Bayard Middle School Drops Everything for Reading
Before their involvement in the Vision Network, leaders at Bayard Middle School knew they needed to make improvements. They wanted to differentiate teaching methods to meet the individual needs of students, and also to streamline the process. When they started to work with the Vision Network, they received the support and direction to makes this happen.
The first step was to create an instructional focus. Working with the Vision Network, they identified four possible focus areas and asked the people who know the students best—the teachers—to vote on the area they believed needed the most work. This process resulted in a focus on reading comprehension.
The first program the school adopted was “Drop Everything and Read.” This simple program requires all students to spend an hour reading every Thursday. During this time, the students not only get a chance to practice their reading skills, but the teachers also can evaluate how well students are doing. The program also has a built in rewards system. If students are showing good progress with their reading, they may read books for fun; if students demonstrate the need for improvement, they must read books related to class material, so that material is reinforced within the classroom.
In addition to this and other programs that reinforce reading at school, Bayard is working to reach students where they spend the majority of their time: at home. Through the Vision Network, Bayard has developed methods to engage parents in children’s learning. Family engagement is intended to establish important home-school relationships and to teach parents about how to help children succeed. Through such events as fashion shows and health fairs, Bayard is teaching parents to use the programs the school offers. These programs can help parents learn more, and thus help them to reinforce reading skills at home.
The Vision Network has helped Bayard Middle school to focus on attaining the goal of reading comprehension, which is critical to all school improvement efforts. Principal Donald Patton credits the Vision Network for helping the school streamline its efforts, “When we entered Vision 2015, we weren’t focused and tried to fix a bunch of things, but we had no plan or focus. Since then, we have learned to use resources and efforts to focus on student change.”
This post is the second of a 6 part series highlighting Vision Network schools. You can read part one here. Check back Tuesday for part 3.