At Northwest High School “all for one and one for all” is more than a motto; it is how they approach the development and equity-focused treatment of students and staff.
Located in Germantown, Maryland, Northwest has distinguished itself as a Silver school committed to improving student learning by investing in innovative, school-based staff development. The school has created a unique set of differentiated professional growth opportunities designed to address the needs of both novice and experienced staff. In many instances, department chairs work with administrators and a staff development teacher to create and facilitate job-embedded “micro” level professional learning tailored to the unique needs of the teachers in their respective departments. To help each other succeed, mentors work with new and experienced staff to build upon teachers’ strengths and identify areas of growth that they can work on together.
Central to Northwest’s philosophy, development opportunities occur through summer training sessions, subject-specific department meetings, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), course-alike common planning time that is built into the master schedule, teacher mentoring programs, and more. Northwest teachers are entrusted with developing and implementing a range of content-specific assessments to inform instruction and to provide their students with ongoing opportunities to monitor their own progress.
Most notable--and consistent with Schools of Opportunity best practices--Northwest offers staff development programs that go well beyond instructional-focused enrichment to thoughtfully address issues of equity in education. Northwest has implemented a 20-member staff equity cohort that is engaged in ongoing professional development to examine biases and inequities in teachers’ beliefs and school policies and structures. These practices are consistent with Northwest’s goals to develop culturally proficient, equity-literate teacher leaders and increase rigorous educational opportunities for all students.