Associate Teacher, 1st Grade

Associate Teacher, 1st Grade


The Primary School (TPS) is a new non-profit organization dedicated to dramatically improving health and educational outcomes for children. Fueled by the belief that the current model of school is too limited to close the achievement gap for our nation’s most at risk children, TPS is designing a new model of primary education and primary care which braids together education, health, and family support services starting at birth. We pair high expectations and joy, in a powerful community of supports to care for the whole child. With this innovative new model, we aim to expand the traditional definition of “school” in order to prepare all children to succeed in college, career, and life.The Primary School approach has three defining characteristics:
  • Provide integrated supports: We partner with existing health care organizations to address the needs of the whole child. Educators, parent coaches and healthcare professionals come together as a team to provide integrated academic and health (physical, mental, and socio-emotional) supports to students and families.
  • Start early: We admit students at or before birth, and provide parent-driven, early childhood supports alongside medical care during the critical years of child development, ensuring that students are ready for school at age 3. Our infant-toddler program consists of regular parent-child playgroups to support the goals of attachment, language development and resilience.
  • Offer two-generation supports: We put families at the center of this work and focus on building parent capacity to support the health and education of their children. Families receive support, including group-based coaching, individual supports, and connection to other social services, to help them better support their children and become healthier themselves.
We opened our first site in East Palo Alto in 2016 and currently serve 250 children (ages 0 to 5) and their families. In 2018-19, the school will serve children in four grades: Pre-K (3 year-olds); Pre-K (4 year-olds); Kindergarten; and 1st grade. TPS was seeded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a major national philanthropy.TPS is committed to designing a model that is replicable in other communities and redefines what is possible for our highest need children and families. We are investing in design, research, evaluation, and dissemination that will allow us to replicate our model and transfer our learnings to others.

About the Role

TPS Associate Teachers are early career educators seeking to build their skills in rigorous instruction.They focus on a subset of content and skills and work with the support of the Lead Teachers and partnership of other associate teachers to integrate their lessons into larger units.  They teach multiple blocks during the day, providing them with the opportunity to quickly implement feedback and improve their practice.  TPS believes in developing talent from within --- Associate Teachers receive coaching support and opportunities to practice literacy and math instruction and grow into Lead Teachers.

Our Instructional Approach & Day

We believe that even at the earliest ages, children have diverse needs and that instruction must be personalized to each student. At TPS, this means a heavy reliance on small group and individualized instruction; a diverse day that addresses the many needs of kids; and a team approach that allows teachers to focus and prepare amazing lessons day after day.  Our work truly focuses on the whole child, supporting the cognitive, socio-emotional, and health needs of our students.We don’t adhere to a single philosophy or mode of instruction across our day, but instead draw on the wisdom of a variety of approaches and formats as they fit various development, content, and needs. We use a blend of inquiry, investigation, workshop, small groups and stations, read alouds and direct instruction. Our practice is highly intentional - we ensure a balanced and thoughtful use of all lesson types across the week and unit. We incorporate time, daily, for exploration and application of new learnings in authentic projects.Our instructional day is divided into three blocks - Humanities, Math & Science, and Exploration. Students stay in the same class and classroom for most of the day, but work with 2-3 teachers.
  • Humanities: The largest block of the day, the Humanities block is used for integrated and individualized instruction around literacy, writing, language, social sciences, and critical thinking. Teachers use a balanced literacy approach, building and/or modifying high quality curriculum within our own integrated units while planning individual and small group skills lessons to reach each child.
  • Math & Science: The Math & Science block is used to build essential math and science skills and content. Instruction is integrated with the deeper learning and extended projects taking place in the Humanities and/or Exploration Blocks. We use a strong mix of curricular materials and approaches, with an emphasis on building rich conceptual understanding through cognitively guided instruction.
  • Exploration: The “E-block” is a daily “lab” for students to extend and apply what they are learning in other classes. Lessons feature ample investigation, enrichment, discovery, project-based, and hands-on learning and regularly take place outside. Associate Teachers are instrumental in both the planning and execution of these Exploration experiences.
We believe that essential skills and content should be “integrated and designated.” We dedicate substantial, designated time to social-emotional learning, in addition to deep integration of social-emotional skills into our daily practice and behavior management approach. We offer daily physical and health education as well as ample opportunities for outdoor play.

Our Community

The Primary School serves the communities of East Palo Alto and Belle Haven. Over 90% of families in these communities live in poverty and 65% of students are English Language Learners. It is our intention to serve a high-need population of students, focusing on families who have struggled or may struggle in traditional schools and/or health systems. We believe that a great school welcomes all students, including those with special needs, and empowers them to achieve truly incredible things.

Associate Teacher Responsibilities

Instructionally, Associate Teachers are primarily responsible for a subset of skills and content (math and science; humanities; or exploration.)  They receive support and direction from Lead Teachers in order to create integrated units, and partner with other Associate Teachers to ensure that students have ample opportunities to practice and apply their skills.  Associate Teachers are responsible for differentiating lessons to meet the needs of all students in their class and creating an instructional environment that allows for reteaching, remediation and acceleration.

They are responsible for:

  • Instructional planning and delivery
  • Assessment and analysis of student data
  • Working with families and collaborating with other staff
  • Supporting individual students
  • Engaging fully in coaching and professional development
Associate Teachers will be supervised by an  Assistant Principal of The Primary School.

Essential Beliefs, Skills, and Experience

Successful Associate Teachers must hold a...
  • Deep Commitment to All Students
  • Unwavering confidence in the potential of all students
  • Absolute ownership over the growth of their students
  • Constant confidence that our team can achieve with every child
  • Parent- and Family-Centered Mindset
  • Belief that parents are essential partners in our work.
  • Ability to foster a welcoming school and class environment for families
  • Willingness to invest the time and energy to engage all families
  • Passion for Our New School Model
  • Recognition of the multi-dimensional needs of kids and families
  • Desire to dedicate time and energy to work beyond academic instruction
  • Excitement to engage fully in an innovative “start-up” environment
In their work so far, they have demonstrated a...
  • Proficiency turning provided units and curriculum into internalized lessons
  • Fluency in articulating clear and specific learning objectives
  • Competence in designing engaging lesson materials
  • Developing and leveraging formal and informal assessment
  • Understanding of how engage groups of students
  • Ability to foster a rigorous, urgent and joyful environment
  • Strong sense of appropriate tone in leading groups of students
  • Recognition of diverse needs of learners and willingness to tailor approach
  • Cultural competence in engaging with our community of children and families
  • Basic understanding of how to support English Language Learners instructionally
  • Experience supporting students experiencing the effects of trauma and poverty
  • Competence in bridging cultures with kids and adults alike

Experience and Credentials

  • One or two years of teaching, or completion of a teacher preparation course or substantial experience working with students in an instructional setting, preferably serving a community similar to East Palo Alto and Belle Haven
  • College degree strongly preferred, but current students will be considered
  • Understanding of early childhood education and child development preferred

A Plus If

  • You are an East Palo Alto or Belle Haven native and/or have experience working with a community similar to East Palo Alto and Belle Haven.
  • You speak fluent Spanish.