Welcome to the start of the 2017-2018 school year!
For most of you, the official start of the 2017-2018 school year is August 23, our first day of school, but for our administration, the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year started months ago, and over the summer our vision for the new school year began to take shape.
Our theme for this school year is “Our Schools Are G.R.E.A.T.” which is an extension of our “All Learners Grow” theme from last year.
G.R.E.A.T. is an acronym for Guided by standards; Rigorous; Engaging; Assessment to guide instruction; Tailored through flexible grouping. We will be focused on three areas: improving instruction and assessments to meet the PA Core Standards; increasing access for all students to grade level appropriate content with a focus on growth; and fostering a 21st Century Teaching and Learning Environment that focuses on the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Communication.
We are extremely proud of how our teachers have embraced STEAM and 21st Century Learning Skills. You can see several examples of how STEAM activities are being taught in our schools by looking at our 21st Century Learning webpage: http://www.bpsd.org/STEAM.aspx.
We are also pleased that at the High School, five STEAM-related courses have been added for 2017-2018: Introduction to Programming in PYTHON; Computer Science II-Honors, which is a course that is provided at no cost to the District by Carnegie Mellon University; Data Analytics and Big Data; STEAM Innovation Studio; and Game Coding (MINECRAFT). Data Analytics/Big Data, STEAM Innovation Studio and Game Coding were successfully piloted last school year and have now been incorporated into our Course Selection Guide as regular offerings to our students.
After a successful pilot in 2016-2017, the District will be using the Wonders Integrated Language Arts Program from McGraw Hill in all first and second grade classrooms, establishing a consistent English Language Arts resource for grades 1-4. The District also purchased Wonders as a resource to be blended with Land of the Letter People and Fundations into our Kindergarten programming.
We hope you share our anticipation and enthusiasm for the upcoming school year. It has been a busy summer in preparation for another G.R.E.A.T. year of learning and growth. We will be ready to welcome your children back to school on Wednesday, August 23. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the rest of your summer.
As always, it continues to be an honor to serve you and your children, and I look forward to working with you for another successful school year.