A Half Day, Already?

Posted by on 10/1/2015 11:04:00 AM

Welcome back! Our schools are bustling with smiling faces of students acclimating to the new school year. Thank you for helping your children transition back into the school routine.

Last night one of my friends posted on Facebook, “Third week of school and…half day!” I could tell my friend was a little frustrated because she has three young students who need daycare while she works and half-days are tricky for her. While we do understand this dilemma and have decreased the number of half days from last year’s calendar, there may be times when schools need to provide teachers with extra time.

On Friday, October 2nd, BCSD teachers will have time to collaborate with departments and/or grade levels to discuss what they are seeing from this year’s students to write Student Learning Objectives (SLOs).  In essence, each teacher will carefully look at multiple data points to set a goal for their students.  Teachers carefully monitor student progress during the year to ensure that each student is growing and thus maximizing his/her potential.

What do teachers use to set goals for students? We encourage teachers to look at many things.  It is critical for teachers to know and understand all aspects of a child; therefore, teachers spend a lot of time in September getting to know their students. We gather informal data from observing students while they work and interact with other students. We collect daily work samples, quizzes, homework, and unit test results. Teachers also have access to historical files including report card grades, Regional Assessments and New York Assessment results.

As a district we challenge our teachers to help students answer rigorous questions through writing. All contents ask questions during each lesson. By asking students to write an answer to a question we see what the student is thinking. This provides a forum for teachers to discuss how students are answering questions in written form. Therefore, having time to collaborate on a half day will assist teachers in developing appropriate goals.

As a district, we strive to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Asking good questions causes students to think critically and having them write an answer opens the door to help us know what they are thinking and how they solve problems.