As 2015 winds to a close, let’s look back at how your BSCO donation improved student learning this school year.
Each classroom teacher was granted $450 this school year to help support classroom materials and learning supplies. Tangible examples that were purchased this school year include books, book bins, science supplies, small work tables, math manipulatives, kid-appropriate music for PE, art supplies, CDs for learning engagement, a classroom set of white boards and folders for various student workshops.
When asked how this fund impacted student learning, a common theme emerged. “The BSCO Teacher Fund impacts student learning by allowing for a wider variety of materials being used in the classroom - everything from different levels of reading materials to math manipulatives that facilitate understanding of concepts. This helps differentiate instruction for the mixed levels we all have in our rooms,” explains first grade teacher, Johanna Johnson.
Aliyah Taylor, a fourth grade teacher here at BSE, agrees. “Truly, the teacher fund allows me to differentiate across the curriculum better, giving students access to things at their rate and level as well as allowing them a variety of ways to learn concepts for better understanding,” Taylor noted.
BSCO’s Teacher Grant program is an opportunity for BSE staff to take a risk and explore different teaching strategies and programs. The Kindergarten team’s Light Inquiry grant was approved last September, which allowed two light tables and various manipulatives to be shared between the four classrooms.
Kindergarten teacher, Deb Henley, described the addition with enthusiasm, stating, “Student learning with the light tables has been huge. The students have been building their engineering skills by manipulating the Magna-tile shapes to build structures. Some of the things they are building include rockets, cars and buildings.”
Engineering skills are not the only learning goals being improved. The tables have allowed have more scientific inquiry as well as providing a fun, community-building activity. “The ability to look at the world with a large, direct light source encourages scientific observation at a deeper level. The class is developing their visual and spatial reasoning skills. The light tables have strengthened our classroom community. As students work together at the table and share the materials, the rich conversations that support teamwork are evident daily,” Henley added.
Teacher Mature Grants
BSCO also supports long-standing grants, moving those programs into the Mature Grant line item after two successful years. This school year, the fifth grade team has already purchased the Newbery Book Club books, which allow small group discussion and study of current, award-winning books. Fifth grade teacher, Helen Chandler, explains, “I’m amazed at the shared passion for these books. Students are learning the joy of discussing books- along with the power of sharing your thinking with others in order to solidify your own understanding of the book.”
The generosity of the BSE community has also provided an incredible amount of support materials for the various grades' PYP units since September. In this school year alone, BSCO dollars have purchased nearly 70 nonfiction books, specifically chosen to support grade level PYP units, such as the fourth grade team who received classroom books related to energy for their Sharing the Planet research project.
PYP Support doesn’t just provide books. The first grade team received 32 flashlights and batteries to better facilitate hands-on experimentation for their How the World Works unit on sound and light.
BSCO is also excited to provide two third-party science vendors in each classroom in a school year, bolstering our science and inquiry curriculum. Many BSE classrooms have already experienced a presentation, including first grade (OMSI’s Sound of Science and Mad Science’s Sound Basics), second grade (Mad Science’s Ice Capades), and third grade (OMSI’s Pit Crews).
First grade teacher, Bitsy Parks, raved about the programs, stating, “It was great to recently have both Mad Science and OMSI present in first grade classes. Both presentations focused on Sound - how sound is made and how it travels. These presentations were key to our How the World Works PYP unit, by immersing students in the science of sound using many different hands-on materials. This unit also directly teaches to first grade Next Generation Science Standards.”
Last October, the fifth grade was able to enjoy a four day science adventure at the coast, an experience that is heavily subsidized through BSCO revenue. Read here for full details on the experience.
Our community garden is another opportunity for science education. Kelly Ward, BSCO’s Garden Chair, understands the garden’s value. “Students have the opportunity to watch a crop grow from a seed or start to something healthy they can eat. They learn what it takes to make things grow first hand,” Ward notes. 75% of the beds have already been assigned this school year and can be used for pollination and composting experiments as well. BSCO provides all maintenance necessary supplies throughout the year.
Student Enrichment Programs
Geography Club, Bobcat Trail Club, and OBOB have all kicked off these year, supported through BSCO funds. Generally, costs accrue near the beginning of the year as each program sets up shop. Meghan Hoobler, BTC Chair, describes the excitement of seeing “that big smile they get on their face each time they finish a card at Bobcat Trail Club and receive an award, especially when they finish four cards and you tell them they've run an entire marathon. My heart swells because that is an accomplishment!” BSCO offers varied student enrichment programs in hopes of appealing to many types of students.
Art Lit is enjoying another banner year, with lessons on both Monet and Chihuly already in the books. Art Lit reaches every student in our building and is 100% funded by BSCO. Their latest project on Dave Chihuly, which included the purchase of 750 sheets of shrink film and 240 colored sharpies, can be seen displayed throughout the school.
BSCO Budget Details
For those interested in further exploring our 2015-16 budget, details can be found here.
Many exciting events and programs are still to come in 2016, but a huge thank you is due to all the parents, volunteers & donors who have already made our year a success. BSCO is not one person or one small group-- but the support, time and hard-work of our entire school community. Thank you for your contribution this year, big or small.
Happy New Year!