Insights from the Field: Building a Solid Learning Foundation for Both Students and Teachers

Principal Guzmán, a turnaround leader for the last fourteen years, has led his schools to success by making sure he helps to create a school culture where everyone - students and adults - feel supported, inspired, and capable of excellence.  Here we share the four pillars that have helped lead to his success.

Insights from the Field: Building a Solid Learning Foundation for Both Teachers and Students

June 13th, 2024

Jon Saphier: Tell me about why you connected with RBT to support your staff?

The road to trust goes through the land of frequency and quality.

Jon Saphier

Jon Saphier: How did you build both the structure and the environment of vulnerability and trust?

So what I try to model for all of my staff is that we are all learners and that you have to create spaces where people feel comfortable to learn. 

David Guzmán

Jon Saphier:  In your school you have identified kids who are having difficulties in their lives and problems at home, and you had a designated staff member who checks in 3 times a day with those kids. Tell us more about that.

We have to be proactive and intentional about connecting with the kids before there was an issue.  

David Guzmán

We also need to be thoughtful and intentional around how we engage the kids who are on grade level. So, we have a 2 prong approach to how we deal with meeting the needs of the kids who really need us, but also not forgetting that there are some kids who are modeling every day.

David Guzmán

John Saphier: As a principal in Cherry Hill as well as Rodman, there are grade level meetings that happen as part of a regular part of school life and you mentioned that one of the things you try to do is turn data into the fun and excellence that could go with it. So what I'm wondering is, how have you attempted to guide or influence your teams on how to use data?

 If a teacher struggles with their data, we need to figure out how to support that teacher.

David Guzmán

I think [by] creating that awareness and intentionality around that, we'll get people to think about how they can get better, and when they get better, I think it's a no-brainer that scholars will reap the benefits of teachers being a little bit more intentional around meeting individual needs.

David Guzmán