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.