Bexley News

Schools use delayed-start mornings to hone practices

Even though a delayed start may mean a little extra time for students to stay under the covers, the time is much more productive for the district's faculty and staff.

In fact, faculty members in Bexley Schools consider themselves fortunate to have time on the district's monthly delayed-start mornings to meet and work in groups. Typically, on the second Tuesday of each month, students come to school about an hour later than usual, while teachers take time to collaborate all together or in teams.

Delayed starts have been a fixture in Bexley Schools since 2005.

On Feb. 12, the district's most recent late start morning, Bexley Middle School staff members developed and monitored the tasks that students will complete to be sent out for external validation by the International Baccalaureate association.

"This is a key feature of the IB program and allows us to get feedback from other IB schools about the rigor of our program and the achievement of our students," said Bexley Middle School Assistant Principal Jason Caudill.

The middle school has been an authorized IB World School since 2007.

Principal of Secondary Schools Harley Williams said on this month's delayed-start morning, Bexley High School staff worked in department teams to prepare for the new Common Core academic standards.

"They are breaking down standards associated with each course and developing a course sequence that aligns with the new assessments that will begin during the 2014-15 school year," he said of the teachers in academic content areas.

The high school's fine arts and allied arts teachers prepared for the new teacher evaluation model required by the state. They continued to develop "concrete student learning objectives that can be systemically incorporated into benchmarks to measure achievement and growth."

The high school world languages department staff met in preparation for a upcoming workshop that will define new student learning objectives being adopted by Ohio. The objectives will determine how the teachers set benchmarks to demonstrate achievement and growth.

Special education teachers at the high school prepared for an upcoming session about transitions and IEPs, while high school administrators viewed an online program, Blended Learning that may offer an alternative way to deliver instruction. The school counselors prepared for the "M-Factor" mentorship program and the eighth-grade academic planning meeting.

At Cassingham Elementary, teacher leader Jana Clarke shared knowledge from her week at Columbia Teachers College with the English Language Arts committee.

"Their primary focus was on targeted reading/writing workshop conferences, including how to plan for them and chart student growth," said Cassingham Principal Jeannine Hetzler. Cassingham teacher Jeanette Kuder lead the math committee through a discussion of district assessment tools that have been developed by the district's math committee during its curriculum review.

Cassingham's school climate committee planned for "empowering positive student relationships," added Hetzler. Upcoming school climate activities include a March visit from Opera Columbus, presenting Jack & The Bean Stalk with a message about empowering a bully's targets.

The school also will participate in a film festival for teachers, set for April and centered on the multicultural/international perspectives of growing up.

Montrose Elementary teachers prepped for a late February visit from Columbia Teachers College personnel, to help the school with its literacy best practice.

"Jennifer Serravallo, who has written several books around engaging students in small groups, is coming to help us tighten up units of study in reading and writing," said the Montrose Principal Quint Gage.

The delayed-start morning also provided an opportunity for the school's math committee to look at scores for its various subgroups as set out in the most recent Ohio Department of Education School Report Card.

"We're trying to figure out how to close the gap," said Gage. "Every district around Ohio is asking the same questions."

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