September 2018 Principal's Blog

Assessing the Academic State of the School

September 2018

I am delighted to be the new principal of this outstanding institution. The amount of love and hope in this community is astounding--it is clear to me that together we can accomplish anything. I've nearly completed all of my face-to-face family meetings with parents, and these meetings have allowed me to learn much more about each of our young scholars and the parenting techniques of their marvelous families. Within this inaugural post, I will explain my academic goals for this school year.

In order for our boys to achieve the academic success they are capable of I believe that we must have an effective academic plan in place. With this in mind, one of my most important goals this year will be to collect achievement data in each discipline. Our teaching and learning team (teachers, assistant teachers, and outsourced subject specialists) will engage in robust professional development training around authentic data collection. Students in 2nd-5th grade will begin their formal standardized test practice this fall when they take the Education Review Bureau exam (ERB), which is a 90-year old achievement test administered to hundreds of thousands of students in 2000 Pre-K - 12th-grade institutions. Although this exam is inherently biased (the questions were not designed for socio-economically challenged boys of color), it is vitally important for us to see how our boys fare against their generational competition. Our 2nd - 5th graders will take this exam twice, in the fall and spring. We are conducting this test twice this year so that we have comparative data. We will not teach to this test; however, we will use it as one of many tools that will aid in our curriculum and instruction development.

Our teaching and learning team will also monitor each boy's academic growth using the developmental continuum (an outline of the sequence of skills that children can be expected to acquire as they develop) appropriate for each discipline. By using this unique tool, our teaching and learning team can examine individual student growth and compare it to the whole class. Not only will they monitor where the boys should be based on their age and grade, but they will also track their academic and social-emotional growth on this continuum as well.  With this data, we will be able to measure our embedded character development curriculum and the spiritual growth of our boys. Our literacy teachers will also administer regular Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessments, which identify the instructional and independent reading levels of each boy. These assessments will enable our literacy team to document student progress through one-on-one formative and summative assessments. Our math team will track our young mathematicians in a similar way through our Math in Focus curriculum. The math team will meet regularly to assess the data and make in-time alterations to instruction and curriculum pacing. Our Science, Social Studies, Art, Movement, and Music instructors will also spend time collaborating and creating appropriate traditional and non-traditional data collection tools.

Our teaching and learning team is excited to hone their skills in these areas. They have all accepted the challenge of visiting other schools in an effort to network and build their teaching and observation abilities. They are committed to excellence in the classroom and are excited to refine their behavior management strategies (Responsive Classroom Approach and Restorative Justice techniques) in order to create the best learning culture for our boys.

In collaboration with the parents and guardians of our young scholars, we will pinpoint where each of our young scholars is academically and enhance and enrich their academic and social-emotional lives at BWS and beyond.

Stephanie Folarin Signature
Stephanie Borges Folarin