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Virginia Hammond Charts Excellence at Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy
posted by: Cindy Omlin | May 03, 2016, 08:10 PM   
What do you like about teaching in a charter school?

virginia hammondCharter schools are a school of choice, as such, parents choose to send their children to a charter school. This translates into more parental involvement and support.  Our parents at the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy are amazing.  I believe creative and innovative teaching occurs most often in an environment where teachers feel supported.  Feeling that I have the support of my administration and our parents is one of the things I like best about teaching in a charter school.

What sets your school apart?

The Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy is a college prep charter school.  We are set apart by how well our students perform on state standardized tests and national tests, such as the SAT.   Our students, for the most part, come from supportive homes, that allow students to be pushed further academically.

What motivates you as an educator?

I love the “light bulb” moment.  It is that moment when a student finally grasps a concept that they’ve been struggling with.  I also love the challenge and the exercise in creativity when I’m planning and executing a lesson.

What are the misconceptions you face as a charter school educator?

One of the main misconceptions that we deal with is the idea that our students are only the best and the brightest.  We’ve been told on numerous occasions that we “weed out” the “weaker” kids. In reality, both strong and weak students leave, for a variety of reasons.  Those who remain until graduation, develop an incredible work ethic.   Students will generally rise to the level of expectation.  As a college prep school, we’ve raised the level of expectation, and our students have responded.   We’ve done longitudinal studies where we’ve found repeatedly, that a student in sixth grade may come in on par with his peers in other schools, but by the time this same student graduates they are significantly ahead of their peers.

How is your school different from other schools you’ve taught in?

I spent seven years teaching in a regular public school, before being hired at the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy.  The biggest difference I see is the parental support and involvement which results in significantly fewer discipline problems.  This allows teachers to focus on teaching and not on disruptions.

What would you like to tell teachers in other environments about teaching in a charter school?

If you ever have a chance to teach at a charter school, jump at it.

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