The Boggs Educational Center is looking for classroom-based teachers who are committed to our mission to nurture creative, critical thinkers who contribute to the well-being of their communities.
If you are a certified elementary teacher and interested in helping to re-imagine education, we need you.
Please read the working draft of the Boggs Educational Center Teaching and Learning Framework (below). This document highlights the values that govern our school and will guide the written curriculum.
We're asking all prospective teachers to send us, along with a resume, a reflective essay describing how you enact the Habits of Mind, Heart, and Hands (listed in the framework below) in your teaching practice. You can determine the length of the reflection--we just ask that it be and thoughtful reflecting of yourself as a teacher. These reflections will be used to determine who goes on to Phase II of the hiring process.
Please send your resume and reflection by June 1, 2012 to the following address: [email protected]
Phase I: Reflection Paper and Resume review. Deadline is June 1, 2012
Phase II: First Interview
Phase III: Mock Lesson and Second Interview
Notifications go out last week of June
The Boggs Educational Center Teaching and Learning Framework
Mission and Philosophy of Place-Based Education
The Boggs Educational Center’s mission is to nurture creative, critical thinkers who contribute to the well-being of their communities. We are inspired by the leadership of local social justice activists James and Grace Lee Boggs who remind us that the purpose of education is to practice community, in all its complexity, including re-imagining ways to be in harmony with one another and the Earth.
The curriculum we’ll use to ensure that every child develops his or her unique gifts, and that families and community members are engaged as learners themselves, is called Place-Based Education. PBE is learning rooted in the local so that content area skills are learned from the context of the surrounding community, including its geography, history, culture, and economic structure. We believe that, in creating a lifelong love of learning and a lasting connection to where they live based on their contributions to that place, our students will grow into the leaders we need to create a world that works for all living beings.
Habits of Mind, Heart, and Hands
Learning at BEC will be guided by the use of specific habits of mind, heart and hands that are central to living up to our mission of nurturing creative, critical thinkers who are also compassionate and caring stewards of their environment.
We know that children are not only intellectual beings who learn from what they think, but that they also learn through how they feel and what they do. Developing these habits of mind, heart, and action are important to everyone at the school, not just students, and adults will be responsible for modeling these habits in practice and teachers will incorporate the habits in each of their lesson plans, including making sure that they are engaging children intellectually, emotionally, and physically.
Our students will develop the habit of working with others, to convey their ideas in a compelling way, and to understand that every voice has a contribution. They will value their own unique similarities and differences to build and strengthen each other and our community.
2. Social Awareness
Our students will develop the habit of understanding their needs as well as the needs of others and then collaborating on how to meet those needs to the satisfaction of the whole community.
Our students will develop a habit of persistence so that they are self-motivated to achieve learning goals appropriate to their abilities, even when those goals are challenging.
Our students will develop an internal sense of power and agency.
5. Creativity and Resourcefulness
Our students will develop the ability to look at what is and wonder what could be. They will also be taught the practical skills they need to maximize the resources that exist and create or find resources they need.
6. Critical Thinking
Our students will develop the habit of identifying problems, asking questions, weighing evidence, considering alternatives, and analyzing claims both independently and in collaboration with peers and adults.
Our students will develop the habit of maintaining a healthy mind, spirit, and body. We will take pleasure in and work diligently to develop our relationships with nature and with others.
The following questions are ways for everyone at the school to test whether or not we are embodying the habits. They’re designed to be used as self-assessments and as a way for teachers to think through their own lessons.
Habits of Mind, Heart, and Action
Are we learning together?
Are we valuing each other’s gifts?
Is everyone getting what they need?
From whose perspective are we seeing, hearing, reading?
Are we dedicated, persistent learners?
What do we need to learn to gain answers to our questions?
Do we know what we stand for?
Are we enacting the best version of ourselves?
Creativity and Resourcefulness
What else can we try?
How can we transform ideas into an artful form of expression?
What questions do we have about this?
What is the evidence? How reliable is it?
What makes us healthy?
How do we keep our lives in balance?
