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Updates from the Principal

(From the January newsletter)

Planning for Next School Year

As most of you know, Bristol Elementary School was awarded a two-year School Improvement Grant.  We used those funds to hire an Educational Consultant to work with our teachers on Curriculum Development, Differentiated Instruction strategies and Response to Intervention.   Teachers have been engaging in concentrated work analyzing curriculum, exploring the research around best practices for teaching and learning and have participated in facilitated, professional dialogue about what models have proven effective in improving student performance here and in other systems.  To that end, we have decided to place more emphasis on a two-grade teaming model next year where students will be in multi-age homeroom classes at grades 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6.  Professionals will work together to co-teach, organize flexible grouping models and design curriculum using the Grade Expectations and Power Standards as their guide.  There are many benefits to this model, some of which are highlighted below.  We will share much more information about what these “clusters” will look like in the next few months.  For now, know that we are constantly working on strategies for improving the learning experience for your child(ren) and your perspective is always welcome.

Why Change to Multi-Age Teams?

Practical/Structural/Philosophical/Hopeful

Ø  Offers a two-year relationship with teacher(s)

Ø  Fewer transitions grade-to-grade (new placements every other year)

Ø  Teachers have more direct background knowledge of the student’s learning needs

Ø  Second year students offer an opportunity to role model and reinforce routines

Ø  Manageable and consistent class sizes across the school

Ø  Stabilizes teaching assignments (minimize the need for reassigning teachers to unfamiliar grade levels)

Ø   “Departmentalizing” options, opportunities to blend stylistic approaches

Ø  More opportunities to flexibly group students (by interests, needs, peer dynamics…)

Ø  Can share resources and expertise as a team (minimize duplication of supplies, consultants, training, etc…)


Current Staffing with ‘11-’12 Projections and Grade Level Configurations  

 

‘10-’11 

(straight grade enrollment)

’10-‘11

(straight grade assignments) 

’11-‘12

(if straight grade – 17 teachers)

’11-’12

(assignments if straight grade)

K

47

(15,16,16)

3

48 (projection)

(16,16,16)

3*

First

52

(16,18,18)

3

47

(15,16,16)

3

Second

28

(14,14)

2

52

(17,17,18)

3*

Third

35

(18, 17)

2

28

(14,14)

2

Fourth

43

(15, 14,14)

3

35

(18, 17)

2*

Fifth

40

(19,21)

2

43

(21,22)

2

Sixth

48

(15,16,17)

3

40

(20,20)

2*

Total

293

18

293

17

 

 

Multi-age classes

17 Teachers

K

48 (projection)

(16,16,16)

3*

1/2

99

(19, 20, 20, 20, 20)

5

3/4

63

(15,16,16,16)

4*

5/6

83

(16, 16, 17, 17, 17) 

5

 

(From the February newsletter)

Planning for Next School Year

Designing a school-wide configuration structure that will allow us to better meet the needs of all learners is the goal behind changes that we will be making in 2011-2012. As was shared in last month’s newsletter (also available on our website at http://www.besvt.org), our faculty is working very hard to plan for two-grade multi-age teams for our first-sixth graders. We are in the process of developing a page on our website to share all of our work to date including resources. Class newsletters will start to provide updates as well, and we will have more information for you at your child’s March conference.  In light of a one teacher reduction, our new assignments (barring any other unanticipated changes) are listed below. 

·         K Team:  Sarah Kelley, Betsy Synnott, Casey Underwood

·         1/2 Team:  Anna Couperthwait, Sandy Haddock, Jen Roth-Longe, Sarah Scrodin, Peg Sutlive

·         3/4 Team:  Andrea Halnon, Julie MacDonald, Rachel Marker, Cathy Smith

·         5/6 Team:  Heather Estey, Sarah Mangini, Andrea Murnane, Bridget Nardiello, Rebecca Zavadil

We feel strongly that much of the progress that BES is making in academics and in our social curricula can be attributed to the work we do collaboratively.  By developing these “clusters” and capitalizing on the strength of a two year relationship between teachers, students and families, we feel we can achieve even more success.  BES Teachers are designing delivery models that may look a little different as students get older, preparing them even more for middle school success.  Thank you for your trust and support in this process as we continue our work to design strong, effective programs for the children of Bristol.