The Knox School of Santa Barbara, a school for gifted children which opened in the Fall of 2013, is seeking an exceptional lead teacher to join a distinctive faculty team. The impassioned mission of the school is to provide a stimulating and nurturing environment where, alongside an engaging and challenging curriculum, the social and emotional needs of gifted and talented children are respected and compassionately supported. The Knox School of Santa Barbara ensures a student-centered and strength-based approach to learning. The Knox School is located in beautiful Santa Barbara County, home to a world-class university, museums and restaurants, farmers markets and wineries, and outstanding outdoor opportunities for biking, hiking, riding, and surfing, contributing to a vibrant quality of life. Successful candidates for the full-time position will display a diverse range of qualities, competencies and experience as described below.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
To effectively design a classroom milieu that supports the academic and affective needs of gifted students
To teach the unit study for the 5th-8th grade level (please see website for information on unit study) but with expertise and competency to extend concept through the high school level
To teach additional language arts, math, and science courses (depending on expertise)
To possess an in-depth understanding of gifted development and a personality to support and guide students’ social and emotional development
To possess an ability to differentiate and individualize instruction and curriculum to a myriad of learning styles and abilities
To liaison with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction to ensure effective delivery of differentiated, project- and inquiry-based curriculum to specified classes and individuals
To participate in the design, development, implementation and review of the curriculum
To participate in the design, development, implementation and review of assessment and reporting systems
To participate in professional development trainings to further proficiency and knowledge in the teaching and learning process of gifted students
Because of the unmet need and latent demand for an environment which supports both the intellectual needs as well as the affective needs of gifted learners, The Knox School of Santa Barbara was formed. The Knox School of Santa Barbara is a new, independent co-ed day school for gifted and talented children (grades JK-8), which opened its doors in the Fall of 2013.
The mission of the Knox School of Santa Barbara is to provide a stimulating and nurturing environment where, alongside an engaging and challenging curriculum, the social and emotional needs of gifted and talented students are respected and compassionately supported.
In fulfillment of its mission, The Knox School of Santa Barbara will provide a rigorous and stimulating academic environment and high caliber curriculum combined with an individualized, ability-based (instead of age-based), project- and inquiry-based approach to learning in order for students to develop critical and creative thinking skills and retain a deep love of learning. The school is committed to developing a professional and supportive faculty sensitive to the instructional and emotional needs of gifted students and who are strongly dedicated to providing the highest quality education. The school is committed to ensuring respectful accommodation and a variety of strategies to meet all learning styles and continuing to develop instructional strategies and academic and affective curriculum based on current research and best practices.
The Knox School of Santa Barbara offers an exemplary program developed specifically for gifted children; our respectful and supportive approach to learning optimizes each student's intellectual, academic, social and emotional development.
The Knox School of Santa Barbara’s curriculum is based on the Integrated Curriculum Model developed at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary and refined in gifted classrooms over the past 30 years. The integrated curriculum organizes learning in a way that links together the humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, social studies, music, and art. Our curriculum creates opportunities for exploration, active learning, and meaningful connections across subject areas. Through this curriculum, students come to see the interrelatedness of disciplines, which in turn brings meaning and relevance to their education.
Specifically, each trimester at The Knox School is organized around a “Unit of Study”, such as Architecture, Natural Disasters, Africa, Space, and the like. Within the Unit of Study, lessons span the disciplines, incorporating them into the broader Unit topic.
These integrated curriculum units include lessons and projects that are hands-on, high interest, and which encourage critical thinking, problem solving, creative thinking, abstract reasoning, higher level thinking skills, inquiry, and collaboration.
WORKSHOPS (Mathematics, Reading, Writing)
While lessons are integrated when possible, there is also the recognition that each discipline has elements specific to its domain. The workshop model provides a daily opportunity for whole group, small group, and individual instruction around specific skills within the domains of mathematics, reading, and writing. For example, basic math facts are discreet pieces of information that need to be learned in order to understand higher-level complex mathematics; an understanding of phonics is necessary in order to decipher novel words; rules of grammar and punctuation aid in the construction of a logical narrative. While Unit time is spent on the application of skills and concepts, workshop time entails direct instruction around specific skills.
