Teacher Mindset is Shifting at Buck Mountain Central School

With the flexibility ensured through high school redesign initiatives, teachers at Buck Mountain Central School (BMC) are stepping up their game. They are pursuing creative, innovative ways to redefine the learning space and subsequently changing the learning culture, by branching out and building upon traditional classroom practices.  Having the courage and conviction to try new things is one reason why teachers at BMC are at the top of their professions, and the support these teachers are receiving from parents, students and the community is why they will continue to learn and grow, and most of all challenge their students to do the same.   

What is one way that teachers at BMC are breaking the traditional mold?
This year, students are not being streamed into separate science and math courses at the start of grade ten, like in most high schools. Instead the, grade 10 students are in a course called SciMatics – Science and Math.  Teachers are working cooperatively to simultaneously deliver science and math education, knowing that there are overlaps in the curriculum, and taking advantage of this to ensure there is more time for practice, remedial teaching, and extensional learning.  The goal is to push students to learn at the highest level possible, which means a student centered approach.

What do the students think about this new program?  At first there was a sense of excitement mixed with anxiety.  Now, a month into the program, students are thrilled to be a part of such an adventure.  They value the hard work of their new teaching team, not to mention they are surprised with the amount of teacher support they have in the classroom and during FLEX time.  Under this class model students have three different teachers who they can seek help from, all of whom have a different expertise and can offer a different approach to subject materials.  The SciMatics teaching team is comprised of a science expert, math expert and learning expert, all of whom assume the responsibility of pushing their students to their potential. 

How else are teachers at BMC empowering their students? 
One, passionate, driven and creative BMC teacher is challenging the traditional classroom setting.  Michael York spent his summer researching and planning his alternative classroom environment.  By incorporating stand up desks, alternative seating, including sofas and bean bag chairs, lap desks, and traditional classroom desks, as well as, dividing the room into different work areas, students now have a choice in their seating and where they work.  Having control over their learning environment empowers students to take control of their academics as well. Not to mention, the overall well being of every member of the classroom has been taken into consideration, resulting in a highly efficient, low stress environment.  As a consequence of this learning space, Mr. York does not encounter the same behavioral challenges that are common in a noisy, overstimulated, fluorescent lit, traditional classroom environment. 

What do BMC students think about this new learning environment? 
Very simply, they are challenging more teachers to alter their classrooms to more adequately meet student needs.

What is the biggest compliment we are hearing about room 165?
That there is a space for every learner in the classroom; it challenges students to become more aware and proactive about their own learning styles.  It is a true student centered environment. 

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