Chairperson of Mathematics Instruction (2016-2017)

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Chairperson of Mathematics for the 2016-2017 School Year

Unity’s Chairperson of Mathematics Instruction (CMI) plays a leading role in the design and success of the school’s mathematics curriculum, assessment and instruction. This individual directs how curricula are taught and evaluates the degree to which students are learning. The CMI collaborates with faculty to shape the course offerings at the middle school and high school levels as Unity expands to a full-sized high school within the next four years.  This, in turn, involves ensuring that Unity’s course offerings in mathematics are:

  • rigorous, college-preparatory, and aligned with Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS)
  • vertically aligned from one grade to the next as well as horizontally aligned with Unity’s rich course offerings across each grade level.

In addition, Unity’s CMI coaches teachers in the planning of curricula, the execution of their lessons through bi-weekly observations, and the assessment and analysis of student learning as demonstrated by their performance on benchmark assessments such as the state mathematics tests, Regents exams, STAR assessments, and end-of-year Roundtable portfolio presentations. The CMI models and supports best practices in these areas by teaching a partial load and facilitating regular professional development in the best practices of the teaching of mathematics.

Overview

Unity Preparatory Charter School of Brooklyn (Unity) is an independent charter school that proudly serves the community of central Brooklyn in New York City. We are currently in our third year and serve 320 sixth, seventh and eighth graders and their families. Over the next four years, we will continue to grow one grade level per year until we reach full size in 2019 with approximately 700 students in grades 6-12. We look forward to the graduation of our founding class in the spring of 2020.

About Unity

Every day, the school community at Unity works as a team to empower our students. Though the scope of each staff member’s daily tasks and responsibilities is broad, we aim to align all elements of our work with the school’s mission: to empower students as scholars and citizens so that they may lead fulfilling academic, personal, and professional lives. This mission is the heart of our school, informing our choices and uniting our community under one shared purpose.

As a young and growing school, Unity strives to continuously strengthen its rigorous academic program in the liberal arts & sciences. Unity teachers are creators and collaborators, developing curriculum that is designed with our specific students in mind. Our students are at the center of all that we do at Unity, and our structures and systems reflect that. We prioritize differentiated academic support, offer extended learning time, and expose students to an ever-expanding array of enrichment clubs and learning opportunities outside the classroom.  Additionally, we are building a supportive school culture that emphasizes empathy and fosters students’ socio-emotional development.

As a school and learning community, we believe that:

  1. Students Rise to the Level of Expectations Placed Upon Them: To ensure student success, Unity staff members provide support commensurate with the high expectations placed upon students, both in the form of academic support and support in character development.
  2. Diversity Matters: We firmly believe that educational equity is best achieved, and academic learning is most profound, in diverse school settings. Our community draws strength from the rich experiences of each student.
  3. Applications Expand the School Environment: To supplement students’ academic learning, we provide students opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to real world experiences. This requires going beyond the school’s walls so that students may meaningfully interact with and positively contribute to the local community. The typical school day cannot provide such a program – we thus offer an extended school day and school year.
  4. A Positive School Culture is Powerful: Our core values, the code of conduct, the enrichment programs, and the attitudes and behavior of the staff breed a culture in which students experience a sense of unity with classmates, understand the power of being highly educated, and take responsibility for their own learning. We complement academic education with training on managing emotions and developing character strengths including our Core Values of Awareness, Initiative, Courage, Inquiry, Kindness and Integrity.
  5. Strong Teaching is a Central Lever in Promoting Student Learning: Recruiting, developing, and retaining exceptional teachers is an absolute priority for us. We reward teachers generously for their contributions to student learning. Likewise, we provide ample, on-going opportunities for teachers to develop their skills, establish and meet goals, and be challenged to reach their full potential as educators.
  6. Assessment Beyond Standardized Exams: We believe that using standardized test results as the sole measure of a student’s academic progress leads to an incomplete understanding of the student’s overall ability and potential to excel. An annual year-end presentation of a portfolio of work spanning the entire year is a more comprehensive and informative representation of a student’s learning.  These Roundtable presentations also reveal a student’s interpersonal skills and development as a citizen. When examining standardized test data, it is imperative that a student’s growth is celebrated as prominently as the student’s actual proficiency level.
  7. Sharing Success is Essential: We subscribe to the notion that any school developing innovative practices that successfully promote student learning has a responsibility to share them with other schools.

As a school in only our third year of operation, we have enjoyed a number of promising successes.  Recent academic achievements for the 2014-15 school year include:

  • Unity ranked #8 among the city’s 1,200 elementary and middle schools in promoting academic growth in mathematics proficiency.
  • Unity students ranked in the 59th and 75th percentiles in academic growth in ELA and mathematics, respectively – meaning that our students grew, on average, more than the typical student with similar backgrounds and skills at the outset of the school year.
  • Unity’s most academically needy one-third of students ranked in the 82nd and 78th percentiles in academic growth in ELA and mathematics, respectively.
  • The percentages of Unity students scoring “proficient” or above in ELA and mathematics grew by 51% and 88%, respectively.

