About Better Learning

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all children are born with remarkable powers to learn BETTER LEARNING, FUTURE SMART


BRONX CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR BETTER LEARNING


The Bronx Charter Schools for Better Learning (BBL) are educational leaders in advancing equity and access for all children, particularly students of color. Our teachers recognize the innate brilliance of our students and, through our distinct pedagogy, they inspire joy and confidence in learning – not just for the next lesson or test but for a lifetime. Bronx Better Learning operates two K-5 Schools, BBL1 and BBL2.

Students of color who comprise ninety-five percent of the student body of our Schools, on average, score among the highest across New York State in both Mathematics and English Language Arts. — Dr. Thomas Howard, Executive Director


better learning outcomes We know that all children are born with remarkable powers to learn as evidenced by their mastering—on their own—walking, speaking, and much more even before they attend school. The founders created Bronx Better Learning to provide formative experiences that foster children’s inherent capabilities. In recognition of children’s individual learning styles, at BBL Schools, there are no cookiecutter approaches nor lesson plans that grimly pound a predetermined path to the next lesson. We get out of the student’s way and follow their lead. In doing so we ensure they leave BBL Schools ready and able to take on the world.

Our results speak for themselves. — Dr. Amanda Santos Assistant Principal, BBL2

BRONX CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR BETTER LEARNING


We get out of the student’s way and follow their lead. — Vanessa Trezza Assistant Principal, BBL1

2018-2019 Math State Test Results: 3rd through 5th Grades Combined

2018-2019 ELA State Test Results: 3rd through 5th Grades Combined

bronxbetterlearning.org

BETTER LEARNING, FUTURE SMART


We meet students where they are in the moment and adjust our teaching according to their learning. — Stephanie Poillucci-Cruz Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction

BRONX CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR BETTER LEARNING


the better learning approach We empower learners.

The Better Learning pedagogy—the Subordination of Teaching to Learning—is learning-centered and firmly rooted in knowing that every child grows by developing their own understanding. We use materials and techniques designed precisely to illuminate each child’s path to mastering academic subjects. We know that to promote enthusiastic and energized learning, great educators do not attempt to simply pass on knowledge, they endeavor to create the conditions that support each learner’s self-education. Our students, more than those taught in traditional settings, remain confident in their capacity to pursue solutions and meet academic challenges.

Better Learning teachers are adept and nimble. They adjust lesson plans, moment to moment, to support children to reach their “aha” moments. Our objective is not to elicit pre-determined answers from children or mold them to satisfy expectations. Instead, we meet students where they are in the moment and adjust our teaching according to their learning. Understanding that each student meets challenges in their own way, our teachers tailor the approaches to each student. They embrace the responsibility to ask themselves how they, as educators, can nurture the brilliance in each child.

Mistakes are welcome. They are part of the learning process and indicators of what needs attention. We know that students are extremely capable, so we honor the process they use to arrive at answers, and we recognize that worthwhile learning is not likely to follow a straight line. Genuine love, care and the highest expectations of our students are at the heart of the pedagogy. This encourages the best from our students. This is Better Learning.

BETTER LEARNING, FUTURE SMART


diversity, equity and inclusion Since 2003 BBL Schools have existed to uphold equity and excellence in education, nurturing the innate brilliance of students who live in under-resourced communities. In addressing historic and systemic inequities, the culture of Better Learning leads students, teachers, and staff to successful outcomes, evident in student performance and professional staff advancement. The principles of diversity, equity and inclusion epitomize our mission-based work. Our students and staff are primarily Black and Latinx. Eighty-five percent of students identify as Black and nine percent as Latinx. Our Schools reflect diversity in race, ethnicity, culture and socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender identity, age and language. Seventy-eight percent of our staff identifies as Black and Latinx or Asian, and we leverage this diversity to meet students’ needs.

