The BPS Edtech Team Puts Students in the Spotlight

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A great look at the efforts of some of our students who shared their work at the New England Student Showcase, which was part of the New England 1:1 Summit held at Marshall Simonds Middle School on Saturday.

Originally posted on Burlington High School Help Desk:

“Fantastic to see student work and what better advocates to use a resource in class than to hear from the students who are using them. It’s a great learning experience for the students involved as well. I know the team from my school (Thornton Academy, Saco, ME) discussed that one of our goals for next year would be to bring a group of students to NESS.”

The New England Student Showcase

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.54.45 PMI proposed the idea to place students in the spotlight at this year’s New England 1:1 Summit to Dennis Villano, Director of Instructional Technology of Burlington Public Schools, several months ago, when planning for this year’s conference began. Knowing what a huge advocate of student voice Dennis is, I was confident he would agree to add this new component to the Summit, and he did. Once he gave me the green light, I started to plan and organize. I…

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Aspen Family Portal Opening – Guest Post by Director of Student Information Josh Murphy

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The Burlington Public Schools Student Information Office is happy to announce the opening of the Aspen Family Portal.  Aspen is the Student Information System used by Burlington Public Schools.  It is used to maintain student data including demographics, attendance records, schedules and grades.  Aspen is a web based product that can be used from almost any computer or device that has access to the Web.  One component of Aspen is a family portal, which allows parents/guardians to login to the system to view their child’s attendance history, course history, current schedule and, most importantly for middle school and high school families, a current view their teacher’s gradebook.

In October, the Student Information Office sent a Family Verification Form to each and every family in the district.  In order to create an Aspen Family Portal Account, the Student Information Office needs to clean and verify a family’s contact records.  The families who returned the Family Verification Form have been included in our first release of Aspen Family Portal Accounts and will receive their account information Monday afternoon.  We are also contacting families who did not complete the Family Verification Form, so we can get their data verified and they can be included in our second release of Aspen Family Portal Accounts.

Every family in the District will be contacted by the Student Information Office.  If you are unsure if you completed the family verification form or not, please wait to hear from the Student Information Office.

If the Student Information Office received the Family Verification Form back from a family, then an Aspen Family Portal Account has been created for them and they will be receiving an email from the Student Information Office with information regarding their Aspen Family Portal Account.

If the Student Information Office did not receive the Family Portal Verification Form back from a family, then a second request for the completion of these forms will be sent home with one of the family’s children.  We will collect forms over the upcoming weeks in preparation for a second release of Aspen Family Portal Accounts.

Below are links to two documents that are being shared with families when they are provided with their Family Portal Account.

Aspen Family Portal – First Time Users

Aspen Family Portal – Reference Sheet

If your family does not receive an email or letter by Friday, April 11th, please contact the Student Information Office via email at studentinfo@bpsk12.org.

Sincerely,

Josh P. Murphy

Director of Student Information

Burlington Public Schools

 

 

Burlington Teachers and Students Present at National Science Teachers’ Association Conference in Boston

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This gallery contains 7 photos.

Originally posted on Burlington Science Center Blog:
Learning in Burlington was on full display at the National Science Teacher’s Association’s National Conference in Boston over the past weekend. Third grade teacher, Jane Lynch teamed up with Science Specialist, Sean Musselman…

DevilBotz Performance in High Gear at Northeastern Robotics Tournament

Originally posted on Burlington Science Center Blog:

For several months the Burlington High Robotics Team has been hard at work after school, on weekends, and in their spare time perfecting their Devilbot for this past weekend’s FIRST Robotics Regional Tournament. The team did not disappoint; qualifying for the final elimination round competition after being selected by the Manchester club, “Robots by the C” to join their three-team alliance in the elimination rounds.
The Devilbotz at BHS before their FIRST Robotics Competition at Northeastern.

The Devilbotz at BHS before their FIRST Robotics Competition at Northeastern.

“During our first competition in Nashua we reached the quarterfinals, which was nice and we hoped here at Northeastern we could go even farther,” said team president Marko Lazarevic.

