Meet Your Teacher and Back to School Picnic Scheduled for Aug. 31

UPDATE! Starting at 5:00pm on Aug. 31 the Franz truck will be there serving mini 3 oz. grilled cheese sandwiches, animal cookies and water just for kids! Hurry to the event--limited quantities available.

Welcome back, Bonny Slope!

Please join us to meet and greet your new teacher on Thursday, August 31 from 4:30-6pm and stay for a picnic afterwards from 5-7:30pm on the lawn!

Please bring blankets or chairs and your own picnic dinner.  Enjoy treats provided by BSCO for all our new and returning families.  School supplies can be dropped off when you are greeting your new teacher.

Please contact Cara and Nadia at bts@bonnyslopebsco.org with questions.

 

BSCO-Funded Gym Projector Successfully Installed

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Bonny Slope’s long-anticipated wall-mounted gym projector is ready to roll this fall.  Final installation and AV details were completed in July, ending a months-long wait for this facility improvement project.  This endeavor was 100% funded through the generous donations of the Bonny Slope community.

Students and parents will notice some dramatic improvements in the AV quality in the gym.  The projector is now wall-mounted, eliminating the AV cart and associated cables.  The projected image now fills the screen, creating a much better viewing experience.  The freshly installed wall cabinet allows laptops to connect wirelessly and the the speakers were tuned to improve sound.

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A review of the planned opportunities regarding this improvement can be found here.

Huge thanks is due to BSD’s district coordinator, Anthony Ordway, as well as BSE’s own Jacob Whitehead, who served as a liaison to both the district and the vendor, CompView.  “I’m grateful the parents would even consider my proposal of investing in a new projector for Physical Education, assemblies, and after school events,” Whitehead shared.

Funding for a wall-mounted projector was approved in May 2016.  After several months on the District’s Facility Improvement Plan waitlist, it was given a project coordinator in December 2016. This project was made possible by the BSE community’s generous Jog-a-thon and Auction donations.

 

Order Your Bonny Slope Spirit Wear

Don't forget your spirit wear this fall! Our brand-new Bonny Slope store is now online and taking orders.  Gear up the kids and/or yourself 😊in high performance Nike Dri-FIT clothing.  Order early in time for the first day and then order more later—thanks to our friends at Gear Up Sports, the store will be open throughout the year!

BonnySlope.gearupsports.net

August Playground Playdates at Bonny Slope

Last year's August Playground Playdates were such a hit, we're doing them again!  Every Monday in August, BSCO will host a casual playdate on the Bonny Slope playground.  So mark your calendars:

  • August 7, 14 & 21 -- playdates will be from 4-5:30pm
  • August 28th -- playdate from 5-7pm

Kindergarten and new-to-Bonny Slope families are encouraged to come meet and mingle, but everyone is welcome so come join in on the fun.  We'll have chalk, bubbles, balls, for the kids to play with, and be on the lookout.....our mascot, Bobby the Bobcat might even make a guest appearance!  Feel free to spread out some blankets on the grass and bring a picnic dinner.  We'll even have cookies and lemonade at our last playdate on August 28th.  Join us!

Summer's Lip Sync Battle Still Available

Who loves to lip sync to their favorite hit?  Even though school is out, don’t miss an awesome summer opportunity to relax and enjoy some hilarity & shenanigans with your BSE friends and neighbors.  

Auction’s Lip Sync Battle, scheduled for Saturday, 8/19, still has open availability and is sure to be a night to remember.  While competing in the lip sync battle is not required (though there IS a trophy), all participants will enjoy delicious dinner, abundant drinks, and great company.

Tickets can be purchased online. Any questions can be directed to Kelli Henry (kellihenry7@yahoo.com).

Other Auction sign-up party opportunities are also available, including September’s “Mom’s Night Out,” and October’s “Amazing Race.”  Additional details can be found at https://bonnyslopebsco.ejoinme.org/2017auction.

Stay in Touch This Summer Via Social Media

Don’t be a stranger this summer!  BSCO has several social media options available for those of you who would like to keep in touch.  
 
Facebook

Like our main public page “Bonny Slope Community Organization- BSCO” for any BSCO news or updates this summer.  Every article from our blog is automatically published to Facebook, so you are always in the know. (And don’t be shy about liking a post-- that helps spread the word).

Join a grade level Facebook group.  Every grade has a Facebook group, which operate a bit more inclusively than our main page and allow for better conversations between parents.  These are a great avenue for announcements outside of general BSCO news that are relevant to your specific student and anyone within the group can add other Facebook friends.  Please let Hannah (hannah.wooddonohue@gmail.com) know if you are interested in joining one.
 
Instagram

Follow our “bsco_bonnyslope” account for some fun memes, photos and general news.
Bonny Slope’s PYP team is also on instagram at “bsepyp.”  Catch up on curriculum units through photos.
 
BSCO Blog

Subscribe to our blog and receive the full text, straight to your inbox, on the day it is published.  All the day’s posts are put into one evening email, so your inbox stays clutter free.  Go to our website, www.bonnyslopebsco.org and look for the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the far right side column.  A confirmation email will be sent before you begin receiving updates.
 
