Preparing Kids for High School
Parents sometimes wonder how BCA prepares students for high school. While the school definitely has an environment different than parents' educational experiences, it still is designed to prepare students for high school and beyond. Students learn how to manage their time, develop research skills, improve their study skills, present information, and collaborate with others. These skill are essential for schooling beyond high school and career readiness.
Based on conversations with parents and questions we have answered about BCA, we decided to put together this document to help others better explain what we do in BCA. We hope this information will help others understand how BCA advisors strive to prepare students for high school and beyond. Our doors are always open to visitors. We hope as time passes and more people become more familiar with our programming, parents and community members will definitely understand how prepared our students are for high school and beyond.
Collaboration / Community Involvement
- BCA students follow a daily schedule similar to what will be used in high school. They are responsible for being at school when the bell rings at 8:05; getting to all classes on time for attendance; following a bell schedule throughout the day; passing to classes within BCA and to other classes like Art, PE, Computers, Band, and Choir.
- BCA emphasizes using strong organizational skills in all areas. Students are responsible for the materials needed for each class and need to either get them from their lockers or workstations before that class.This is demonstrated by students’ use of binders, daily organizers in which all assignments and daily tasks are recorded, and missing assignment postings at their workstations. They are encouraged to keep their workstations and lockers orderly so they are always able to find what is needed.
- BCA prepares students for independent work. The students are expected to manage their projects as well as daily assignments through planning and organization. They keep track of due dates, timelines, and expectations and meet them. They show personal responsibility in this management and are held accountable when they do not meet deadlines.
- BCA students are encouraged to set personal goals and to achieve them. Personal reflections on grades and projects help them to assess what areas they need to work on. Students use Infinite Campus to check their grades and any late work to complete. By staying aware, setting goals, and persevering, they are prepared for more independent work in high school and beyond.
- BCA prepares students for high school by by helping them develop strong study skills. Students are encouraged to use materials, notes, and provided online resources to study research topics, for quizzes and tests, and to find answers for questions they may have. Using a daily organizer helps students to plan for study times and manage the assignments (including worksheets) they have. Using annotations, highlighting, and taking notes help them understand the subjects they are learning. Out of school studying and working is necessary for BCA students to complete their best work. Personal responsibility is important in every aspect of being a BCA student.
- BCA prepares students to research in high school. They are required to become an expert on their topics through careful research and by providing supporting evidence. They read to understand and are asked to come up with questions, find answers, and form their own opinions. With their research they are able to create accurate and interesting papers and projects. They are also required to use a variety of sources, both Primary and Secondary to do their research. They know how to identify credible sources and how to cite them in an Annotated Bibliography. These skills will be vital both in high school and college.
- BCA helps students become expert note takers; they are able to dig into any material, on almost any subject and find the important information. Being able to determine what is valuable in articles and textbooks will help them in every facet of high school.
- BCA students use a variety of technology and resources on a daily basis. This expertise will help them navigate in high school and beyond. Students use Google Docs, Google Slides, Powerpoint, Storyboard, LucidPress, and others programs to take notes, create projects, write papers, and to create documentaries and presentations. They use both email and Google Classroom to get and turn in assignments and to communicate with their advisors. They are familiar with using desktops, Chromebooks, wireless keyboards, document cameras, and flash drives.
- BCA prepares students for successful public speaking and presenting by giving them opportunities to do so for their peers and community members. Students engage in debates, discussions about CNN News, and advisory conversations. They present their individual projects, National History Day products, and other assigned projects in all classes during the year to their advisory or the whole BCA. They also present their National History Day projects to a community member for judging. Students are encouraged to practice presence, eye contact, speaking voice, and to use note cards.
- BCA encourages deeper learning and exploration. Students are asked to find the way they learn best and challenge themselves.This ability to assess themselves as learners will help them greatly in the future and helps with self-confidence.
- BCA puts a strong emphasis on students understanding how their skills will be used in the future. They are encouraged to think about high school, college, and their future careers. There is an excitement to learn and share in BCA that puts students on the path to career success. The exposure to this type of learning links their work in school to their future.
- BCA students are exposed to a variety of subjects in different ways. They learn through online techbooks, videos, classroom discussions, debates, Skype sessions with experts, hands-on-projects, and field trips. They are encouraged to explore their passions as well as participate in exploring subjects they may not have selected on their own. This often leads to new interests and finding things they would like to do as high schoolers or adults. This will help them as they choose classes and extracurricular activities in high school.
- BCA students complete classwork in several different ways. They are assigned traditional worksheets and reading, may take notes or complete charts and graphs, receive quizzes on information, and take traditional paper tests. BCA students also have the benefit of being exposed to classwork and testing in other ways. They do hands-on projects and use technology to complete assignments, tests, and quizzes. They follow specific grading criteria to complete classwork involving projects, skills, or presentations. This exposure to a variety of learning methods will help them adjust to any expectations given in any classroom.
- BCA encourages reading to understand in every learning experience. Silent reading and journaling help them to share what they are reading on paper. Book shares and literature projects help them to explain to others the details of their books. Out of school reading and summer reading are strongly encouraged, as is the idea that reading is fun. Advisors and students often talk about and share books for pleasure reading or to use as a resource for a project. Infosoup and the public library are utilized with students to find titles.
- BCA helps students become stronger writers. Students are asked to write extended responses and papers using thesis statements and providing evidence. They use the editing process and strive to improve their work. Strong writing is encouraged in all classes and subjects.
Collaboration / Community Involvement
- In BCA, students interact with peers from different grade levels and backgrounds. They work in groups and collaborate on projects and work, using critical thinking skills and communication skills to solve problems, think of ideas, and create things. This experience will be vital in high school, college, and later in the workplace.
- BCA places great importance on community involvement and volunteerism. Community members and parents are welcomed and present in the classroom, at events, and involved through the fundraising process. Students are encouraged to look into ways they can volunteer in the community and make a difference and are provided with volunteer opportunities. BCA students are asked to be leaders in BCA, OMS, and the community.
- BCA students are exposed to world and local news as they are discussed in advisories Students are able to form a worldview and find connection to their community, state, and country. This interest will be important as they become adults.
- BCA helps students develop strong communication and listening skills. Through discussions, debates, and listening/presenting projects, students are able to hear and see other’s points of view on issues. They are able to ask questions and respectfully state their opinion as well. This sharing of ideas, whether it be an opinion about the lunch program or global warming, is present in BCA in every advisory and class.