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Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to visit our blog. We would like to invite you to contribute your ideas related to professional development in this forum. We hope to offer all teachers at BHS the opportunity to have input in the PD you are experiencing this year, and to reflect on ideas and practices of our outstanding faculty.

Friday, December 21, 2012

People we are grateful for this year...

At Berkeley High School we are extremely fortunate to work with a highly competent, caring, and dedicated staff. Below is an incomplete list of the many who have stood out this year:  
(Please add your own in the comments section.)

Allen Boltz for his smart and innovative way of looking at science education. Allen is a scientist at his core and he applies this philosophy to both his teaching and his leadership.

Academic Choice English teachers (Matt Carton, Kate Rosen, Amanda Green, Madalyn Theodore, Leslie Tebbie, Matt Laurel, Zora Tammer, and David Borelli) for their collaborative work and leadership in developing strong interim assessments for their 9th and 10th graders. You are breaking ground and setting the standard.

Tamara Friedman for her visionary and intelligent leadership in the World Language department as well as in our PD Leadership meetings

Belinda McDaniel for so many things we can't list them all but especially for always making people feel comfortable no matter how ridiculous our requests are.

Hasmig Minassian for sharing her thoughtful comments in both the PD Leadership and Lead Teachers meetings. CAS and BHS are lucky to have you.

Eileen Jacobs for her continuing work as an advocate for students with disabilities and always reminding us of the broad range of students we are committed to serving.

Jordanna Anderson for being an excellent teacher for all her students and being an early, persistent, and consistent practitioner of academic language instruction.

The PE department for their dedication to their program and their students despite all the challenges they face. They always graciously adjust their lessons to accommodate the various distractions of construction, testing, and inclement weather.  We can all learn from them.

Wanda Kelly for her professionalism and for quickly becoming one of the integral people at BHS.

Rhonda Jefferson for her calm support around the craziness of purchasing and getting people paid through BUSD.

Aaron Glimme for being on the cutting edge of Illuminate implementation. Aaron's classroom is an ongoing experiment finding new ways to make the most of Illuminate's potential.

All the students at Berkeley High School for their sophistication, critical thinking, amazing creativity, intelligence, kindness, and generosity.  They are really what makes this such a unique place to work.

Pasquale Scuderi and the entire administrative team for keeping teaching and learning at the center of it all and for challenging us to always improve ourselves to better meet the needs of all of our students.

And last, but not least, the entire Berkeley High School teaching staff for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to education.  You are the links between theory and practice and between curriculum and students. Happy Holidays and enjoy your well deserved rest.  Great challenges await educators in 2013 and beyond but there is no better staff to take them on and we are honored to work with you everyday.

Dave and Susannah

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Masha Albrecht Published in the "Mathematics Teacher"

Berkeley High School's own Masha Albrecht recently had a letter published in the December/January issue of "Mathematics Teacher".  Masha's letter praised MT for including letters from educators raising the issue of political influence on pedagogy. Additionally, she expressed concern about a number of missed opportunities for a more public discussion of topics ranging from educational funding, the privatization of education, the impact of standardized testing, and the new math standards.

Masha currently teaches Algebra 1B and AP Calculus. She is the author or co-author on three books including: 1) Navigating Through Measurement In Grades 9-12 (Principles and Standards For School Mathematics Navigations Series, 2) Discovering Geometry: With the Geometer's Sketchpad, and 3) SIMMS Integrated Mathematics: A Modeling Approach Technology Level 4

Friday, December 7, 2012

Keeping Academic Language in the Driver's Seat

John Becker modeling his compare-contrast lesson.
In my 14 years at Berkeley High, I have to say I have never seen a school-wide focus implemented with such consistency and fidelity as our efforts with academic language instruction.   Dave and I are so impressed with the level of passion and determination we have seen growing across learning communities and departments in this area.  From 20 new inductees into the Constructing Meaning program, to teachers consistently writing good learning/language objectives, to our improved CAHSEE results from last March - the evidence is everywhere that this focus is working for teachers and students.

The other day, I happened upon an excited Matt Carton who was teaching a lesson on style.  Now, those who have seen Mr. Carton in action know that excitement is not an unusual state for his classroom.  To say the man is passionate about his subject is an understatement.  But on this day, Matt was trying something new that he learned from his work with Heidi Ramirez-Weber, Tamara Friedman, and Heather Tugwell.  And I could tell that he was genuinely thrilled about the potential for student learning that was taking place.   I saw John Becker similarly thrilled the other day when he was teaching a lesson on comparison-contrast.   This is professional development - and it is academic language, but it's not just for English teachers.

Recently, Monique DeBrito Guedes gave a presentation to Academic Choice teachers on how she has used principles of academic language instruction in her science classes.   Sam Rosen, Aaron Glimme, and Nick Pleskac created templates for using academic language in speaking and writing about science, and teachers throughout the school have created posters of these for their own classrooms.  These and other curriculum ideas are shared in your google drive.

If you have any stories, curriculum or photos about academic language in action, please send them my way.  If you feel you have a good example of a learning objective, take a picture of your board and send that to me too.  We need to share these examples so that teachers can continue to grow and students can continue to develop these important skills.  Keep up the great work, BHS teachers!