Be Part of a School You Can Love
Imagine looking forward to your job every day because you know you are doing something world-changing, because you love your work and the people you work with, and because your job, as great as it is, also leaves you time to enjoy life outside of it. You would want to build a career at a place like that — and that’s how we want our staff to feel about BelovED.
We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable mutuality. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The ‘I’ cannot attain fulfillment without the ‘Thou.’ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our ultimate end must be the creation of the Beloved Community. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
To review and apply for career opportunities at BelovED Community Charter School, or at our partner Empowerment Academy, CLICK HERE
BelovED’s Three Pillars
BelovED’s school model wraps powerful values and character education protocols, rooted in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s concept of the “Beloved Community,” around the most sustainable and scalable best-practices of America’s top-performing charter school operators and a proven education program that is exceptionally effective without over-stressing school leaders and teachers.
In the Proven Success section of this website, we highlight the OUTSTANDING SCHOLAR LEARNING and the SCHOLAR & PARENT HAPPINESS that our school model produces. We hasten to add here that it also produces JOB-ENJOYING TEACHERS, as underscored by our year-to-year teacher retention rate, which has averaged 95%.
A “High Expectations” Culture Made Sustainable
Critical to the success of America’s top-performing charter schools has been their development of a “High Expectations/No Excuses” school culture – a culture centered upon the expectation and a commitment by school leaders and teachers that every student will succeed. BelovED combines a “High Expectations” culture with teacher supports that keeps educators from getting burned out and makes the model more scalable. Examples of our teacher supports include:
- The professional development assistance we provide teachers and the professional learning communities in which they participate;
- The field-tested curriculum, lesson plans, curricular materials, and formative assessment resources we provide teachers (instead of expecting them, after a full day in the classroom, to spend additional long hours at home developing all of their lesson plans, curricular resources, and assessments from scratch);
- The reading and math specialists we employ to help students struggling to master an essential skill, and the social workers we employ to help students struggling with outside problems (instead of expecting teachers, all on their own, to be able to help every individual child overcome every individual hurdle);
- The Academic Tutors we use to staff our afterschool program, so we can limit the length of our instructional staff’s work-day and keep teachers charged throughout an entire career at BelovED (instead of draining teachers in a way that causes them to lose enthusiasm for the job);
- Planning periods that we provide so teachers can prepare for up-coming lessons during the regular school day.
An Education Program That Is Effective Without Over-Stressing Educators
New Jersey makes public schools accountable for teaching specific core curriculum content standards (i.e., skills and knowledge that every high school graduate needs to master in order to be college or career ready). But exactly when during a school year should each academic standard be taught? How should it be taught? What assessments best measure whether a standard has been mastered? What do you do when a student has not mastered a standard, such as a reading skill, that is needed for the student to make further academic progress? How can teachers help individual students without ignoring the needs of all of their other students – all in a sustainable work day, that doesn’t burn teachers out? At some truly excellent schools, teachers are left to answer these questions, and prepare most of the resources and materials they will need in class, all on their own. This can be thrilling, but it also puts huge burdens on teachers that can lead to early burn-out. At BelovED, reflecting our team approach to schooling and our desire to keep our teachers charged-up over an entire career, we answer these questions as a school and provide educators with supports, systems, and resources that empower them to be effective, without becoming over-stressed.
A Caring Climate Rooted in Martin Luther King’s Concept of “Beloved Community”
When children feel themselves welcomed and cared about at school, it not only makes children enjoy school more, it also increases learning – because children open themselves more completely to instruction when they trust that their teachers have their best interests at heart. When children are also given opportunities to serve others, they further learn that caring about and serving others can provide one a rich sense of meaning and purpose. For these reasons, at Beloved Community Charter School, our school leaders and teachers strive to make children feel welcomed and cared about, and to engage our students in service to one another. Our protocols lead students from being the objects of our educational mission to becoming partners in it , as they learn for themselves that caring about and serving others leads to happiness, and as they increasingly desire to fully develop their minds and potential to positively contribute to every community of which they are a part. You can read more about our vision for education – inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s concept of Beloved Community – by clicking here. After you do that, ask yourself, can any work be more meaningful than striving to develop the whole child? Can any workplace be more satisfying than one where people truly work as a team to achieve that worthy mission?
Professional Development at BelovED
Top professional athletes constantly seek to refine their skills – and top educators do too. At BelovED, we support the on-going professional development of our faculty through training, through coaching, and through our teachers’ collegial sharing within professional learning communities. Prior to the start of school each September, our leadership team and all faculty members participate in a two-week summer institute. Training progresses from an overview of our school philosophy and design to in‐depth workshops on building our target culture and climate and succeeding with our values, study habits, and character development programs. During this process, our faculty also learns how to excel with our Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics programs and how to implement other key elements of our school design. To cite two examples, our educators learn about “Champion Teacher” classroom management and teaching skills, such as those encouraged by instructional expert Doug LeMov(1), and how to work with our computer-based, academic monitoring system and use student learning data to measure the success of school design elements, so we can continually refine these elements for the benefit of the entire school community. Building on this late August training, we schedule a number of additional training days during the course of the school year. These training days increase staff unity while helping staff members learn new strategies for addressing behavior and instructional challenges. We then further augment this formal training with less formal coaching. BelovED Community Charter School is divided into academies that consist of three grade levels, each with its own Dean of Instruction and Dean of Students. These Deans are available to model successful instruction and classroom management techniques for teachers and to provide teachers with personal coaching and support. In addition, on a weekly basis, grade-level teachers meet as a professional learning community to share ideas, collaboratively improve their practice, and identify potential improvements in school and education program design.
Collegiality and Communication
Collegiality and two-way communication are central elements of our school design and reflect our team-approach to school operations. Grade-level teachers meet as a professional learning community. There are also weekly meetings of grade-level Head Teachers and their Dean of Instruction and Dean of Students to review student learning progress and behavior and to explore solutions to individual student or school-wide challenges. In addition, every teacher has frequent, individual meetings with their Dean of Instruction. As a cap to all of this, at the end of every school year, three days are scheduled for staff to assess what went well during the preceding year and to identify and discuss where improvements might be made. The first day is devoted primarily to reviewing student learning data and student, parent, and staff surveys, to brainstorming, and to free and facilitated discussion (both in grade‐level groups and faculty‐wide). The next two days are action‐oriented, with staff collegially developing plans to solve problems and/or broaden the implementation of successful innovations. We believe that good decisions get made when decisions are informed by the insights of every community member, and that communities thrive when their members respect the decision-making process, knowing that everyone’s voice was heard.
Compensation & Our Career Ladder
Starting salaries at BelovED will be based on a new teacher’s experience, and will be comparable to those in the Jersey City School District. But unlike the District, salary increases will not be a function of longevity. Instead, salaries will rise with the achievement of high performance (as partially evidenced by student learning) and with increases in an educator’s responsibilities. Over a working career, compensation at BelovED will likely be higher than at most schools – which is made affordable by BelovED’s education model, which works optimally with larger-than-average class sizes. Meanwhile, our career ladder will offer educators many opportunities for increased leadership, as well as compensation. The ladder will detail the responsibilities and performance standards at each rung, from novice, to grade-level Head Teacher, to school leader, and will provide clear pathways for professional growth. We plan to develop a network of schools. If our plans are successful, new leadership opportunities will be constantly opening up for those who are qualified.