We are growing our instructional team and are looking forward to adding new staff members for the immediate 2018-2019 school year as well as for next year, 2019-2020. Please let us know your interest!
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION
The Primary School (TPS) is a new non-profit organization dedicated to dramatically improving health and educational outcomes for children. Fueled by the belief that the current model of school is too limited to close the achievement gap for our nation’s most at risk children, TPS is designing a new model of primary education and primary care which braids together education, health, and family support services starting at birth. We pair high expectations and joy, in a powerful community of supports to care for the whole child. With this innovative new model, we aim to expand the traditional definition of “school” in order to prepare all children to succeed in college, career, and life.
The Primary School approach has three defining characteristics:
- Provide integrated supports: We partner with existing health care organizations to address the needs of the whole child. Educators, parent coaches and healthcare professionals come together as a team to provide integrated academic and health (physical, mental, and socio-emotional) supports to students and families.
- Start early: We admit students at or before birth, and provide parent-driven, early childhood supports alongside medical care during the critical years of child development, ensuring that students are ready for school at age 3. Our infant-toddler program consists of regular parent-child playgroups to support the goals of attachment, language development and resilience.
- Offer two-generation supports: We put families at the center of this work and focus on building parent capacity to support the health and education of their children. Families receive support, including group-based coaching, individual supports, and connection to other social services, to help them better support their children and become healthier themselves.
We opened our first site in East Palo Alto in 2016 and currently serve 250 children (ages 0 to 5) and their families. In 2018-19, the TPS school will serve children Pre-K (3s and 4s) through 1st grade. TPS was seeded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a major national philanthropy.
TPS is committed to designing a model that is replicable in other communities and redefines what is possible for our highest need children and families. We are investing in design, research, evaluation, and dissemination that will allow us to replicate our model and transfer our learnings to others.
ABOUT THE ROLE
TPS Assistant Teachers are aspiring educators looking to develop new skills and build an enriching career in early childhood education. Assistant Teachers provide consistent support and connection to a classroom of students throughout the day and with guidance from a Lead Teacher, create and deliver a joyful learning environment. You will also get the opportunity to build relationships with all students in a grade level, and observe other teaching styles, as you might be asked to support in different classrooms within the grade level throughout the week. Additionally, Assistant Teachers play an active role partnering with families, TPS staff, and health providers in delivering on our system of coordinated care for children. On a daily basis, Assistant Teachers move seamlessly across the many different demands of their day -- from preparing classroom materials, to setting up for nap, to leading morning circle, to lesson planning, to analyzing student performance data, to discussing socio-emotional outcomes with parents and Parent Coaches, to following up with the Medical Director about a student health need. Beyond the scope of daily instruction and integration, TPS Assistant Teachers also play an active role in the continued development and evaluation of The Primary School model.
Our Instructional Approach & Day
We believe that even at the earliest ages, children have diverse needs and that instruction must be personalized to each student. At TPS, this means a heavy reliance on small group and individualized instruction; a diverse day that addresses the many needs of kids; and a team approach that allows teachers to focus and prepare amazing lessons day after day. Our work truly focuses on the whole child, supporting the cognitive, socio-emotional, and health needs of our students.
We don’t adhere to a single philosophy or mode of instruction across our day, but instead draw on the wisdom of a variety of approaches and formats as they fit various development, content, and needs. We use a blend of inquiry, investigation, workshop, small groups and stations, read alouds and direct instruction. Our practice is highly intentional - we ensure a balanced and thoughtful use of all lesson types across the week and unit. We incorporate time, daily, for exploration and application of new learnings in authentic projects.
Our instructional day is divided into three blocks - Humanities, Math & Science, and Exploration. Students stay in the same class and classroom for most of the day, but work with 2-3 teachers.
- Humanities: The largest block of the day, the Humanities block is used for integrated and individualized instruction around literacy, writing, language, social sciences, and critical thinking. Teachers use a balanced literacy approach, building and/or modifying high quality curriculum within our own integrated units while planning individual and small group skills lessons to reach each child.
- Math & Science: The Math & Science block is used to build essential math and science skills and content. Instruction is integrated with the deeper learning and extended projects taking place in the Humanities and/or Exploration Blocks. We use a strong mix of curricular materials and approaches, with an emphasis on building rich conceptual understanding through the and cognitively guided instruction.
- Exploration: The “E-block” is a daily “lab” for students to extend and apply what they are learning in other classes. Lessons feature ample investigation, enrichment, discovery, project-based, and hands-on learning and regularly take place outside.
We believe that essential skills and content should be “integrated and designated.” We dedicate substantial, designated time, daily, to social-emotional learning in our Community Meeting block, as well as throughout breakfast, recess and lunch. We offer daily physical and health education as well as ample opportunities for outdoor play.
