Friday, January 29, 2016

Course Selection News

Good Morning Students and Parents,

We are rapidly approaching the COURSE SELECTION process for the 2017 school year.  The parent/student portal for selecting courses will open in the evening on February 4th, and will remain open until February 12thWhile the selection window is open, you may change courses as often as you like.  IMPORTANT; the last selection made are the courses that will be saved.The Advisors will be reviewing their Advisees’ schedules on the 10th and the 11th, as a check to make sure their schedules are entered.  The course selection process does not “guarantee” a schedule, rather informs how many sections of a course we will need to schedule and how we will assign teachers to those sections.  
We have considered the feedback we’ve received from students and parents regarding the minimum course/credit selection requirement in the senior year and have made the following  changes.  The important adjustment in the course request process for the Class of 2017 is the elimination of the required selection of a 6 credit minimum. Seniors must select enough credits to be a full time student (minimum of 4 credits; athletes see #2 below). We concluded that reducing the number of courses/credits required in this process will better help us to meet student course requests.

HOWEVER:   WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE EVERY STUDENT GOING INTO THEIR SENIOR YEAR TO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:
  1. If you are considering applying to college, keep in mind that the expectation is for applicants to go above and beyond high school diploma requirements. You may have only one credit to earn in your senior year, but colleges want to see more. Don’t think of this as your last year of high school, but as the only year before college. If you can, continue to take courses in all disciplines. Show the colleges that you have the aptitude and continue the practice for yourself. Visit the admissions websites of the colleges you’re considering to be certain you’ve taken all the courses they would like you to.
  2. The NHIAA requires that all high school athletes must be enrolled in a total of five credits and passing four to participate in athletics. Be sure that you have enough credits to continue participation in your sport(s).
*Students hoping to participate in athletics in college should refer to the NCAA Eligibility website (www.eligibilitycenter.org) to be sure that he or she has taken all of the courses that are necessary to be an eligible recruit at Division I and Division II colleges. Some BHS courses are not approved by this organization. Consider the courses you’ve taken/plan to take when looking at the list of courses that are not approved by NCAA.

FOR ALL STUDENTS:

Counselors will see students in June. During the four days of Competency Recovery Week, students will be able to visit the Counseling Office to add or remove electives (8th grade students and their parents may contact the BHS School Counselors via email). There will be no record of an elective course dropped at this time. If a student chooses to drop a course outside of this timeframe, he or she will have the appropriate “Withdrawal” recorded on the transcript.
Any schedule changes that need to be made after Summer School grades come out in August will not be reflected on the transcript.
I have included the details of the scheduling process below for reference.


BHS Scheduling Procedures 2016-17

Schedules are final except in the following cases:
Reasons for a schedule adjustment:
  • Graduation requirements are missing
  • Prerequisite requirements have not been met for scheduled courses
  • Duplication of courses
  • Level change is warranted since course request time
Adding a Course:
  • A student may add a course if they have an open block created by late arrival, early release, managed time, or level change, and there is an open seat in the course desired.
  • A withdrawal from a course does not create an open opportunity in that student’s schedule.
  • There will be an “Adding Day” the 3rd day of both semesters for any student with a free block to have the option of adding a semester-long course in its place. This opportunity is based on course availability.
Withdrawing from a Course:
  • Once the class has begun, the student will receive the appropriate designation of “WP”(withdrawn pass) or “WF” (withdrawn fail) on their permanent transcript. Withdrawals are permitted in year-long classes until the end of quarter three and until the quarter break in semester classes.
  • In cases when the course has not yet begun, the student will receive a record of “WP” on the transcript.
  • All withdrawal forms will require parent/guardian and department Dean signatures since the result will be recorded on the student’s transcript.
Fall “Level Change Period”
  • This period is the first 4 weeks at the start of school and will be for course level changes only. Given that there are no leveled semester courses, no Level Change Period is necessary in semester two.  
  • Level changes are defined only as changes between PSP, Honors, AP/IB, or full year science to 2 semester sciences.  
  • Level changes will be based on seat availability.   
  • The previous level course withdrawal will not be recorded on the transcript.
  • Electives that must be dropped in order to change levels will not be reflected on the transcript.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bedford High School Competency Recovery Week

Bedford High School
Competency Recovery Week

Frequently Asked Questions

What are competencies at Bedford High School?

The basic idea is that a student must master all aspects of a course not just earn an "average" grade high enough to pass.  ​That is why a student must have each competency grade
​in each course at a 70% or higher​ to pass. ​For example, a student might earn an 82% in
​the Communication ​Competency (this could include different types of writing, oral presentation skills for example), a 78% in Problem ​Solving, and a 60% in Skills and Knowledge.  In the traditional model this student would have passed with a 73%​.  ​With our competency ​approach, this student would ​have a grade of NCY ​(Not ​Competent ​Yet) until they earned at least a 70% in
​Skills and ​Knowledge.

What is Competency Recovery Week?​.

Competency Recovery Week is an additional opportunity at the end of each semester for students with grades of F or NYC to master those basic skills.  We want all of our students to have a solid foundation as the "house" is being built​, rather than going back after the house is complete and trying to repair.  Students who have a solid foundation are much more likely to be successful, participate in class and not become a distraction.

