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Faculty Professional Development

Posted by TNCS on Sep 16, 2015

Last year, TNCS celebrated 40 years of working with students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. From the basement of a church to a nine-acre campus in the historic north side of Richmond, New Community has grown in size and scope to best meet the needs of our students and their families. Within our eleven buildings, we have over fifty faculty and staff members who work collaboratively to ensure a productive and safe learning environment. For this first entry in the newly established blog, The TNCS Experience, the focus is on our faculty who make such an indelible mark on so many students’ lives.

With our remarkable 3:1 student to teacher ratio, we are able to help our students develop the skills necessary to be successful in life. Every teacher plays a part, and everyone is fully invested in the vision and mission of the school. Part of what it means to be a teacher at TNCS is to search for opportunities for professional development. Luckily, teachers don’t have to look far. New Community, in an effort to broaden the knowledge base of its faculty, provides the following opportunities for professional growth.

  • Monthly Professional Development days for the entire staff. This year, the focus of many of these days will be on best practices for assessment.
  • Study/Action Groups. These have included Technology, 21st Century Learning, Health & Wellness, Assessment, and Faculty Evaluation.
  • The Mentoring Program. New faculty members are paired with experienced teachers to help with transitioning to TNCS. This includes daily periods of co-teaching, biweekly lesson-planning sessions, and monthly meetings with the Director of Special Programs.
  • Conferences. This past year many of our teachers and administrators attended conferences in Phoenix and Grand Rapids to learn more about assessment strategies. Last year, the entire faculty was provided the opportunity to attend the annual VAIS conference here in Richmond.

Many of our teachers hold advanced degrees that have allowed them to delve deeper into the study of their respective content areas. Others have sought additional endorsements in areas that allow them to better meet the needs of their students. Currently, we have four faculty members who are pursuing advanced degrees in varying fields of education.

  • Mr. Eric Gobble, Director of Athletics and Student Activities, who already holds a law degree from Temple University, is working towards a Masters in Athletic Management.
  • Mrs. Kasey Jackson Noll, Upper School Math Teacher, is working on a Masters in Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Virginia. The focus of Mrs. Noll’s program in on Instructional Technology, and she is working towards this degree to enhance her classroom teaching.
  • Mr. Alexander Keevil, Middle School Lead Math Teacher, is finishing up an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Administration & Supervision through the University of Virginia. Mr. Keevil also holds a Masters in Teaching from U.Va.
  • Mrs. Melody White, Upper School Science Teacher, is in the final stages of her Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Special Education from Northcentral University. Mrs. White, who also holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix, was convinced to seek the field of special education by her brother who happens to be dyslexic.

Through all of these professional development opportunities, the teachers at The New Community School are gifted with guidance, time, and support from the administrative team. Both students and faculty practice the school motto of Trust and Try as we all seek greater knowledge and understanding of the world around us.

By Alexander Keevil

 

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