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Dean Zika Builds Strong Middle School Team

For the past 12 and a half years, Patty Zika has worked at Buffalo United Charter School (BUCS). She started as a paraprofessional, assisting classroom teachers.  She then moved into a second-grade classroom of her own before landing a spot on the BUCS leadership team, as dean, seven years ago.

Dean Zika is responsible for overseeing all middle school teachers, performing classroom observations, conducting weekly meetings, and handling issues that may arise.

“My schedule can change daily,” said Zika. “But, for the most part, I have morning duty, which includes welcoming students, working with students who need additional support both academically and behaviorally, meeting with parents, and coaching teachers.”

Although each day can differ, her favorite part of the day is always the same.

“Working with the students, that is always my favorite part,” Zika said. “I love what I do, and I am able to support both students and teachers through my work.”

Zika feels that the dean model at BUCS is effective because of its ability to pinpoint those students who need extra assistance outside the classroom. It allows teachers to have more one-on-one mentoring.

“I feel the dean model helps create a community within each wing,” Zika said. “I know all my students, not only by name but by academic and behavioral abilities. By working closely with the teachers, I am able to ensure they are meeting the needs of each individual student.”

Almost as important as support in the classroom is the ability to create a cohesive team outside school hours.

“We not only work together, we spend time together,” Zika said. “We know each other professionally and personally.”

While every day may be different, Zika strives to create an environment where both students and teachers know they are supported through her role as a dean.