Teaching & Learning Standard
The faculty at Bristol Central High School support the school’s 21st century learning by aligning instruction with the school’s core values, beliefs and learning expectations, which include personalizing instruction through assignments highlighting student choice; encouraging cross-disciplinary connections within instruction; promoting reflective and self-directed learning through revisions of student work; emphasizing inquiry and higher order thinking skills through the implementation of depths of knowledge (DOK) initiatives; and engaging students in authentic tasks that require students to apply real world knowledge to problems. Although our faculty has aligned instruction with the above practices, school-wide rubrics have not been consistently implemented across disciplines due to the wide range of state and district initiatives set forth for faculty without consistent focus on one initiative. The recent introduction of technology into the classroom through the use of Chromebooks, Smartboard activities, iPads, teacher websites and a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to School Initiative have improved instruction; however, more training is required in the utilization of the technology as well as the acquisition of different apps, software and applications for teachers to implement in the classroom.
All teachers at Bristol Central High School employ a wide variety of formative assessments to gather information on student achievement and guide their instruction. A myriad of teaching strategies are used among faculty including strategic grouping of students based on ability or interest, hands-on learning opportunities, creation of portfolios and authentic assessment opportunities. Within both the special education department and mainstream classrooms, teachers differentiate instruction based on student need and ability. Additional supports for students within the regular classroom are offered through the implementation of co-taught classes, English Language Learner course specific classes, and the addition of paraprofessional support for students requiring guided assistance. There are also supports for students within the classroom including collaborative activities with peers and extensive use of visuals within the classroom. Supports outside the classroom include availability of the instructor before and after school and peer tutoring by members of National Honor Society and an afterschool tutoring center on Thursdays.
The faculty at Bristol Central High School collaboratively meets and improves their instruction through the examination and analysis of student achievement data. These are gleaned from a variety of formative and summative assessments, i.e., the reporting of midterm and final exam data based on curricular goals and creation of Common Formative Assessments (CFAs) focused on literacy skills. Since many content teachers are not trained in teaching literacy techniques, teacher concern lies in the creation and implementation of the CFAs in collecting meaningful data to drive decision-making and instruction. Teachers received feedback that guides instruction from administrators in the form of formal and informal observations in accordance with the new teacher evaluation system, student feedback and parent input through teacher contact and governance committee membership. Furthermore, teachers use current research to implement effective learning strategies in the classroom including the idea of the flipped classroom. Teachers engage formally and informally in professional discourse. Data team meetings are held weekly that allow teachers to meet, collaborate and engage in professional discourse in analyzing data and improving instruction through data-driven decision-making within groups of teachers working in the same discipline; however, there is no formal time allotted to teachers to engage in cross-curricular collaborations with colleagues in other disciplines.
Evidence suggests the faculty at Bristol Central High School maintain expertise in their content areas. Many teachers subscribe to professional journals, thereby assuring access to the latest teaching strategies and techniques. Teachers attend conferences and actively participate in school offered professional development opportunities to maintain expertise in their field.
Based on the Rating Guide for Standard 3, the Instruction committee agrees that Bristol Central High School meets this Standard at the ACCEPTABLE level.
- Evidence of positive use of collaborative learning opportunities acknowledged by both students and teachers
- Use of current research by teachers to build content knowledge and improve teaching practices
- Meaningful teacher reflection upon student performance and individualized instruction to meet student needs through assessments
- Employment of multiple teaching strategies to differentiate instruction
- Purposeful integration of technology into instruction
- Substantive data team collaboration leading to data-driven decision making
- Provide additional timely training in software and application technologies
- Provide more timely response to hardware and software problems that impact instruction.
- Revisit approval process to obtain new software, applications, or simulations.
- Provide teachers time to fully focus upon and master one district initiative at a time
- Plan formal opportunities for teacher-driven, cross-disciplinary collaboration
- Prioritize consistent, planned implementation and training in the use of school wide rubrics
- Provide additional professional expertise to train teachers in writing common formative assessments to ensure that the data collected is meaningful and appropriate for the evaluation process
- Develop and provide teacher training in how to teach literacy skills in content areas to support the district-wide initiative to teach literacy.