GV BOCES School Improvement

February 2022 Newsletter

News You Can Use

Embedded in the School Improvement (SI) newsletter you will find important updates, information, and resources from the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) & your regional Joint Management Team BOCES (Monroe 1 BOCES, Monroe 2 BOCES, Genesee Valley BOCES & Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES). Below are direct links that assist with staying current regarding news and changes at the state level.

Leadership Institute 2022

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Reimagining P-3: Early Learning Statewide Conference

Join PK-3 educators from across the state for a full-day virtual conference. Three different professional learning strands will be offered across the day including focuses on:

  • Strengthening Learning Through Play

  • Cross-Curricular Integration

  • Becoming a Culturally Responsive Early Learning Educator

If you are unable to attend virtually on March 15, you may register to receive the recorded sessions.

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Continue Your Professional Learning

The School Improvement (SI) newsletter also strives to continue professional learning for school administrators, teachers, and staff even from afar. This section of the newsletter will provide readers with timely and relevant learning aligned to evidence-based practices. If you would like more on topics outlined in the newsletter, please contact the SI department. Our contact information is located at the bottom of the newsletter. Enjoy!

Curriculum with an Equity Lens

Part 1 - January Newsletter: Using Data to Establish Local Context

Part 2 - February Newsletter: Curriculum with an Equity Lens

Part 3 - March Newsletter: Instruction with an Equity Lens

Part 4 - April Newsletter: Assessment with an Equity Lens

The three guiding pillars of a quality Tier 1 framework across classrooms include: curriculum, instruction, and assessment. A guaranteed and viable curriculum is one assurance towards ALL students having equitable learning opportunities. An inclusive curriculum is part of the NYS Board of Regents 2021 Call-to-Action for districts to consider inclusive and culturally responsive teaching and learning, as part of their local policy. NYSED suggests creating and/or evaluating an inclusive curriculum that:

  • elevates historically marginalized voices

  • include opportunities to learn about power and privilege in the context of various communities and empowers learners to be agents of positive social change

  • provide the opportunity to learn about perspectives beyond one’s own scope

  • work toward dismantling systems of biases and inequities

  • decentering dominant ideologies in education

According to Hartl and Riley (ASCD, 2021), educators should design curriculum with "windows, mirrors, and doors" (sec. 4); a high-quality curriculum offers students texts and topics that contain mirrors, windows, and doors. Mirrors affirm and celebrate students' own identities and cultures. It is suggested that a curriculum with mirrors can allow students to see themselves, or possibly an element of themselves, in its texts and topics. This curriculum has the potential to appeal to students' interests. Students can then feel connected to and invested in their learning. Windows can help students learn about and understand others. Providing students with opportunities to see new worlds helps to develop social-emotional skills like empathy and respect for others. Doorways present students with opportunities to be agents of change. When students can meaningfully engage with the very problems in their communities, they can inspire change, resulting in a feeling of empowerment as engaged citizens and young activists.

New York State’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework suggests action items for students, teachers, school leaders, and district leaders to evaluate and ensure an equitable curriculum such as:

  • Support staff in embedding grade-level, standards-aligned resources that emphasize cultural pluralism; social justice; and current events into curriculum across content areas.

  • Partner with teachers to audit curriculum, materials, and school or classroom libraries to assess: whether they properly represent, value, and develop students’ cultures; presence of implicit bias; or omission of cultural (race, class, gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, ability) perspectives.

  • Adopt curriculum that includes culturally authentic learning experiences that reflect students’ ways of learning, understanding, communicating, and demonstrating curiosity and knowledge.

  • Support the design and implementation of multiple forms of assessment that consider personalized student needs (i.e. preferred learning format, learning preferences, language proficiency).

  • Invest in curricular resources that reflect diverse cultures and voices of marginalized people.

  • Invest in community leaders and family members as contributors to instruction by actively seeking and welcoming their history and knowledge.

  • Incorporate Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) materials, resources, and strategies into the school day and broader learning environment that consider and plan for topics of equity and inclusion.

  • Expose students to the world beyond the home community while affirming their own identities (i.e. community mentor programs, guest speakers, field trips, cross-district partnerships).

  • Create courses district-wide about the diversity of cultures representative of the state of New York (e.g., Native Americans, African Americans, Latinx Studies, Asian American Studies, Gender Studies) in a way that is comprehensive (e.g., across grade levels and not relegated to one specific month) and empowering (e.g., African American history does not begin with slavery, but with African history).

Research has shown that an equity approach to curriculum design benefits all students, not just students or teachers of color. Leaders should ensure a curriculum is equitable by design not chance. Below are some tools which may assist school districts in auditing their curriculum through an equity lens.

Building Equitable Learning Experience

A Curriculum Review Guidebook

School Improvement Spotlights

School Improvement (SI) takes great pride in the work we do at the state level, regionally, and when working directly with component districts. This section of the newsletter offers insight into the work SI does and provides recognition to local districts that strive for continuous school improvement. Partnerships and collaboration are the key to everyone's success!

Digging into the Science of Reading

First and second grade teachers from Attica Elementary learned more about the science of reading in January. These teachers enhanced their knowledge of reading from the summer session, specifically discussing ways to shift and enhance reading instruction. Teachers are working to use structured literacy approaches emphasizing highly explicit & systematic teaching of all important components of literacy, specifically foundational skills. Time was devoted to ensuring core reading materials aligned with the science of reading and small group instruction is skill-based. At this time, conversations have started regarding which reading assessments will drive instruction, as well as ways to ensure solid Tier 1 reading instruction.

Follow School Improvement on Twitter

Don’t forget that you can follow the School Improvement Team (SIT) on Twitter. The team is often posting information about upcoming professional learning opportunities, educational resources, and strategies for the classroom. You can stay in tune with what is happening at Genesee Valley BOCES and the SIT by following #gvbocessit.

2021-2022 Regional Professional Learning Opportunities

Registration for upcoming regional professional learning opportunities can be accessed through the links below. Check out the various opportunities the School Improvement Team is offering during the 2021-2022 school year. We look forward to seeing you in the upcoming months!

Need Support?

Please direct all requests for service to the Director of School Improvement, Stephanie Burns at 585.344.7923.