Written by YUSD Interim Superintendent Mike Berg –
OAKHURST – The learning never stops in Yosemite Unified School District (YUSD), where leadership has been developing and planning a dynamic two days of Professional Development for all employees to kick-off this school year.
YUSD knows the value of including all staff and community in the development of and aspirations for student success. YUSD has plans for a full day of professional development to specifically address Social Emotional Student Learning.
The first focused will bring research and professionals into an interactive conversation with school principals, teachers and district wide support staff to gain a better understanding of students. Research shows that one cannot expect students to learn unless their basic needs have been met. Beyond meeting their basic, needs one must also engage students in the learning process.
This approach will chart a new course for what students experience in YUSD classrooms, on the playground, on the athletic fields, in the cafeteria, and on the school bus every day. The goals of the day one session are simple:
• Ask – Notice every child. Check in – Assess their needs
• Make Time – Stop and engage students
• Involve – Connect students to one another and to school
AMI is the acronym for these steps. AMI in French means “friend.” Webster’s Dictionary defines the word friend as “a person who you like and enjoy being with; a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity).” YUSD staff is a friend of students. Social media uses “friend” as a verb. One friending another means to engage them or let them into the group. YUSD’s goal is to foster that safe, welcoming, learning-ready environment for every student to ensure their learning foundation is solid.
The second full day is to enhance our academic outcomes through student data analysis, not by engaging in a dry analysis of data, but by using data to see into classroom and individual student challenges. Teachers and staff supporting teachers will gain insight into the use of data as a tool to diagnose and prescribe instruction for individual student learning styles and pace.
Meeting students’ academic needs, based on their individual ability and goals, is the second major focus for YUSD. It is easy to say we have taught, but if students haven’t learned, we have work to do. This theme is an expectation of every adult in YUSD. Teachers are on the front line of this goal, but every staff person and administrator will be equally responsible for doing their part to create the environment for learning and success.
The third day is dedicated to principals and department heads meeting with their respective staff members at their respective schools and department work sites to take what they’ve learned through days one and two and develop plans for implementation of the information, direction, and goals into their daily service to Yosemite’s students and community.
The district is confident that this consistent unified approach and student centered focus will chart a very positive experience for its students in the 2018/2019 school year.
Mike Berg, Interim Superintendent, YUSD