Special Areas of Focus
“Expectations for the implementation of the strategic plan must be clearly defined for students, parents, teachers, administrators, and school and community leaders. The needs are vastly different from one corner to another corner of the District, but there should be one message, one voice, one direction.”
- Respondent to the BCPS Strategic Plan survey
Click the titles below to reveal additional information about our special areas of focus.
Our students need experiences that show them they can succeed in life. Traditional feedback—primarily homework grades, report cards and standardized test scores—tell them how adults are judging their progress. We can create opportunities for students to personally experience the quality of their performance. These opportunities exist in BCPS, but must be taken to scale for all students. These opportunities support and go beyond the material on an FSA or SAT/ACT. We need to ensure students have experiences from elementary to high school that apply and extend the formal knowledge required in the State standards. Only then can we bring relevancy and opportunity to every learner.
At every elementary level, students show their applied learning progress via work portfolios and presentations. We can provide these opportunities through the curriculum, field trips and extensions such as chess in grades 2 and 3. Athletics, debate, coding, art, music, STEM and more must be provided at the elementary level. Students can discover and explore their own interests by taking advantage of these opportunities.
At the middle grades, BCPS provides instruction and participation in local civic engagement. In the 2016/17 school year, students will be able to write, present and share their experiences with peers around the world via project-based, web-based programs. These experiences will give relevancy and context to the required assessments students encounter as they approach graduation.
High school students must be engaged in learning activities outside of the school day. BCPS is committed to supporting and acknowledging students’ contributions to the local community via service learning and community service programs. We also encourage students to participate in introductory and advanced programs in athletics, computer science, debate, art, music, STEM and more. “Learning by doing” has been shown to increase engagement, knowledge retention and achievement. BCPS is committed to ending “schooling by test-prep” and ensuring learning environments are rigorous and active.
Response to Intervention
BCPS frames academic plans, organizational design and advocated practices through the Beyond Expected Student Targets (BEST) blueprint. The 2016/17 school year will take us from iteration BEST 1.0 to BEST 2.0. Improvement areas for BEST 2.0 are based on data and conversation at Performance Management sessions, School Board workshops, staff input and public feedback. We will:
- focus the Professional Learning Communities of grade/content teachers on analyzing student work and performance tasks;
- align the use of rubric-based scoring and the quality of feedback provided to students;
- improve the quality of Tier 1 instruction quality to deepen our Response-to-Intervention (RtI) practice. Ensure all students receive high quality standard-based instruction prior to moving students to Tier 2 or Tier 3;
- improve alignment of internal/external partnerships to support quality education;
- expand opportunities for student activities, applications and participation in community-based learning; and
- accelerate practices by increasing use of enterprise systems. Weed out stand-alone systems and practices.
Multi-Tiered Student Support Service/RtI’s successful implementation process in the 2012–15 Strategic Plan spurred the establishment of Collaborative Problem Solving Teams to determine potential student interventions. By aligning these processes for academic and behavioral interventions, a common language and culture has been established across the District. BCPS is committed to personalized learning and individualized interventions.
The 2016–19 Strategic Plan efforts will focus on improving the quality of Tier 1 instruction and shortening the time to determine and deliver additional supports within Tier 1, 2, 3 or referral for exceptional student education (ESE) determination when appropriate.
Family and Community Engagement
BCPS believes informed families and communities are essential to the success of our students and schools. From pre-K through high school, an engaged parent/guardian and family can make a major difference. Students need to know their parents/guardians are interested. They also need to know community members truly care about their education and, ultimately, their success.
BCPS students represent more than 208 different countries and speak more than 181 languages. As we implement the 2016–19 Strategic Plan, our top priority involves coordinating our activities and conversations with families, schools, service providers and community agencies. Every BCPS staff member shares the responsibility of strengthening family and community connections. We will work together to ensure every student reaches his or her highest potential.
We must also clearly communicate with families and stakeholders in a relevant, timely manner. We must listen, respond to feedback and understand our stakeholders’ needs.
Broward community mentors, volunteers and partners add tremendous value to the lives of our students throughout their education. We know our schools benefit when the community is involved.
We also know there is always room for improvement. We will continue to work to better coordinate activities across departments and schools. We must also ensure these resources are equitable among all schools and reflect our diversity. By purposefully and positively interweaving the lives of students, educators and community members, we will strengthen the bonds that connect us today and in the future.
“Raising the next generation is a shared responsibility. When families, communities and schools work together, students are more successful and the entire community benefits.”
-- US Department of Education
Closing the Achievement Gap
The District will continue to work towards closing the achievement and opportunity gaps for all children and student subgroups performing below expected levels when compared to their peers. Focused initiatives to address these gaps will include supports and interventions in the areas of literacy and in preparing young people to graduate high school ready for college and careers. Key priorities of the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) include: advancing equity by upholding critical protections for disadvantage and high-need students; wraparound support systems for decreasing the number of young people involved with the juvenile justice system, and ensuring youth progress with the engagement of parents, mentors and other caring adults to help successfully navigate education and life. The tenets of ESSA will guide the implementation of plans to support closing the achievement gap.
Celebrating the Diversity of Our District and Our Community
BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 208 different countries and 181 different languages. Throughout our District, we celebrate the rich diversity of our students, staff and community. BCPS offers a multitude of programs and opportunities such as, but not limited to: Bilingual Parent Outreach, ESOL Parent Ambassadors, ESOL Leadership Council, the Cultural Academy for New Americans, Dual Language and World Language programs, Mi Gente Mi Escuala, Latinos In Action, the Seal of Biliteracy, Road to College Workshops, and Courageous Conversations, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Diversity training.
In addition, the District engages in a variety of activities geared toward recognition, awareness and understanding throughout each school year highlighting various areas including but not limited to: Women’s History, History of the Holocaust, Hispanic Heritage, African-American History, LGBTQ, Native American History, Jewish History, Haitian Heritage, and Muslim American Heritage.
BCPS is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of all students. We will continue to honor the diversity of our community.
Beyond Letter Grades
While BCPS is committed to educating our students to reach their highest potential, it extends beyond their academic experiences. Our schools offer unique, co-curricular and extracurricular options that have attracted local, state and national attention. We also provide socio-emotional supports to enhance our students’ personal journeys.
We must shift our focus from an annual, State-assigned school grade to dynamic elements that more accurately reflect the new educational experience. Our District’s assessment of schools will emphasize the growth levels our students are achieving across academic disciplines. We must consistently communicate our schools’ successes. Culture and climate are two major indicators of a successful school, so we will also pay greater attention to our schools’ abilities to manage their comprehensive operations.
BCPS holds as a value the belief that engaged families, combined with highly effective teachers and school leaders, are the core components of a successful school. Our vision is for every family in Broward to be active partners with schools within their community in supporting the academic and social emotional learning of young people, and for all schools to have systems and practices in place that value and engage families and communities in essential and meaningful ways.
By 2019, our goal is that 100% of BCPS schools benefit from the value and actively plan for the engagement of families and the community, including but not limited to volunteers, mentors, parent groups, and community and business partners. The collective goal is for our students to receive the very best our community can offer.