The Bronxville School hosted a team of 12 administrators and teachers from the Tri-State Consortium, which is a professional learning community of public school districts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, to share their work and passion for how the Bronxville Promise has continued to progress in the district.
Over the course of three days, Oct. 16-18, the team participated in workshops, heard from faculty presenters, observed classroom lessons in action and interviewed students and teachers to assess how the district has moved forward with the Bronxville Promise as its guiding vision and adapted its structure to allow for more student opportunities to develop in the dispositions of the Promise, which include critical thinking, leadership, innovation, and engaged citizenship.
During one workshop, the team heard from students who presented their digital portfolios from the prior year, reflecting on their work through the lenses of the four dispositions – innovation, leadership, critical thinking and engaged citizenship. In another classroom visit, the educators learned how the Bronx River research work has been incorporated into the curriculum at the elementary, middle and high schools. They also observed a team of third and fourth graders who collaborated with current second graders to share ideas about an upcoming design-thinking project to improve the classroom environment. During another presentation, a group of high school students shared their college application’s personal statements and discussed how the Bronxville Promise has deepened their education and shaped them into who they are.
“The Tri-State Consortium’s visit was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our growth and solicit valuable feedback from critical friends on next steps in reaching the Bronxville Promise for all students,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Mara Koetke said. “Many of the visitors were part of the initial visit several years ago to guide us in establishing our Bronxville Promise vision, and they have returned to see how our work has progressed over time. I think this says a great deal about the quality of work happening here.”
The Tri-State Consortium, which was established in 1992, aims to assist school districts to enhance student performance and build a rigorous framework for planning, assessment and systematic change. Tri-State Consortium Executive Director Martin G. Brooks said the entire visiting team was impressed with the Bronxville Promise and the faculty members’ passion, dedication, collaboration and ambition behind their work.
“One of the reasons I love coming here is the faculty is incredibly professional,” Brooks said. “Everybody here should be incredibly proud of the work that is going on.”
Brooks added that while Bronxville School students get into the finest colleges and universities in the United States and perform exceptionally well on tests in a national educational environment that is dominated by tests, the district has chosen to focus on four skills that are widely recognized as dispositions essential for success in the 21st century.
“The Bronxville Promise is built on four pillars that research says are going to be critically important for [students],” he said. “The system is putting a lot of energy into helping them think through how those things matter in their own lives, and that’s only going to benefit the [students] as they get older.”
In addition to Dr. Koetke, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Roy Montesano, elementary school Principal Tricia Murray, middle school Principal Dr. Thomas Wilson, high school Principal Ann Meyer and curriculum leaders played instrumental roles in facilitating the process and visit.