Dr. Brian Kitchin Ed.D

Administrative Portfolio

This portfolio is created to provide greater insight into who I am as a school leader. You will find information about expectations you can have as I come into your district, as well as information and images of my prior experience and successes. Each element of this portfolio is accompanied by a brief description of the value the element has for successful leadership, however, I encourage you to reach out to me should you have any further questions about any of the content of this page. 

Warmest Regards,

Dr. Brian Kitchin Ed.D

School Administrator973.903.2985bkitchin11@gmail.com

2021 National School of Character

   One of the first things I set out to do upon entering Memorial Middle School as the Principal was to establish appropriate goals for our school as a whole with a focus on continuous improvement. Through the shared voice of our building leadership team, we decided to work towards becoming a school of character. The social-emotional side of learning is often overlooked and yet it remains a vital part of student success and preparing them for the world ahead. The 11 Principles of Character identified by Character.org promote a school environment that educates the "Whole-Child."  Successful schools go far beyond academics when it comes to developing well-rounded human beings. The journey of working towards improving within these 11 principles has been far more valuable than we could have imagined and certainly more important to our continuous improvement than any award. 

With that being said, after receiving Honorable Mention awards as a New Jersey School of Character in 1019 and 2020, Memorial Middle School is proud to have been named not only a New Jersey School of Character but also a 2021 National School of Character. We are one of only 47 schools in the entire country to earn this incredibly prestigious honor. 

An award like this is, of course, a group effort and a testament to all of the wonderful things happening each and every day in our classrooms at Memorial. This is particularly true with the added efforts and initiatives we put in place for meeting student needs during a pandemic. While we have gone beyond accomplishing what we initially set out to, this is not the end of our journey. This is an opportunity to set new goals for ourselves and climb even higher!


School of Character Presentation

  NJ School of Character: Honorable Mention 2019, 2020

After 2 years of alignment with the School of Character principles, and through a comprehensive and rigorous application process, Memorial Middle School was selected as an Honorable Mention School of Character for 2019 and 2020. This slide show was created and played as part of our school's recognition ceremony at a Spotswood Board of Education Meeting in June 2019. 

Memorial Middle School 1.pdf
Memorial Middle School 2.pdf

  Promising Practices 2020

This year, Memorial Middle School was honored to be recognized as an educational leader and named a Promising Practices School for not one, but two different key programs that promote success for our staff and students. We were one of only 240 schools in The United States of America to earn such an honor. The practices are outlined below both in our Growth for Struggling Learners and in our unique approach to collaborative professional growth. Memorial has been featured in Character.org's monthly newsletter and I was asked to present these practices at the Character.org National Convention in March 2021.  These video highlights can also be found on the Character.org website at: https://www.character.org/11-principles-in-action 

Academic Concern Report
Growth For Struggling Learners
Mentor Check-in

Growth for Struggling Learners

During my first two years as the principal of Memorial Middle School in Spotswood, we saw significant improvement overall in academic achievement. That being said, our struggling learners were still a major concern. Through the Building Leadership Team that I established, we were able to develop a goal of targeting growth in our lowest performers, and reducing the number of student failures in individual classes. A three pronged approach was established to address this goal: Improve communication and collaboration with home,  Increase access to support in school, and foster a sense of personal responsibility for students. Actionable steps included things such as sending "Academic Concern Reports" prior to the close of a marking period, inviting parents of any failing student in for meetings, assigning a teacher mentor to students who fail a class, and placing students in the advisory (extended homeroom) room for their class of greatest struggle. The results have been astonishingly positive with an over 50% reduction in failures to date as compared to last school year. 

Kitchin L2L Action Research

Job Embedded Professional Development: We Are Our Own Greatest Resource for Professional Growth

Professional development is often costly, and at times can be unfocused towards the needs on each individual staff member. At Memorial Middle School, in collaboration with a Building Leadership Team, I was able to create job embedded professional development opportunities for each individual staff member that focuses on their own self-identified areas targeted for growth. The attached slide show is a presentation of the specific details of this PD program.

Annual Budgeting 

Creating an appropriate budget is always challenging, particularly given the current rate of inflation and costs increasing across all aspects of a district. With that being said, Fredon School has the added challenge of an April election which requires that the school budget be voted on, a challenge that has not existed for several years in most districts across the state. What that creates is a level of scrutiny that many districts do not face but perhaps, more importantly, the scrutiny can also result in a failed vote that requires a meeting with the town council to determine the final budget numbers. In order to be successful in facing this challenge, I felt the most appropriate approach was true transparency. To achieve this, I conducted several presentations on the budget, including a scheduled sit-down with members of the town council who had previously been very critical of school spending. I also put out a video (attached here) of our budget presentation highlights for the public to view. Our level of communication and transparency was vital to our operations for the current school year because even though the budget failed by 13 votes, I was able to successfully lobby the town council to leave the budget intact. I would be happy to further discuss the strategies I was able to use in achieving this.    

Communication with Families: Weekly Video Updates

Communication is always an important key to success in a school. This has never been more true than during the COVID 19 pandemic with a far greater level of personal and parental responsibility falling on our families with regards to student learning. To keep our families as informed as possible, I created "Kitchin's Corner," a weekly video segment to share important information with families. While there may be more information to be shared some weeks than others, the important thing is that students and parents can feel confident that they are up to date with all things related to school. This is a practice that followed me to my time in Fredon where I continue to communicate weekly with families via video. Attached, you will find one of the many videos that were shared.

