Tuesday, November 24, 2015

BVP is Thankful For...

       At BVP, we have so much to be thankful for. Not only do we have a hardworking, dedicated team, but our scholars are truly an inspiration. As we close out 2015 and look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving, we asked our staff to reflect and tell us what they're thankful for at BVP.

  • "I'm thankful for being able to teach and share my love of music with over 400 kids every week!" -Piera Leone, Network Music Director & ES1 K-5 Music Teacher
  • "I am thankful for the opportunity to work with such wonderful scholars. They are the reason I do what I do everyday. We grow and learn so much from each other, for that I am truly thankful." -Subrina Luzzi, 3rd Grade Special Educator & Interventionist ES2
  • "I am thankful for the amount of support and positive encouragement I've received during my first year of teaching from everyone around me!" -Lindsey Brown, Middle School 1, 5th grade English Language Arts
  • "I'm thankful for handshakes. No matter the weather or my mood, handshakes from scholars at the start of the day give me energy and enthusiasm to begin each day. They also allow me to gauge how scholars are feeling, and lift their spirits if they need it. It's my personal challenge to put a smile on each of their faces. They fill my bucket; I fill their buckets." -Joy Souza, Middle School 1 Head of School
  • "I am thankful to be surrounded by colleagues with a passion for equity." -Michelle Grimaldi, High School Special Educator & Aspiring Principal
  • "I'm thankful for the opportunity to be in a career that I enjoy and in a position where I feel like I can make a difference." - Carlon Howard, 5th Grade Math Teacher
  • "I am thankful to be working with such wonderful and caring people on the Kindergarten team!" -Jamie Nunes, Elementary School 2 Kindergarten Teacher
  • "I'm mostly thankful for our scholars. They are the heart and soul of our work and make it so much fun to come to work every single day!" -Osvaldo Jose Marti, Head of School Middle School 2
  • "At BVP, I am thankful for being a part of an organization where everyone works hard and that hard work is paying off! Great job, BVP!" -Christine Losea, Accounting Manager
  • "I'm thankful for the opportunity to be at the forefront of the the education reform movement by teaching at an intentionally diverse school." -Neethu Putta, 3rd Grade Teacher & Diversity Chair
  • "I am thankful to be part of an almost 200-person organization, all of whom are completely committed to the success of the 1,400 scholars that we serve." -David Lauck, Finance Team

From all of us at Blackstone Valley Prep,
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2015

2015 PARCC Assessment: Reflecting on the Work Ahead

"I am at once really excited about the performance of our scholars and, at the same time, as urgent as ever to do more to prepare every one for success. Overall, the scores in Rhode Island are sadly what we thought they'd be. Hopefully, it's a wake-up call for all of us. We can either continue a mindset that this isn't a good test or the scores don't matter or we can say, 'Let's do everything we can to help every one of our kids meet their fullest potential.'" - Jeremy Chiappetta, Executive Director      

       Earlier this week the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) released the results for the first ever PARCC assessment. BVP Scholars in grades 3-9, just like other public school students across the state, took both the math and ELA (English Language Arts) assessments last spring. We are eager to report BVP has several wins within this year's data, including exceeding the state average in almost every grade level in both math and ELA with a population that is more than sixty percent low-income and about sixty percent students of color.

       We know that tests such as PARCC align strongly with college and career success, and it is our commitment that we will prepare every scholar for success in college and the world beyond. We also know our scholars are much more than a test score. Our scholars are artists, athletes, and musicians (just to name a few), yet it is our responsibility to teach our young people how to read, write, calculate, and think.

       As we begin to examine even more closely our own practices, we will continue to shine a light on what is working and make the necessary decisions to improve upon the pieces that need to change. We are excited to use this data to drive improvement in order to fulfill our mission to prepare every scholar for success in college and the world beyond. To accomplish this, we prioritize fully communicating scholar progress and action plans with families. We understand that in order to achieve our goals, we must work together in the best interest of every scholar. 

