3150 Education Dr Santa Rosa CA 95407 Phone: (707) 542 -5197 Fax (707) 542-6127
Hats Off to BUSD Teachers
At the Bellevue Union School District we have many things to be proud of. One area of note that deserves recognition is the large strides our teachers have made in the few short months in this school year to implement some the technological integration needed to meet Common Core standards. It is really exciting to see the rapid expansion in our teachers’ adoption of technological tools in the classroom and the technologically enhanced activities taking place in classrooms.
One example of this is the tremendous increase in the number of teacher websites. Last year, we had a single classroom that maintained a classroom website. Today the number stands at 37, meaning 41% of classrooms are equipped with teacher-maintained websites. These websites are much more than a way to promote our schools and classroom (although that is a valuable aspect to them), but many of our teachers use them as a digital learning hub for their class and as a place to publicly recognize student achievement. Teachers in our district have been able to give out their teacher website during parent teacher conferences so that parents are equipped with a single website to send their students to in order to continue the educational process at home after the school day ends. The number of websites deployed currently represents an increase of about 4100% in the course of about 4 months, something that teachers deserve a lot of praise for accomplishing.
Another aspect of Common Core instruction where our teachers have really taken on some of the new challenges is the increase in technologically enhanced education that is taking place in our classrooms. One large change in the Common Core is the emphasis on collaboration using technology and a specific example is Writing Standard Six (W.CCR.6). This standard begins in Kindergarten and has the expectation that students will collaborate on writing projects using technology. We do not have good data on the number of projects that are using collaborative writing tools but we do know that 31% of our teachers have now requested and have had google apps for education deployed for the students in their classroom. There are also some great success stories of teachers using Google Docs to allow students to collaborate in real time on assignments.
An Additional area where we have grown is in our focus on the technologically discrete skill sets that our students need to develop to be successful in the colleges and careers we are preparing them for. A specific example is that many of our teachers have set up typing club accounts for their classes and students. Since this is not centrally managed, we do not have good data on the number of teachers currently using this service. What is known, however, is that the classrooms that have deployed Typing Club are able to use this tool to monitor student progress towards typing competency and successful writing on digital devices. This is a key change with these new standards and a competency that will be critical for our students success on both new standards and the SBAC testing platform. In this area, special recognition is deserved for the instructors of younger elementary students. To paraphrase one second grade teacher, ‘we are part of a team and having looked at the third grade assessment and standards I know my students will not be successful if they don't start learning basic typing skills before they reach third grade.’ Some Kindergarten teachers in our district are even beginning to teach keyboarding to their classes using Typing Club, knowing that the competencies need to start developing early to get our students where Common Core standards expect them to be.
Many other districts and educators in our county and the state are still in the beginning phases of exploring what these new standards will mean for them and are just starting to look at how they may begin implementation. While much of our journey is ahead of us, we have already begun to implement the activities and the development of skillsets that are now expected of our students. This is something that our teaching staff deserves special recognition for and something our district should be proud of!