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Rigor, Relevance, Relationships (R³)

reflects our instructional focus and is reflected in the way our teachers approach teaching and learning in the classroom. This core value is predicated on understanding and having a positive growth mindset, where students are encouraged to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as a path to mastery, learn from timely and constructive feedback, find inspiration from the success of others, and have plenty of voice and choice in the learning process. This philosophy at Bernal applies to all students that includes general education students, students with disabilities, and all students with other unique student learning profiles. Starting with designing lesson plans that provide universal access points for all learning/learners, and continuing with a variety of learning structures, our students’ learning experiences ensure that the students are the ones that do the ‘heavy cognitive lifting’ and in the end are prepared to excel in high school and beyond. Teachers use various methods to meet students where they are including flexible and non-standard seating, embedding literacy across the content areas, honing in on key academic vocabulary, ensuring digital fluency with a 1:1 ratio of students to Chromebooks, and meeting weekly in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Each PLC, consisting of grade-level and content specific teams, meets at least monthly.  Within the meetings, teams analyze district benchmark and classroom-based assessment data, plan their chapters and/or units, as well as build and calibrate common rubrics that will be used to evaluate student performance. Through a collaboration with the Silicon Valley New Teacher Center, Bernal has trained half of its teaching staff in PLC implementation over the last three years. Two of our teachers have attended additional training and are now site-based trainers for new staff and veteran staff in need of continued professional development.

 

The essential question that drives our PLCs is “What are we doing as a school to ensure the learning of each student?”  Additional questions to help frame our discussions are:  What do we want students to know and be able to do?  How will we know if they have learned it (and can do it)?  How will we respond if they don’t learn it?  How will we respond if they already know it?  Each teacher and members of the support staff, along with administration have embraced this commitment to high levels of learning for ALL students. Each PLC meeting is framed by group norms, an agenda, a cycle of continuous inquiry, and collective commitments toward specific actions for a specific period of time. Through this cycle of inquiry work, we have successfully shifted our instructional program from one of ‘completion’ and ‘compliance’ toward ‘understanding’ and ‘mastery’.  

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