The Devilbotz approach to this year’s challenge served them well all year long. With the “coop-ertition” offering scoring opportunities for goal scoring, defense, and cooperation between teams through passing and sharing, the Devilbotz focused on the later scoring from the get-go. “We wanted our robot to be…

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BPS Is Recognized Nationally for Commitment to Music Education

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Burlington ranks among nation’s top communities for support of music education

The NAMM Foundation recognizes Burlington for its outstanding commitment to music education with a Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) designation. Burlington joins 376 districts across the country to receive the prestigious distinction in 2014.

In its 15th year, Best Communities for Music Education affirms school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum.

The BCME survey requires districts to answer detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

Burlington’s commitment to Music Education and all Performing and Visual Arts is clear.  Our students continue to excel at all levels. This success starts with strong community support coupled with talented educators who all recognize that music instruction is a fundamental component of academic achievement.

The Best Communities for Music Education program plays an important part of the NAMM Foundation’s efforts to make music education part of the core curriculum assuring that the benefits of music making are available to every child. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, lower disciplinary action and keep kids in schools.

About NAMM Foundation:

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its nearly 9,000 members around the world with the mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.

 

Walking Through The PARCC – Our Week One Experience

As we conclude week one of field-testing the PARCC online assessments with students across our district we would like to share some thoughts from the experience. Before getting into the actual test itself, we need to reiterate a point that we make quite often regarding our phenomenal staff and students. The professionalism of our staff and patience and determination of our students during the glitches that were encountered as we began this new process were second to none.  In addition, we are thankful for our amazingly talented IT staff which put in countless hours in the weeks leading up to testing and at the end of each day to ensure that things would go as smooth as possible for our teachers and students.

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Tweet from the MA DESE regarding our efforts

In regards to how many students we tested this week, we conducted about 3,500 sessions involving over 1,800 students in grades 3 thru 7 and grades 9 and 10.  In many cases, students took multiple test sessions this week, completing two math sessions and at least one of the three ELA sessions. During this process, we had students complete PARCC field testing on iPads, Chromebooks, and in computer labs on desktop computers.

As we expected, Burlington’s technology performed extremely well. Our most common hangups were frozen screens which needed a reset of the device. In instances where there were bigger issues, we were able to get in contact with both Pearson and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and maintain an ongoing dialogue with them about issues and improvements. These conversations led to testing environments that saw far fewer technological problems with each passing day.

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Tweet from Director of Technology Integration at the conclusion of week one testing.

 

PARCC field-testing will continue at most schools through next week and we will continue to provide updates as we proceed through the schedule.  Please remember that our intentions for taking on this endeavor are two-fold. First, we would like to provide our students with an online experience that will help them prepare for the future which will certainly include some form of online, high-stakes testing. Second, we are able to provide first-hand feedback to the Massachusetts DESE, PARCC, and Pearson that will help improve future versions of these assessments which will eventually be given to every student in the state.

 

School Committee Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

The School Committee complete its six-week process to get through the details of the school budget.  The details of every school, department or cost center were reviewed.  In addition, each section of the budget was followed by a presentation by the district personnel responsible for the school, department or cost center to provide a context for the numbers.

The operating budget for FY2015 has a total increase of 4.25%.  The accommodated account increase has an increase of 2.09%.  The accommodated account increase is the lowest in the 11-year history of using this Town Account for out-of-district special education programs.  Combined, the operating budget and the accommodated budget show a 3.9% increase over the FY2014 budget.

The School Committee will have a public hearing on the FY2015 budget on April 8th.  The final budget will be presented to the full Ways and Means Committee on April 9th.

Burlington School Department FY 2015 Budget

 

School Committee Approves Warrant Articles

The School Committee approved the warrant articles linked below for the upcoming fiscal year.  The Town’s financial team set a guideline of $1.2 million dollars for capital projects.  The seven articles fall within this guideline.  The articles will be presented to the capital budget committee and the ways and means committee in the coming weeks.

Warrant Articles May 2014 (FY2015)