See you in August!

 

May 2017 Principal Chat… REVEALED

Budget Blues

Oh honey.  In case you haven’t heard, the state is facing a deficit next fiscal year and education is once again on the chopping block. BSD’s budgeting was based on $8.1billion for the state, (and now legislatures are looking at reducing it to $7.8billion!), but the break even number was $8.4, which would have given us no change from our current funding.

No matter where the chips fall, BSD and by extension-- Bonny Slope-- will feel those changes.  No teachers will be laid off, but some classified staff might be (which are staff without a teacher’s license, such as instructional assistants and secretaries).  Also, school offices will be totally closed in July and will have limited hours at the beginning of August.  Janet’s general budget from BSD will also be reduced.

Class Size Chaos

Every year at this time, parents start murmuring about next year’s teachers and next year’s class sizes, and debating whether THIS IS THE YEAR that BSE will explode at the seams.  The surrounding boom in construction has put everyone on edge as most feel our current size is living on borrowed time.

However, BSD’s recent demographer report (yes-- that’s a real job in the district) has BSE’s projected enrollment to be 612.  Our current number is over 630.  I mean honestly-- how could our numbers go DOWN??  Unfortunately, BSD does not just guess at enrollment-- they quite literally count the number of elementary age students enrolled… last January.  That means that any new construction in the ensuing months isn’t taken into account unless those families register.  

And so we all just do a little dance as we wait to see who actually shows up in August.  Right now, BSE has been allotted enough money to staff 612 students.  As 2017-18 approaches and class sizes solidify, Janet is confidant that we will get the teachers we need, as BSD has said that the last thing to be changed is larger class sizes.  

The magic number to create a new section within K-2 is 28 students per classroom.  3-5 can go as high as 30 before another section is considered.  With the closure of BSE’s front office in July, parents will be forced to wait to enroll-- which means our class size reality won’t be revealed until late August.

And what about our Specialists?  Well, specialists are assumed at around a 4:1 ratio to teachers, so if we have 23 teachers, we will have five specialists.  Again, we all get to just sit on our hands and see where the numbers fall come late summer.

Early Release Reality

Sit up, parents.  Big changes are coming to our current bell schedule.  Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that Bonny Slope and the ENTIRE SCHOOL DISTRICT will release students 90 minutes EVERY.SINGLE.WEDNESDAY from now until forever.  That means our final bell rings at 1:35pm and parents will be suddenly saddled with what to do with their little hooligans that early every Wednesday afternoon.

Bonny Slope is blessed to have Student Stop as an on-site option.  Over half of our elementaries in BSD do not have on-site childcare, so count your lucky stars for Tina and her team.  Much like cage-free chickens, there is a square-foot limit based on number of students, but Janet and Ali are confidant in our capacity and believe that Student Stop will continue to operate as the well-oiled machine it is known to be.

However, one recent bummer is the announcement that all afterschool clubs and activities will not be available on Wednesday afternoons.  That means our vendors like Young Rembrandts, Mad Science, and all those other fun options will NOT be scheduled on Wednesdays.  For all you working parents that were hoping this could relieve some pressure, unfortunately that is not the case.

Why the schedule shutout?  Couple reasons.  One, the school won’t actually be empty.  Our teachers are using that time to meet and collaborate and having afterschool activities would be a distraction to this professional time.  Two, while the clubs are SUPPOSED to be independent, they regularly need office assistance, which won’t be there after school on Wednesday.

Suppress the Summer Slump

BSE is kicking off a new summer reading program in hopes we can resist the ever-tempting screentime.  “Reading Can Take you Places”  is an idea brought forth from fifth grade teacher, Helen Chandler (note: families should have already received their passport in Friday Folders).

Jennifer Oordt has big things planned for this program, including a possible popcorn and/or popsicle party.  Students will have a little celebration at the end of summer for those that accomplish their goal.  Kinders through fourth graders will go home with a “power goal,” which emphasizes what specific items they need to accomplish in order to move up in reading level.  More info on the Reading Passport can be found here.

Modern Mathematics

Ugh.  Us old-timers keenly feel this struggle.  The recent change in math methodology has left us all scratching our heads and muttering, “I don’t know why-- just carry the one and be done with it!”  

Engage NY has been teachers’ recent choice, but as a stand alone product, it didn’t meet all the expectations as a math program.  BSD is adding a curriculum study that goes with it, called “Context for Learning.” This program fills in all of the holes and our teachers receive training over the summer.  The upside is that parents should be feeling the love and receiving more online support.  The District is also adopting programs to help minions practice at home.  

One of the current free math subscriptions available to students is Zearn, which many of our students have already been using.  Another new option will be Dream Box, for all your mathematical dreams...  kidding.  BSCO has historically funded IXL, which is quite popular with a small segment of BSE parents.  IXL, however, comes with a hefty price-tag of over $4k, so the jury is still out on whether BSE teachers will choose to continue that subscription.

Other Juicy Tidbits

  • Kindergarten numbers for next year look to support four sections, with 77 kinders attending the Roundup. To give you context-- BSE only had 78 kindergartners WHEN SCHOOL BEGAN last fall.

