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​Creating A Collaborative Culture

National Heritage Academies Celebrates National Charter Schools Week

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 09, 2014—With more than 3,798 educators across 76 schools in nine states, National Heritage Academies (NHA) is dedicated to creating a collaborative culture for its teachers, deans, and principals.
From the moment a teacher is hired at an NHA school, they are provided with training, resources, and a support system through their school and the NHA Service Center, the organization’s central office in Michigan. All teachers who are new to NHA attend New Teacher Orientation (NTO), a multi-day professional development training that offers an introduction to the NHA culture, curriculum, and the Behave With Care classroom management program. While attending NTO teachers hear from principals, NHA curriculum managers, directors of school quality, and veteran teachers. 
“At NHA we believe it is vital to bring our first year teachers in and help them become acclimated with the NHA approach to operating great schools. We want to offer them all the resources and support we can to make sure their first year and every year at an NHA school is successful,” said President and CEO of National Heritage Academies Chip Hurlburt.
The collaborative culture does not just apply to first year teachers; NHA offers a variety of opportunities for seasoned teachers, deans, and principals to continue to learn and interact with their peers. NHA-U offers teachers, deans, or principals additional professional development during the summer months. Similar to NTO, the multi-day structure allows educators to learn about new curricular tools, student learning trends, and to share ideas and successful programs implemented at their schools.
A NHA tradition for all employees includes weekly one-on-one meetings (O3s) for each teacher and dean. Each teacher is observed weekly, and provided instant feedback on areas of success and areas recognized as opportunity for growth. Deans then work with their teachers to make sure questions are answered, concerns are addressed, and that all needed resources are provided. The honest and candid feedback between the employer and employee allows for a collaborative school setting. 
“We make an investment in each instructional leader at NHA,” said Hurlburt. “Weekly observations and feedback allow for real-time, continued growth, which ultimately benefits all of our students and staff.”
Throughout the year NHA also offers three principals meetings, where principals are invited to attend a series of discussions as well as professional development time with their peers. Professional development for deans hoping to become principals is also offered in a yearlong program format, helping them further develop their leadership skills. Eighty percent of NHA’s dean and principal promotions come from within the organization’s 76 schools.
NHA honors its teachers with the Excellence in Teaching Award, given annually to four teachers in various categories. The winners are selected based on student test scores, annual performance evaluations, and parent satisfaction scores. This past year the four winners represented NHA schools in Michigan (2), Indiana, and New York. 
National Heritage Academies is joining charter schools across the country in celebrating National Charter Schools week May 4 – 10. The week is designed to help raise awareness about how charter schools operate and the educational choice they provide parents. NHA students and staff will share their school pride with each other this week and reflect on the academic achievements met so far this year.
National Heritage Academies is a charter school management company operating 76 schools in nine states for the 2013-2014 school year. It is currently serving more than 50,000 students in grades kindergarten through eighth.
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