Saturday, September 1, 2012

Week One in the Books!

BVP Team we have one week in the books, and what a week it was!  With our 770 scholars (or thereabouts) and nearly 100 staff members, we are off to the races.  From K scholars learning how to sit in a chair (literally) to 7th graders developing teamwork skills at the Wheeler Ropes Course, with a ton of academics, benchmark assessments, service projects, anti-bullying, routines, music, art, physical education, soccer practice, professional development, and lots and lots of family meet-and-greets in between, this was arguably our best first week ever.

Communication
Some of our first week highlights have been captured beautifully by Carina and Jen on our first Constant Contact announcement, revised website and our Official facebook page.  I would be remiss not to remind everyone also to follow @BVPrep on Twitter where Carina, Jen, and I try to capture the essence of the day.  Also note that any tweet that mentions @bvprep will be (almost) automatically retweeted!  Thanks to many of you for taking a moment to use Twitter to share the positive things that are happening in your classrooms and schools.

Families
The most important communication that we do is with our families.  At the end of the day, family engagement is all about communication.  Phone calls, emails, and, most importantly, face-to-face meetings drive positive relationships and trust which ultimately drive school excellence.  There is a ton of research out there on this, and I think that we are all seeing this anecdotally as well.  

But how do we manage the unmanageable?  The midnight text from a parent? The facebook complaint about school lunch?  The multiple calls each day to check on the little one (who almost always is totally fine, but maybe the parent is having adjustment challenges).  Perhaps it is all about educating the parents?  I found this article on "helicopter parents" pretty insightful and a really positively framed way of asking families to trust their teachers...now how do we get everyone to read this one?

Professional Reading
Speaking of articles and professional reading, as a way of trying to help all of us efficiently stay up-to-date on the world of education, Lori has subscribed all of us to the Marshall Memo (shoot me or Lori a note if you need our username and password).  If you can't wait for these weekly summaries, you might want to subscribe to the ASCD Smartbrief which is an excellent daily summary of education news from around the country.

As for Professional Reading...check out this attack on TLaC
As you know, we use Doug Lemov's text Teach Like a Champion as a foundation for our work.  As several within our organization have posited, however, TLaC is not a panacea, but a starting point.  It is with that in mind that I wanted to share with you this article criticizing TLaC.  While I disagree with the author's interpretation of TLaC, it is important to think deeply about our practice and constantly check ourselves.  TLaC provides us at BVP with a common language and foundation...and it is up to us to build on that foundation with other tools, practices, and ideas.

Last, but certainly not least
September 11th is Primary Day here in Rhode Island.  While we do have a Professional Development Day, make sure that you find time to vote.  Several important primaries throughout the state feature candidates strongly for great public schools and choice competing against others who do not support charter schools.  Get informed and vote!

Cheers to each and every teacher and staff member at BVP!  With week one in the books, we are now ready for our most amazing year yet!

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