Welcome Fall! Burlington Schools are off to a great start for the 2013-2014 school year. The climate is positive and students are on task – it is exciting to visit schools and witness all the hard work!
*Professional Learning Communities
Wednesday Professional Learning Communities hit the ground running the very first day of school. This one hour early release schedule on Wednesdays replaces all other K-8 early release days except for two parent conferences. The schedule change was prompted by a State mandate for restructuring intended to increase student achievement. The professional learning communities model is based on a simple premise: to be effective, educators must have the collaborative time to review data, plan instruction and analyze professional practice. For an overview and FAQs about PLCs, visit http://www.bsdvt.org.
To start the school year, the PLC time has been effectively used by teachers to review school missions, visions, and shared values, as well as identify actions which will lead to all students achieving their personal best. Teacher teams have looked at student data from last year, reviewed assessments administered thus far this year, selected students for participation in Reading Recovery, planned curriculum, and used student data to finalize kindergarten placements for the year. Work plans are being created for the year and teachers are engaged in collaborative problem solving, planning, and preparation for instruction that meets children at their just right levels and helps them progress over time.
*Director of Diversity Education and Engagement
Burlington School District is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Da Verne Bell as the Burlington School District Director of Diversity Education and Engagement. With 16 years of experience as a diversity director in the K-12 public schools in Washington, Dr. Bell will be joining the Diversity, Equity, and Community Partnership work of the District at the end of October, filling a position that has been vacant since last January with the loss of Dr. Dan Balón.
*English Language Learner Updates
In June 2012, the Burlington School District requested a needs assessment and policy review of its English Language Learner (ELL) Program by the New England Equity Assistance Center (NEEAC) of the Education Alliance at Brown University. NEEAC is one of 10 regional equity assistance centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education and serves districts and state education agencies in the Northeast.
The objectives of the review were:
• To assess the current programming for ELLs at the secondary level;
• To engage the school community to identify strengths and needs;
• To identify areas of strengths in current programming; and
• To recommend actions, strategies, resources, and supports towards meeting the needs of ELLs more equitably.
Visit www.bsdvt.org to review the findings.
2013 Title III Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives Determination
The 2013 Title III Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO) Determination has been released for the Burlington School District. The three AMAOs and results are listed below:
AMAO #1: For 2013, 62.23% of ELLs made at least a .5 level gain in English language proficiency as required. This is a 10 percentage point increase over last year, when 52.6% of students made the required gain. This result surpasses the State’s target of 54% and moves the District much closer to its ELL Program goal of 70% of ELLs making a .5 level gain.
AMAO #2: 13.4% of ELLs gained fluent English proficiency. This result is slightly less than last year’s 14.2%, though the District is still ahead of the State’s target of 8%.
AMAO #3: Students in the ELL subgroup did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). However, four Burlington schools were recognized for increasing the AYP index score by 10% or more in reading and/or math for students in the ELL subgroup.
Linda Walsleben, ELL Director for the District, attributed these successes to the efforts of ELL Teachers in their instruction of social and academic English, ELL Content Specialists for the professional development they provide to mainstream teachers, Multilingual Liaisons for their support of students and their families, and administrators for their focus on supporting English learners in Burlington Schools.
This month includes New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) Testing (October 1-23) – an assessment of math, reading and writing for students in grades 3-11. Since 2005, Vermont students have been participating in the NECAP tests, administered annually, which were developed in collaboration with the Rhode Island and New Hampshire departments of education. There are no native language versions of the NECAP assessments. The NECAP tests measure students’ academic knowledge and skills relative to the Grade Expectations for Vermont’s Framework of Standards. Reading and math are assessed in grades 3-8 and 11, writing is assessed in grades 5, 8 and 11, and science (to be administered in May 2014) is assessed in grades 4, 8 and 11.
*Proposed “School Calendar 2.0” Community Engagements Scheduled for October
Four dates in October, 2013 have been established for community forums across Chittenden County regarding the proposed Vermont Champlain Valley Regional “School Calendar 2.0″. One of these forums will be held on Wednesday, October 9th, 6:30 p.m. at BHS.
Based on the Vermont Superintendent’s Association (VSA) Education Quality Framework and the VT World-Class Education Agenda, the School Calendar 2.0 is a new way of looking at what a school calendar could look like. This calendar preserves the current 175 student days while building in blocks of times, or intersessions, that could be used for multiple purposes for multiple stakeholders.
For more information on the proposed regional calendar, visit: schoolcalendar2.blogspot.com. Highlights include customized learning, partnership with community organizations, timely and responsive professional learning, and preservation of quality instructional time.
*Save the Date for a Partnership for Change Learning Conversation
Last February, more than 300 students, educators, family members, and community partners from Burlington and Winooski gathered at BHS to discuss what our graduates need to succeed. Since then, based on the input of our whole community, teams in both cities have drafted and revised new Graduate Expectations for the high schools, which are being piloted this year. This November, we invite you to continue the conversation and join us in moving this work forward. Mark your calendars now for Saturday, November 2nd from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Winooski Middle/High School. For more information, visit www.partnershipvt.org.
As always, I welcome comments, suggestions and observations. Contact me at email@example.com or call 802.864.8474. Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter @BTVSchools to keep up with all that is happening in the Burlington Schools!