  • Our PYP reauthorization has been pushed into Fall 2018 so we gotta little more time to straighten our ducks.

  • The previously reported BSE preschool is still uncertain with BSD’s current budget landscape.  Our superintendent intends for more elementaries to eventually have preschools on-site, but right now the limitations with space and funds has everything on the backburner.  

And that’s a wrap!  See you next September for your next installment of Principal Chat…. REVEALED.

 

April 2017 Principal Chat… REVEALED

It was a record crowd at this month’s chat.  The eight of us really partied down for this short & sweet discussion.

CommUNITY Circle

Back in August, BSE staff sat down asked themselves, “In ten years, how will BSE students be remembered?  How did they act?”  Teachers took those answered and created a mission statement (not to be confused with our official PYP mission statement), that serves as a working target to strive towards throughout the year.  

We want our students to see themselves as leaders, have confidence in their ability to learn, be empowered to make a difference in the world, be inclusive and accepting, be culturally curious, be caring and respectful of others, be independent thinkers and to be healthy individuals.

(sigh)  Sounds lovely, no?  But how to foster it?  

Ah.  Well, throughout April, teachers have focused on respect-- and what that looks like.  Turns out there are a lot of different perceptions of respect-- what it is and what it isn’t looks different to every adult.  Teachers discussed and worked through what standards should be met across the building when it comes to student showing respect to each other and to adults.  While BSE students are generally respectful to their respective classroom teacher, other adult monitors often see some disappointing behavior.

Research has proven that when school communities foster respect, academic skills go up, even without one single change in teaching strategy.  Feeling safe at school doesn’t just improve the playground-- it impacts the classroom in equal proportion.

Assessments.  The Broken Record.

Oh the joys of state testing.  Thankfully BSE is well-prepared to endure this annual brouhaha.  Our improved wi-fi and 1:1 ration of devices has allowed students to take tests in their own classroom.  This doesn’t interfere with the library and specials schedule.  

Many previous chats have gone into the difference between today’s assessments and ours of yesteryear.  Here’s the short version:

  • Students no longer guess from a multiple choice test with paper and pencil.  They are asked to highlight/identify evidence and write out answers using a computer.

  • It’s harder than anything we had before because students must explain and support their thinking.

  • It is similar to what they are already doing in the classroom.

  • Grades 3-5 take the Smarter Balance tests for math & reading.  5th graders take OAKS science test.

Juicy Tidbits

  • BSE is up for IB reauthorization next year.  While reauthorization is generally easier than the initial authorization, it can be an unnerving and stressful procedure.  We were last reauthorized in the spring of 2014.  Note:  Our reauthorization has since been pushed to 2018.

  • BSS has focused on its science curriculum this school year, including using BSCO’s PYP Training funds to hire Tonia Anderson to work with grade teams to bulk up & improve BSE’s science curriculum.

2017-18 School Supplies Now Available Online

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Bonny Slope has once again partnered with Schoolhouse Supplies to provide an easy and convenient school supply option that saves parents time while helping local teachers and schools who struggle to fill their classrooms with necessary materials.

 

Follow these easy steps to place your student’s school supply order online:

  1. Visit  www.SchoolhouseSupplies.org/online
  2. Step through the prompts by clicking on the BSE logo, adding in our state, and finding Bonny Slope.  Choose your kit by grade.
  3. Find your beautiful new supplies waiting for you on the first day of school,

Your supplies are matched to teacher lists and delivered to your child’s classroom for the first day of school. There are a few items not included in the online order, found here.

NEW THIS YEAR!  BSCO will be funding all the reams of paper formerly required of parents, so that has been eliminated from all supply lists.

A portion of your purchase will go to support the Free Store for Teachers at Schoolhouse Supplies. Schoolhouse Supplies is a nonprofit organization that provides free school supplies to teachers in need.  

All orders submitted prior to July 14th will receive $5 off. The absolute last day to order is August 2, 2017.

For those not interested in purchasing online, a full list of the 2017-18 school supply list can be found here.

Early Release Wednesday’s Begin Next Fall

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the District will implement a 90-minute early release on Wednesday afternoons to allow teachers time to collaborate and participate in professional development opportunities. Starting September 13, 2017, Bonny Slope will release at 1:35 p.m. every Wednesday.
 
The Early Release/Teacher Collaboration webpage includes an FAQ and an animated video in both English and Spanish. Please visit the webpage to learn more.

Facility Use on Early Release Wednesday’s in 2017/18

With the introduction of early release on Wednesday’s next school year, the Central Office has been receiving questions from parents and staff about the use of the school facilities on early release days.  
 
After extensive discussion with Teaching and Learning leadership, Superintendent Grotting has determined that all schools will be closed to community use and rental during the Wednesday early release hours. This means no after school clubs will be available after school on Wednesdays at Bonny Slope, such as Mad Science & Young Rembrandts.
 
The exception to this closure decision will be to licensed after-school daycares under lease contracts with the District, such as Bonny Slope's Student Stop.  The District currently has contracts with licensed after-school daycares at 19 elementary schools and these are anticipated to remain in effect.