BC Learning Update

August 1, 2017

Thinking about the 2017-18 school year

As we prepare for the start of the 2017-18 school we are excited to see everyone on 8/17/17 and to meet our new staff members on 8/15/17. As we've been working this summer there have been many of you taking advantage of learning opportunities inside and outside the District. Thank you for your commitment to learning! Also, thank you for all the preparing you have done and will continue to do to meet the needs of the students in your classrooms.

We are excited to hear feedback from the new format our elementary centers will be using during open house this year and the focus on creating relationships with families on 8/21/17. But, before then, we have registration on 8/9/17 and training for your teacher leaders on the 2nd year of the Data Team process.

Here is a link to the PL Schedule for 2017-18. This is a working document we use to meet the needs of learning across the district.

I'm excited to be starting my 24th year as an employee here at BC. This summer I was fortunate enough to be able to travel with a team from GWAEA to Seattle to learn more about instructional leadership (see collage picture below of some of the sights I was able to experience). I'm excited to put some of this learning into place where it fits here at BC. Please let me know how I can be of support in anyway as we prepare for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

New Tools for 2017-18 at our disposal

Elementary: Fast Reading & Fast Math both being able to be accessed via fastbridge.org and the reports we are able to get on student learning and performance will be a driver for our data team conversations. Tentatively we have plans to learn more about this during the morning of Aug. 22, 2017.

6th, 7th & 8th Grade: Actively Learn -- This is an on-line tool GWAEA technology consultants shared with us during learning the past two years in February. We are hoping that the teachers will be able to collaborate on the use of this tool with students between the grades of 6-8.

Some of its features are:

a) Content + Curriculum: our Content Page highlights some of the key features of our catalog. In particular, our platform is a) cross-curricular, b) contains many titles with pre-created assignments and scaffolds, and c) features our newly added knowledge sets to help teachers build depth in various subject areas with their students. Teachers also have the ability to upload their own PDF's, Google Docs, and internet articles.
b) Collaboration: teachers can share + co-author assignments with each other, co-teach classestogether, and even store assignments in a shared district library so that they can access their colleagues' best assignments from across the district. This is great for PLC time and planning.
c) Improving teacher instruction: asking better questions, providing differentiated instruction, and providing better feedback. These are just some of the instructional practices that we support on our platform.

e) Professional Learning: See our holistic process to improve literacy practices for teachers of any subject. We recently launched our Professional Learning Center directly in the app where teachers can learn, practice, and demonstrate proficiency across a set of key instructional practices for literacy, and earn micro-credentials for each.

e) Alignment to standards: all questions are "align-able" to standards. This allows teachers and admins to access district-wide reports that help identify areas of growth and also gaps in student proficiency.

Mt. Mercy Graduate Program Opportunity

Dear Potential Students for the Benton Community School District Cohort:
A Master of Arts in Education degree is within your grasp! We at Mount Mercy University are eagerly anticipating a great group of educators in the Cohort from Benton Community School District. We have tailored the emphasis areas in Effective Teaching or Reading to meet your district's needs. Also, some classes could be offered at a building on your district campus if we get a group of 10 or more students in one emphasis area.
Some of your colleagues are already registered to begin this Cohort, beginning August 2017. We are happy to offer this Cohort of new graduate students a $138 per credit hour scholarship for registering before August 10, 2017. This is 30% off of our regular rate of $460 per credit hour. Additionally, some teachers may be eligible for full loan forgiveness through the TEACH grant; contact us, and we can help you find out if you are eligible.
To apply to this program, please go to www.mtmercy.edu<http://www.mtmercy.edu> and follow the link to graduate programs. Choose Master of Arts in Education program. There will be a link to Apply on the right hand side of the page. Click there to apply to this exciting program and be part of your district's Cohort group!
To find out more information, please contact me by email or call. My information is located below. Let us know how we can help you as you boost your career to the next level!
Dawn Behan, Ph.D.
Graduate Director of Education and Professor of Education | Graduate Center
Mount Mercy University | 1650 Matterhorn Dr. NE | Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
319-363-1323, ext. 1217 | Cell 319-440-0209 | dbehan@mtmercy.edu