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Dr. Helio Brasil

Merced River UESD
Merced County, Winton, California
Superintendent / Principal Merced River School District For The Past 13 Years
Small Rural School District

I have spent the past 19 years in education. I have served as a classroom teacher in both High School and Elementary grades. I have served as a High School Vice Principal, a Middle School Principal, and as a K-8 District Superintendent. My career is education has steadily focused on the following:

All Students Can Learn! This is the fundamental underpinning of my educational philosophy. As our communities become more diverse, the individual needs of students become a greater challenge to meet. Schools can make a big difference for every student when it is clear what students already know and what they need to learn. Continuous growth is the goal and each and every student can and should be provided with opportunities to experience that.

The starting point is to have a clear set of standards and expectations for what students should learn and a viable curriculum with appropriate resources that teachers can implement. Generally, the foundation for this is provided by the state in the form of curriculum standards at each grade level. Staff development to familiarize school staff with the standards and effective instructional strategies are part of this picture. Then, instruction needs to take place and assessment needs to occur to determine how well the students are meeting the standards so that necessary adjustments can take place. This cycle of teaching and learning ensures that all students will make continuous progress.

Assessment For Learning.
The most effective strategy for ensuring continuous growth and increased student achievement is Assessment For Learning. The general precept behind Assessment For Learning is student involved classroom assessment. Teachers work closely with students to assist them in defining quality, evaluating their own work and setting goals for themselves. Teachers also provide descriptive feedback for students about what they can do to improve their work. Multiple methods for assessment are used ranging from paper and pencil tests to products and productions.

Highly articulated K-8 program.
A Professional Learning Community where all staff members support each other and all students with a systematic set of tightly interwoven programs and interventions is a necessity for ensuring continuous growth and success for all. Students should experience a highly articulated K-8 program where each year of schooling builds upon the previous one. Dedicated and committed professionals with a strong sense of purpose make this happen when they are closely aligned with an overall vision for the organization. These words may make this sound like a relatively easy task but one should not minimize how hard it is to do this. This kind of endeavor is a constant work in progress and must be monitored and nurtured on an ongoing basis.

Lifelong education is a necessity in this world of constant rapid change.