Friday, March 29, 2013

SKY Partners Meet at Planning Retreat

YES Prep Northbrook School Director Cendie Stanford and
KIPP Courage School Leader Eric Schmidt review partnership
outcomes and milestones during planning retreat.
On Thursday, March 21st, the SKY Partnership Steering Committee spent half a day together at a planning retreat. Members from Spring Branch ISD, KIPP Houston, and YES Prep Public Schools gathered together to recognize and celebrate the efforts it took to successfully open the two SKY programs in July 2012.

In addition, the group was led by SKY Project Manager Mandele Davis through strategic planning conversations to ensure the partnership continues to meet its goals as the first school year comes to a close and the two programs prepare to welcome a second class of students.

The SKY Steering Committee is comprised of key leaders from each of the three partner organizations. The group meets on a bi-monthly basis to ensure the three organizations are aligned in the partnership's work, and that the partnership is progressing to meet its identified outcomes and milestones.

Rockets + Knights = R'ights

Northbrook Middle School Knights work with
YES Prep Rockets to untangle a web during
a culture building afternoon.
On the afternoon of February 14th, Northbrook Middle School Principal Valerie Johnson and YES Prep at Northbrook School Director Cendie Stanford brought the Northbrook Middle and YES Prep Northbrook 6th grades together for an afternoon of culture building.

Students filled the gym as they performed their newest chant: "We are the Knights and the Rockets and we are preparing for success, we show up every day to give our best. We are the "R’ights, that’s right! The Rockets and the Knights!" NMS and YES Prep Northbrook staff members led mixed groups of Knights and Rockets through various teambuilding activities and challenges.

As students untangled their way through human knots and tallied up points for collaborative teamwork, they proved that they really are one student body working together towards success. The day culminated with students engaging in friendly pick-up soccer games, walks around the track, or just time spent enjoying the beautiful weather as classmates...or "R’ights".

Teacher Collaboration at KIPP Courage & Landrum Middle School

KIPP Courage School Leader Eric Schmidt and Landrum
Middle School Principal Luis Pratts facilitate a conversation
with their staff during a joint professional development day.
In an effort to build more intentional avenues for collaboration between the KIPP Courage and Landrum Middle School staff members, KIPP School Leader Eric Schmidt and Landrum Middle School Principal Luis Pratts arranged for their teachers to observe each other’s classrooms.

After the co-observations occurred, they gathered the KIPP and Landrum staff members in the Landrum library to debrief about the process. Teachers shared lessons learned, suggestions for ways to increase access to each other’s classrooms and content, and their desire to continue learning from one another moving forward.

What happened in the library this day was so much more than a joint faculty meeting. Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Pratts were leading their staff members in rich and meaningful collaboration, addressing them as one body of educators working towards one collective goal: being the best educators we can be for all of our children.

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