Teacher Leader Model
Health Sciences subscribes to the Master and Professional Educator model. This serves as a framework for compensating the most highly qualified educators in leadership roles deemed essential towards meeting the Health Sciences vision to be the premier charter school in New York State and beyond.
The Teacher Leader model accomplishes two essential objectives. First, the Teacher Leaders lead the organization in setting a defensible set of directions surrounding the program they are leading. Second, the Teacher Leaders influence others to move in those directions. Simultaneously, while carrying out these objectives, our Teacher Leaders are to uphold the mission of Health Sciences Charter School and actively work towards its vision.
"Health Sciences is unique because it offers opportunities to the students and the staff that are not typical. I have grown tremendously as a professional since beginning my career here in 2010. My role as a classroom teacher has evolved and I am now a Teacher Leader who works as the Mentor Coordinator." - Danielle Kruse, English Teacher
Professional Learning Community Philosophy
A Professional Learning Community (PLC) is an extended opportunity to foster collaborative learning among colleagues. Here at Health Sciences, we utilize a PLC model to crate collaboration and communication among staff of similar subject areas and grade levels.
"The PLC model allows for the collaboration among colleagues, instead of being alone on an island. It allows for vertical alignment within curriculum giving us the opportunity to meet our ultimate goal of making students college and career ready." -Molly Gurman, English Teacher
Autonomy in the Classroom
At Health Sciences, we trust our educators as professionals in the classroom knowing that our PLCs have the most intimate knowledge of their craft and of their students to make informed decisions that ultimately impact academic achievement. As such, the school’s leadership and Board of Trustees subscribes to the philosophy of inspiring as opposed to mandating best practice. We believe your classroom is just that -- yours.
"No matter what you need, someone will be there to help you. After working in other schools in Buffalo, I can say I have not found a more supportive environment, physically and emotionally. Whether you are having a bad day and need a hand or you are celebrating a success and need someone to join you, someone will always be there." - Sarah Banas, Spanish Teacher
AmeriCorps Builds Lives Through Education (ABLE)
AmeriCorps Builds Lives through Education (ABLE) members serve K-12 students in the city of Buffalo, NY by tutoring and providing academic assistance. ABLE members commit to one year of full-time service as AmeriCorps members at a partner site. Many ABLE members come to the program as certified teachers, but it is not a requirement for service. In addition to serving at a host site, ABLE members participate in continuous professional development including monthly training, site visits with ABLE staff, reading and discussion series, and other opportunities provided through ABLE.
Health Sciences has enjoyed a successful partnership with the ABLE program for the past three years. ABLE members play an integral role in the Health Sciences' family and provide classroom teachers with invaluable assistance with classroom activities, special projects, and academic intervention services. Equally as important, ABLE members provide our students with an understanding of the importance of service to one's community.
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Buffalo State Professional Development School (PDS)
The State University of New York, Buffalo State (SUNY Buffalo State) has entered into a formal Professional Development School (PDS) partnership with the faculty and staff members of Health Sciences Charter School (HSCS) for the purposes of collaborating on educational projects that mutually benefit the different populations each institution serves.
According to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the accreditation organization that monitors SUNY Buffalo State’s teacher preparation program, “PDSs are innovative institutions formed through partnerships between professional education programs and P–12 schools. PDS partnerships have a four-fold mission: 1) the preparation of new teachers, 2) faculty development, 3) inquiry directed at the improvement of practice, and 4) enhanced student achievement.” Professional Development School partnerships are designed to improve both the quality of teaching and student learning.
Teach for America
Teach For America began in 1989 as Wendy Kopp’s senior thesis at Princeton University. At the time, academic outcomes for low-income kids had not changed in a century, school districts were facing a national teacher shortage, and the U.S. was navigating the first wave of a competitive global economy that required a workforce with evolving skills and knowledge. Public schools, decades after desegregation, remained a realm of inequity, unable to make up for the long-term effects of poverty, racism, and other deeply rooted injustices. Many people were unaware of this inequity or held little hope that it could ever be fixed. Wendy Kopp had a big idea: If our country was going to address this problem, more leaders had to make it their life’s work, and they would need to be grounded in the issues at the classroom level. Her plan—to recruit high-performing college grads to teach in high-need urban and rural schools—was truly innovative. In December 1989, Wendy gathered 100 part-time student recruiters from 100 universities to begin Teach For America’s first recruiting season.
Teach for America has been active in Buffalo since 2014. The challenges they were working to address are still very real. They continue to believe that more exceptional teachers, more high-quality schools, more external support, and more system-wide changes are needed to address these challenges. To learn more about Teach for America, please click here.