Goal 1: High-Quality Instruction

  • Teacher Instructing Class

    123 Ladder Learning is our core business. We must ensure our students are learning every day.



    Click the titles below to reveal additional information about our three areas of High-Quality Instruction.

  • High-Quality Instruction

    Students Playing Chess We must address challenges in the external environment and internal organization to ensure all students receive instruction that addresses not only their academic success, but also their social and emotional needs, and serves as a catalyst to student achievement beyond current expectations.

    The 2016–19 Strategic Plan recalibration builds on the 2012–15 efforts that delivered improved services to schools, investment via the Safety, Music & Art, Athletics, Renovations and Technology (SMART) program, and the building of a strong academic foundation. We must now improve our focus and align our resources on students as learners. High-quality instruction requires:

    • standards-driven content;
    • a commitment to teacher development;
    • effective teaching practices;
    • appropriate learning environments and experiences;
    • appropriate monitoring of performance; and 
    • ongoing professional learning at all levels.

    Learning is our core business. We must ensure our students are learning every day. Learning includes mastering academic standards, undergoing social-emotional development,  and applying knowledge and skills in new situations. We continuously focus on high-quality instruction, beginning in the early years with literacy, continuing in middle school with knowledge application, and concluding in high school with college and career readiness. Our benchmarking of progress and readiness at these three levels will ensure all students’ needs are met along their learning pathways. 

    123 LadderWe must support the ways teachers engage students in learning at different ages in each unique classroom environment. By looking at the quality of student work and the usefulness of the feedback students receive, we will be able to better evaluate the quality of instruction. Effective use of data to identify, support, monitor and measure student needs is critical. Efforts for improvement must be aligned, provided with adequate resources and clearly communicated to all stakeholders. 

    We welcome all students at their current stages of development and preparation. For this reason, we must structure learning with the expectation that every student will be prepared to be successful after high school without remediation, having exceeded state of Florida standards. Our goal is that all students who graduate from BCPS are literate, knowledgeable and ready to enter the workforce as socially mature, productive members of our community. 

  • Literacy and Early Learning

    Literacy Literacy is the ability to read independently, write clearly, and understand and create information in different forms of media. Student learning begins at birth with parents, extended families, caregivers and the entire community. We are committed to working with families, social organizations and communities to improve the quality of learning that students experience before they enter school.

    We work with private providers of childcare and early learning to ensure the environments and instruction are developmentally appropriate, rich in resources and grounded in purposeful play. We must support high-quality Head Start programs, maximize enrollment in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten, and educate all parents and service providers about the BCPS standards for kindergarten readiness. 

    Students come to kindergarten with a wide variety of backgrounds and abilities. We must work with students who are developmentally advanced and those who are delayed. We must support those who have learning challenges, such as vision difficulties, dyslexia and/or cognitive differences. BCPS students must be fluent in English; some are also fluent in one or more additional languages.

    Our approach to reading is known as Balanced Literacy. It begins with phonics, continues with guided reading, and then uses content-based and fiction texts for independent reading. We monitor the development of students’ reading skills with running records until students are independent readers. 

    We guide students to become independent readers and writers by having them explore the classroom, their community and the world. Our expectation is that all students will be independent readers by the end of third grade, in alignment with the national standard for that grade level. Some students reach this point earlier; others struggle to meet this goal. 

    Broward needs teachers in the early grades who are specialists in reading and early childhood development.

    March 2018
    Elementary Schools
    State Average* BCPS Baseline** 2019 Desired Target** 2019 Stretch Target**
    Reading 53.0 50.0 60.2 62.1
    Math 57.0 57.0 66.7 68.6

    *Percentage of students level-3 and above, includes all schools (traditional and charter), combined grades K-5.
    **Percentage of students level-3 and above, includes traditional schools only, combined grades K-5.

    2016/17 Tactics 

    • Implement Balanced Literacy through development of a Literacy Field Guide.
    • Assign the most highly skilled teachers in literacy acquisition to early grades.
    • Refine the use of running records to standardize tools, measures and implementation.
    • Prioritize literacy acquisition by aligning organizational and instructional materials in the classroom and supporting resources.
    • Work with private schools and childcare to encourage readiness for early literacy.
    • Enhance the implementation of the District’s a Multi-Tiered System of Supports/Response to Intervention Framework to provide early support for students’ academic, behavior, and social emotional needs.

  • Middle Grades Learning

    Middle Grades Learning StudentThe focus in the middle school years (grades 6–8) is the application of learning and skills with projects and problems that integrate prior knowledge and extend understanding through new experiences. These activities are designed to utilize the mix of independence and insecurity that are characteristic of early adolescence. By engaging students with developmentally appropriate pedagogy, an interdisciplinary curriculum, individual challenges and global perspectives, we will build a solid foundation for college and career success.

