THE BRONXVILLE PROMISE
To innovate, discover, and create;
To make something new from what you know.
To find your voice and communicate clearly,
To lead with passion and persistence.
To think critically and explore nature, history, and culture;
To gain the understanding and courage to change.
To collaborate and serve others;
To engage with the world near and far, making it a better place.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES
Singapore Mathematics: Mathematical problem-solving ability, according to Singapore Mathematics tenets, is dependent upon five inter-related components: Concepts, Skills, Processes, Attitudes, and Metacognition. The curriculum was adopted during the 2013-14 school year, beginning in Kindergarten. With a grade level being added each year, the Singapore Mathematics approach reached the sixth grade during the 2018-19 school year. Consulting services for this program have included Sara Ingrassia and Makoto Yoshido. As a result of Makoto's work in the District, lesson study has been implemented at some grade levels.
Teachers College Reading Writing Project: The mission of Teachers College Reading and Writing Project is to "develop avid and skilled readers and writers through a literacy-rich curriculum." The program is comprised of sequential K-8 units of study that incorporate mini-lessons, independent and partner work, small group work, and class sharing sessions. Teachers College running records, as well as unit pre- and post-assessments are used to assess students’ reading levels, and guide instruction. In addition to working with consultants from Teachers College, the staff is invited to attend workshops and institutes at Teachers College both during the school year and during the summer.
Model Schools: Technology coaches from the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center (LHRIC) work with teachers to reflect on current practices, build new skills, refine approaches, share ideas, conduct research, and problem solve instructional and technical challenges. In addition to working with coaches during the school day, teachers are also invited to attend workshops at LHRIC to develop their expertise with instructional technology.
Project-Based Learning (PBL): Project Based Learning is “a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.” The essential project design elements of a “gold standard” project include: a challenging problem or question, sustained inquiry, authenticity, student voice and choice, reflection, critique and revision, and a public product. The Buck Institute for Education provides professional development support through onsite workshops with Al Summers, and workshops in a variety of locations.
Response to Intervention (RtI): “Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. RTI is designed for use when making decisions in both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data. For RTI implementation to work well, the following essential components must be implemented with fidelity and in a rigorous manner: High-quality, scientifically based classroom instruction, Ongoing student assessment, Tiered instruction.” (RtI Action Network)
RtI is implemented differently in each of Bronxville's schools. For more information about RtI, please speak with your principal, a school psychologist, and/or a special education teacher.
Socratic Seminar: "Socratic seminar is a formal discussion, based on a text, in which the leader asks open-ended questions. Within the context of the discussion, students listen closely to the comments of others, thinking critically for themselves, and articulate their own thoughts and their responses to the thoughts of others." (Israel, Elfie. “Examining Multiple Perspectives in Literature.” In Inquiry and the Literary Text: Constructing Discussions n the English Classroom. James Holden and John S. Schmit, eds. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2002.)
In Bronxville, Socratic Seminars have been implemented from the primary grades through advanced high school courses to develop a deep understanding of a text, image, video, or composition and to advance the acquisition of the dispositions of the Bronxville Promise. Nancy Letts serves as a Socratic Seminar consultant for Bronxville teachers.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT focuses on interactions among thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Its premise is that individuals can accept their thoughts, feelings, and relationships, yet make changes that allow them to move in a positive direction. DBT provides three ways to reflect on one’s state of mind:
Emotion Mind: Thinking is highly influenced by emotion
Reasonable Mind: Thinking is logical, devoid of emotion and extremely focused
Wise Mind: A state of balance between emotion and reason that permits the acknowledgement of emotion without impeding an effective response
Four skill sets are used to help individuals achieve “wise mind”:
Mindfulness: Remaining in the present moment, identifying how you are feeling, slowing thoughts, acknowledge and experience emotions without judgment
Distress tolerance: Increasing the ability to tolerate strong, negative emotions rather than turning to avoidant behaviors such as over-eating, spending, drinking or drugs.
Emotion Regulation: This skill set focus on improving physical health as a way to reduce emotional vulnerability through eating well, getting proper sleep and exercise.
Interpersonal Effectiveness: The focus of this skill set is on being able to act and speak in a thoughtful, effective way, rather than responding purely from an emotional state, and relies on the ability to examine relationships to identify what is working and not working, understand needs, and set appropriate boundaries.
While DBT was originally used to address severe mental health issues, it can benefit anyone who wants to improve the ways in which they manage emotions and address conflicts. Kelly Graling serves as a DBT consultant for the District.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices have been shown to decrease anxiety, increase attention, improve emotion regulation, and strengthen compassion. Mindfulness practices are taught in the elementary school, with the assistance of “Little Flower Yoga” instructors. Mindfulness has also been incorporated into middle school advisory instruction, and a mindfulness club has been established for high school students.
Adult Learning Theory: Eleanor Drago-Severson, author and Teachers College Professor, posits a theory of adult development that includes four “ways of knowing.”
Instrumental Knowers are concerned about rules and clear definitions of right and wrong, view other people as either helpful or as obstacles, and find abstract thinking meaningless. Their guiding questions are “Will I get punished?” and “What’s in it for me?” Tasks at the growing edge for Instrumental Knowers include being open to possibility of new “right” solutions, and taking on tasks that demand abstract thinking.
Socializing Knowers rely upon authority figures to set goals. Their self-image is based upon the judgment of others. They feel responsible for others’ feelings, and they feel threatened by criticism and conflict. Their guiding questions include “Will you like/value me?” and “Will you think I am a good person?” Tasks at the growing edge for these learners include generating their own values and standards, and accepting conflicting viewpoints without viewing them as a threat to relationships.
Self-Transforming Knowers are concerned about generating and staying true to their values. Their self-image is based upon their evaluation of their competencies and integrity. They view contradictory feelings and conflict as a way to learn. The self-transforming knower's guiding question is “Am I staying true to my own personal integrity, standards, and values?” The tasks at their growing edge include opening up to diverse and opposing views, and accepting and learning from diverse problem-solving approaches.
Self-Authoring Knowers set goals in collaboration with others, share power, find common ground even with seeming opposites, and are open to exploration, conflict, complexity, and others’ perspectives. Their guiding question is “How can other people’s thinking help me to develop and grow?" The tasks at their growing edge include accepting that some differences cannot be resolved, and avoiding insisting on absolutely flat, non-hierarchal approaches.
Both curriculum leaders and professional development policy board members are working with Professor Severson to align curriculum and professional development initiatives with adult learning theory.
Special Education Laws are complex. Please see an administrator, school psychologist, and/or special education teacher for information about accommodations for specific students.
WEBSITES & ARTICLES TO EXPLORE
Growth Mindset Resources (Shared with ES Faculty by Tricia Murray, 9-12-18)