Assistant principal helps students, teachers succeed at Palmetto High

As Palmetto High’s assistant principal for curriculum Victoria Dobbs is doing cutting edge work helping students achieve new heights and helping the school move forward even during the transition of welcoming a new principal.

“She’s amazing and she’s made my first year so seamless because of her knowledge,” said Alison Harley, Palmetto High principal. “She’s amazing. The way she’s able to handle everything. She’s so knowledgeable. She stays so calm about everything.”

One of the innovations Dobbs put in place this past school year was a class to help students get all the credits they need for graduation.

“This is a class that I created for students who needed to do credit recovery,” she said. “I found a program that the district has.”

She was able to use that program to help the students make up the credit in myriad classes. Some students needed as little as half a credit while others needed more.

“This program is used at other schools that have eight period days,” Dobbs said. “No one else has used it as a seventh period so that students can come to a lab and keep working.”

The program is web-based and the lessons are in video form.

“I had heard about this course from some of the schools that had more at-risk students,” she said. “They were using this as a means to help their students to recover courses. They were able to build it in within their school days. We are in a six-period bell schedule, so they would be missing something else. No one else had thought to do it as a seventh period. So we were able to add it on to another day.”

Harley said the after school class was so successful it will be incorporated into the school day for the 2012-13 school year.

Dobbs was one of six finalists for Assistant Principal of the Year because of her leadership and work ethic. She wasn’t the winner for the district, but everyone at Palmetto believes she is a winner.

Dobbs began her career as a teacher for the emotionally handicapped in 1991 at Natural Bridge Elementary in north Miami- Dade County. She worked there a couple of years and then worked at Gilbert Porter Elementary in the Hammocks for a couple of years. Dobbs worked at W.R. Thomas Middle for five years and went on to be a program specialist at Miami Southwest High from 2001 to 2006. She has been at Palmetto High since 2006.

“I liked working at Southwest. It was a very nice school. I love Palmetto,” Dobbs said.

At Palmetto, she has been responsible for special education, gifted and the ESOL program. She participates in FCAT testing.

“I work directly with the teachers,” she said.” I work with the curriculum, testing, data, work with the staff so they can read data and organize it so they can use it effectively to tailor their lessons.”

She analyzes the results of the testing to see how Palmetto students fared and what areas need additional work.

She also works with the PTSA in parental outreach.

In the upcoming school year, Dobbs will be involved in the new Cambridge Academy program.

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