Principal’s Spring Update
Greetings, Brandon Families and Community!
We are in Georgia Milestones testing season at the Main Campus which is a sure sign that we are on the tail end of this school year! As you know April and May are extremely busy and exciting months in the life of the school, so I wanted to post one more letter to update you on things you may be wondering about in regards to closing out this school year and opening up the next. With this in mind, here are things to know as we finish up school year 2016-2017:
Class Assignments 2017-2018: Just as has been practice the past two years, again this year, we will have class assignments available the last week in July via the online Parent Portal for all returning students, posted on the doors of the Primary Center for all incoming Kindergarten students, and available via drop in or phone call for all students new to the school in grades 1-5. Parent Input Forms are available, although not required, online or by pickup in the Main Offices until the end of April. Forms will not be accepted after that time. Please know that we take extreme care in placing every one of our over 1,000 students in their homeroom class, balancing each and every class by academic ability and student need. As an IB school, one of the key principles is to maintain heterogeneously grouped classes that are well-balanced. We have a strategic approach that allows us to both seek and utilize parent input, teacher input, and student data to create well-balanced classes that can serve the needs of all students.
Gifted Changes 2017-2018: As you know, we will begin a new model for serving Gifted students with our 1st grade classrooms next year. Students found eligible to receive Gifted services will receive these services through a collaborative model in which their Homeroom teacher collaboratively plans instruction with a Gifted teacher every week and embeds Gifted strategies into daily learning. The Gifted teacher will also provide push in support one hour per week into the homeroom class to provide additional support. All students in grades 2-5 next year, will continue to receive Gifted services through a one-day-per-week Resource model. Additionally, next year, we begin a teacher training plan to have all of Brandon’s faculty Gifted certified within the next 5 years. This is a win for ALL students as we build the capacity of our faculty!
World Languages 2017-2018: Next year, our Dual Language Immersion Spanish program will expand to 1st grade so that we will be offering this model to two cohorts of students, one group in Kindergarten and one group in 1st grade. The entry point for this program is Kindergarten, and we already have more applications than seats available, so we will have a lottery for the program in June. Specific details are in the registration packets. Additionally, we surveyed our rising K, current K, and current 1st grade students earlier this semester on their interest in World Language offerings outside of the DLI program, and based on those results, we will be continuing to offer French to all students in Grades 2-5. We will be holding community meetings next school year on this topic and will take another vote in December to make a final decision for the following year on our World Language offering.
International Travelers: Finally, we are really looking forward to the inaugural year of our International Travelers Program that will launch in May. This program is a way to live out our IB mission and vision by creating opportunities for international mindedness for our students. This year we will be “traveling” to Mexico by bringing the culture and customs of Mexico to Brandon for a week and a half in May. Please consider volunteering to help during this week which will be fun, enriching, educational, and a nice change of pace for our kids after their hard work all year! At the end of the week, we will reveal which country we will “travel to” the following school year!
Thank you for your continued involvement, investment, and collaboration! It is through our partnership with our parents that we are able to continue to provide an excellent education “on purpose”! Thank you for partnering with us on this journey.
Kara Stimpson, Principal