For the past two summers, I have been involved with Springboard Summer at my school in New York City. There are many reasons as to why I have loved my experiences, but here are the top five reasons why I loved working with Springboard!
1. Supporting a shared mission and vision
Springboard has allowed me to turn my simultaneous goals of being a teacher, a leader, and a life-long learner into a reality.
From the moment I first learned about Springboard Collaborative, its goals and mission resonated with me. Now, two years later, and after having participated in two different roles (teacher and Site Leader), I have developed a variety of new teaching and leadership skills. My end goal in both capacities has been to make the greatest impact possible on the students, and through Springboard, it is evident that teachers and families are provided with a platform to work together to best meet the needs of the scholars.
2. Supporting a shared pedagogy
With my personal pedagogical beliefs and Springboard’s aligning so closely, I knew I was in just the right environment to grow.
Teaching reading and writing has always been a passion of mine, and it drove me to pursue a master’s degree in the Reading Specialist Program at Columbia Teachers College. The pedagogical philosophies I developed throughout my undergraduate and graduate courses and the in-classroom experiences I’ve had align with Springboard philosophies. The data-driven approach to closing the literacy achievement gap is so powerful, and Springboard Summer provides a developmentally appropriate curriculum to close the gap.
3. Perfecting implementation of pedagogy
The five weeks of Springboard Summer are a time when philosophies and theories are placed into action.
Pedagogical philosophies only mean so much when spoken but are taken to the next level when implemented. With Springboard, I was provided with an opportunity to focus on implementing and helping other teachers implement a variety of instructional approaches including phonics, shared reading, read aloud, guided reading, and writing.
4. Having a community of support
Support from colleagues and leaders alike created an environment full of rapport and development.
Collaboration and consistency are key for a successful educational environment. The weekly Professional Learning Communities based on student data, paired with consistent coaching around a focused goal allows teachers and students alike to grow in measurable ways. Throughout the summers, I had the opportunity to work with and learn from families, colleagues, and leaders. It has been amazing to see measurable student growth at the end of the summer, providing the perfect “springboard” into a school year full of learning and growth.
5. Growing as a leader
Working to support a variety of teacher needs allowed me to approach situations with flexibility.
The experiences I had as a teacher in the program led me to apply to be a Site Leader, as I hoped to have a similar impact on others that my Site Leader had on me. I also have hopes of being a school leader in the future and this position allowed me a glimpse into what that could look like. Through observing, leading data-targeted PLCs, and diving into the curriculum, I was able to develop leadership skills while also improving my own teaching practices.
Springboard Collaborative has the capacity to change the educational trajectory for its participating students, and it is inspiring to see the qualitative and quantitative growth that can come from an intensive summer session. If you have a desire to grow as a professional while simultaneously assisting children in their literacy adventures, get involved!
This blog was contributed by Nicole Orzetti as part of our Spotlight blog series. Nicole has been a first grade teacher for three years, and participated with Springboard for two years. Her goal is to develop each child’s foundational and independent reading skills so that they can come to love reading and get lost in books!