Our Main Goal For Unannounced Observations…

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“Unannounced observations” –  Let’s admit that the idea of such a thing for brings about at least a minimal amount of internal unrest for educators.  Personally, i am reminded of the game hide and seek and the announcement that the seeker makes – “ready or not, here I come!”  However, creating unrest and distrust on the part of teachers is not the way to improve teaching and learning in our classrooms. The way to accomplish this is to create more opportunities to share and discuss best practice. 

Our main goal from the outset of this new teacher evaluation system has been to create more conversations around teaching and learning. Please keep this in mind as  we head into the unchartered waters of “unannounced observations” in Burlington. This is not intended to be a game of “gotcha” where evaluators walk into teachers classrooms when they least expect it.  This is intended to be an opportunity for all of us to share examples of the 
Burlington Public Schools Great Eight  in action.  We look forward to sharing in those discussions!

Stay tuned for the next post which will share a few of the logistics of Unannounced Observations. 

Registration Open for the The New England 1:1 Summit (It’s FREE!)

From the BPS Ed Tech Blog:

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THE EVENT THAT STARTED IT ALL RETURNS TO BURLINGTON THIS APRIL!

Join us for the New England 1:1 SummitA FREE event from the BPS EdTech Team
Friday, April 11
9AM-12PM
1:1 School Visits at elementary, middle, and high school locations
Attendees will learn about the 1:1 iPad program in Burlington Public Schools. The Friday session includes a presentation about 1:1 learning environments and best practices for creating the most beneficial educational technology programs. Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour 1:1 classrooms in session with students. The opportunity to visit a 1:1 classroom in action is a powerful way to see what 1:1 learning looks like especially for those educators who have not yet taught in that environment.
There will be three options for attendees happening at the same time in Burlington – elementary, middle, or high school presentation and classroom visits:
Francis Wyman Elementary School which is 1:1 iPads in grades 1, 4, and 5.
Marshall Simonds Middle School which is fully 1:1 iPads in grades 6, 7, and 8.
Burlington High School which is currently an Apple Distinguished 1:1 iPad School for grades 9-12.
Saturday, April 12
8AM-4:30PM
The New England 1:1 Summit at Marshall Simonds Middle School in Burlington
Join educators from around New England and beyond for the 2014 New England 1:1 Summit. The New England 1:1 Summit was first held in Burlington by the Burlington Public Schools EdTech Team in 2012. The 2012 event was the first educational technology event focused entirely on 1:1 learning environments held in New England. The event had over 450 participants and featured presentations from educators, administrators, and IT professionals.
The event returns to Burlington this April and will again feature presentations and hands-on learning about technology in the classroom. While the focus is on 1:1 learning, the event is not device specific. Sessions will include discussions about iPads, Chromebooks, PC and Mac laptops, as well as educational applications that help our students succeed and grow.
The event is FREE and even includes lunch and prizes!

Parent Technology Night: Foundational Apps and iOS7

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The Burlington Public Schools EdTech Team will be hosting a Parent Technology Night on Tuesday, November 5 at Marshall Simonds Middle School. Please join us for information about the BPS Foundational Apps and the new iOS7 for iPads. The session will provide an opportunity to learn about the core apps that we are using in our 1:1 programs. These apps include Google Drive, Notability, Explain Everything, and Evernote. We will also provide support if you are looking for guidance using iOS7 on your own iPad or iPhone.
Time during every Parent Tech Night session is also dedicated to other technology related questions and support.

MCAS Student Growth Scores Across All of our Burlington Schools

Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
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Following my post on the misleading nature of the Boston.com MCAS rankings, a blog commenter noticed that the three growth scores I referenced were are three highest areas of growth for Burlington in 2013. While that was true, I am happy to share all of our district growth scores from 2013 in the table below. The range between 40-60 is considered moderate growth and anything below 40 is considered low growth.

We can report that all of our grade levels where growth is measured scored in the moderate range or higher. While we will review a number of different points at our annual MCAS Review at an October School Committee Meeting, I didn’t want it to appear that we were holding anything back. For those who are interested in digging deeper prior to our meeting, the DESE has a lot of data from our 2013 MCAS results available on its website. Here is the link to the Burlington section.
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Our First Parent Technology Night: Elementary iPad 1:1

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The Burlington Public Schools EdTech Team will be hosting a Parent Technology Night on Tuesday, October 1 at Marshall Simonds Middle School. Please join us for information about the BPS elementary school 1:1 iPad program. The session will provide an opportunity to learn about the iPad initiative at grades 1, 4, and 5 this school year. Our team will discuss Foundational Apps, student access to devices, student responsibility, and digital workflow.
Time during every Parent Tech Night session is also dedicated to technology related questions and support.

Connected Educator Month Begins In Two Weeks! What Will You Do To Connect?

For the second year in a row, the United States Department of Education has made October Connected Educator Month.  What is Connected Educator Month (CEM) you ask? Check out the following description from the great CEM District Toolkit created by Powerful Learning Practice:

Connected Educator Month (CEM) is a month-long celebration of community, with educators at all levels, from all disciplines, moving toward a fully connected and collaborative profession. 

 The goals of Connected Educator Month include:

  • Helping more districts promote and integrate online social learning into their formal professional development 
  • Stimulating and supporting collaboration and innovation in professional development 
  • Getting more educators connected (to each other) 
  • Deepening and sustaining the learning of those already connected
The Connected Educator Month District Tool Kit
The bottom line is that our students need to know how to create Personal Learning Networks (PLN’s) that will allow them to connect with others who share their passion in a particular area. For this to happen to the fullest extent possible, we need out students to be surrounded by educators who can model the practices of a connected learner.  
With this in mind, I hope to profile one Connected Educator from my PLN on each school day during the month of October. To make this happen, I will be asking the members of my network to fill out a short Google Form and share a bit of information about who they are, where they are, and why they connect. Stay tuned…
If you are willing to help me achieve my goal of a “Connected Educator Profile” for each school day during October, please fill out this brief form.
Thanks in advance for your help!

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Join Us For Our First Parent Technology Night – Elementary School 1:1 Program

The Burlington Public Schools EdTech Team will be hosting a Parent Technology Night on Tuesday, October 1 at Marshall Simonds Middle School. Please join us for information about the BPS elementary school 1:1 iPad program. The session will provide an opportunity to learn about the iPad initiative at grades 1, 4, and 5 this school year. Our team will discuss Foundational Apps, student access to devices, student responsibility, and digital workflow.
Time during every Parent Tech Night session is also dedicated to technology related questions and support.

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Our Newest Blog And Other Ways To Follow Burlington Public Schools

We are excited to announce the creation of our district’s newest blog – Burlington Public Schools Blog. The word “Blog” in the title is actually used as a verb to represent all of the active bloggers throughout our school district. This space will be utilized to share a blog post daily from one of our staff or student bloggers.

Here are a few other ways you can follow our district’s learning journey:

Our new district Instagram account – We will routinely post photos from around the district here.

Our new district Twitter Account – @BurlMASchools – While many of our staff and administrators have been on Twitter for quite some time, we have not had a general account for the district aside from @BPSAlerts, which we reserve for emergencies, and @BPSEdtech, the Twitter account of our EdTech Team.

Finally, we don’t want to forget our District’s Facebook Page which is another great way to stay on top of the happenings in our school district.

Let us know if there are any other social media resources that you would like to see Burlington Public Schools access to share information!