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A Visit With Our New Program Director

A Visit with Our New Program Director

Oasis Trilingual Community School is pleased to announce that Rachel Chadwick has joined its staff.  As the Program Director, Rachel will work on professional development, curriculum alignment, and the development of students’ Individual Learning Plans.

Prior to coming to Oasis, Rachel spent six years at Aveson School of Leaders, a Pasadena-area charter school, where she taught middle school history, English and science, K-2 literacy, and served on the Aveson Cooperative Leadership Board.  

What first attracted you to Oasis?

From my time at a start-up at Aveson, I knew that I loved the autonomy of a start-up school– the freedom to come up with curriculum that you enjoy as a teacher, and that students enjoy.  I also loved the trilingual approach.  I speak Spanish and have traveled a lot, and want those experiences for my own children.  I respect the ambition of this model.  It’s very exciting!

Can you describe your current work at Oasis?

After serving as a consultant to Oasis earlier this year, I recently started working on campus more regularly.  Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of literacy coaching– individually assessing students to personalize where they are in Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop and Words Their Way, two of the main English language arts curricula that we use.

I’ve also been working a lot with the teachers, brainstorming strategies to help students feel warm and welcome in the classroom but to also have boundaries.  The teachers here have a very open spirit.  They want to learn!  They’re eager to try out different models, to observe and explore new approaches.  It’s a lot of collaboration and professional development in a very constructive environment, which I love.

What will you be focusing on next?

Refining the way we assess the students and individualize their instruction.  We want to do a few assessments, not too many, that give really valuable information about where each student is in his/her learning.  There should always be a plan for addressing each student’s individual levels.  For example, if a third grader has exceeded third grade benchmarks in a particular area, and is now using fourth grade benchmarks, everyone should understand how we tailor the curriculum to meet that need.  Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop is really built for differentiating, so it’s great for students progressing at their own pace.

What makes a huge difference here is the way teachers really know the students.  The class sizes are so small, each kid is deeply known.

Looking ahead, what excites you about being part of Oasis?

I’m excited about the role it can play in the community.  An affordable school with project-based learning, social-emotional learning, and a language focus that starts at a young age– there’s a lot of power in that.  Applying Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop to Spanish and Mandarin is also very pioneering.

Finally, looking back to where they started, the kids have grown so much over the year in their language skills.  It’s amazing to see that happening, and I can’t wait to see where they go next.

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