How many students participated in January 2016?

Roughly 677 of our 1,500 students were at school during CRW.  We had 477 students who were failing one or more competencies or failing.  In addition, we had approximately 200 students from IB and AP courses who needed to come in to complete specific testing requirements.  In addition, a small number of students took advantage of library and academic support centers.

Why were students with low grades, but who were passing, not allowed to come in to improve their grades?

This first time through the process, we needed to make sure we know how to handle this system for students who are not passing yet.  Our goal moving forward is for students with passing but low marks to have this same opportunity in the future.​

Why did the School decide not to wait until next year?

We considered that.  We also considered starting last year, or the year before that.  In the end, our desire to get started helping our students who are failing classes outweighed our desire to take more time.

Who vetted this plan before it was put into practice and how was it communicated?

We have piloted this plan in world languages for the past two years.  This fall, we presented the proposal for the change to the Bedford Curriculum Committee which has parent members and received their support.  We then presented to the Superintendent and to the School Board.  These were public meetings aired on BCTV and received the School Board’s support.  Once we confirmed that we could proceed, we emailed parents about the change.   We scheduled a Principal's Coffee on the topic and posted the details about the plan on the school website.

Don’t students have to attend school for 180 days?

We are committed to making sure the school is open and available for all students during Competency Recovery Week.  All our staff is working on those days, focused on those students who are failing or have additional external assessments.  In addition, the state standard allows for either 180 days or 990 hours. (As has always been the case in the traditional testing model, students only attended school when their tests were scheduled.)  We far surpass the total hours requirement.

What was wrong with the old model of an exam week?

Nothing was wrong, but we see this model as better. In the old model, students only came in for scheduled test in the morning. All students already had the afternoon out of school.  All instruction stopped for the week, and the previous week was spent on review.  If a student struggled on the mid-term, they had limited opportunity to catch up as the second semester started. In the Competency Recovery Model, midterms were given earlier, and they were given in the natural sequence of the curriculum.  Competency Recovery Week has added instructional time for those students who are not passing.  

Could Competency Recovery discourage students to give their best effort the first time?

It is possible, but we see it as unlikely.  It is likely that not every student will make the extra effort to seek out help during the semester when they know there is the option of getting one-on-one attention during competency recovery week.  Our initial (albeit anecdotal feedback) is that student have been "more" motivated by getting work done so that they would not be required to attend Competency Recovery.  We will be collecting data on this trend.  Also, a big driver for the change is to try to give the students who struggle the foundational knowledge when they need it so that future learning can happen.

How are families supposed to handle this schedule?


If parents wanted, this week’s schedule could be treated like previous exam weeks.  The library, the commons (cafeteria), and the academic center remain open for students to have a safe place to go and be productive.   Midterm week has always had shortened days since the opening of Bedford High School, and there were days in which students did not have any school at all depending on their exam schedule.  Nevertheless, this concern was one of the biggest challenges we heard.   We recognize this adjustment has been a challenge for some families.  In the future, as parents can better anticipate the schedule, this time can also be used for college visits or community service.

Friday, January 22, 2016

BHS News

Good Afternoon,

CRW
I will be reporting some preliminary data on the competency recovery week at the next school board meeting . 

Deliberative Session Feb. 2 at 7:00 p.m. BHS Theater

All voters in Bedford are urged to come to the Bedford School District Deliberative Session on Tuesday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m. at the Bedford High School Theater. This is when the community either affirms or revises the School Board’s proposed budget for 2016-17 (The budget is presented in the School District Warrant.). The proposed budget is $68.3M, a 3.9% increase over this year. The increase is primarily because of personnel, health insurance benefits, and significant building maintenance.  

​Voting on the warrant is on Tuesday, March 8 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m​ at the Bedford High School gymnasium​. If the proposed budget is voted down, the default budget would be $2.3M lower.  Additional information​ can be found here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

BHS: Why Competency Recovery?

Why Competency Recovery?


I want to share some more details with parents about "Competency Recovery" and the changes in the schedule at the high school this week.  The basic idea is that a student must master all aspects of a course, not just earn an "average" grade that is high enough to pass.​​  ​That is why a student must have a 70% or higher​ in each of the competencies within a course in order to pass​.  ​For example, a student ​might ​earn an 82% in ​the ​Communication ​Competency ​(this could include different types of writing, oral presentation skills for example), a 78% in Problem ​Solving, and a 60% in Skills and Knowledge​.  In the traditional model​,​ this student would have passed with a 73%​.  ​With our c​ompetency ​approach, this student would ​have a grade of NCY ​(Not ​C​ompetent ​Y​et) until they earned at least a 70% in ​the S​kills and ​K​nowledge​ competency.​
This is what students are working on this week.  We think a​ student who has a solid foundation along the way,​ rather than trying to fill in gaps at the end makes some sense (like building a "house"- you start with a solid foundation​,​ rather than going back after the house is complete and trying to repair).  Students are much more likely to participate in the learning process because they feel connected, and therefore are less likely to become a distraction because they don't know what is going on.  ​​
This week we will be working with approximately 477 students who have failed outright, or are failing one or more competencies.  In addition, we will have about 200 or more IB and AP students here whose specific program requirements dictate testing this week​.
This week, we are making sure we know how to handle this system for students who are not passing yet.  Our goal moving forward is for students with passing, but low marks, to have this same opportunity in the future.​

