Why are Los Gatos and Saratoga schools so successful?
The reasons may lie in a new Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program that district officials discussed last month.
During the Dec. 4 meeting of the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District trustees, program coaching teacher Peter Jordan gave an overview of the project, participation statistics and goals.
Currently, there's one teacher at Los Gatos High School and three teachers at Saratoga High School involved in the program during the 2012‐13 school year.
During its second year, the program hopes to have three teachers at LGHS and two at SHS for a total of nine instructors.
Districtwide, there are 19 non-BTSA teachers in their first or second year of employment with the district, according to Jordan's presentation. At LGHS, there are five first-year teachers and three second-year educators.
At SHS, there are three first-year teachers, four second-year instructors and two interns, or future BTSA teachers.
A Nova, the district's alternative high school, and at West Valley College, there are one first-year teachers, respectively.
There are eight veteran teachers at LGHS and eight teachers at SHS—including department heads and several "teachers of the year" who volunteered to participate in a colleague collaboration and coaching model, Jordan said.
Four teachers requested specific coaching support and many expressed an interest in receiving non-evaluative feedback—about various aspects of their teaching practice—at some time in the future.
Student engagement is a common area of concern, Jordan said.
Regardless, the program's goals are to:
- Align with the LGSUHSD strategic plan
- Foster a culture of collaborative reflection about best teaching practices
- Facilitate implementation of Common Core Standards
- Work with administration to coordinate the BTSA "assessment" process and the district's evaluation procedures
- Strengthen bridges between departments and schools