All Aboard the DINOTRAIN

Virtual Library for Developing Readers

Reading remains one of the most important keys to success for students at the Elementary Level. This is something that we as educators have far less control over during a pandemic. At Memorial Middle School our staff and students pride ourselves in being a leader in both the local community as well as the greater educational community. For this reason, we felt that it was our responsibility to help support the growth of future Memorial Students by developing a virtual read-a-long library. The idea of this library is students at the elementary level can access a wide variety of great books that are at their reading level. They can read the books on their device or even click the video links to have the book read to them. Attached you will find the sample I created for our students at Memorial. Following this example, our students and staff have created an entire library for the elementary students of Spotswood to enjoy, even when they have less access to reading in school. 

Increased Focus on Reading and Writing Brings Measurable Achievement Gains

Coming into Memorial Middle School, one of the first areas for growth that I was able to identify was academic achievement in ELA. Through an increased focus on reading and writing not just in the classroom but across the building and through real collaborative interaction, we were able to see significant gains in our standardized testing scores immediately. 

Kitchin_Superintendent Eval.pdf
Dr. Kitchin Evaluation.pdf

Administrative Evaluations

The following documents contain Superintendent Performance Reports, observations, and summative evaluation from the past several years. 

Principal Survey - Google Forms.pdf

Staff Survey

The attached survey summary provides a detailed overview of staff responses to an anonymous survey regarding my job performance as their building principal. I use this survey for self reflection at the end of each school year to guide my own growth as a school leader. 

Self Esteem and Academic Achievement FINAL.docx.pdf

Doctoral Research: The Impact of Self-Esteem on Academic Success in Middle School Students.

The social-emotional side of student growth has become an enormous part of the educational experience for each child, particularly at the middle school level. That is why I chose to complete my Ed.D. by conducting my doctoral dissertation research on the impact of self-esteem on academic success for middle school students. The attached document is my published study which was nominated for the Distinguished Dissertation Award at Centenary University due to its significant impact on the educational community. The award winner will be announced in May of 2021. 

Teaching Empathy Through Debate

Empathy is a learned skill that seems to be on the decline in school aged children, in large part because of the digital age, and surrounding environment in which they are coming of age. As a result, peer conflict is becoming more common, with students' egocentric view of many basic social interactions preventing them from understanding the perspective of their classmates. With this in mind, at Memorial Middle School, we created the very first debate program for the 2018-2019 school year. Students learned how to form well thought out and researched arguments with a thorough understanding of the counterpoints of an opposing point of view. The program concluded with a school wide debate assembly (pictured). During this past school year, the program was in audit with the BOE and all time dedicated to the debate club was volunteered by staff members. It was so successful that for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond, the Spotswood BOE approved a stipend position for a debate team director. 

Outdoor Learning

Former Mt. Olive Superintendent, Dr. Reynolds, once told me that a change of scene can turn an ordinary lesson into a lifetime memory. There is considerable research to support the benefits of an outdoor teaching space on student affect and learning. With that in mind, I was able to secure a grant for almost $12,000 to convert our overgrown and underutilized courtyard at Memorial into a beautiful outdoor learning center. The attached pictures are of the Summer 2019 transformation which is now open to students and teachers and nearly complete as a wonderful space for students to grow and learn. 

Van Gogh For It: Building Painting PLC

Research shows that the physical environment in which students learn can have a significant impact on their attitudes towards learning and their academic success. During the 2018-2019 school year I approved and assisted in a PLC group with the mission of researching the benefits of a warm and colorful school building, sharing their findings with their colleagues, and finally, leading a building painting project with staff in which we transformed many areas of our building to be more inspiring for out students. The attached pictures are of wonderful staff of Memorial School putting students first, and having fun giving our building a much needed makeover. 

Encourage Involvement: Student Club Fair

Student involvement is a key component of a successful school. Often times schools have opportunities for students to get involved but leave it up to the students to take the initiative in choosing to do so. At Memorial Middle School, we hosted our first ever Memorial Club Fair during the school day last September 2018. We immediately saw an enormous increase in student involvement, with over 75% of our students participating in at least one extracurricular activity last school year. The attached picture is of our 2nd annual club fair in September 2019. 

Kitchin Space Project

Student Safety

In a day and age where school tragedies are far too common on the news, safety has been a major focus in schools everywhere. A big factor in school safety is addressing outside threats, and visitors to the building. 

The first attached file is a zoned map that I created to help with safety and communication in the event of an emergency. This may has cleared up procedures for our staff and has provided the police department with a clear understanding of the possible location of our students and staff through coded language. This allows for safe and quick communication during drills and in a real emergency. 

The second file is a presentation I created in Spotswood. Entrance vestibules have become a common addition to schools across the country as a method of vetting visitors without giving them access to the students. The attached slide show is a presentation that I created during my doctoral program as a prospective project for Memorial School. While the timeline and budget were theoretical for the purpose of my coursework, the benefits of the overall project were clear enough that after sharing my presentation with district administration, the Spotswood BOE adopted almost every detail of the plan. During the Summer of 2019, the main entrance of Memorial Middle School was reconstructed to match the attached plan and provide a safer environment for our students.