In addition to demonstrating accelerated growth across multiple assessment measures, our students showed progress in a myriad of other ways:

  • 98% of students successfully participated in their end-of year Roundtable presentation – a 45-minute oral presentation given to families, Unity faculty, and community members and supporters.
  • 100% of our students participated in an afternoon extra-curricular activity in each of our trimesters in 2014-2015.
  • Close to 50% of our student body participated in a team sport in 2014-15 – for many, this was a first-time experience.

Based on a citywide survey completed by students’ families, Unity’s satisfaction rates were higher than the citywide average in all categories. Results of special note include:

  • 100% reported that Unity has high expectations for their child.
  • 99% reported they are satisfied with the education at Unity.
  • 98% reported that Unity is keeping their child on track for college, career, and success in life.
  • 99% reported that their child receives a wide variety of courses, extracurricular activities, and services, which help keep their child interested in school.

Finally, as a start-up school in which the workload of staff is particularly demanding and schools are thus susceptible to high levels of teacher turnover, we have been very successful in retaining our talented teachers. In our first two years of operation, we enjoyed an average teacher retention rate of approximately 90% (vs. 65% retention across NYC charter schools).

Responsibilities

Our faculty plays an essential role in establishing Unity as a model educational institution. Most critically, faculty members equip students with the knowledge and skills needed – including the desire and capacity to learn independently, think critically, and communicate proficiently – in order to experience secondary and postsecondary success. Key responsibilities of Unity’s CMI include but are not limited to the following:

I. Leadership/Administration

  • Works with school leadership to establish clear and measurable goals and benchmarks for student learning
  • Serves on the school’s instructional coaching team to foster coherence and build capacity among teachers of all disciplines
  • Fosters collaboration, trust, and clear communication among members of the mathematics department
  • Works with school leadership in conducting the annual performance review of teachers
  • Leads in recruiting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding talented mathematics teachers

II. Curriculum Development and Planning

  • Collaborates with other instructional coaches and faculty to develop horizontally and vertically aligned secondary-level mathematics curricula that reflect the Understanding by Design framework
  • Provides clear and actionable feedback to teachers on unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments
  • Oversees the maintenance and archiving of curricula and resources
  • Identifies and incorporates high-leverage curricular resources

III. Instructional Coaching

  • Provides instructional coaching, including facilitating lesson pre-conferences and debriefs, to develop coherent, consistent, and high-level practices in the teaching of mathematics
  • Conducts video-based lesson analyses and lesson studies within the mathematics department that enhance teachers’ instructional practices
  • Oversees peer observations and feedback loops among teachers that foster collaboration and peer-to-peer learning

IV. Assessments and Analysis

  • Oversees the development and administration of diagnostic, interim, formative and summative assessments to ensure high-quality and purposeful assessment practices
  • Collects, analyzes, and acts on student learning data in collaboration with other instructional coaches and faculty to identify opportunities for acceleration and remediation
  • Ensures that the grading practices are consistent, rigorous, and representative of students’ demonstrated capacities across departments
  • Leads in devising targeted, impactful academic interventions based on interim assessments and supports teachers in administering such interventions
  • Manages the preparation for and administration of the state mathematics exams, including Regents exams

V. Professional Development

  • Serves on the school’s Instructional Development Team to plan and develop high-impact, school-wide professional development
  • Develops and facilitates content-level professional development to ensure full implementation of instructional initiatives across all classrooms
  • Participates in workshops and conferences that directly enhance the level of mathematics  instruction within the school

VI. Supplies and Materials

  • Ensures that every classroom has all the instructional materials needed, including manipulatives, textbooks and reference materials
  • Assists with the beginning-of-year and end-of-year inventory and ordering process for all mathematics materials

As professionals, all Unity teachers participate in the school’s innovative teacher career ladder, which provides a formal and transparent pathway for teachers to:

  1. develop their craft and improve as educators through multiple forms of support and training
  2. assume titles with commensurate responsibilities while remaining classroom practitioners
  3. be generously compensated and formally recognized for their positive contributions to the school. For more information on our unique professional ladder and a teaching career at Unity, visit: http://www.unityprep.org/careers/why-teach-at-unity/

Qualifications

The ideal candidate for this position is equipped with:

  • At least four years of formal teaching experience in the mathematics in which a proven track record of promoting student learning in the classroom can be demonstrated
  • A demonstrated capacity to plan rigorous and engaging mathematics curricula that align to Common Core standards using the Understanding by Design framework
  • A keen interest in and knowledge of mathematics  content and learning theory, current educational trends, blended learning practices, methods, research, and technology, and program planning and implementation
  • Strong data analytical skills to inform planning, instructional, and assessment decisions
  • Experience in supporting adult learning as a mentor, instructional coach, or professional developer of mathematics teachers
  • A propensity to prioritize, strategically plan, and multi-task
  • A demonstrated openness and responsiveness to both receive and provide constructive feedback and a strong commitment to continuous improvement and professional growth
  • Strong written and oral communication skills and aptitude for working collaboratively in team settings and following through on commitments
  • A Master’s Degree and teacher certification
  • Approaches the profession with maturity, humility, versatility (i.e., embraces the ambiguity and excitement associated with start-ups), and possesses a solutions-mindedness with a strong work ethic, and, of course, a sense of humor

As an equal opportunity employer, Unity Preparatory Charter School of Brooklyn hires without consideration to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability.