Next Door Charter School follows the principle that, in early childhood education, the quality of the teacher impacts the quality of programming within the classroom. The school seeks to create a “learning community” among educational staff. The school believes that its early literacy intervention efforts will produce on-going benefits and that Next Door Charter School students will demonstrate the effectiveness of their early schooling throughout their school years. All Next Door Charter School teachers are licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and hold Bachelor's Degrees in Early Childhood or related fields, and every staff members is also expected to pursue other continuing education opportunities in order to increase their professional expertise.
To help teachers expand their knowledge about early education, Next Door Charter School teaching staff receive regular on-site professional development training through a partnership with Cardinal Stritch University,. This literacy training follows an evidence-based model and addresses the way teachers integrate language and literacy throughout the school day. The partnership with Cardinal Stritch University incorporates the results from numerous research sources to address teacher professional development and student language and literacy skills. This focus grew out of a body of research that identified the link between early literacy skills and academic achievement.
Next Door Charter School teachers work in collaboration with their colleagues by sharing information and taking part in multi-disciplinary teams. Supervisors follow the Reflective Supervision model, and teachers are expected to understand the individual pupil’s needs so that communication is intentional, age-directed, level appropriate, and responsive. Teachers adapt the lesson plans to the student and always seek to match, challenge, and support students.
A health component forms part of the school’s overall approach to school readiness. Next Door has a full-time school nurse on staff, and Next Door’s center has a pediatric clinic on-site. Research has shown that children from low-income, minority families often suffer from health disparities and that this often times negatively affect student achievement. Unlike most public schools, Next Door Charter School requires that a student complete health screenings every year including screenings for vision, hearing, blood pressure, height, weight, lead levels, and hemoglobin.
Next Door’s approach to children’s health also recognizes the important role of dental care in a child’s overall health and its impact on student performance. To address this important issue which directly impacts central city families, the school has a partnership with the ClearPath program that supports education and direct access to dental services through Children’s Hospital.