Weekly Letter 3.13.17

Dear Families:


It is Monday, March 13th and so begins another week of performance based assessments, this time for our third grade children.  


On Friday I happened to go into Doug and Malika’s third grade classroom where I found everyone immersed in practicing the PBA process with small groups of children talking to teachers, paras, and a few volunteer parents.  Based on the hum of voices, it looked like these third grade children are ready to talk about what they learned about West Africa as well as their projects.  


Last week and the week before was equally busy as fifth grade children presented about their research papers and their projects.  Thanks to the many parents who participated.  In addition to creating a PBA schedule for 100 children, to videotaping the sessions and to using iPads to document the work, we found ourselves hosting visitors as folks from other schools expressed interest in our process.  It’s exciting to be able to share this work.  


To give you a little insight, we would like to include an email from Kathy McDonald, parent of Max Garland, in grade four:


Dear Diane,


It was truly my pleasure!  I was impressed by how poised and prepared the kids were to talk about their topics, as well as their research and writing processes. And as the parent of a 4th grader, I could see how everything the kids have been learning over the last few years lead to this amazing work in the 5th grade. I teach at the college level and talk with my colleagues a lot about scaffolding research and writing skills within and across classes, and the BNS curriculum is clearly a highly successful model of scaffolding.  I have no doubts that our kids will be well prepared for middle school, high school, and beyond!


all best,

Kathy McDonald


Many thanks for helping to make this possible and for believing in this work.  May performance based assessments become a standard practice and value in all of our schools.  


All for now,




Quote of the Week:


Anya Morrison Biggs, in Josh and Cora's 4th grade, came home last week after an after school acrobatics class she loves.  One of her moms asked how the class was.  Anya responded, "Pretty good.  But SCHOOL was GREAT!"  She then excitedly described the new project she's doing on Henry Hudson and what she's going to research next.




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