The Primary School serves the communities of East Palo Alto and Belle Haven. Over 90% of families in these communities live in poverty and 65% of students are English Language Learners. It is our intention to serve a high-need population of students, focusing on families who have struggled or may struggle in traditional schools and/or health systems. We believe that a great school welcomes all students, including those with special needs, and empowers them to achieve truly incredible things.
Assistant Teachers support Lead Teachers in developing and delivering engaging, comprehensive and integrated units across a student’s day. Assistant Teachers provide students with continuity and support, and leverage multiple modalities of learning to ensure that all children receive the small group and individual attention they need to maximize growth. Assistant Teachers also help to support classroom and school-wide systems (e.g., student pick-up, meal preparation) that allow TPS to provide students and families with a seamless and enriching day-long experience.
Specifically, Assistant Teachers are responsible for:
- Annual, weekly, and daily instructional planning as directed by Lead Teacher
- Instructional delivery in large group, small group, and individualized formats
- Support regular assessment and analysis of quantitative and qualitative student data with the goal of tailoring responsive instruction and support
- Collaboration with Lead and other Assistant Teachers to practice skills and jointly problem solve
- Regular communication with and outreach to families, including daily documentation and notes
- Proactive collaboration and frequent engagement with TPS Parent Coaches and staff, and external health practitioners and partners
- Active participation in the ongoing design and implementation of the TPS model through research, curriculum development, engagement with school and organizational leadership, and focused professional development
- You have experience working with children in a school or similarly structured environment and hold a high school degree or GED-equivalent. Whether it’s from your time in a classroom, after-school group, summer camp, child care program or tutoring session, you know that a great environment for children doesn’t just “happen” - it’s built with great care, preparation, practice and love. With or without “teacher” in your job title, you have always been the “teacher” - at home, at your job, with your family, in your community - and caring for and engaging children has been a consistent theme and/or area of interest in your life.
- You love spending time with kids and kids love spending time with you. Your family and friends know you as the kid-magnet and you are famous for your impromptu cooking classes, dance parties, fort-building and reading circles. When kids are with you, they feel heard, connected and invested, because even in a group, you make every child feel like they are at the center.
- You have a parent- and family-centered mindset. You are a parent or empathize deeply with parents, and recognize that long before a child steps foot into a classroom, he or she has been learning at home with their parents. Throughout your life and/or career, parents look to you for guidance, camaraderie and support. You believe that parents are essential partners in the work of schools and know that strong parent relationships will improve your own practice.
- You recognize the multidimensional needs of children and families, because you’ve seen the intersection of education, health, and family support services in your own life. You may not be a teacher, doctor or social worker, but you’ve helped your brother get access to additional tutoring and explained to a teacher why your niece’s asthma plan is different. You personally know that it’s worth the extra effort to connect the academic-health-family dots, but also wonder why it has to be so hard. You read The Primary School’s “About the Organization” section and thought “Yes! This is what I’ve been thinking!”
- You learn new systems quickly and feel comfortable with technology. You may not be fluent in Google Docs, Excel and Asana, but you are driven by curiosity and are not frustrated by a learning curve (in fact, you just took a break to look up “Asana”). You know that technology has the potential to empower the work of educators and you are motivated to build out your analytical skill set. When doing something for the first time, you take notes, ask questions, and constantly tweak your actions to do it better, faster and with greater fidelity.
- You get that starting a new school and organization is no easy task and are not scared - in fact, you’re energized - by the idea of putting in the long hours and deep commitment needed to bring The Primary School to life. You know that the Assistant Teacher role will present a vast set of learning experiences and you relish the opportunity to grow as a professional both inside and outside of the classroom. You are self-motivated, always on time, and meticulously plan your schedule, because there’s a lot to get done and time is a valuable resource. When you see a need, you fill it, navigate change with ease, and are not above breaking down cardboard boxes and hauling them to the dumpster.
- You are unafraid of diversity and engage confidently across differences. You believe that differences - in race, culture, gender, age, background, experiences - enrich our community and know how to bridge those differences with grace and humility.
- You are kind, humble, and collaborative. You bring a positive attitude to every interaction and always see the best in others. You have the courage to step out of your comfort zone, and when you fall, you get right back up, remember what tripped you up and unabashedly try it all over again. You have an open mind and a thirst to learn and improve, and you can’t help but wonder what it would be like to work in an environment where every door is open and feedback is second nature. Even during challenging times, you see the “small victories” and maintain constant confidence in the team’s ability to achieve with every child.
A Plus If
- You are an East Palo Alto or Belle Haven native and/or have experience working with a community similar to East Palo Alto and Belle Haven.
- You have an understanding of early childhood education and child development.
- You speak fluent Spanish.
HOW TO APPLY
TPS values diversity; people of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Please complete the following application and submit your most recent resume. The short-answer questions along with the cover letter are optional - please feel free to include if you'd like to add more context to your application. Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis so we encourage you to submit yours soon. We look forward to reading your application!