Develop Great Teaching
We know that great teachers are made, not born
We believe that teaching is a knowledge profession, much like medicine or law. To excel, teachers must have the opportunity to continually improve their practice. Whether as a first-year Associate Teacher or a seasoned professional, all Brooke teachers view themselves as lifelong learners. As individuals and as a team, we are committed to becoming the best educators possible. We pursue great teaching through:
- Weekly professional development: Every Wednesday afternoon (1-4pm weekly) is dedicated to teacher professional development. We spend four hours working in a school-wide group and in grade-level teams to learn from each other’s successes, brainstorm solutions to challenges, and analyze what works and doesn’t work in each teacher’s style and lesson plans. These sessions are oriented around clear learning goals that we set as a group at the outset of the year.
- Video review: Each teacher is videoed at least 10 times throughout the year. We then critique those videos as a group. The videotaped teacher leaves with direct, personalized suggestions. Every other educator benefits from watching successful (and not-so-successful) teaching strategies and from hearing their peers’ critiques.
- Collaboration and co-planning: Brooke teachers work as a team to close the achievement gap for all scholars in the school, not just for the scholars in their classroom. Teachers use daily dedicated co-planning time to design lessons with their grade-level team. Teachers upload their best curricula and lesson plans onto our internal server, allowing all Brooke educators to learn from and adapt successful materials. Our “open door” policy encourages teachers to view each other as teammates available for help and guidance throughout the school day.
- Observation and feedback: Teachers are observed, formally and informally, at least 30 times throughout the year. Those observations result in immediate, real-time feedback on strengths and weaknesses. These observations then feed into twice-yearly formal evaluations, which are based on the Brooke teaching standards. The evaluations also consider scholar performance (as measured by state test scores and classroom outcomes) and contribution to school-wide professional development activities.