Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Welcome Back 2009

August 3, 2009

Dear BCS Families,

Robert Frost wrote a poem that has stuck in my mind since I applied for the position of team leader for BCS last spring. The title of the poem The Road Not Taken represents what my intentions are in leading the BCS team this year. The BCS community has known success at a variety of levels and has been the leading change agent in many areas within Birmingham. This success has not come from being complacent or feeling comfortable with the status quo, it has come from being a family oriented organization that believes in taking the road less traveled. As team leader, the road less traveled means to try new and innovative ways to communicate with the school community, to provide time and meaningful training for our teaching staff to enhance their 21st century skills, and to create and maintain an environment at BCS that promotes global learning.

Education has experienced many changes over the past decade and is on the verge of a complete transformation from what we know the school experience to be. Dr. Robert Marzano, an education researcher and author, recently published the results of his study on using technologies, such as the interactive whiteboards BCS has installed over the summer. The research points to a best case scenario that includes teachers that have been working with technology tools for at least two years and use it within their classroom for 75% of the time. This scenario proved to raise test scores by 29% and created environments that included 21st century thinking, collaboration, and most of all, students that enjoy learning!

This research caught my attention for two reasons. One, it is important for us as a school community to understand why we are purchasing these new tools and spending time to train our teams to successfully integrate the tools into our curriculum. Secondly, there is an enormous amount of research that points to the same results, however, many school districts within our state and across the country refuse to move forward with the best practices for the 21st century. BCS will not be a stagnant school! Our team is poised to be the trailblazers down the road less traveled!

The road less traveled will have twist and turns that we are not aware of. It will be an adventure that we will never forget and a journey that will ultimately make us stronger educators, more informed parents, and better prepared students. Hal and I are excited to take the lead in this adventure and ask that you join us in becoming pioneers, not just in Oakland County or the state of Michigan, but pioneers in the global community that lies ahead.

The last three lines of Frost’s poem sums up what we have in store this year and for years to come.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Together, we will make a difference!


Adam Hartley Hal Heard

New Team Members
Hal and I would like to introduce new team members for 2009-2010 that will be a part of the journey and will be very capable of assisting us as we encounter new and exciting adventures.

Krystal Muhammed: 7th/8th Grade Math
Mrs. Muhammed comes to BCS from University Prep in Detroit. Krystal graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and shortly after received her Masters in Education. After receiving her degree, she began teaching in Detroit at Winans Academy for Performing Arts, followed by a successful tenure at University Preparatory High School in the New Center Area. She worked as an advisor, math specialist and department head. Krystal believes in building strong and enduring relationships with both students and their families.

Erica Malisewski: 5th/6th Grade Math/Science
Erica will be teaming with Karen Fitzgerald and teaching 5th/6th grade math and science. She taught Spanish at BCS for two years before leaving to teach Spanish at the Lincoln St. Alternative School. We are excited to have Erica back at BCS!

Susan Adams: Media Specialist
Susan comes to BCS with 27 years of experience at the elementary and middle school level. She recently held the position of media specialist at Quarton Elementary and has worked at Harlan and Pembroke as well. Susan is excited to join BCS and is a strong proponent of parent involvement!
She will be coming to the BCS team as a ½ time media specialist sharing her time with Ann Truesdell. Ann will be at BCS in the a.m. and working with the district’s ignite program in the p.m.

Laurie Dean-Amir: Social Worker
BCS is excited to have Laurie join our team. She will be working closely with our staff to make sure that each child here at BCS receives a safe and quality education.

Karen Sivwright: Counselor
Karen joins the BCS staff after working in the same position at Harlan Elementary. Karen has already met our new families coming to BCS this fall and will be working closely with Tamra Nast and the BCS grade level teams.

Please join me in welcoming our new BCS team members!

Last year BCS created a theme that embraced the concept of working together and stepping out of our comfort zones to move forward in an honest and trustworthy fashion. The BCS team believes that this should not be a one year process but rather a process that includes conversations among all stakeholders, time to reflect, and time to set goals for the future. With this in mind, our theme will be me2WE: This I believe. Over the course of the 2009-2010 school year, all BCS stakeholders will question what our beliefs are in 21st century education. These challenges will be answered by our team, including staff and families, working on the same page and making sure that our students are receiving the best, most vigorous education a child can receive.

I would like to thank the parent community for such a warm welcome I received over the course of the past few months. I have had the opportunity to meet many of you and your families. I am excited to be a part of such a vibrant and caring community and look forward to working with you to prepare our future leaders for the challenges that lie ahead. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have a question or if I have not had the opportunity to introduce myself to you.

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