Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Student Perspective: 6th Grade Survey Project

Written by Guest Blogger and 6th Grade Student Elena A.

On the last week of March, the sixth grade started a survey project. Even though it wasn’t a PBL, it was an add-on for one of our math units about statistics and graphs. Dr. Gross, Mr. Gross’s wife, is a former senior research director at GfK - a company who gave us the opportunity to send out a survey they had already invested money in. GfK is a survey company that surveys people from all over the US. The sixth grade was responsible for coming up with two topics to survey people on, then picking four subcategories for each overall topic.

After a whole grade discussion with Dr. Gross, we were able to brainstorm and pick main topics and sub-categories. After writing up all our ideas on the board, we started ruling out the ones that seemed impractical. Dr. Gross came to the decision that our survey itself would be in an entertainment category. The two main ideas we chose were movies and music. Our subcategories for music were frequency of listening, types of music, how you listen to music, and live music performances. Our underlying questions for movies were types of movies, frequency of watching, people you watch movies with, and how you watch movies.

Taking these sub topics, each class split into groups of around three people to make a survey question for each sub topic. After we finished that, Dr. Gross would check them and send them “into the field.” People that are on the survey list who didn’t receive a survey in March were sent one class’s survey questions. The people on the list range from 13 year-olds to 105 year-olds from different ethnic backgrounds.

We were successfully able to send them out, and once we got our survey answers back, all three classes were able to compare their data and come to conclusions about America’s music and movie culture.

Survey Results:

  • A total of 1085 respondents completed the survey
  • Most people watch action/adventure movies- about 25%
  • Most people watched movies with family or romantic partners- about 40%
  • Most people watched movies on their home TV- about 80%
  • Most people listen to pop or rock music- about 35%
  • Most  people have been to a live music performance (depends on definition)- about 80%
  • The number of Hispanics who responded to the survey was high- 45%
  • Mostly women responded to the survey - 70%
  • The answers were affected by how the question was written

Monday, June 2, 2014

Eighth Graders Reflect on BCS Experience

Eighth grade students at Bullis Charter School recently presented their Culmination Projects to a panel of community members and local elected officials who were invited to attend the event held at BCI.  

Students shared highlights from their education at BCS and reflected on past, current, and future goals.  

We are pleased to share this letter that one of the panelists sent to the Santa Clara County Board of Education after her experience listening to the presentations.

May 29, 2014

Dear Santa Clara County Board of Education,

I am a parent of a Bullis 7th grader and I recently spent time one-on-one with four 8th grade students at Bullis Charter School where I experienced their “culmination” presentations. It was simply amazing. I have worked with students of all ages as a volunteer for 15 years and have never seen students with such confidence and self awareness. Several students discussed areas in which they struggled academically. These students  took responsibility for not working diligently as they could in the past. Coming to Bullis each received the support and encouragement they needed to step up and master the subject despite their history. 

As another example, a student who had attended Almond school in Los Altos,  was always middle of  road so she didn’t get much attention from her teachers at Almond, but at Bullis she was encouraged to achieve her “personal best”. Each student spoke about their approach to improving their abilities regardless of having been at the bottom, at the top, or at the middle of their class before coming to Bullis. 

The students also spoke about their future career plans and their desire to make a difference in the world, not just plain ambition but a desire to move through life doing what they felt was important for their career satisfaction. This is something many of us spend years figuring out in our careers. To put some context around this, I have two kids who attended schools in the Los Altos Disctrict: Loyola school (K-6, K-4), Oak school (5-6), Blach intermediate (7-8), so I feel I have some ability to compare Bullis with the district schools. While my children have enjoyed the occasional great teacher what Bullis achieves is consistently top notch and remarkable. 

My son started at Bullis as a 7th grader this fall and I didn’t know what to expect but he still arrives home every day HAPPY to be in school. Challenged and working harder than he ever has, but happy. The atmosphere, true dedication to excellence, focus on the whole child is nothing short of remarkable. There are english learners in my son’s class, but they receive the attention they need. The dedicated teaching staff hold office hours after school, engages in interactive modes of teaching and find ways to help each child. I feel so fortunate to have tried Bullis Charter School. The level of education and focus is the best I have ever experienced after 12 years of classes in Los Altos schools.

While there is a never ending battle for facilities and fair treatment of Bullis school, let us not lose site of the quality of education and quality of citizenship that Bullis is bringing to our kids. That the teaching staff and leadership do this despite the bitter Los Altos School Board environment keeping their dedication and focus on the kids. I am grateful everyday that the charter school has worked hard to exist and provide these outstanding opportunities for our community. I am a long time supporter of public education and attended public school in the San Jose Unified district, public undergraduate school (UC Berkeley), and public graduate school (University of Arizona). 


Dr. Nina Bhatti