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Many changes come to Brocton School District

September 8, 2016
By Amanda Dedie - , Westfield Republican

BROCTON - New school year, new vision for Brocton Central School District.

Over the summer, administrators at Brocton underwent a two-day training during a professional development administrator retreat with representatives from Edivate, which is, according to its website, "a comprehensive observation resource that helps administrators create highly personalized professional development plans that effectively support teacher growth."

The first thing accomplished with the training was a re-creation of the district's vision statement.

Article Photos

Submitted Photo
Brocton Superintendent Jason Delcamp, left, is presented with a certificate of completion and a Hawaiian Tiki, which symbolizes good luck and prosperity in the future implementation of the Edivate program, by Karl Bowman, a trainer for School Improvement Network.

"We've talked about moving forward, the future, those catchphrases, and one we've come across is one that was used in California - 'Never going back,' and I thought, instead of going out and charting the course and the future, our (goal) is never going back," said Brocton Superintendent Jason Delcamp.

"Last year was a year of change in the district, and I think 'Never Going Back' is a phrase we can use to embrace the changes ahead of us and the changes in the districts," Delcamp said.

The new vision statement reads as such:

"The Brocton Central School District will build and sustain a community of reflective and inclusive lifelong learners, which inspires educators to improve instruction through focused, job-embedded professional learning, where student learning is aligned to district and state standards, where students demonstrate holistic success, and make positive, meaningful contributions."

"Something that came up a lot was that (training participants) wanted a more beefy vision statement so that they felt like they knew the goals of the district.," said Christine Barth, director of both special education and curriculum/assessment.

The participants beefed up the vision statement before deciding to draw out some power words, so that anyone asked could sum up the school and its vision with a few short words, organized in the form of the school's acronym:

BULLieve / Collaborate / Share / Dream

The district also underwent a self reflection as an elementary and middle/high school, with the chance to evaluate administrators and create what were called "smart goals" for the school.

One of the smart goals discussed was increasing the number of participants in state assessments, a factor that greatly affects the school's scores with the state.

"For the district program, we were again not making the cut scores for the state," said Barth. "The state will say the opt out movement is an unintended consequence, because if you opt out, you don't count either," said Barth, meaning that anyone who opts out of exams is considered to have a "one," the lowest score a student can have on a scale of one to four. The more "ones" there are, the lower the state score goes.

The District Comprehensive Improvement Plan also shares six tenets that will promote change in the school.

District Leadership and Capacity focuses on prioritizing and creating a list of district needs, which will be worked on by a committee with representatives from all district stakeholder groups. The committee will also analyze beginning and end of year data and compare within the same cohort of special education students looking for growth in the special education population.

School Leader Practices and Decisions will increase communication amongst district staff and administration through agendas, minutes and schedules from faculty meetings, professional development meetings, and data team meetings to showcase the dissemination of school information before and after changes.

Curriculum Development and Support will provide teachers with the time, resources and training needed to implement curriculum, technology and enrichment opportunities through professional development days, structured faculty meetings, and additional and alternate programming for student work, assessment and benchmarks to diagnose and monitor at-risk students.

Teacher Practices and Decisions will have the school track student enrollment and movement through school initiatives and support activities to document the growth and correlating success of aforementioned initiatives, as well as diagnose and track the progress of at-risk students. Teachers will schedule dedicated time to meet and support interdisciplinary and vertical cooperation to properly place students into support systems and identify the potential for additional services and further programming.

A leveled literacy intervention program will also be employed for students K-12 receiving Tier 3 and 4 services. The goal of this is to increase the growth scores of students requiring Tier 3 and 4 interventions.

Student Social and Emotional Developmental Health will help the school district, faculty and staff implement a system for tracking students' hall activity during designated class time throughout the day in support staff rooms and middle/high school classrooms, to be documented and shared with administration and support staff.

The goal at the elementary school level is to track frequency of support staff (counselors, office, nurse) visits and patterns of behavior; at the middle and high school level, to track frequency of departures and visits from and to the classroom, as well as frequency of support staff visits and patterns of behavior; at the district level, to develop a written record of activity to be used in communication between staff members, administration, and families, to collect data in order to track students who may require initial intervention services.

Finally, Family and Community Engagement, will create templates for leaders and staff to use in: first, the recording and logging of communication with families, community partners, and local sources of journalism; and second, the recording and logging of attendance for schoolwide initiatives, focusing on the enrichment of students and families alike, on the same nights as board meetings to allow for maximized exposure.

The district is also looking into implementing what will be called the "Thumps Up/Thumbs Down" program, which will work on checking in with students who are unable to advocate for themselves and making sure they don't slip through the cracks.

"We'll take a look at students by grade level and next to their name, like a spreadsheet, is a positive or a negative. We'll go back to (who has a) thumbs down, and next to that there will be a case manager or a description of their issue. If we're seeing academic decline, someone might say, 'Well I know they've had a death in the family - is anyone addressing that?' Then we'll get find the key person that needs to see that child - social worker, nurse, counselor, etc.," said secondary school principal Elizabeth Antolina.

Three professional development goals were also discussed, which included identifying power standards at each grade level in ELA, math, science and social studies to build vertical alignment to obtain a higher percentage of students achieving mastery of the standards; using a combination of assessment software and teacher-created common formative assessments to measure student learning and inform instruction; integrating the use of technology into how students interact and produce work; and building a comprehensive approach to ensuring kids are getting progressively more technologically ready at each level.



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