Source: Teach Indy | Repost Fight for Life Foundation 6/28/2022 –
My name is Annette Murdock Wooldridge and I am the Instructional Coach for Sankofa School of Success at Arlington Woods #99 in Indianapolis, Indiana. I am wrapping up my year as a Teacher Leader in the Teach Plus IPS Innovation Teacher Collaborative, and I am a member of the Teach Indy teacher collaborative. This is my 19th year in education and my 8th year at my current school. Before becoming an Instructional Coach, I taught special education.
As a master special education teacher, I have witnessed many educational inequities. During my time in the classroom, I noticed that many of the students that I served had both educational and behavioral challenges that prevented them from gaining full access to the general education curriculum. Early on I realized that behavior has a strong impact on academic success and that school culture trumps academics. Countless times I witnessed students, especially students of color and lower-performing students, being removed from the learning environment. The more this happened, the wider were the learning gaps. I understood early in my career that every moment in the classroom is one irreplaceable chance to teach students what they need to learn. As a special education teacher, I was charged with finding behavioral strategies that would encourage positive behavior in the classroom so that all students could access the general education curriculum.
In 2019, Arlington Woods was granted Innovation status and became Sankofa School of Success @ Arlington Woods #99. As a part of the school design team, I was charged with designing the school-wide behavior system; this is where the initial plan for my project began. From as early as 2015 our out-of-school suspension data continued to increase. There was an increase in negative behaviors that included elopement, physical and verbal aggression, and major class disruptions.