Teaching & Learning is the heart of education and at the center of what happens in our schools each day. Various webpages have been developed with a focus on what goes on in and around our classrooms.
Professional Development is very important in our district and is critical to strong teaching and learning. There is a professional learning community established in each of our schools to support teachers and staff to constantly improve their craft. This support takes many forms, including teacher leaders in specific subject or skill areas that work one on one with teachers in their classroom, Wednesday faculty meetings where all teachers learn together, grade level groups that facilitate curriculum and strategy sharing, and dedicated staff development days.
Using assessment to inform instructional planning is integral to the on-going improvement of our schools and is often a part of professional development work.
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in every BUSD elementary school
Every child will READ PROFICIENTLY by the end of the third grade.
In 2010-2011, BUSD implemented the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) in every elementary school. This research-based literacy program builds on each child’s strengths as a reader to help them access more interesting texts. Components of our literacy program include one on one and small group guided reading, easily accessible “just right books” read every day in class and sent home every night, robust classroom libraries, and trained UC tutors in the after school program. Leveled book boxes and lists are available to help students and parents find “just right” books. Additional writing and spelling instructional components support reading proficiency.
Teachers assess a student’s reading level regularly and report it three times a year to parents on the report card. Literacy specialists in every elementary school team teach in classrooms, work with small groups of students, and monitor student progress toward grade level proficiency. (These are all components of RTI2 as explained below.) Parent liaisons reach out to families to help support literacy development in the home.
Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2)
Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) is a data-driven, multi-tiered approach to the early identification and support of all students, including those who demonstrate learning and behavioral challenges. RTI2 begins with high-quality, culturally responsive differentiated instruction, positive behavior systems, universal screening and data analysis of all children’s learning in the general education classroom. When students are not yet proficient despite high-quality core instruction and positive behavior support, a team of educators comes together in a problem solving setting to identify the academic and behavioral needs of those students. RTI2 is not a particular program, but rather a process. RTI2 works with the Universal Learning Support System (ULSS) model adopted by Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD): it offers a way to systematically use data to identify who is not yet proficient and provide support to get students to meet grade level expectations.
Students who are not yet proficient academically are provided with targeted instruction and interventions at increasing levels of intensity and specificity in addition to quality core instruction to accelerate the rate of learning. Similarly, students who do not respond consistently to whole class and school-wide positive behavior systems are provided with additional supports and behavior interventions until he/she shows adequate progress. Therefore RTI2 is a fluid multi-layered approach.
More information on RTI2 is being developed for a more complete explanation of how it works in BUSD.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
Creating a positive school climate where all feel welcomed and supported to do their best is the goal of PBIS efforts in all of our K-8 schools. You can read more here.