Roosevelt’s ILT includes members from the following departments: English, Math, Science, Language, Culture and Restorative Justice, College and Attendance, and School Deans, Assistant Principals, and Principal. Pictured are a majority of the ILT members. Top row from L to R: Angelica Flores, Ricardo Chavez, Eftihia Danellis, Dina Mayeda, Romina Ramos, Brendan Schallert, Johanna Garcia, John Lynch, Gene Dean, Ruben Negrete, Karina Rivera, Arturo Ibarra, and Ross Botuyan. Bottom row, L to R: Javier Cid, Raul Mata, Ben Gertner, Jorge Lopez, Michelle Ferrer, and Michael Mares.

SNAPSHOTS recently sat down with Roosevelt Principal Ben Gertner and his Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) to discuss how they work together and what motivates them. The Roosevelt ILT has 27 members, which are part of three different Linked Learning pathways: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM); Medical and Health Science (MAHS); and Law and Public Service (LPS). Below, are a few excerpts from our conversation.

How do you approach your work as a team?

  • Brendan Shallert – Instructional Coach, Literacy
    • One way we operate as a team is by working in our pathway groups. For example, through an advisory group, we have a unit launch for 10th grade students and their teachers where they will learn about an interdisciplinary project that will guide them through the semester. Subjects include: Biology, World History, English, Art, and Math. They will learn about broader concepts of transformation and how it applies to their disciplines. As an ILT we look at how interdisciplinary work happens on campus.
  • Ross Botuyan – Pathway Lead Teacher, Medical and Health Science Pathway
    • In the MAHS pathway, distributed leadership is in place.  There’s one leader per grade level. We formed seven Committees (Project Based Learning Planning, Portfolio Defense, Exhibition Night, Gold Certification, Industry Professionals, Field Trips, and Interventions) to address the pathway outcomes and prepare our students for college and career. Currently, we are getting ready for Gold Certification on January 24, 2019. We received the recommendation to go for “GOLD” from LA Unified’s Linked Learning visiting team during the initial visit on November 14, 2018. Part of our preparation includes: lesson and areas of growth planning, and writing narratives and gathering evidence for the 3 elements (integrated program of study, work-based learning, and student supports) of Gold Certification.
  • Dina Mayeda – Team Lead, Special Education
    • We have Call-To-Action (CTA) subgroups. All of us are members of different subgroups. I belong to the Linked Learning group. Pathway leaders are all in that group so we’re able to work together and talk about the Gold Certification process, planning professional development opportunities, and more.

How has working as a team helped the way you plan?

  • Gene Dean – Team Lead, English
    • In the English Department three to four years ago there was a major rift between a lot of teachers. And through the ILT and English Language Arts (ELA) meetings, that group of teachers has come together and it feels like more of community now than separate groups of teachers with their own agendas. Coming together with the ILT and seeing alignment of our CTAs and our goals have started to mean something. Our commitment to do better came through the ILT meetings. These meeting drive conversations of how we’re going to better prepare for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
  • Dina Mayeda – Team Lead, Special Education
    • When we work together we align our calendars so that we’re all talking about the same thing at the same time. It allows for us to plan for our project based learning (PBL). For example, we encourage students to gather information, present to their peers, and answer questions about 21st Century skills and how they connect to what they see in the presentations. We want all pieces to align and connect.

How do you share your learnings with the rest of your peers?

  • Dina Mayeda – Team Lead, Special Education
    • We have after school department meetings once a month and that’s when the ILT members that are department chairs work with our department and share the information we review at the ILT meetings. Our Special Education teachers meet with our core departments and also meet as a Special Education team during advisory meetings once or twice a month.
  • Michelle Ferrer – Restorative Justice Coordinator, School Culture
    • Since joining the ILT, I realized that because I had eyes on the CTA plan, I could bring it back to the rest of the Restorative Communities Team. This helped people who aren’t part of the ILT understand our goals and how this plan guides what we are trying to achieve collectively.

How has the Partnership supported the ILT at Roosevelt?

  • Romina Ramos, Department Chair, Science
    • The Partnership helped me to be a better team leader and guided me on how to lead professional development sessions. Now, as we move towards the new science curriculum, the New Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the Partnership is trying its best to look for resources and people who can help us with the transition. I understand that their primary focus is still in English and Math, but they are extending help to the science team.
  • Raul Mata, College & Career Advisor
    • When Karlo from the Partnership came on board last year, it was good for us to know that Partnership was supporting us to improve college-going rates. One of the challenges is looking at some of our data pieces and not seeing those numbers move drastically. We know we’re fighting an uphill battle, but Karlo has a specific role to help us and he’ll meet with us to provide the support we need.
  • John Lynch, Assistant Principal
    • I appreciate the Partnership helping us create the CTA plan. It allows us to focus on the 5-7 major areas of our school. Sometimes strategic planning documents sit on the shelf, but we reference it often and at every ILT meeting. It allows us to keep it alive and refine it. This is something that we use to drive our work.

What motivates you to be a part of this team? What drives and energizes you?

  • Johanna Garcia, Attendance Counselor
    • One thing that motivates me to come to the ILT meeting is our students. I like to know and be a part of plans that are being created to benefit the students.
  • Ricardo Chavez, Spanish Teacher
    • One thing that motivates me to participate is the leadership that I see in our administration, particularly our Principal. I feel he listens to us and supports us. We may have differing opinions sometimes, but he still listens. As a group and an ILT, that is very important. We can support him by seeing that he supports us.
  • Brendan Shallert – Instructional Coach, Literacy
    • Our Principal gave me a book to read about collective efficacy. It says first you have to believe that you can effect change in students and get an outcome, and then you also have to believe that students are capable of change. You also have to believe that the people in the room next door can do the same thing. It can be an isolating thing to work at a school, so we need to take opportunities to learn from each other and move toward a common goal.