The purpose of Parent Information Night was to inform parents of the changes happening next year and for them to have a chance to ask questions. We wrote our 2018-19 Action Plan not just in response to Act 46, but to formulate our vision for a 21st Century School. We feel we have a strong vision and are very committed to improving our school. As Mary Beth, our Superintendent, says, we are moving from very good to GREAT and we are all CREW in this journey, not PASSENGERS.
We really do invite all input from all stakeholders. If you were not able to attend Parent Information Night, please take some time to read the following and to fill out the survey.
Primary and Intermediate HUBS
The school will have two Hubs, a Primary and an Intermediate Hub. The Primary Hub will consist of Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, and Second grades. The classrooms will be located next to each other for the purpose of flexible grouping and collaboration. Students will be with their classroom teacher for a majority of the day, but will interact with all teachers during group times and projects. This Hub will be located in what is currently the Pre-K, kindergarten and 3&4 classrooms. Teachers for this Hub are Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Behremovic, and Mrs. Gidney.
The Intermediate Hub will consist of Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth grades with each grade having a homeroom. Children will begin and end the day with their homeroom teacher. Teachers for this Hub are Mrs. Boymer, Ms. Schindler, Ms. Koetsier, and Janet Cathey. The Intermediate Hub will be located in what is currently ½, ⅚, and Ms. Koetsier’s room.
As with everything in life, there are benefits and challenges to this new design. Some of the benefits we foresee are small class sizes (particularly for math and literacy), collaboration for teachers, collaboration and positive connections for students, and Forest Fridays. Some of the challenges we are working with are scheduling, coordinating Forest Fridays, and the fact that this is new. We don’t pretend to have everything figured out and expect that new challenges will arise. We will be continuing to work on our Hubs and developing our curriculum through the Summer. If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to ask and offer them. You can email any teacher or Mrs. Thein. Our emails are our first initial followed by our last name and @wcsu.net (ie. Meg Schindler’s email is [email protected]).
The Place-based Education Initiative we started this year will be further developed and implemented next year. Our goal is to use the social, cultural, and natural environment in which our students live as an inquiry-based learning environment to gain knowledge and skills across the curriculum.This includes plans for more visits to local farms and businesses. We plan on expanding the Forest Friday programs across the school and to integrate more gardening and cooking into the curriculum. The primary goal in our minds is to build in students a love of nature and a desire for stewardship.
STEAM (Science Technology Engineering the Arts and Math) Initiative will also be further developed and implemented, including the addition of Makerspaces in the library and eventually into each hub. We will continue to develop strong inquiry-based units integrating questioning techniques, critical thinking and problem solving skills, Tasks will be designed to build knowledge of concepts at a deeper level.
Changes in Hannah’s position
Hannah will move from a full time principal at Barnard to .60 principal and .40 curriculum coordinator for the district. Her curriculum work will include:
- Directing and coordinating the selection, development, and evaluation of elementary standards-based curriculum, assessment, instructional programs:
- Directing and coordinating professional development opportunities of WCSU and its affiliated school districts;
- Collaboratively leading elementary educators in comprehensive planning for continuous improvement.
There are challenges to this change, but one of the pluses for Barnard Academy is that Hannah will have the opportunity to shape teaching and learning not only at Barnard but in the whole district. BA’s strengths will be shared across the SU, and BA will benefit from engaging the broader support of the WCSU for the type of teaching and learning initiatives that are moving forward here.
The School Board and staff have been working with Hannah to ensure that educational and administrative responsibilities and responsiveness remain consistent even when Hannah is out of the building. The two days where Hannah will be out of the building will be covered by a teacher leader, Ingrid Johnson, as well as other staff members. We will be hiring a nurse for 2.5 days so the nurse will be there on days Hannah won’t. Plans are to have the guidance counselor there as well. We will be sure the building has the support personnel to run smoothly. This position change will be revisited on a quarterly basis for needed adjustments. If you have any questions, please email Hannah.
Other information covered at the meeting or asked in the survey:
- We are looking into ways of supporting maintenance work throughout the year–perhaps an additional 20 hours per week
- Small changes in the building: moving music to the library, expanding the kitchen in the Green Mountain Room, trying to solve our storage problems in various creative ways
If you are interested in working on some of these projects, see Hannah.
- As much as possible in our first hub year, curriculum will be interdisciplinary and include multiage opportunities.
- Small groups will be flexible throughout the year, and not necessarily based on grade but rather based on academic needs and interests. Teachers will use evidence to form the groups and students will be appropriately challenged/supported.
- Performances will continue–and will be shorter and more tied to the curriculum. We will be mindful of instructional time used for practices. All Sings and Assemblies focused on school projects will still happen.
- Primary teachers in need of training in our Math program will receive that training, as well as math coaching by the district coach as well as Britney.
- We will do our best to provide equal access to Place Based Education and STEAM opportunities each week across the school.
- The work to make the kitchen a little bigger will not cost much this summer and provide a place for students to cook and for Forest Friday supplies. We are waiting to see what happens with district initiatives before we move forward on a “receiving” kitchen.
- Transportation information is being looked at and as soon as we have it, we will relay what we come up with.
- PreK, K, and Afterschool: we will be sending out more information when we have registration completed, personnel assigned, and program action plans completed.
- As soon as we hire a nurse, more information will be forthcoming around health, wellness, allergies, etc.