Our three community exhibitions/celebrations take place the same time every year and have the same theme, though as students get older, the projects will spiral up in sophistication (e.g., move from local to global, concrete to abstract, etc.). The role of these projects and exhibitions is to ensure the students understand that their work is not just about learning skills, but also a way to contribute to the community. Each project will be presented as a gift to the community for it will in some way serve to benefit the neighborhood either in increased knowledge, beauty, or political well-being.
Mapping and Understanding Place (Inquiry—Emphasis on “mind”/cognitive)
· E.g., Community map of elder wisdom, created as book
Creating Beauty (Aesthetics—Emphasis on “heart”/affective)
· E.g., Mural (using inquiry from mapping and interviews of elders)
Supporting Life and Making History (Action and Advocacy—Emphasis on “hands”/volition)
· E.g., Documentary
Common Core Standards
BEC will align its curriculum with the Common Core Standards, ensuring that our students are receiving the skills they need to master mainstream assessments.
Content Area Skills at Boggs Educational Center
BEC’s philosophy toward learning is that it happens naturally and organically as people are engaged in any activity in which their heads, hearts, or bodies are invested. Therefore, we think that learning the traditional “three Rs: reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic” is something that happens through its integration in hands-on experiences and are in service to the habits listed above.
However, we do understand the need to help prospective teachers and parents understand the specific methods in which children will learn content area skills. For that, we offer this vision:
Children will come to love books and stories.
We will surround our children with a wide variety of books, most of which allow the children to identify themselves, their families and their community within the pages. We will also share books that engage the children in learning about their world and how to take care of it. We will read aloud wonderfully written, richly illustrated books. Books will be read and re-read, enjoyed, and explored so that the language of the book is internalized. Songs, chants, poetry, raps and choral reading will be part of each day. We will also share oral stories of adventure and lived experiences. As the children are immersed in this book-rich environment, they will be taught the skills they need to become independent readers and writers themselves.
Reading, writing, listening and speaking will be taught and learned in an integrated fashion throughout the school day.
Adults will model reading and writing and support the efforts the children make as they learn to figure out how print works, how to problem solve unfamiliar words, and how to read and write with meaning as the focus. Children will have writing materials available throughout the school day so that they can be creative and inventive as they explore their own ways to communicate what is important to them. They will learn to print the alphabet letters, associate letters with sounds, and combine sounds to read and write words. Children will have time for reading books independently and will join students with similar strengths and needs for more targeted instruction.
Children will be engaged in authentic learning experiences with science and social studies at the core.
Each year will be centered around a common theme for all grade levels. The first year’s theme is Home. Through thematic units that connect to the overarching theme for the year, students will explore all the elements of socials studies: geography, economics, history, and civic engagement, through their community projects. The tools of the language arts will also be involved in these units of study, continuing to reinforce the literacy skills described above. These units will be organized by the teachers; however, the children will offer their ideas, their interests and personal choices.
In addition to the thematic units, students will also be actively involved in designing, planting, and maintaining the school garden. Scientific concepts will be introduced through this work as well as the time spent outside exploring and experimenting with the natural world around us.
Students at BEC will undergo summative assessments as required by our charter school authorizer. We will also rely on performance assessments and a research-based portfolio process called The Learning Record. The Learning Record is the story of a child’s learning, documenting the progress over the school year that tells a narrative of where a student started and how far he or she has come, with parents and students helping to establish learning goals.
Also, our teachers are “kid watchers” and have learned how to observe and assess their children’s growth and how to provide just the right kind of instruction. The assessments we use in our school will be used to guide our instruction and to chart each child’s growth in learning.
Ritual and Ceremony
Each trimester will culminate in a community exhibition of the student work that will be presented as gift that benefits the community in some way. This is one of the many rituals and ceremonies throughout the school year that both builds community, promotes a feeling in safety in the children, and makes our school experiences rich with meaning and lasting memories.
In addition to our classroom-based teachers, BEC is committed to seeking out extraordinary talents and skills of parents and community members in order to diversify and enrich the learning experiences of each student. Some examples of possible community learning would be sewing, knitting, wood carving, scrapbooking, etc. Some community teaching projects will be year round, some part-time, and some would be one-time workshops.
*All community teachers would be subject to required safety screenings, as are all staff, before working with children.