Instruction and Learning
At Bill Roberts, our team focuses on cognitive thinking strategies to promote deeper level learning. Students here are encouraged, and expected, to be able to explain their thinking and problem solve in order to find resolution. Our team shares a common belief in focusing on student strengths when it comes to academic performance and behavior rather than working from a deficit model. Other highlights of our academic program include:
- Flexible curriculum to meet the individual needs of students.
- Inter-grade level (vertical) collaboration among teachers.
- Inquiry-based approach to learning with a focus on 21st Century Learning Skills.
- Focus on cognitive thinking strategies to promote deeper level thinking – students are encouraged and expected to be able to explain their thinking.
- Our curriculum is based on Common Core, standards-based approaches incorporating differentiation and teacher-designed methodology. Some of the tools we employ in addition to the district curriculum include:
- Math – Bridges Math, Singapore Math, Engage New York, and CMP3 (MS) and as blended learning with Khan Academy, Reflex and Math XL
- Literacy – Benchmark, Expeditionary Learning, Engage New York, Lucy Calkins Writing, Guided Reading and LLI Interventions
- Social Studies/Science – National Geographic and LDC
- Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory approach to phonics instruction
- Physical classroom environments maximize learning for the whole child – academic, social and emotional – and promote a warm community feel, as appropriate to a classroom’s learning needs.
- Collaboration with previous teachers allow for seamless transition from grade to grade.
- Project-based learning – purposefully integrated curriculum that includes group work, research to completion and presentation skills that strengthen learning.
- Highly qualified teachers committed to life-long learning: more than 85% have or are completing their Masters in Education.
- Highly educated paraprofessionals (teacher assistants) at each grade level, some with teaching licenses and/or advanced degrees, creating a smaller teacher-to-student ratio.
- 21st Century Learning includes group work, deeper level thinking processes across reading, math, writing, social studies and art.
- Daily enrichment “Specials” are part of every day for all grades: Art, Music, P.E.,Library/Technology and Drama.
- Technology and our SMART Lab are an integrated part of all grades.
- Our school garden is part of classroom learning.
- Inter-grade level mentoring and leadership such as book buddies, math buddies and student assistants.
- Starting in 1st grade, team-teaching provides educator focus – a math/science teacher and a literacy teacher.
- We use the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) program supported by the US Department of Education that is used in many schools around the nation. It is an organized framework designed to create a behavior model to encourage and reinforce positive behaviors from our students.
- Extracurricular opportunities to extend learning include: National Geographic Spelling Bee, Semantics Club, Chess Club, Cooking Classes, Service Learning and Technology classes.
- Specialized, highly-qualified intervention teachers dedicated to the support and challenge of students at every level of instruction within the academic spectrum:
Going Beyond the Classroom
We know that much of your child’s education will happen in the classroom, but believe that as a school we can do so much more. Our teachers collaborate with students’ previous teachers and use their colleague’s insight and data to ensure a seamless transition from grade to grade. Bill Roberts also employs specialized, highly-qualified intervention teachers who are dedicated to the support and development of students at every level of instruction within the academic spectrum including those on the Gifted and Talented (GT) and Highly Gifted & Talented (HGT) spectrum, as well as those needing special education and/or English language acquisition.
A Focus on Health and Wellness
Strong minds need strong bodies. At Bill Roberts we are committed to both the mental and physical growth and well being of our students. Our food program revolves around a scratch kitchen where meals are made from fresh ingredients each day, providing healthy and nutritious choices for our students. We encourage physical wellness through our participation in programs like the 100 Mile Run Club, Boltage (a national program that promotes walking and biking to school), Girls on the Run, annual Field Days and Jump Rope For Heart, among others. Our PTA has an extremely active Health and Wellness Committee that is creative and dedicated to meeting our kids’ needs each year to have a healthy school.
Always Striving to Be Better
Bill Roberts has been recognized as a Top Performing School and a High Growth School every year since 2009, and is the only Stapleton Elementary/E-8 school, and only one out of 19 DPS schools, to be awarded the Governor’s Award for Distinguished Improvement.
We’re not done, not even close. Our commitment to excellence means we never stop improving. We will continue to challenge ourselves and our team to be better, to do more, to inspire and engage, and to continue to build upon what we learn. At Bill Roberts, the learning never ends.