There is no other school in the world like OEC. We have the largest population in the entire Philadelphia Public School District of blind and visually impaired (VI) students. Reading this, you are unlike almost ⅓ of the students at OEC who are unable to read print without magnification, technology aides, enlarged text, or braille.
Our strategically designed vision program is led by a team of incredibly knowledgeable staff. On average, teachers in the vision program have 28+ years of experience working alongside children with vision deficiencies.
At OEC, we have a full time dean, counselor, special education liaison, and a committed staff who focus on using restorative practices to solve conflicts. We recognize that occasional errors in judgement are part of students’ growth and development. The most important thing is for students to learn from their mistakes and to reflect on their decisions in order to improve and move forward.
At OEC, there are 271 students. This year, in 2015-2016 we will add 21 kindergarten students and are thrilled to expand! With such a unique population of students, we honor our diversity. Students at OEC truly learn how to respect and appreciate everyone and work together. The “C” in OEC’s mission (to Care for all) epitomizes the sentiment that helping others is what life is centrally about. At OEC, our VI and general education population help each other out in all aspects of learning.
The primary instructional focus at OEC for 2015-2016 is to improve in all areas of academics, especially math. This, however, cannot be done in isolation. Teams are essential to achieving our goals as a school. We will use First in Math to demonsrate progress in grades K-2 and Go Math in grades 3-6. In grades 7-8, the school district's curriculum engine will be used as an instructional tool and students will demonstrate growth using practice PSSA exams. For literacy, staff serving students in grades K-5 will utilize DRA to measure student growth and staff serving students in grades 6-8 will utilize the Scholastic Reading Intervention online tool to measure student lexile levels and demonstrated growth.
At OEC, the staff are expected to partake in the below strategies to reach our instructional goals:
1. Plan monthly units to ensure accurate sequencing and the evolution of objectives each month.
2. Implement 22 minutes of sustain silent reading (SSR) every day for every student in the school to further build an interest in reading and inspire students to read independently.
1. All visually impaired students will be matched with a sighted student by November 1, 2015 in order to improve socialization and information sharing across the school. A pre and post survey will be utilized to show progress.
2. All 67 staff members will be paired with a student who is a high priority (*attendance, academic or behaivor) by October 15, 2015 and meet regularly. The purpose is to ensure every student has one adult in the building with whom they are able to connect with as a mentor. The purpose of this mentor system is so that we are proactive about student social and emotional development.
3. 1,000 additional hours of volunteer service will be implemented in order to support our school’s vision and mission to increase our school climate and subsequently increase community partnerships by 42%.
Every student needs and deserves a mentor, coach, or guide in life. Parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, aunts, or uncles can serve as these crucial motivators in student lives.
The most influential person in my life was and is my dad. Six years ago, he lost a courageous battle to cancer. Even though my dad physically is no longer here, I feel his spirit every day. My dad taught me three main lessons that I want to share with you.
First, education is of utmost importance. Second, kindness is contagious and it must be practiced. Third, everyone has one of the following; time, talent, or treasure to share. Thus, helping others is the primary purpose of life. In whatever capacity that might be, everyone has the ability to serve.
This is my second year as principal at OEC. Previously, I taught high school English and served as an administrator in Newark, New Jersey. My former supervisor, Principal Sam Garrison of Camden Street School, taught me that anything is possible if you dream big. He always put children first and served as a valuable mentor to me. Without my dad, Mr. Garrison, and countless others, I would not be at OEC.
I am both grateful and proud to be a part of the OEC Family. We are constantly looking for community partners, volunteers, and collaborators to provide resources, opportunities, and exposure to a variety of careers for our students. Students and families at OEC deserve the best. My goal is to help provide as many opportunities as possible to ensure the students put forth their best Effort to excel, demonstrating the “E” in OEC.
Students cannot achieve all of our goals as a school community and their personal goals without a guide, mentor, or coach in their lives. I urge all family and community members who are currently in this position to take it seriously. Students at OEC need you! There is no place like OEC. Our students are amazing young people with incredibly bright futures ahead of them.
We need your help! Come in and give your time, talent, or treasure to us and you will not regret it. I guarantee it. At OEC, our mission is the following: we OWN our actions, we put forth our best EFFORT to excel, and we CARE for all. I urge you to be a part of the OEC family and our continuing journey to provide students with everything they need to transform their dreams into reality.
Our doors are always open and we welcome you to come visit. We invite you to check us out and see all the wonderful things happening in our classrooms every day.
With Gratitude and Best Wishes,