What do your school tax dollars pay for? Here are some examples of the effectiveness of BKW programs and initiatives:
Highly qualified teachers
Ninety-nine percent of the teachers employed at BKW schools are recognized by the state as "highly qualified teachers," meaning these teachers have met all state certification requirements, are fully certified to teach core competency subjects such as English, Math or Science and hold master's degrees in education. The remaining 1 percent of teachers are well within the state time parameters for achieving the same level of teaching expertise, meaning they are on track to obtain a master's degree and full certification within the next year.
Good academic standing and improving state test scores.
The most recent school report card data from the state shows both Berne Elementary School and BKW Middle/High School to be in good academic standing based on state and federal education standards. Middle School students have made significant improvement in Math and English Language Arts, and data shows these students are on track to continue improving in these core subjects from year to year.
Enrichment for gifted students and extra help for those who are struggling.
The establishment of "13th period," an after-school period of study, has enabled students to either enrich their already exemplary academic skills or work closely with their teachers to make improvements where needed. Students are instructed to stay by their teachers either to complete homework, participate in AIS (Academic Intervention Services) or receive extra enrichment support.
An exemplary athletic program.
Talented student athletes, dedicated coaches and supportive parents are the ingredients for the success of the BKW Athletic Program. BKW teams often face off and win against schools with larger student populations, more coaches and more resources. BKW Sports Boosters constantly fundraises to support the program's need for athletic equipment, uniforms and other necessities. However, academics remains the driving force behind student successes - a high number of athletes on BKW teams are also scholar athletes who maintain good grade point averages and go on to attend college.
Character-building for Middle School students.
The Middle School curriculum, particularly in the 6th grade, focuses intently on building character in students not only to foster good academic habits but to also teach students to be positive role models who avoid and stand up to negative behaviors such as bullying. The sixth grade teachers work closely with students to ease their transition into the Middle/High School and prepare them to meet their academic and social responsibilities. The Bulldog Initiative, a program that features a positive character trait each month and recognizes students in grades 6 through 8 for displaying that trait, has been a huge success at creating a safe, positive school environment for Middle School students.
Advanced placement courses and college credit opportunities.
The High School curriculum at BKW features 10 Advanced Placement courses, classes offered through the University in the High School programs at the University at Albany and Schenectady County Community College, and opportunities to take courses at local colleges including Sage College of Albany, HVCC, SUNY Cobleskill in addition to SCCC and UAlbany. The New Visions Honors Program and Distance Learning courses also offer students opportunities to earn college credit while still in High School.
Ongoing teacher collaboration to improve curriculum.
Through initiatives such as The Capital District Writing Project and project-based learning initiatives, teachers are continuing to collaborate across classes and grade levels to innovate new teaching techniques and ensure students continue trends of improvement in core subjects.