September 2015 Principal Chat… REVEALED!

Meet IRLA, the new girl in town.  

September’s Principal Chat featured special guest, Jennifer Oordt, BSE’s new RTI Specialist.  Big things are in store teachers and students this year as we say goodbye to the trusty ‘ole DRA and say hello to IRLA, Beaverton School District’s flashy new English Language Arts (ELA) adoption.

So what does that mean for us confused parents who don’t speak in acronyms?  Well, first of all BSD provided 300 books for EACH CLASSROOM and added 3500 to our Book Room.  Awesome, yes?  IRLA also represents the best practice in teaching-- avoiding cookie cutter lessons and tailoring assessment and development to each child.  Forget the numbers-- IRLA’s scale is based on colors and the alphabet.  More info will be communicated at fall conferences.

But why was the DRA given the heave-ho?  It seems that BSD has been using the DRA for the past 16 years and research and assessment techniques have become more nuanced.  IRLA allows teachers to capture and identify specific foundational literacy issues.  However, IRLA’s magic won’t happen overnight.  2015-2016 is considered a training year as teachers AND students learn the ins and outs.

Spanish Objectives…. Lost in Translation

It’s so hard to be misunderstood.  And apparently, the objectives and goals of our Spanish program have some parents scratching their heads.  It turns out that in an IB school such as ours, the goal is EXPOSURE to a single language, not an academic study.  Students will be learning key words of the language in an attempt to gain cultural experience, awareness and international mindfullness.  

Say, WHAT?!  You mean we don’t have to be irritated if our 5th grader isn’t fluent?  Turns out students will begin a more academic & structured program once they enter middle school.  Until then, our Spanish program will continue to highlight and showcase not just the Spanish language, but the culture as a whole in our pursuit of IB excellence.

Other Juicy Tidbits

Looks like the Oregon Legislature is considering mandating Outdoor School for 6th graders.  Until that that becomes official, BSE will continue to offer Outdoor School for our 5th Grade.

While the majority of students at BSE achieved high marks on the notorious Smarter Balance, we still have some work to do when it comes to supporting our most vulnerable students.  But have no fear-- Maza and Co. have a plan, which dictates that the struggling students not miss any core instruction (when possible), when pulled for ESL or Intervention Services.  Sound easy? Uh…. actually much harder than you’d think, since they can’t miss Specials either.  Our Instructional Assistants are also working on a tight daily schedule to boost the children who need it most.

Join us in October for Janet’s next Principal Chat-- Friday, October 16th at 2pm in the small conference room.