Who are we?
Discovery is a small, non-traditional public charter school serving 100 children from fourth to eighth grade in Newark, New Jersey. Our school was founded in 1999 by two veteran public school teachers, guided by the principle of building on students’ natural curiosity to help them develop life-long learning skills and work habits. We train our students to be critical, creative, and reflective thinkers, effective writers, in order to become active citizens. Discovery has a solid track record of proficiency on state tests, and many of our graduates have obtained scholarships to go on to the best high schools in the area.
Our learning environment is an open schoolhouse setting and includes frequent mixed-grade instruction and cross-curricular learning activities. Our pedagogical emphasis is on experiential, problem-based learning. Within our lessons, we create active learning situations that encourage our students to explore and tinker, to think, to make sense of what they observe, and to support their positions with evidence.
At Discovery, children are active members of our school community. They express their ideas, tutor younger children, and share communal responsibilities. Every adult in the school knows every child, and we place a high value on building close, constructive relationships with the families of all of our students. Parents/guardians are welcome in the school at any time to observe and discuss the progress of their children.
Because we are a very small school, teachers undertake varied responsibilities outside of planning and instruction, and are involved in multiple aspects of sustaining and improving our learning community.
Who are we looking for?
- You have teaching experience, preferably in an urban upper elementary, or middle school;
- You have a strong background and interest in English language arts and a solid familiarity with reading and writing teaching strategies.
- You are able to create lesson plans and instructional material with clear learning goals that engage students in learning activities that foster their intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills;
- Your lesson content should reflect a familiarity with current cultural events and trends; background knowledge in major social justice movements of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries is an asset;
- You have strong communication skills and the willingness to work as a collaborator with other faculty members;
- You are certified (or in the process of being certified) in NJ with either Standard Certification or Middle School with Subject Matter Specialization Certification in ELA.
What does working at Discovery look like?
- In collaboration with the other ELA faculty, you create and plan a curriculum that integrates both language arts in trimester-long, interdisciplinary thematic units. By both drawing from existing material and creating new activities you ensure that students from grades 4th through 8th become critical readers and sharp writers, gain a solid history background, and engage with important issues of their world.
- Your lesson plans must reflect our teaching priorities: exploration, craftsmanship, and equity.
- You share the school-wide responsibility for ensuring that all our students become engaged readers.
- You show high expectations for all children, constantly searching for ways to facilitate activities that are both accessible and challenging to all our students. You incorporate a variety of teaching strategies, including hands-on and cooperative learning activities, fieldwork, flexible grouping, and differentiated instruction for children of different levels and abilities; You use meaningful forms of assessments to adjust the curriculum and your instructions strategies.
- You hold your students accountable. You review the work of your homeroom students every morning, engage them in conversation about their progress, provide individual support when needed, and communicate with their families.
- You participate in building a positive, constructive, and productive culture in the entire school. From building a sense of community during homeroom to monitoring students’ movement during transitions, from preventing negative student interactions before they happen, to initiating a family evening; you reflect with the entire faculty and contribute to the overall well-being of our learning community.
- During our weekly staff sessions, team meetings, or ad-hoc conversations, you reflect on your teaching practice, and welcome the input of leadership and colleagues to continue improving your craft.
- You continue your professional development to improve your mastery of ELA, and related pedagogy.
- You maintain constructive communication with families through our school website, online grading program, emails/text, by telephone, and in-person meetings in order to build school-family partnerships that support student learning. You treat families as our school's natural partners for supporting children's education.
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