Growing, Learning and Continual Improvement
By Nicole Assisi, parent, CEO and co-founder of Thrive Public Schools
When we built Thrive, it was based on the core belief that the world our students live in is changing, and therefore schools must change too. To meet this challenge and ensure that all our students are college ready, career inspired and community minded, we weave reflection and growth into our work at every level.
At Thrive, we embrace the words of Maya Angelou that when you “know better” you must “do better.” This holds true for students, teachers and our organization.
Here is what growth looks like throughout Thrive Public School as we strive to provide the best education for every child in our care:
1. Student Growth
At the core of everything we do is a focus on helping students learn and grow. Through continuous conferencing, small group instruction, and review of data, our teachers keep a close eye on student needs. It is not unusual to see a teacher sitting down with a student during lunch or after school, discussing her growth and her next steps. Three times a year, students take the NWEA - Measure of Academic Progress. Teachers review this data with their students and they work together to set growth goals and targets. Teachers then develop individual plans for students to make progress toward their goals through small group instruction, team work, and technology tools. By staying focused on what kids need, Thrive sees a consistent increase in student growth and achievement from year to year. Our growth scores for students are in the top 25% nationally, no matter where students started when they arrived at Thrive. Students with us for three or more years show even stronger growth trajectories.
2. Teacher Growth
To support our students’ growth, we prioritize our teachers’ growth as well. Teachers at Thrive engage in professional development for 20 days each year, as well as participate in weekly school meetings and observation cycles with peers and supervisors. By carving out this time for teacher learning over school breaks and long weekends, we ensure that teachers can be present every day in the classroom, and that students see teachers modeling learning, reflecting, and improving throughout the year.
3. Organization Growth
It matters to us that we learn and grow as an organization, too. At least two times a year, we distribute and closely analyze a survey where students and parents get a direct opportunity to provide input into how we can make Thrive better. We also use outside evaluations and support from organizations like The New Teacher Project and Bellwether Consulting to provide an outsider’s perspective and illuminate blind spots in our work. All of this feedback helps us to continually strive to serve our students better. As a charter public school, we have the flexibility to make the changes we need quickly, selecting the just-right curriculum, incredible experiences, and amazing staff that will best meet the ever-changing needs of our students.
Our families and children are an essential part of our journey to “know better” and “do better.” Thank you for your commitment to Thrive Public School and our efforts to learn and grow. When we work together, it’s incredible what we can accomplish.