Middle High School Frequently Asked Questions

Q-How does the school effectively work with local Data protection laws?  How can parents get access to other parents in order to connect and communicate?

A-At the Middle and High School level, the Grade Level Parent Representatives have sent out either email requests or online surveys asking for parents to opt in to the communication network.  By opting in, parents will have access to the contact information of anyone in their grade that has also given permission.  Please contact your Grade Level Parent Representative for more information or access.  They can be reached by clicking here .

 

Q-How Does BFIS use social media and blogs to communicate to students, parents, and the community?  How can we access this information?

A- BFIS is a social media culture!  We regularly use blogs, wikiHspaces, and social media in the classroom and within our community.  This can, however, be a bit confusing to parents who may not be as comfortable as their students navigating these spaces.  Fortunately, as part of our tech plan, our technology integrationist is working with students, staff, and administration to identify the most used and effective online resources, so that we can weave social media into our tech plan both intentionally and consistently.  In the coming months, you will see a more streamlined approached and, hopefully, this will make it easier to navigate.

Some useful links we currently use:

 

Q-How often are grades updated on Power School and how can I keep track of my student’s grades?

A-Powerschool is a powerful tool in supporting your student’s education.  However, it can never replace a simple question, “How are you doing in school?”  Those words start a conversation that allows your student to both share their academic information as well as their feelings about their environment and learning.  Don´t take no for an answer.

Access codes to Powerschool are given to students, so that they can track their grades.  While there is no formula for the number of assignments a teacher must have or a schedule of weekly updates, the PS grade should reflect your student’s progress and grading.  If it does not, please reach out to the teacher first.  If a gradebook is regularly inaccurate, please visit the counselor or principal with your concern.

*We are working as a school on an academic grading policy that will clearly outline the expectations and philosophy of grading at BFIS.  This is one of our goals for 2013-2014.

 

Q-How is my child graded in PE?

A- Click HERE to find the current BFIS PE grading rubric.

 

Q-Can you explain the Inquiry-based learning approach we are moving to in Math?  It certainly isn´t how I learned as a student.  Doesn’t my student need “Drill and Kill?”

A-the Inquiry-Based Learning approach (IBL) is very different from the lecture, practice, homework method math teachers used to use.  We are currently in transition to IBL in mathematics for grade 6-10.  The experts at the Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning (AIBL) explain it best:

Boiled down to its essence IBL is a teaching method that engages students in sense-making activities.  Students are given tasks requiring them to solve problems, conjecture, experiment, explore, create, and communicate… all those wonderful skills and habits of mind that Mathematicians engage in regularly.  Rather than showing facts or a clear, smooth path to a solution, the instructor guides and mentors students via well-crafted problems through an adventure in mathematical discovery.  Key components across effective IBL courses are (a) deep engagement in rich mathematical activities, and (b) opportunities to collaborate with peers (either through class presentations or group-oriented work).  

http://www.inquirybasedlearning.org/

 

Q-I hear that students are “divided” culturally.  Is that true?  Should I be worried?

A- In Middle and High School, students naturally connect with like-minded individuals and develop a group of friends.  One of the advantages at BFIS is the variety from which a student can choose their friends.  The current schedule does somewhat separate students when they are either in IB or the Spanish program, but we are working to ensure full integration for next year’s schedule.  If you are concerned about your student being left out or feeling ostracized, please contact your student’s counselor or the principal.

 

Q-How are you ensuring consistency amongst teachers in all subjects?

A- The admin team and the Head of Departments regularly plan with teachers and visit classrooms.  In this way, we are able to see what is happening and support consistency.  We would never want to mandate a certain teacher’s style, but we do expect and monitor the methodology and content being presented in classes.  As part of our development plan, all departments are both documenting and aligning the units taught in grade 6-12.  This will help us make sure we don´t miss any possible gaps from year to year.

If you have a concern about a particular teacher or subject, follow this protocol:

  1.  You or your student go directly to the teacher and visit about your concerns.
  2. If that is unsuccessful, please visit the Head of Department with your concerns.
  3. If the HoD does not address your concerns in a timely and appropriate manner, please got to the Principal.

As a community, we teach our students and staff to advocate for themselves and their development.  Out of respect and equity, we believe it crucial to give individuals an opportunity to address any concerns before others are involved.

 

Q-I hear the IB is REALLY hard.  What are you doing to prepare my child for this level of expectation?

A- Any IB teacher will tell you that IB is not hard, so much as it is intended to challenge students to prioritize, organize, and manage themselves.  The beauty of the IB is that your score in the end is based upon where you end up, not where you start or how you may have struggled on the way.  If you start in a subject with a score of 4 and end with a 6, you did not earn average 5.  You earned a 6!

To prepare our students to the rigors and expectations of the IB, the staff at BFIS is working on aligning the skill strands needed to be successful and weaving them into our curriculum from grades 6-10.