Monday, February 10, 2014

National Board Certified Teachers at BCS!

First grade teacher Colleen Farley was recognized at a recent BCS Board Meeting for becoming Nationally Board Certified this year - an honor that has been achieved by less than 3% of teachers nationwide.  At BCS, we are proud to have 10% of our teaching faculty with this prestigious status, and several more are completing the process this year.

National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) are an elite group of educators who must pass a rigorous certification process that includes in depth lesson planning and analysis, several tests based on pedagogy and content, videos of lessons, and student work samples that demonstrate growth and achievement.  As Colleen shared with the BCS Board, the entire process is tied to student learning and advancement in all aspects of the teaching profession, not just a single lesson or unit of study.

The National Board mission aligns so closely with our school’s vision that our staff has committed to making this distinguished certification an expected part of the role of a BCS educator.  Every staff member who is eligible to begin the process (teaching for 3 or more years) is supported with mentors, time, and equipment needed to succeed and become Board certified.

Congratulations to Colleen and all of our teachers at BCS on their commitment to excellence in education!
Ms. Farley, who recently became Nationally Board Certified, helps a first grade student write a draft for her Turtle Blog

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wanny's Words: Eighth Graders’ International Architectural Design and Engineering Project

By Wanny Hersey
Superintendent/Principal at Bullis Charter School

Last week I had the pleasure of serving on the judging panel of our eighth grade students' 3-D school designs presentations for the international “School of the Future Design Competition” sponsored by the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)   These middle school students used the Design Thinking process and technologies at the FabLab@BCS, such as the laser cutter, to create environmentally responsive school models during their Architectural Design and Engineering intersession.

As you know, BCS is committed to educating the whole child using curricula that is project-based, integrated across academic areas but specifically in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), all with a focus on developing 21st century skills. But what I thought was most interesting for community members to see was that the 8th grade students were challenged to envision an innovative use of the Blach site where the Bullis Center for Innovation is presently located and to create a model that not only takes into consideration the learning and physical environments but also addresses how their proposal connects learning to their community so that the there is a mutually beneficial partnership.

The students also presented their designs to the BCS Board of Directors on Monday.  Board members, as well as many members of our local community, had the opportunity to see the amazing projects first-hand and ask students questions about the process.  We also congratulated the winning group who will work with their teachers to prepare for the regional level of competition next month!

Take a look at some of the amazing 3-D models!