BHS News

BHS NEWS:

Competency Recovery Week: Tuesday, January 19 through Friday, January 22.  Busses will pick up at the usual start time and school dismissal will be at 12:55 pm.  
The deadline for placing a parent send-off ad in the 2016 BHS yearbook is quickly approaching! All ads are due by February 12th. If you are interested in creating a send-off for your senior, please go to the Yearbook page on the BHS Library website.

The portal will open for parents for the February Parent Teacher Conferences from January 15th to January 28th.Conferences are on Wednesday 2/3 from 3:00 to 6:30 pm and Monday 2/8 from 4:30 - 8:00pm. Please go to the school website for access to the sign-up form. 

COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT:  
The Food Pantry at Bedford Presbyterian Church is a newly established resource for those in our community who are facing hunger or food insecurity.  The Food Pantry is a 501(c)3 organization that is a well-coordinated effort between 5 area churches, local organizations including the Bedford Lion's Club, the Boy Scouts, and individuals and families in Bedford. The Food Pantry is located at  Bedford Presbyterian Church, 4 Church Road, Bedford, and is available to all Bedford residents.  The Food Pantry will open Saturday, January 16th, and will be open on the 1st and 3rd Saturday, and the following Monday, of each month. Hours are Saturdays,9:00 - 11:00 am, Mondays, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
If you, or someone you know in Bedford is struggling with food insecurity please call Bedford Presbyterian Church, 472-5841.

Monday, January 11, 2016

BHS News

Parent Drop -Off

I seems to me that drop-off is moving a little smoother in and out of the parking lot.  This morning Officer Donahue indicated backup on the roads was far less than most days this year.  I believe that by using the left hand turns through the Lurgio lot and pulling as far forward in the lot we can continue to reduce traffic on the roads.  Working together we can make the drop off experience so much smoother!  One other thing we can do to improve backup on the street is to avoid using the lower student lot for drop off.  It was noted by Officer Donahue today that every time a parent exited the lower lot it immediately backed up traffic on the roads.  

Competency Recovery Week (CRW) is scheduled for Jan. 20 through 23.  

Students who have not achieved competency standards in a course(s) are required to attend these half days during the block this course is scheduled (schedule below).  Teachers will inform those students (and the Parents of) who will need to attend the CRW.   IB and AP students may also be scheduled for testing during this week in order to meet program obligations.  All other students are not required to be at school.    



Good Afternoon,
In my email on Friday the dates for competency recovery were incorrect.  The recovery week begins on January 19th and ends on January 22nd.  Sorry for any confusion.

Regards
Bill

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

BHS News

Parent Drop Off/Pick-up

Although it was a cold start to the day, it seemed the morning drop off went a little smoother than in the past.  Please remember as you come up the road to the circle you may take any of the three left hand turns into Lurgio lots and/or take a right hand turn into the top lot in front of the high school.  We ask that you avoid taking right hand turns into the other two lots because of student parking during that time.  I noticed that parents using the left hand turns through Lurgio got out faster because they did not need to cross heavy traffic to get out.  


Attendance Calls

This is a reminder that the high requires a call, note, or email to excuse an student from school.  Notification by parents must be made on the day of the absence.  Students will be marked "unexcused" if timely notification is not provided.   The link below takes you to our school handbook for the procedure.


Chromebook Meeting

The Chromebook journey has been exciting to watch develop.  There are many more positive things happening in our classrooms now that there is so much more capacity for students.  However, because there is so much more capacity there has been an understandable impact on the network. To address this issue we had a brief meeting during Advisory today of the 9-11 grade students to reinforce the idea that Chromebooks are for "Educational Use"during school.  With more users the network can become slower.  When students add "gaming or live streaming" during their managed time it slows the network even more.  Please help us to reinforce the message that Chromebooks are for school applications and school work.   


Happy New Year 

Bill

Monday, January 4, 2016

Traffic Flow Changes at BHS/RAL

Traffic at Bedford Middle and High School

On January 4, 2016, we are making an adjustment to the direction of traffic.
​ (Map,Explanation)​
Although we will always have heavy traffic at the start and end of school, our hope is to lessen the congestion at these peak times.

Changes
  • Reverse the direction of the Parent Pick Up and Drop Off Area so parents will not need to make left turns at the two main intersections.
  • Extend two-way traffic to the concession stand ending at the West Parking Lot so parents can exit Parent Pick Up and Drop Off that way.
  • Close the central loop area during parent pick up and drop off (except for buses and students with special needs) to reduce the places where parents are crossing traffic.
As before, we ask all drivers to do the following:
  • Yield to pedestrians at all times when on campus.
  • Take turns at the main intersections when congestion is high.
  • Be patient.