Professional Development for our teachers and staff at Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) is central to everything we do. Having highly trained master educators, both new and seasoned staff, in our classrooms and across our programs makes all the difference to our students and their families.
Expert teaching, grounded in the science of how students learn best, has been a hallmark of BCP since its founding in 1996. As Maryland’s largest and oldest charter school operator, we know how critical it is to have our staff engaged in ongoing, year-round professional learning.
This summer, BCP provided several opportunities for BCP teachers and staff to hone their skills. We asked them to share what they learned.
National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI), July 23-28, Eugene, OR
BCP had 56 teachers and staff from all six of our network schools attend the NIFDI conference. Hosted by NIFDI, the organization that founded Direct Instruction (DI), this conference focuses on the proven, research-based reading and writing model BCP uses, which is based on the science of reading.
From Ashley Green, Academic Coach at Wolfe Street Academy:
“As a coach, I attended NIFDI to gain more insight about NIFDI’s educational programs. I attended some sessions that really relate to my current and upcoming work, including sessions on the Foundations of Explicit Instruction that I will use to remind teachers of the importance of having students constantly involved in practicing the instruction correctly; Sensible Sequences that I already started to use on student reading placement reviews to ensure the most growth; and Building Fluency in DI Programs focused on the importance of mastery through fluency and taught me how to use a Standard Celeration Chart.
I will take this information and apply it to the data tracking for the school year, as I already have started on my math data wall. Finally, my daily Reading Mastery 4/5 Language Session with Amy Braunberger, an elementary literacy coach from Nebraska, helped me re-explore the platform and learn new trainer strategies, which I used immediately in BCP’s New Teacher Institute [see below] and in coaching this school year.”
From Katie Johnson, Academic Coach, Hampstead Hill Academy
“One of my ‘a-ha’ moments was when my session facilitator introduced me to a DI curriculum specifically for non-English speaking students. This program aims to help students achieve a functional mastery of the English language, which directly aligns with our school-wide goals. I am so excited to try this curriculum to further student achievement next school year!”
Read more about BCP’s use of full time instructional coaches like Ashley and Katie in each of its network schools.
From Cassandra Johnson, Pre-K Paraprofessional at Pimlico Elementary Middle School:
“I never imagined that I could have so much fun while gaining so much knowledge. My week in Oregon was an absolutely amazing experience. The workshops were exactly what I needed to get a jump start on the DI reading curriculum. The instructors were very knowledgeable in their fields and super helpful. I now have a new group of educators with whom I can network and collaborate.”
Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world
Teaching is more than imparting knowledge; it is inspiring change. Learning is more than absorbing facts; it is acquiring understanding.
New Teacher Institute (NTI), August 2-3 and 7-11, Govans Elementary
Ensuring that our newest BCP teachers and staff have all the tools and support they need to transition seamlessly into the BCP classroom is a summer programming must. We held the peer-taught NTI at Govans this year for more than 60 new teachers and staff who will be instructing students in various disciplines at our schools.
It was also a great time to build a professional network of colleagues and friends across the BCP network.
From Lashainna Campbell, new teacher at Wolfe Street Academy
“I’m new to WSA and Baltimore! A native of Philadelphia by way of North Carolina, I am really, really grateful and impressed with the use of Restorative Practice in BCP schools. Teaching in Philadelphia and North Carolina, I was not introduced to these concepts. With so many challenges that our children are up against, I believe this practice will allow me to cultivate the necessary relationships for a successful career.”
Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) conference, June 27-29, Atlanta, GA
Three BCP educators and staff – Brianna Kaufman, BCP Director of Operations, Govans Principal Bernarda Kwaw, and Maura Farrall, BCP’s Lead Academic Coach – learned the NWEA assessment and support services at its national Fusion conference.
NWEA is the assessment organization that created the MAP growth assessment used by BCP.
Read more about their experiences at this conference.
BCP looks forward to ongoing professional development throughout the school year. Each of our six schools creates its own ongoing training programs, both informal and formal. In January, we will hold a BCP-led full-day of training in addition to other network-wide events during the 2023-24 school year.