Workshop time is scheduled at the same time across all grades, which allows students to participate in the workshop which best matches their individual level. For example, a third grade student is welcome to join the math workshop focusing on Geometry if that is the where the student’s capabilities lie, even though it is “above” grade level in the traditional sense. In this sense, all 3rd graders at The Knox School may not be reading the same books or doing the same mathematics, nor should they be, solely because they are 8 and therefor, in the 3rd grade. The teachers consistently assess to ensure the student is not missing foundational elements of the skill, while allowing the student to progress through the curriculum at their own pace without being held back by the curriculum.
The Knox School’s curriculum organizes the learning experiences for gifted children around broad, timeless ideas and themes that define deep understanding of a discipline and provide meaningful connections across disciplines. Differentiating and individualizing the curriculum ensures that gifted children are appropriately and supportively challenged at their individual capacities: student needs are established and documented, goals are then developed, and appropriate pre-assessments are administered. The curriculum is then carefully organized and differentiated for the specific cognitive and affective needs of the gifted learner. Lastly, providing multiple opportunities for higher-order thinking and processing and engaging gifted learners in deep and meaningful interdisciplinary inquiry is a critical element of the curriculum model.
In addition to a strong skills-based curriculum, the concept-based and inquiry-based programs afford the students the opportunity to investigate topics at a level that challenges them and taps their interests, learning styles, and natural intelligences. Teachers strive to stimulate the development of curiosity and imagination, and offer extensive opportunity for creative expression of knowledge. The environment is one of rich self-discovery, and the curriculum is delivered through approaches that are best practices in gifted education, allowing children opportunities to extend and enrich their own learning on their individual journeys to becoming educated, thinking, and moral adults.
Located at 1525 Santa Barbara Street, the Knox School is housed in classrooms on the campus of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara. The School lies across the street from one of the city's most beautiful spots often called the "crown jewel" of city parks. Alice Keck Park Gardens feature a large botanical collection (75 different tree and plant species), a pond with koi and turtles, a sensory garden, a low water-using demonstration garden, picnic areas and gazebo. A block away is Alameda Park, the home of Kids' World, an 8,000 square foot playground designed by children in consultation with playground experts containing a castle, swings and slides. These large parks are a perfect venue for hands-on learning, physical exercise, and exploration.
Our Faculty is made up of a professional and supportive staff sensitive to the instructional and emotional needs of gifted and talented children who can provide an emotionally safe haven where both strengths and weaknesses are understood and respected, and it is safe for students to discover and reveal who they really are. These are teachers who are not threatened by their students’ intelligence but who welcome their intellectual debates, give opportunities to delve deeply into topics of interest and take joy in their students’ strengths.
Interested candidates should send an application at the earliest possible time but no later than February 1, 2021. The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received. The Knox School of Santa Barbara reserves the right to appoint a lead teacher before the stated application deadline should an exceptionally appropriate candidate be identified.
A current résumé not to exceed two pages, with photo
A maximum two-page statement outlining educational philosophy and leadership style
A one-page list of minimum three current professional references with phone numbers and email addresses
A maximum of four letters of reference which may already be in your possession
All applications should be sent by email to Kari Ramirez, Head of School, at email@example.com. If you have any questions, please email or call us at (805) 222-0107.
The successful candidate for this position will be an inspirational, passionate, and sensitive educator with the ability to deliver an inquiry-based, inter-disciplinary program to cultivate cognitive skills, and compassionately honor the affective needs of gifted students. A minimum of five years of teaching experience at the elementary or middle school level is required. An excellent candidate will be an exemplary teacher, motivator, and learner, with strong interpersonal skills, and an ability to respectfully communicate with children, parents, and colleagues. Through differentiated instruction, and by using a variety of styles and modalities, the successful candidate will be able to inspire mixed-ability classes and create challenging and engaging learning opportunities for all children. The ideal candidate will have a high level of awareness of current developments, research, and best practices in the field of gifted education.
Additional Salary Information: Additional Salary Information: The benefits and salary package for positions are regionally competitive based on level of experience. Start date for positions may be as early as now and contracted for the 2021-22 academic school year.