• April News

    In this Edition

    1. What’s New?  
      • In Case You Missed It: 2024-2025 School Year Calendar
      • School Choice Applications Open
    2. School Committee News – FY 25 Budget Development
    3. BPS Spotlight – Authentic Learning at BIS
    4. Helpful links

    What’s New?

    School Calendar 2024-2025

    The School Committee approved a school year calendar for 2024-2025 at the March 6, 2024 meeting. The district calendar can be accessed on our Calendar web page.

    School Choice 2024-2025

    You Belong in Barnstable! School Choice applications are currently being accepted for children seeking to enroll in Barnstable Public Schools as a non-resident, or as a resident seeking a different K-3 setting. Please peruse our websites to see the multitude of offerings for BPS students. 

    If your child already participates, you do not need to reapply.

    Please see our registration page for more information: https://www.barnstable.k12.ma.us/Page/116

    School Committee News – FY25 Budget Development

    The FY 25 Budget was approved by the School Committee on Wednesday, April 3, at the School Committee’s meeting. The total appropriation was $86,954, 260 and is to be augmented with $2,421,520 from the school savings account for a total expenditure from the general fund of $89,375,780. Total expenditures are approved at $92,269,656 taking into account expenditure from revolving funds (circuit breaker, school choice, and transportation). The School Committee also approved incremental increases to transportation and athletic fees.

    Information about the school budget can be found on the Barnstable Public Schools website

    A BPS Spotlight – Authentic Learning at Barnstable Intermediate School

    As you walk the hallways of Barnstable Intermediate School (BIS), you will hear the buzz. It’s the sound of Project Based Learning (PBL) that is happening in classrooms and far beyond.

    Sixth grade language arts teacher Mike Andrews perfectly captured the essence of what it’s all about: “PBL is the power of providing students with choice and validating their voice. It’s finding authentic moments to put their work out into the world, and bring world work into the school building, shifting the meaning of classwork for students.”

    Originally developed to increase engagement and student driven learning, the PBL framework has been used by Barnstable teachers for several years. However, three years ago the intermediate school hired a PBL specialist, Dawn Fontaine. Through PBL, Dawn uses local and global issues to engage kids, inspiring them to make a difference. In addition to teaching lessons, her work includes coordinating professional learning and collaboration time with peers to develop projects. 

    For classroom teachers, incorporating PBL means finding ways to bring components such as collaboration, authenticity, and community connection into their lessons to enhance the subjects they are teaching. Science teacher Katie Smith and math teacher Carley Stauffer integrated math and science to create a yearlong project that covers many of the state standards. This year their project is around the theme of community sustainability, with an end goal of a community garden at BIS. 

    The project kick-off was a full-day field trip to the Barnstable Land Trust community garden in Marstons Mills. Katie and Carley highlighted that getting out of the classroom and into the community energized student engagement and authentic learning. With their newfound knowledge, students began to envision what they wanted for their own garden. Throughout the year, project lessons continue to sprinkle in math standards related to geometry, ratios, fractions, and decimals. Science is woven in as students apply what they’ve learned to make decisions about what types of plantings to include and where to place them in the garden design. Student interactions with the community garden’s lead gardener and the family members who will be coming in to help launch the garden are connections that contribute to a lasting learning experience. 

    Fellow 6th grade teacher Mr. Andrews is using PBL this year to amplify student voice. Mike echoed a similar message that enhancing the reciprocal relationship between the school community and the broader community is so important. Making those connections with the real world helps students develop a greater sense of why it all matters.

    Mike’s team project began with students writing “Where I’m From” poems, focusing on a sense of identity – one individual that is part of a greater community. Local poet Robin J. Miller visited the classroom and helped reinforce that each student’s art as a writer should be shared. The culminating activity was a family/community event including a gallery of poetry and digital work. “Writing needs to be honored and should live out in the public,” Mike emphasized. “Students love PBL because they love feedback, and that authentic moment outside of just their teacher.”                             

    While encouraging teachers to step out of the box, PBL also offers an opportunity to promote equity, a value important to the program. “Now all kids, no matter what their skills levels are, no matter their language, have access to multiple opportunities for rigorous, collaborative learning experiences,” Dawn relayed. “It’s really rewarding to see kids get excited and drive the learning. It’s the best job I’ve had in 27 years!”

    With learning blocks now built into the BIS schedule and common units in every subject, PBL is here to stay. The passion of PBL teachers and the support from the school district has contributed to making the program a success. As they watch student learning soar, all four teachers know that they belong in Barnstable.

    A BPS SpotlightHere, BPS will highlight the positive contributions from among members of our community. This is brought to you by the Community Connections Committee.

    Have a future spotlight to recommend to the Community Connections Committee?  Fill out this form.

    Helpful Links