Dr Peter Duckett
Dear Bayan School Community members,
As we look ahead in the 2016-2017 school year, we are intentional in building off the successes of last academic year. We will make new forays into further advances in teaching and learning to the standards. In order to accomplish this, we will support the professional learning of teachers.
This year’s efforts will focus on three areas of growth which are enhanced assessment practices, differentiation strategies, and language development and comprehension strategies.
Teachers will be working to expand their repertoire of ways to check students’ depth of understanding while they are in the process of learning content. These checks for understanding are called formative assessments. Formative assessments are used for planning appropriate and responsive instruction. They are not used for grading purposes. With the information that formative assessments provide teachers are able to design different tasks and pathways that are more closely meet the differing needs of students.
This process of designing different tasks and pathways to meet the differing needs of students is referred to as differentiation. Throughout the year during School Improvement Tuesdays, teachers will be learning about and using tools and strategies for differentiating content, processes, products, learning environments and assessments. Ideally, students will be given a series of differentiated learning experiences and teachers will use numerous formative assessments so that students and teachers alike know that maximal learning has occurred when they arrive at summative assessments.
Summative assessments generally are administered at the end of units of study and they are used for grading purposes. Quality summative assessments are complex in nature and demand that students demonstrate the complexity of their understandings of the content studied in the unit in real world applications. In support of enhancing assessment practices we have made a commitment to attend the NESA Winter Training Institute here in Bahrain in January to learn more about effective standards-based assessment practices.
Because we know that language, meaning, and learning are intimately linked we know that we must support students’ language development and comprehension in order to support their learning. Therefore, we will be focusing on effective ways to support students’ language development across all curricular areas. As students study they will learn more language as well as ideas associated with that language. They will also learn more about the unique ways that language functions in any discipline whether science, social studies, math, Arabic, English, music, theater, or physical education. To this end we will be sending a cadre of teachers to the NESA Fall Training Institute in November to attend weekend workshops about key principles for language instruction and teaching the process of meaning making in reading.
I sincerely hope you’ll stop by the Administration Building and visit to learn more about our efforts to support your child’s development. We greatly appreciate your support and collaboration in making your child’s learning joy-filled and deeply meaningful.
Dr. Peter Duckett
Coordinator of Curriculum and Professional Learning