News from Executive Forum of the Lehigh Valley
Education and the setbacks through the eyes of Bethlehem Area School District; a presentation by Joseph J. Roy, Ed.D
Have you seen the changes BASD has made? Do you want to be a part of it? You may or may not have seen their new logo, if not go to https://www.beth.k12.pa.us/ and check it out!
Bethlehem school district employs 1,900 people, and there are 22 schools that make up the district. Their current enrollment is currently close to 14,000 students. Our schools build our community and are a crucial impact to our future, locally as well as statewide. There are challenges that students face everyday that are direct barriers to their education. Most of the barriers many students face with every age group are lack of food in the household, poverty, unsafe housing, domestic violence, racial bias, social insecurities and frequent changes in residences. These issues impact a child’s willingness to learn, time in the classroom and the support that they need. BASD partners with united way, non profits and valley youth house to help knock down those barriers so all kids can access their education. They work with these non profits in order to find a solution to the problem without affecting the schools budget. If we provide these children with what they need and have removing these barriers this could allow for elimination of the predictability of a Childs educational success by assessing their family income or race. They can’t change community implications but they try their hardest to fight as hard as they can.
Changing the mindset
You aren’t just a tax payer, you are a citizen. Citizens have rights and responsibilities. Responsibilities of citizens go beyond yourself instead of just a tax payer. We have broader responsibilites for public education. Citizens support the schools and build the schools for not just our children’s future but your future as a citizen. We need a collective impact! Important fact 1.5 billion dollars PA pays to charter schools every year. Charter schools are publicly funded but privately selected. The state is funding two different education systems. Do we want the legislature in Harrisburg taking control of our children’s education funding. PA is 47 out of 50 when it comes to lack of adequate state funding. Pension costs and charter school tuition puts the stress and financial difficulty on the schools.Everything else they have had control in the growth of. The school boards are the ones suffering. How do we Increase state funding and reduce pressure on property taxes? What BASD is doing differently to improve their delivery of education and making an impact? They are using scientific research to learn how the brain learns to read. Their students are having successful literacy instruction with dramatic improvements. Currently 60% of students are at or above grade level. Some of the added instruction with high engagement and enthusiasm has been with American Sign Language. 150 or more kids are taking these classes and loving them. Welding shops have been added and each school is on the 5.0 roadmap. This is how they keep all schools moving in the same direction, forward and up! All schools have to set goals and make Research based improvements.
The following are crucial to their foundation of growth:
- Core learning Student engagement
- Stretch learning
- Personal skill development
- Learning centered instruction
These teachers, principals and staff are all committed to or education system and the futures of tomorrow. Let’s come together as citizens and make a Collective impact. Get involved with your local schools and state legislature and inquire about what you can do to help make a change!