Friday, May 22, 2015

BCS Is a Future Ready School!

As a school that is educating students to be active participants in the global community, BCS is now recognized as a national future ready school. As part of this process, a team from BCS joined other schools and school districts from California and beyond to participate in the San Francisco Future Ready Summit and pledged to be future ready.

For BCS, future ready is:
  • Fostering and leading a culture of digital learning within our school so that our students think critically, behave safely and ethically, and participate responsibility in the digital world.
  • Empowering educators through professional learning opportunities and by developing teachers as leaders.
  • Providing access to quality digital content so that BCS students are high-school, college, career, and life ready. BCS students are empowered to drive their own learning through focused learning goals and their personal interests and passions.
  • Mentoring other school and districts and helping them transition to digital learning so that they can learn from our experience.
You can read more about BCS and Future Ready schools here.

7th Grade Poetry Slam at BCS

Our 7th graders recently finished a PBL in which they explored the driving question, “How can we move people through poetry?” The culminating PBL event was a poetry slam, an opportunity for every single 7th grader to perform an original poem. For most of our students, this was their first time participating in such an event.

Teachers live-tweeted the slam and invited audience members to provide students feedback through surveys within Twitter - check out the stream here! Students’ poetry covered a range of emotions and topics. It was inspiring to watch and listen to our students finding their voices and speaking their truths.

As a result of this PBL, many more students have expressed an interest in poetry and a desire to continue writing and performing. They may even initiate a middle school poetry slam club!  

This creative group of students will be back on stage to performance A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the end of intersession. This is another opportunity for our 7th graders to plan and execute a unique performance.  We can’t wait to see what they create!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

BCS Archery Program in the News!

This spring, over 20 students competed in the California National Archery in the Schools Program tournament (CANASP) tournament both individually and as a team, and were competing against schools who have been doing archery for many years.  As a team, BCS did an amazing job for the first tournament in the first year of our archery program.

Individually, 8th grader Skyler Rosenberg scored high enough to be the #1 middle school archer in California for the year.  He came in 3rd place overall in the tournament coming in behind two veteran high school students.  

After the tournament, Skyler’s mom Kate had this to say about the unique opportunity to pursue a sport like archery at BCS: 

"Skyler is learning the exhilaration of following his heart... of jumping in and trying something new simply because it feels joyful, without worrying about succeeding.  It is powerful to take risks and explore activities in a low pressure and fun way. Archery requires a uniquely calm and singular focus which balances other demands of being a middle school student in Silicon Valley."

We also had two more students with impressive finishes in their first tournament: Anderson Wang placed 7th for the middle school boys division and Alisha Xiong placed 3rd for the 6th grade girls division. 

All of the archers did an amazing job representing BCS during the tournament.  Congratulations Mr. Stark and the entire archery team for this tremendous accomplishment!

You can read more about our archery program in this article from the Los Altos Town Crier.

BCS archery instruction hits target

Megan V. WInslow/Town Crier 
Archery, a new physical education offering at Bullis Charter School, has piqued the interest of many students, including Skyler Rosenberg, above, who placed third overall at a regional competition. 
When Athletic Director Joseph Stark introduced his love of archery to students at Bullis Charter School this year, he hit the bull’s-eye.
“It was a passion of mine,” said Stark, who joined the staff in the fall. “It is something I learned and love, and I know it is accessible to a lot of students, so I thought I should bring it to Bullis.”
Stark taught archery during regular physical education classes, then began to offer it as an afterschool sport.
“Our afterschool athletics program is built around the community interest at our school,” he said. “Archery has been at the top of that list for a long time.”
Participation has been solid, according to Stark, with approximately 60 students enrolled in the afterschool program and 20 regularly attending.
The charter school designed its archery program with National Archery in the Schools (NASP) standards in mind, emphasizing safety and proper technique.
“It’s the second-safest sport behind pingpong,” Stark said. “It may not seem like it, because you are using bows and arrows, but we emphasize safety and steps to succeed.”
Stark trained students to participate in the NASP California Archery Tournament, which requires them to shoot 15 arrows from a distance of 10 meters and 15 from 15 meters. More than 20 students competed in the tournament, individually and as a team. Bullis Charter School eighth-grader Skyler Rosenberg placed third overall with a score of 281.
Archery became one of Skyler’s passions after Stark launched the sport at school. Skyler enrolled in the afterschool program and pursues it outside of class as well.
“I think archery is special because it is one of the sports that is really accessible to everyone,” Stark said. “You are not really held back by any disability – you don’t have to be the most athletically gifted in the world. A lot of it is about patience, focus and concentration.”
Skills learned through archery can be used in everyday life, he added.
“You go out every day and try to better yourself,” Stark said. “There are a lot of kids who understand that. They set their own goals and you see the excitement when they actually reach one.”
Stark said he is fortunate to work at a school that allows him to share his interests with the students.
“You can really see how my passion is reflected in the students’ growth throughout the year – I am lucky to have that,” he said.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

BCS Students Shine in Regional Competitions!

