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Letter from the principal May 5 2015
It is that time of year when parents begin to plant seeds, both subtly and more overtly, regarding what they think would be the best teacher placement and best classmate configuration for their child. These requests usually come from kindergarten and first grade parents whose children are going into first and second grade self-contained classrooms next year. We have developed guidelines for grades K-2 regarding class placement issues intended to improve our ability to serve all students and families more fairly and uniformly.
Some of the repercussions of honoring parent requests usually result in one of the following situations:
1. Overloading a teacher who is gifted in teaching children with learning differences so that specific child, as well as others, do not achieve the most benefit from the classroom instruction.
2. Maintaining cliques to the detriment of the grade level socialization.
3. Children having such overly comfortable placement that they are not stretched and strengthened in their own development.
4. Classroom inequity in terms of teachers having either more strugglers or more high-achievers than their peers. This inequity is detrimental to creating the type of cohesive teamwork and joint planning we wish to encourage within any given grade level. It is also detrimental to the benefit that intellectual diversity within a classroom brings to all.
Our goal each and every year is to create classrooms with the following characteristics:
1. Each classroom has a reasonable balance of boys and girls.
2. Each classroom has an equal balance of students with all academic abilities.
3. Students with specific learning differences will be wisely matched with an appropriate teacher and with a selection of classmates that will maximize the likelihood of academic and interpersonal success.
4. Students who are truly “not good for each other” are separated for a time. The student population within the grade level is reshuffled so that new friendships are more likely.
To achieve these goals we have established the following guidelines regarding classroom placement:
1. Teachers, administrators, front office or other staff will not accept written, electronic or verbal requests for specific teachers for placement for the next school year.
2. We will continue to utilize our district resources as critical counsel in placement decisions for specific children who have been diagnosed with specific learning differences. In order to assure you, the K-2 parent community, of our commitment to doing the best possible job in teacher placement, it would be helpful for you to know what we are doing internally to create the best placement for each and every child. Teachers have spent time becoming familiar with grade level classrooms both above and below their own grade level. This is both for reasons of gaining more familiarity with the curriculum as well as observing teacher personalities and teaching styles. This information is a critical component in evaluating placement decisions. Teachers also, throughout the year, work together in goal teams where they have the opportunity to discuss the progress of all students. This is very helpful for the teachers so they are ready to meet the needs of all students on the very first day of school. In conclusion, I would say to you as parents that we have a terrific faculty. Each is committed to providing your child with the best education that will prepare him/her to be a successful student. We fully embrace the significance and responsibility that is inherent in placement decisions, and we are committed to doing it extremely well.
To transform SAISD into a national model urban school district where
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The mission of Bonham Academy is to prepare students for future success by empowering them with a well-rounded, solid academic foundation emphasizing multiple languages, the fine arts and science. We are dedicated to the individual development of attitudes, skills, knowledge and responsibility essential to successful achievement in school and society. We actively involve parents and community in supporting student learning and development.
Principal, Bonham Academy