    The middle grades have been largely neglected during national conversations about school improvement. Many considered them an unimportant way station on the path to high school— a chance for students to deal with the challenges of adolescence, but with minimal expectations for achievement. Recently, the critical importance of the middle grades has become more apparent. 

    For example, researchers have found a few basic factors from the middle grades (grades, attendance and behavior) can predict, with 75 percent accuracy, which students will drop out—long before they do. Too often, students who leave eighth grade without the essential skills they will need for college and career readiness never catch up. If these students are identified in the middle grades, schools can create targeted and timely interventions that can dramatically improve the chance of high school success.

    We will improve our curriculum and instruction to ensure the future success of BCPS students. We must have a systemic, comprehensive approach that focuses on improving outcomes and learning environments for all young adolescents in the District. The combination of acceleration, remediation and extension that teachers need to orchestrate for students is best accomplished through project- and problem-based learning environments.

    To improve middle grades learning, we must provide intensive training for educators and parents in four key areas: 

    1. understand adolescent development and its implications for instruction, discipline and the organization of middle grade schools;
    2.  use data (including, but not limited to, test scores) to  design and implement rigorous and customized instruction; 
    3.  help teachers collaborate across grade levels and subjects to create thematic curriculum units that make learning engaging and challenging; and 
    4.  establish college and career awareness and readiness programs to expose students earlier to opportunities available after high school.

    March 2018 
    Middle Schools
    State Average* BCPS Baseline** 2019 Desired Target** 2019 Stretch Target**
    Reading 52.0 51.7 55.6 57.5
    Math 55.0 55.3 60.0 61.5

    *Percentage of students level-3 and above, includes all schools (traditional and charter), combined grades K-5.
    **Percentage of students level-3 and above, includes traditional schools only, combined grades K-5.

    2016/17 Tactics 

    • Redesign middle grades experience to be organized around project- and problem-based interdisciplinary learning.
    • Embed Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) standards in core academic classes.
    • Connect MTSS/RtI with graduation readiness metrics.
    • Improve academic and social transition between eighth and ninth grades.
    • Extend literacy support to include applied learning as a form of expression in all content areas.

  • College and Career Readiness

    College and Career Readiness StudentA career-ready and college-bound culture ensures students are academically prepared, emotionally resilient, and aware of the practical knowledge and skills needed after high school. This includes understanding admissions procedures and financial aid for higher education, as well as the protocols for successfully applying and interviewing for employment—all of which must be achieved before graduation. 

    While the goal of college and career readiness is identical for all students, the path varies depending on students’ interests and learning preferences. It is necessary to create multiple pathways to help students succeed, anchored in schools with small learning communities and in courses that are rigorous and relevant (aligned with the local economy). This approach is based on our broad portfolio of schools.

    A portfolio of schools, and of programs within schools, is more than a mix of schools among which students can choose. It is a strategy for creating an entire system of excellent high schools that use managed universal choice as a central tool for District change. Like a garden, where decisions about planting and pruning are based on how well plants are growing, a portfolio of schools is managed on the basis of how well students 
    are learning.

    The partnerships BCPS undertakes with the higher education community, providers of internships and college preparatory organizations, need to be focused on enabling students to enter adulthood with purpose and passion. We are focused on ensuring all students take the steps needed for college readiness. We personalize the path to college and career readiness through the leadership of school counselors and the involvement of all adults in a student’s life.

    We provide all students with career experiences through internships, higher education expectations through dual enrollment, and exposure to college and career environments via campus and worksite visits. Our core activities also include offering all students the opportunity in their junior year to take a college admissions test and complete a college admissions essay.

    Building a culture of college and career readiness in BCPS means investing in every student’s future. We must align the curriculum, instruction and professional development of our teachers and administrators to ensure this outcome.

    March 2018 
    High Schools
    State Average* BCPS Baseline** 2019 Desired Target** 2019 Stretch Target**
    Reading 52.0 52.3 56.4 58.2
    Algebra 1 56.0 57.1 73.5 74.2
    Graduation Rate 77.8 81.2 89.0 89.1

    *Percentage of students level-3 and above, includes all schools (traditional and charter), combined grades K-5.
    **Percentage of students level-3 and above, includes traditional schools only, combined grades K-5.

    2016/17 Tactics

    • Provide rigorous foundations in algebra, reading and writing in the ninth grade.
    • Improve counseling services at the secondary level to raise expectations and quality of course-taking trends.
    • Provide access to college entrance exams and financial support processes.
    • Provide access to college selection counseling.
    • Using the MTSS/RtI process to support graduation and post-secondary transitions.

About BCPS

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