We are very proud to have our students participate in a plethora of activities outside of the regular school day in the areas of academics, athletics, visual and performing arts, and technology under the guidance of our teachers.

Here are several of the highlights from recent weeks:

Tech Challenge
More than 40 students from BCS (Grades 4-6) participated in the Tech Museum of San Jose’s Tech Challenge to design a building that could withstand an earthquake.  Over 2,000 local students joined the competition, and one of our 4th grade teams won Best Overall, Third Place for their design in response to the challenge to build an earthquake safe structure that will pass 3 simulated earthquake shake tests. See a video of their design IN ACTION at Saturday’s Challenge here.

Please join us in congratulating the “Kung Fu Penguin” team for their dedication and creativity on this project that they began working on in August!

40th Annual Mandarin Speech Contest
Nineteen BCS students (Grades 1-8) recently competed in the 40th Annual Mandarin Speech Contest organized by the Chinese Language Teachers Association of California. 

Congratulations to the three sutdents who received second place in their groups;  as well as the three students who received Honorable Mentions in their grade level groups. 

The Mandarin teachers are pleased by the growth all students have shown throughout the speech preparation process and want to commend every student who participated for their hard work and willingness to take risks!

Dare 2B Digital
BCS 8th graders Ananya, Meghna, and Claire are the winners of the 2015 Dare 2B Digital Contest in which participants were challenged to develop a creative solution to a global problem using technology.  

The competition, designed to increase digital fluency among girls ages 12-17 globally, had participants choose a problem from one of four categories - Cyber-Security, Environment, Health & Nutrition and Transportation and then create a video to describe the solution.  

Ananya, Meghna, and Claire created an innovative solution for saving water - check out their winning video entry here!

National Current Events League (NCEL) Winners
Since the beginning of the year, our 6th-8th graders have been participating in the National Current Events League (NCEL), The NCEL, which is a national news competition for students in Grades 4-12, consists of (4) meets, or exam days, in which all students take an exam. Each meet (exam day) consists of 30 multiple choice questions and each student who participates receives his/her own test which has questions that are selected from the following areas: General News, Arts & Entertainment, Science & Health, Business & Finance, Sports.  

The top ten scores are then determined and the sum of these scores is the school's team score, which is ranked against others in the state and the nation. 

Congratulations to the BCS 6th grade class which placed 2nd overall in the nation AND to 6th grader Madhav, who was the top individual scorer in the nation. Additionally, kudos to the BCS 7th grade class for placing 3rd overall in the nation.

BCS Chess Team National Tournament
Last weekend, over 30 BCS students in grades 1-7 competed in the CalChess Scholastic Super State Championship tournament.  Over 900 students from across the country competed in this tournament, and for many of our younger students, it was their first time competing in chess.  BCS teams placed in the top 5 in every category ranging from Rookie (Grades K-3) to Champs (Grades K-8).

Congratulations to all of our chess team members, and a special thank you to Lynn Reed who continues to coach our players year round!

2015 Saratoga Rotary Art Show
Ten BCS students had the honor of having their artwork displayed at the recent Saratoga Rotary Art Show last weekend.  Please join us in congratulating these young artists for their great work!

2015 Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest
Congratulations to third grader Krithi for earning first place in the historical essay contest sponsored by the Los Altos Historical Commission - read all about the event in this week’s Los Altos Town Crier.

Genius Kids Math Kangaroo Contest
Third grader Ryan placed first at both the state and national levels in the Genius Kids Math Kangaroo Contest held in March! Ryan has been working hard in math class this year, and we are proud to share this tremendous achievement with the school community!  
Keep up the great work, Ryan!

Holy Names University Choral Festival
Our Sonore Choir (Grades 4-5) participated in the Holy Names University Choral Festival last weekend, where our students had the opportunity to perform and participate in workshops with other local students and experts.  
Another great opportunity for our singers who have had several performances and adjudications in the last month!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Middle School Clubs Day at BCI

BCS Middle School students shared 
the amazing work they have done this year on the clubs they initiated at the Clubs Fair this week.  

Students in grades 6-8 collaborated to design and develop club programs based on their interests - this year's clubs included Girls Learn International, Woodworking, Web/App Design, Parody, Cooking Around the World, and several others.

Check out the photos below to see some of the great work students produced in their clubs this year!