Dear Escalante Middle School Community,
Over the past three months, Escalante has hosted numerous teachers and administrators from schools across the Western Slope who have come to learn from our teachers’ implementation of the EL Education Model. Our most recent visit occurred last Friday when English/Language Arts teachers from Carbondale, CO observed our ELA teachers. When I debriefed with our guests at the end of their visit, they said they are leaving Durango with several strategies on how to improve their practice and school culture based on their visit. They cited the following as clear strengths in our classrooms they hope to emulate:
- EMS students are consistently engaged with reading complex texts or writing about topics that are relevant to them.
- Teachers frequently check for understanding, and make on-the-fly adjustments to instruction based on student needs.
- Teachers routinely reference our Habits of Work, Learning, and Scholarship to reinforce positive character skills.
- EMS students are extremely respectful and demonstrated on-task behaviors due to positive relationships with teachers and the systems and structures they implement to support positive student behaviors.
Perhaps my favorite part of working with Escalante teachers is that they are always striving to get better. Our teachers have named nine specific targets this year to improve teaching and learning at EMS, and these improvement goals are extremely lofty. As we grapple with our own exceptionally high expectations for ourselves, it is very rewarding to have educators from outside our system validate our teacher’s efforts and treat them like the educational leaders that they truly are. As we move toward break, I am thrilled with the progress at EMS, and applaud our teachers for creating a learning environment that professionals from across the state are lifting up as an exemplar of a high quality school. Thank you for all of your continued support.