Principals share effects of district’s SVOs initiative


The board of trustees received an update on the integration of its Shared Valued Outcomes initiative at its meeting last Thursday night.

Principals from the Glen Head, Glenwood Landing, and Sea Cliff elementary schools gave a collaborative presentation outlining how the language of the SVOs has already found its way into the respective curriculums.

SVOs represent the skills, dispositions, habits and behaviors deemed necessary to be successful in schools and beyond. The six characteristics identified as SVOs are thinking, problem solving, communicating, collaborating, innovating, and developing committed individuals.

“We wanted to measure student achievement through the SVOs, and provide evidence that students understand their meaning, and are able to name and practice them,” said Lori Nimmo, Glen Head Elementary School’s principal.

Glen Head students were engaged in goal setting and reflection objectives, she said, through an initiative called iInnovate. The program allows students to conduct research, develop an approach to solving problems and learn how to improve upon their ideas.

A video showed students engaged in an engineering and design process. One example focused on a student’s invention to recycle rainwater — a flowerpot affixed with four plastic cups. The student explained the rainwater would fall into the cups, and could later be used to water the plant.

Nimmo added that iInnovate includes a post-assessment reflection, so that students can reflect about how they developed the skills of the SVOs through the program.

A parent in the video explained that such programming allows for a student’s brain to work in a different capacity.

Although the school has hosted iInnovate in the past, Nimmo said this was the first year all of the students became involved, and it was held during the school day.

“All the kids were encouraged to go out into the world and find problems they wanted to solve, which was a departure from what we did last year,” she said. “This year it was better than ever before, and just a beautiful experience.”

Principal Bridget Finder, of the Glenwood Landing School, said the kindergartners have been engaging with SVO play-centers.

There are six different stations with each representing one of the SVOs. Students are then encouraged to approach certain problems depending on their assigned SVO. Finder refers to the practice as purposeful play.

The play-center helps students develop an understanding of the SVOs, as the children can experience reaching solutions from multiple standpoints, such as from the point-of-view of a thinker, a communicator, a collaborator, or an innovator.

“The students grew tremendously in their ability to use these skills independently through explicit instruction and practice,” Finder said.

Principal Dr. Christopher Zublionis said a main priority at Sea Cliff School was measuring the SVO impact on meaningful communication. Each grade level was engaged in communication activities with an SVO component attached: Fourth graders focused on social and emotional learning; fifth graders focused on perspective thinking; and third graders focused on thinking and problem solving.

Zublionis said these activities effectively taught students the skills and dispositions associated with the SVOs. “They can implement [new practices] in their thinking and communication,” he said.

“Each school took a different road to the same place, and it’s been really interesting to see the kids speak about the impact of their education on things outside of school,” Zublionis added. “We want our students to own the SVOs, and use them to see a relevance between their school experiences and what they’re experiencing outside of school as well.”

Giarrizzo was pleased with the presentation by the principals, and said it demonstrated the important SVO work done thus far. “[These findings] are instrumental in building a strong foundation for what’s to come,” he said.