Focused on supporting teachers and integrating new instructional methods in the classroom, the Saugus Union School District’s Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA) work with all 15 school sites to improve student achievement across the district.
“What our teachers see is that those Teachers on Assignment are the go-to for whatever they’re working on,” Saugus district Superintendent Joan Lucid told The Signal in 2017. “It’s providing structure for what I think is meeting our vision of academic and personal success for our children.”
All of the TOSAs are former Saugus district teachers and work with students, teachers and administrators to develop lesson plans, support classroom instruction, integrate new ways of learning and form a more equitable district.
By attending conferences and professional development events, each TOSA becomes a specialist in one area of study and acts as an expert resource for classroom teachers.
“All of the stakeholder feedback we have received indicates our TOSA programs are successful and have become an important resource for our classroom teachers and our students,” Governing Board President Chris Trunkey said.
Currently, the Saugus district has six TOSAs who work in arts and music, education technology, physical education and English Language Development. These six individuals are now completing their two-year assignment as a district TOSA.
This year, the district plans to open applications for the current TOSA positions—art and music, education technology, physical education and ELD—as well as a new TOSA position: independent home study/mathematics.
“The district employee in charge of the home study program recently resigned,” Trunkey said. “We are expanding this position to include part-time district-wide mathematics support to improve student achievement.”
Under the supervision of the Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, the IHS/mathematics TOSA would be an expertise in two different areas as he or she provides support for the IHS program as well as instructional support at all 15 school sites.
Within the math TOSA role, the individual would provide ongoing professional development in math, model math lessons for teachers, assist with lesson planning for students of all grade levels and provide daily math lessons for students at various sites on a rotational basis.
In the IHS TOSA role, the individual would ensure students are receiving “quality education in home setting and meeting California State Home Schooling requirements.”
The TOSA would also provide parent and teaching training, create grade-level instructional plans, hold weekly meetings for instruction and monitoring, maintain records of students’ assignments and grades, organize contracts and provide community resources to families.
Similarly, the other TOSAs are experts in their fields and provide instruction to students and professional development to teachers each week.
The art and music TOSA leads daily music and art lessons with students on a rotational basis, provides assistance and coaching on art integration in the classroom, develops lesson plans and helps implement the California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards
The education technology TOSA mainly works with teachers and district staff to help integrate technology in the classroom, demonstrate lesson plans at various grade levels, lead staff development and answer technical and informational requests.
The physical education TOSA models P.E. lessons for teachers, supports implementing P.E. instruction based on the California Content Standards and the SPARK curriculum and tracks the requirement that each student receives 200 minutes of PE instruction every 10 instructional days.
And the English Language Development TOSA helps increase English learners’ proficiency through reading, writing, listening and speaking, provides demonstrations at each grade level for the ELD curriculum, models lessons for teachers and ensures that students receive 30 minutes of ELD instruction each day.
All of the TOSA job descriptions for the various specialist roles are expected to be reviewed by the Saugus Governing Board during its meeting Tuesday.
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