November 2017 Principal Chat

November’s Principal Chat was short and sweet, taking place right before BSCO’s Special Session Community Meeting.  Here’s the lowdown-- nice and brief.

Semester Swap

Say goodbye to trimester grading.  All schools in BSD are now on semesters, meaning we won’t see a report card home until February.  This eliminates additional grading days (keeping our little cherubs in the classroom).  Concerned about your child’s progress?  Each week teachers are checking in with students and encouraging conversations with parents regarding class work.

Snow Bus Blues

Oh, yes.  Our very lovely BSD Inclement Weather Policy.  How could we forget?  For those inexperienced newbies that have never experienced the joy of a snow route day at Bonny Slope, allow us to enlighten you to the sixth level of Dante’s inferno.

When weather is dicey, BSD has a choice to cancel school, have a delayed start, and/or put their busses on snow routes.  Snow routes avoid areas dangerous in the snow and ice, like steep hills, elevation etc.  Makes sense, right?  Except…

EVERY bus route for Bonny Slope is considered unsuitable in the snow, meaning NO BUSSES SERVE BSE when Beaverton designates snow routes.  NONE.

Now, many of you are scratching your heads and thinking, “So we still have school, but the roads to BSE are considered too dangerous for transportation, but we’re all expected to drive our kids to school on those same roads?”

Yes, my friends.  Exactly.  And that is why snow routes stink at BSE.

We are not the only school in this predicament.  Nancy Ryles and the new Sato Elementary are in the same boat, but man that doesn’t make us feel any better when the crush of cars descend on our parking lot and we just want to get our kids home.  Prepare yourself to be patient when you are picking up on a day with no bus service.  Better yet, add all your neighbors as designated pickups, so your ‘hood can carpool.

So!  Things to know when Beaverton School District announces that busses are on snow routes.

  • If the weather report looks dangerous, then each family has to decide if they go to school
  • BSD will not provide transportation home when on busses on snow routes, even if those same busses took the kids to school in the morning (and snow routes were called later in the day)
  • BSD will tell parents by 1pm if there’s been a change of bus service

Spelling Switch

As previously reported, BSD has implemented a district-wide change to how teachers approach spelling. Gone are the spelling lists and weekly tests.  20 years of research has shown that those spelling tests don’t ACTUALLY improve a child’s spelling in their writing.

These days, students are encouraged to just go for it-- spelling as they hear it and more emphasis on the process of writing.  Teachers also use explicit spelling as visuals-- on the board and on the paper.  Word families are presented, allowing students to use association to find the right spelling.  Also, students self-select words they continually misspell, allowing them to recognize where they need help.

And FYI-- math is taught in a similar fashion.  No more regurgitating math facts.  It’s all about understanding concepts, gaining number sense, and thinking critically.

Dreambox Baby

Most parents have probably heard about BSD’s new online math tool, Dreambox, where all your math dreams come true.  BSD is encouraging teachers to use Dreambox within the classroom and not necessarily at home, ensuring that students aren’t getting an extra boost from parents “helping.”

The cool thing about Dreambox, as previously described in these chats, is that it’s adaptive, directing students to types of practice based on their time and accuracy.  That progress is monitored by the teacher.

If you are looking for online math tools to be used at home, have your little minion take you to their Technology module.  They can access Zearn, Khan Academy, and many other educational online tools from that portal.

And that’s a wrap!  Join us on Friday, 12/15 at 2pm for December’s Principal Chat.