It was a treat to visit just about every classroom during the first week of the school year at the Curley K-8 School in Jamaica Plain. The Curley has a new set of school-wide expectations that came out of School Climate meetings throughout last year, creating a common language for the first time since it became K-8 school: “We care about ourselves. We care about each other. We care about our school.

Read more about the Curley K-8 School, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

It was a joy to watch kindergarteners engaged in active play at the Ellison-Parks Early Education School, just one block from Mattapan Square. A compact brick building dedicated in 1998, it houses just twelve classroomsone SEI and one Inclusion class at each grade level, K0-3.

Read more about the Ellison-Parks Early Learning School, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

The McKinley South End Academy is an alternative school for 178 middle and high school students with severe behavioral challenges.  I felt truly welcomed by everyone and appreciated the opportunity to showcase the learning that goes on in this school.

Read more about the McKinley South End Academy, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

The Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH) is located near Fields Corner in Dorchester. It is the one surviving “small school” from the former Hyde Park High School Complex, and moved into the former Grover Cleveland building three years ago.

Read more about the Community Academy of Science and Health, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

On the “far side” of West Roxbury and less than a mile apart, the Beethoven (K-2) and the Ohrenberger (3-8) have been transformed over the past few years into a K-8 “Pathway School” serving nearly 1,000 students.

Read more about the Beethoven and the Ohrenberger Schools, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

Classes at Mission Hill K-8 are project-based, multi-grade, and served by a lead teacher plus one or more assistants, including parent and community volunteers. The school's more than 200 students gather for a weekly community meeting on Friday mornings. This is a school with a focus on habits of mind, practicing democratic processes rather than test-taking skills.

Read more about Mission Hill K-8 School, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

Word study and movement are valued at Curtis Guild Elementary School in East Boston, located near Belle Isle Marsh. Nearly 90% of the school's 300 students are Latino, and many are English language learners. Teachers are happily focused on the children throughout the school.

Read more about Curtis Guild Elementary School, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

Snowden International High School, where classes are held in two buildings near Copley Square, has always taught several world languages (currently Japanese, Mandarin, French and Spanish). Snowden has recently added an International Baccalaureate Program, which helps give this academically challenging program even more focus and inspiration.

Read more about the Snowden International High School, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

The combined Dever-McCormack K-8 School has to be one of the largest in BPS, with approximately 1,200 students. As I walked through the halls, I noticed the message “Work hard. Work together. Panther Pride.” just about everywhere.

Read more about the Dever-McCormack K-8, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

With “Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Safe and Be Kind” as the school’s guiding principles, the Eliot K-8 School is providing a warm and welcoming environment for student learning in the North End, one of Boston’s most historic neighborhoods, where the school has recently expanded into a second building.

Read more about the Eliot K-8, featured in this month's We're Learning Here.

Photo of new teachers talking together

Incoming teachers to BPS were treated to inspirational talks and a wide selection of workshops at this year’s New Teacher Institute, held at English High School in August. New Teacher Developers, who are the primary designers of this Institute, were on hand to welcome everyone and to give out copies of keynote speaker Rick Smith’s classic book, Conscious Classroom Management.

Read more about the New Teacher Institute, featured in this month's "We're Learning Here."

With only 94 students in grades K1-1, tucked into a corner of the Hennigan Elementary School in Jamaica Plain, the West Zone Early Learning Center is perhaps the smallest school in Boston! There were 2-3 adults in each classroom to provide individual and small group instruction as needed.

Read more about the West Zone Early Learning Center, featured in this month's "We're Learning Here."

The Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School is a small elementary school in East Boston, established in 1893, where 97% of students walk to school. This has been a clear advantage in establishing relationships with the mostly Latino families who live in this tight-knit neighborhood.

Read more about Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School, featured in this month's "We're Learning Here."

Google Maps sent our author over the Charles, Mystic, and Chelsea Rivers to East Boston High School. It sits high on a hill and is one of the largest schools in Boston, serving nearly 1,400 students!

Read more about East Boston High School, featured in this month's "We're Learning Here."

The Roger Clap Innovation School has fewer than 150 students. It sits on a tiny one-way street just off Dorchester Avenue. Just two years ago the school was slated for closure when a group of parents proposed reopening with “innovation” status – the state’s “pilot” school program.

Read more about the Roger Clap, featured in this month's "We're Learning Here."

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BTU News Updates

In mid-October a brouhaha broke out as the Boston Globe reported that according to the state Department of Education there might not be any new charter schools this year.
Whereas, assessments are a critical tool to guide teachers in improving their lesson plans, and framing their instruction to meet the needs of individual students,Whereas, assessments are misused when student results are available too late to inform instruction, when their excessive use takes away valuable instructional time, or when they are used for purposes they were not designed for,Whereas, assessments should be used to inform instructional decisions, not to punish educators or students,
Permanent teachers who are not yet receiving their first career award, provisional teachers, and all paraprofessionals with three or more years' experience are entitled to receive tuition reimbursement each year of either $500 or $1,000. This is a reimbursement, not income, and is therefore not taxable. See here.
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Upcoming Events

Saturday, October 25, 2014 - 9:30am to 12:00pm
Simmons College
DESE is convening a number of conversations with stakeholders this October through December to solicit input regarding a set of draft guiding principles and policy options developed by DESE based on research of best practices and the feedback...
Monday, October 27, 2014 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
BTU
In commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of Judge Garrity's busing and desegregation order, BPS and the BTU are convening a monthly book group where we will read and discuss J.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 4:00pm
BTU
Join us to learn about retirement, social security, and group health insurance. See a flyer. Email Michael McLaughlin with questions.
Saturday, November 1, 2014 - 9:00am
The 2014 Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Massachusetts Fall Conference will take place on Saturday, November 1 from 9 am-5 pm.