To alleviate the racial disparities in outcomes for students, and to realize the vision of “every Bearcat graduating career, college and community-ready,” Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) is making intensive investments in academic achievement programming for students and professional development, engagement and retention efforts for teachers.
Recognizing improved curricula and practices provide the biggest gains when students experience them starting early in their education, the transformation of BCPS includes significant support for the youngest students. Investments include new programming, curriculum and resources to improve kindergarten readiness, early literacy, intervention support and character education. Overall, the district realizes the strongest gains from these students. BCPS has made significant investments in early learning and literacy, and data reflects that the benefits of these investments remain with children as they progress through the grades.
In fall 2019 for the third consecutive year, students who attended KSP scored higher DIBELS (a composite score estimate for reading proficiency) than their counterparts.
Data from October 2019 to January 2020 demonstrates that 68% of students who participated weekly in the reading buddies program achieved growth.
The launch of new programs and partnerships during the 2018-19 school year marked visible, tangible progress in the transformation. Proactive and intensive communications efforts helped build confidence in the transformation during the early stages, but the biggest shifts in public perception were achieved after the launch of three highly visible and easily explained programs: the opening of Fremont International Academy (Fremont), the opening of Battle Creek STEM Innovation Center (BC STEM), and the implementation of Career Academies at Battle Creek Central High School (BCCHS). At the same time, the district realizes that its largest remaining area of growth is its middle schools. With that in mind, BCPS is making a concerted effort to further transform the middle school experience, by making significant changes at Northwestern Middle School (Northwestern) and Springfield Middle School (Springfield).
Personalized, caring relationships with teachers are proven to increase student performance. Yet, BCPS, like districts nationally, struggle with teacher retention. To recruit and retain the best teachers in the region, BCPS has partnered with the city and other entities to offer incentives that draw teachers to the district and keep them here. Data reflects that these hiring and retention efforts are reducing teacher turnover.