Mrs. Natalie June is an elementary school principal at the Aspire Rosa Parks Academy in Stockton, CA and a true leader in education. Having just wrapped up her 11th year at Rosa Parks, this passionate educator knows that it’s never too early to start thinking about college. “At Aspire we are really college driven. I want students and families to believe that college is achievable, that it’s something you can do, something you will do. You’re going to graduate, you’re going to make a difference. It’s all in hopes that it will improve the quality of life. That’s my contribution to the world,” says Natalie. “I’m trying to do my best to provide equitable outcomes for all students, because I have a deep rooted belief that all students can really, truly learn. I think it does depend on having engaging, thought-provoking, well-equipped teacher in the classroom. I think it takes a strong support system, which includes an instructional leader.”
Recently, Principal June’s school started using the Swivl Robot, an automated video capture unit that works with your mobile device and a suite of online tools to enable educators and students to use video for skill development. Thousands of schools use this small, portable device to make regular use of video a seamless practice in their classrooms. “This is our first year piloting Swivl. It’s a great professional development tool,” says the elementary school principal.
Kayla Green, an enthusiastic young teacher who came to the Rosa Parks Academy over a year ago through the Teach for America program, became an instant fan of the robot. It is so easy to use and puts her in control of her own professional development. “I use it very often! There are many different things that my coaches tell me that I need to work on or that I’m doing well. I record myself to see if I can also see the things they’re talking about, and I can. I’ve been able to see how I am as a teacher in the classroom and what I can work on as far as voice level, body language and all those different things that I need to do in the classroom in order for the students to be challenged and for the lessons to flow nicely,” says Kayla.
Using video reflection for professional development is paying off for Kayla. Since she started utilizing the Swivl Robot, Mrs. June has seen impressive growth in Kayla’s practice. “She’s given herself a great opportunity to be reflective, and so now it’s not just about what I’m saying or what her coach is saying. It’s about what she’s able to see herself from her own practice, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re trying to develop students that are critical thinkers and problem solvers, and we want our educators to be motivated and inspired to do the same things in terms of their own professional growth,” says Principal June.
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