     For more information, families can join us for one of the following important information sessions where they will be provided with their scholar's PARCC results.
  • Monday, November 30, 6:30 pm: PARCC Overview and Special Scholar Recognition at the BVP Board Meeting, Elementary School 2 (52 Broad Street, Cumberland), open to the public.
  • Wednesday, December 2, 4:30-6:00 pm: BVP High School families: Come and see your scholar's progress using the Personalized Learning Platform (PLP). While there, receive your scholar's individual scores in advance of when they will otherwise go home.
  • Monday, December 7, 7 pm: BVP Middle School (ALL 4th-8th grade families welcome).
  • Saturday, December 12, 12pm: Elementary School 1 (ALL 4th-8th grade families welcome).
For families unable to join us for these sessions, individual PARCC results will be sent home in backpacks on Friday, December 14.

For the full Providence Journal article that Jeremy Chiappetta was quoted in click here.
For the full report from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), click here.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

When Parents Come Together

By Stephanie Gonzalez, External Affairs Associate - Advocacy and Outreach for Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy.

Do you know what happens when parents come together?

Since the beginning of the school year, I have had the privilege of seeing the commitment parents have to learning about their child's school and the ways in which they can become stakeholders and advocates.

Our first workshop was in September. We came together to outline the group’s goals and aspirations as well as to give parents the opportunity to learn a bit more about each other. It was wonderful to see how aligned parents were in their goals. Some echoed that they wanted to become learners of our school’s model, education policy, and legislation. Others wanted to find ways to engage the broader parent community. Most had already approached me separately with creative ideas for us to tackle and implement. Every single question, conversation, and idea was unique and encouraging.

In October, we learned about the power of each of our stories. We welcomed Jen Silbert, Co-Founder of Learning401, an organization with a focused “effort to engage the masses and revamp RI’s education ecosystems.” Through inspiring and thought-provoking discussion, Ms. Silbert introduced the fellows to the power of appreciative inquiry, ladders of inference, and the tree of opportunity. Sometimes people--parents--need to be given the space and freedom to share their story in a room full of people whose eyes and gestures will say, “I know the feeling. I get it. I’ve been there.” I am grateful to Ms. Silbert for creating that opportunity for our parents to define their place in the dynamic, often politicized, education world.

Our most recent workshop was held last Saturday. Yes, on a beautiful Saturday morning a group of 19 BVP parents came together for a content-heavy workshop that focused on BVP’s education model, a breakdown of the education funding formula, and an introduction to the inner workings of bills and legislation. We were happy to be joined by friends from RI-CAN and RIMA to help us lead small group discussions about the topics. One of the stations, the “Brainstorm” station, allowed for a parent-led discussion on what steps this group could and should take when the new year begins.

So I ask you again, do you know what happens when parents come together? They inquire and believe wholeheartedly in the power of affecting change through knowledge and organization. They express their thoughts about education through a lens that is not always present or even considered. They motivate each other and people like me to continue creating spaces that allow for stories and parent leadership to unfold.

Stay tuned for more on BVP’s Parent Advocacy Fellows.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Application Season

It's that time of year again. We are in the midst of our annual lottery application season for the 2016-2017 school year. Aspiring scholars from the four Blackstone Valley communities of Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket and Central Falls are eligible to apply from now until our February 19th deadline.

We know that choosing where your child will receive their education is an important decision. As you consider whether BVP is a good fit for you, below is one parent's account of what it meant to for her daughter:

"Summer for my family is already synonymous with happiness, but it was an especially happy time when we received a message in July about a spot becoming available for my daughter. After applying for many years, I am happy to say that my daughter is now a 2nd grader at Blackstone Valley Prep. When we had the opportunity to meet the school’s Head of School we were impressed with his charisma and intelligence. We also can’t say enough about the teachers who took the time to visit our home to meet us in preparation for the school year. I am grateful everyday that at BVP my daughter is exposed to such high academic rigor, homework, activities, and a team of motivated teachers. Don’t think about it twice. Apply for your child to be a BVP scholar."

To learn more about our lottery or to apply, click here to visit our enroll page.
For frequently asked questions, click here.

We also invite you to stop in during an open house as early as next month--details are below:

2015-16 BVP Open House Schedule
  • BVP High School: Saturday, December 12th, 9-11 a.m. 
  • ALL Schools: Tuesday, January 26th, 9-11 a.m. 
  • Elementary Open House (52 Broad Street, Cumberland, RI): Saturday, January 30, 9-11 a.m.