students" families or caregivers and community knowing that parents/caretakers and community are their children"s first teachers and most central to their lives; therefore, they must be participants in the education process. We cultivate partnerships by acting as extraordinary effective ambassadors for our schools. We make sure parents/caregivers and communities have voice and input to shape all components of the school district. Most importantly we are transparent, knowing that shared knowledge deepens the benefits of communication.
Student voice and participation
Students are participants in the education process. They are given significant opportunities to collaborate with school staff/community, exercise leadership, and make school wide choices and decisions. Students have clear areas of input and participation and are actively involved in decisions regarding their learning, classrooms, school, campus, and community.
All students are provided the tools to access and analyze information, communicate ideas, and express themselves creatively. Teachers have equipment and professional development to enable them to implement technology enhanced instruction. Students learn to navigate diverse information sources, including print, visual, kinesthetic, and audio materials, through the integration of information literacy skills.
As an effective organization, we are nimble-we embrace change and often reject the familiar. We are never static; realizing that in the 21st century education is changing everyday. We honor the simple reality of another person"s experience because it is an instant connection to the larger world outside of our selves. We ignore critics yet utilize their criticism. We stay relevant by remembering to continually ask, listen, and act. And instead of focusing on things that are easy to measure, we focus instead, on those things that are important to measure. We focus on the journey and all of its ups and downs.
We realize that the single most efficient strategy for improving our operations is in answering the “why” questions! We embrace people who ask these questions-we treat them as stakeholders and collaborators.