Dr. John Tharp is superintendent of Greendale Schools. Dr. Tharp joined the district in August of 2012 and has 20 years of experience in public education. He previously served as an assistant superintendent in a large suburban district in Tennessee for two years. Prior to that, he was a high school principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach. Dr. Tharp received his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellowship Award winner. He is the author of one book on school reform.
There are so many outside forces impacting how we as schools educate our children. Take the new standards from the Federal government and regulations from the State, combine them with data indicating the students in our schools come from vastly different backgrounds at home and culturally, and you can undestand why my focus areas of Accelerating Academic Achievement and Ensure Fairness, Equity and Excellence in Programming for Diverse Populations are so important.
Greendale Schools engage students and encourage them to stretch their minds to reach their greatest potential. We are using what is termed "formative instructional practices," which research shows dramatically enhances student achievement, to do this.
Most of us grew up learning in classrooms where the teacher stood in the front of the room and when he or she asked a question, several hands popped up and quickly provided an answer and the lesson moved on. In our schools now, teachers give all students the opportunity to answer, so they will have each student write down a response, in essence, no hands up! Then students are sharing their thought process in small groups, and teachers are walking among the students assessing learning on the spot to determine who might need additional reinforcement. Teachers are managing varied needs while maintaining an eye on the target -- mastery of the subject matter to meet the standards.
From socio-economic differences to language and special education, we continue to address the varied needs of each student right within classrooms. Our goal for students is helping each reach the highest level of achievement they can and we understand that no two students are the same. Our job is to prepare them, through education:
- with life skills,
- for careers and higher education,
- as citizens,
- to succeed in the global economy.
All of this is executed taking into consideration the special abilities and circumstances that make each student unique. Personalized learning helps us to meet the varied needs, and regardless of a student's abilities or expected level of achievement, all are ensured the same great experience through Greendale Schools.
Dr. John Tharp