Real champions inspire us because we know they give everything to make a difference. Through this column, we are helping make known real champions in the lives of children and youth. At NCUST, we are thankful for all the many equity champions who are, each day, changing lives, changing schools, and changing communities.
Last year, Rolando Park Elementary in San Diego, CA received one of NCUST’s coveted gold awards in the America’s Best Urban School Award Program. Principal Anthony DeLuca credits the school’s impressive academic results to the hard work and dedication of the Rolando Park faculty and staff. Specifically, DeLuca explained that Rolando Park educators created the “KTAR” approach, which stands for “Know the standards”, “Teach”, “Assess”, and “Reteach.” The system tracks students’ understanding of important academic concepts across the years and helps educators use the data to determine what to teach and when. DeLuca explained how utilizing the data system allows him and his colleagues to operate more efficiently and cohesively, while helping ensure that all students master essential concepts and skills. DeLuca encouraged other schools to implement a similar data-tracking system.
Through the KTAR approach and many other efforts, Principal DeLuca strives to help educators at Rolando Park become aware of the impact they have on each child. DeLuca insists that education is more than test scores and awards. The greatest reward is “seeing kids grow and learn.” He encouraged principals to develop strong relationships, utilize a data tracking system, analyze the data, and to “show teachers and staff that you’re working as hard or harder than them.” In the coming months DeLuca hopes to smoothly transition his students back into an in-person learning environment and continue following the KTAR protocol.
Before beginning his career as an educator, DeLuca worked for years as a financial advisor. He recalled, “I didn’t feel financial advising was my calling,” and he sought advice from his mother who is an educator. She encouraged him to “go back to school and become a teacher.” So, he received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and education from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in education from Washington State. His extensive educational career includes work in special and general education, two years as a vice principal, and is now proudly serving his sixth year as principal at Rolando Park Elementary.
Principal DeLuca claims that his strongest professional influence is “seeing kids develop into excellent people.” Witnessing the growth and development of children motivates DeLuca to continue working in and improving education. DeLuca wants to continue being the best principal he can be for the students of Rolando Park Elementary.
-Sarah Van Hoose
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