Grant to help B-P enact ‘teaching model’

BROADALBIN – The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District has been awarded its third state education grant this year, a news release said.

The latest grant is for $149,987 from the state Education Department to replicate the best practices of a high-performing school in its middle school, which was identified as a School in Need of Improvement by the state.

“I’m very glad to see the money,” president of the Broadalbin-Perth Board of Education Ed Szumowski said in the release. “But what makes me prouder is that B-P was handed some lemons in the form of a School in Need of Improvement designation and turned them into lemonade that will make our school better than it was.”

As part of the program, Broadalbin-Perth will partner with the Gorham Middlesex Central School District (also known as Marcus Whitman), in Rushville, Yates County.

Between April and August 2014, educators from Gorham Middlesex will work with B-P middle school teachers to help them implement the target-driven teaching model that Gorham Middlesex has used in its high school.

Communications and Grant Services Specialist Michele Kelley said target-driven teaching is when teachers set small goals, such as reducing the number of students who are failing a course by five students by the end of the year, and use a teaching method to help the struggling students succeed. She said it is primarily focused toward students who aren’t currently at a passing level.

“Of the five Commissioner’s Schools we could choose from, Gorham Middlesex and its target-driven teaching model best fit the needs that we have identified in our middle school,” B-P Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson said in the release. “Through this partnership, I expect to see a complete culture shift as our teachers work with each other and with their mentors from Gorham Middlesex to help our students succeed.”

Grant funds will be used to pay for extensive professional development for middle school teachers, including costs related to traveling for professional development and hiring substitute teachers to cover classes, the release said.

Broadalbin-Perth also will use grant funds to hire math and literacy coaches to work with middle school teachers on instructional practices during the 2013-14 school year.

In addition, the news release said, the entire district will participate in the “Get to Great” program, developed and administered by former Bethlehem superintendent Leslie Loomis, on which Gorham Middlesex’s target-driven teaching model is based.

During the 2012-13 school year, Broadalbin-Perth has won three competitive grants from the state Education Department totaling about $1.14 million. Earlier this year, B-P won a $525,000 Management Efficiency Competitive Grant, which is being used primarily to purchase instructional technology for use in classrooms.

Broadalbin-Perth also won a $465,832 Virtual Advanced Placement grant, which will fund a pilot program that will allow the district to offer advanced-placement courses for the first time since 2006.