2021-22 DEMOGRAPHICS

STUDENT AND STAFF

Better Learning founders, from the beginning, focused on academic excellence and an ethos of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As we look ahead to our 20th anniversary next year and beyond, we will rely on these bedrock principles for inspiration and motivation in service of the mission of Better Learning. Student Demographics by School

0% 0%

5% 5%

10% 10%

15% 15%

% Student Ethnicity % Student Ethnicity

20% 20%

25% 25%

30% 30%

35% 35%

40% 40%

Black

85% 85%

9% 9%

3% 3%

83% 83%

14% 14%

2% 2%

45% 45%

Black

50% 50%

55% 55%

Hispanic Hispanic

60% 60%

65% 65%

70% 70%

White White

75% 75%

Asian

80% 80%

Asian

85% 85%

90% 90%

Other

95% 95%

100% 100%

Other

Staff Demographics by School 64% 64%

10% 10%

48% 48% 0% 0%

5% 5%

10% 10%

15% 15%

% Staff Ethnicity % Staff Ethnicity

20% 20%

25% 25%

23% 23%

26% 26% 30% 30%

35% 35%

40% 40%

Black Black

45% 45%

50% 50%

55% 55%

Hispanic Hispanic

60% 60%

23% 23% 65% 65%

White White

BRONX CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR BETTER LEARNING

70% 70%

75% 75%

Asian Asian

80% 80%

85% 85%

3% 3% 90% 90%

Other Other

95% 95%

100% 100%


The culture of Better Learning epitomizes three core ideas.

We believe that all children, regardless of color, are brilliant and that educational equity involves relations and experiences that hold this truth to be self-evident. — Dr. Theodore Swartz, Founder

Our pedagogy – the Subordination of Teaching to Learning – places the learner and learning first and foremost. — Dr. Thomas Howard, Executive Director

Our staff members care deeply for the children we serve and use the power of nurturing relationships to create a culture of educational equity and personal excellence. — Kiesha Comerie, First Grade Academic Leader

BETTER LEARNING, FUTURE SMART


Student Expectations We have the highest expectations of our students. Our focus is not on the average student’s performance but on each student’s aspirations and goals. We raise the bar, presenting them with increasingly more significant academic challenges. As they realize their capabilities, their confidence grows and their willingness to raise the bar for themselves increases. The opportunity to discover and fulfill one’s potential is a RIGHT of all children, so we foster an environment that honors this RIGHT. Again, our teachers are empowered to adjust lesson plans to accommodate the learning process for each student. Teachers attend carefully to what students say and do, welcoming their mistakes as guideposts to tailor and adjust their instructional strategies. Through this unique approach combined with our dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion, our Schools have been home to learning triumphs since 2003.

Our students’ test scores are an indication of the effectiveness of Cuisenaire rods. These manipulatives are key to solidifying Math concepts which provide a solid foundation for academic success. — Anne Clarke-Raysor, Principal, BBL2

BRONX CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR BETTER LEARNING


Parent Engagement Parents are our partners. We fully embrace the roles of parents and caretakers in their children’s learning. We support families through ongoing seminars, workshops and open communication to engage their active participation in their children’s education.

Professional Opportunities Staff advancement is essential to our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This includes providing opportunities for teaching assistants, most of whom are part of the local community, and facilitating career growth for staff across the organization. We foster peer collaborations, celebrate individual and team accomplishments and recognize all staff members as vital to carrying out the mission. We facilitate productivity in a collegial environment that prioritizes respect, professional growth, safety, health and well-being.

Our vision for the continued success of Better Learning depends on our commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. — Shubert Jacobs, Principal, BBL1 BETTER LEARNING, FUTURE SMART


The Bronx Charter Schools for Better Learning (Bronx Better Learning) are educational leaders advancing equity and access for all children. Our teachers recognize the innate brilliance in our students and, through our distinct pedagogy, inspire joy and confidence in learning — not just for the next lesson or test — but for a lifetime. We primarily serve students of color who on average score among the highest across New York State in both math and language arts. Better Learning operates two K-5 schools, BBL 1 and BBL 2. To learn more, visit: www.bronxbetterlearning.org.