Dissemination and Collaboration
BART faculty and staff continue to be active participants in the local, statewide and national education conversations about running highly effective schools that educate a wide range of students:
- Alexis Dekel, the school’s math curriculum coach and calculus teacher, and Sean Keogh, the school’s ELA curriculum coach and high school ELA teacher, led two professional development workshops with the faculty at Mt. Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown, MA. They focused on transitioning to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment. They also shared BART’s practices for item analysis and used BART teachers’ work as exemplars.
- Similarly, a representative from the local Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) District and School Assistance Center asked BART Principal April West to impart BART’s practices for preparing for PARCC so she could share them with a local elementary school.
- Erin Hattaway, the school’s Assistant Principal, contracted with DESE to teach SEI endorsement courses for administrators (27 participants, one course) and teachers (90 participants, three different courses). She has been hired by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) to teach an SEI course to pre-service teachers. Ms. Hattaway also served as a consultant to the Muddy Brook Elementary School within the Berkshire Hills School District, supporting the rollout of SEI strategies with both administrators and teachers.
- A team of administrators from Berkshire Hills School District partnered with a team of BART educators to share our key findings and observe each other’s classes as we both implement restorative practices in our schools. At the end of the school year, Berkshire Hills hired our Assistant Principal, Miles Wheat, to work at the Berkshire Hills middle and high school, Monument Mountain, to continue their implementation of restorative practices next year.
- Betsy Marr, the school’s 8th-grade ELA teacher and 8th Grade Team Leader, piloted an anti-bullying program developed with the Clark Art Institute and an art museum in Strasbourg, France, in the 2014-2015 school year. This past year, Ms. Marr supported the replication of this program with Mt. Greylock Regional Middle School students, partnering with that school’s 7th-grade ELA teacher. More can be read at http://frameedu.clarkart.edu/en_US/ .
- A team of educators from Randolph Union High School in Vermont visited BART to learn about our advisory classes, specifically our implementation of the Circle Practice (part of restorative practices) to build a stronger community.
- Deborah Calderara, the school’s history team leader, continues to teach courses at MCLA, including a course in classroom management and teaching strategies. Students in her class include aspiring educators, many of whom will start their careers in Berkshire County.
- Alexis Dekel, mentioned above, has served as a faculty member for summer courses at MCLA for a number of years. In 2015, Ms. Dekel taught The Hidden Depths of Secondary Mathematics. In 2016, she will teach Advanced Algebra and Analytic Geometry.
In addition to our local efforts, BART educators have participated at the state and national level to disseminate some of our best practices.
- Harvard’s Datawise course, held each June for educators from around the country and world, continues to use BART as a case study for effective data-driven instruction in both their Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and their on-site course. This year, our principal, April West, helped present BART’s case and led a Q&A with participants.
- Alexis Dekel presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in June 2016, on cultivating deep, enduring understanding in mathematics through visualization, specifically using a free web-based graphing site, desmos.com.
- Brendan Longe, the school’s Data and Assessment Coordinator, presented at the New York Data Group conference in July 2016, on how BART administers interim assessments and how we use the data to inform our instructional practices.
- Finally, Executive Director Julia Bowen remains a member of the Berkshire Compact for Higher Education, an affiliation of Berkshire County educational, business, and political leaders working to expand college access and aspirations so that all Berkshire County students can attain a K-16 education. Ms. Bowen also continues to serve on the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, an organization whose work includes identifying and actively sharing best educational practices across all sectors of public education.