KEY DESIGN ELEMENTS
The South Buffalo Charter School is located in the city of Buffalo, New York and primarily serves students in kindergarten through 8 th grade who live in the surrounding community. Well over 70% of our students receive free or reduced lunches, illustrating the socio-economic needs of our families.
As set forth in the school’s mission statement, we will focus on learning and increase student achievement through the following key elements:
Professional Learning Communities – Professional Learning Communities are educators committed to working collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action research in order to achieve better results for the students they serve. Professional Learning Communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous, job-embedded learning for educators. The following are essential components of Professional Learning Communities:
▪ Collaborative Learning and Reflection
▪ Research-based Best Practices
▪ Data-driven Decision Making
▪ Pyramid of Intervention
New York State Standards-Based Curriculum – SBCS continues to evaluate and align our curriculum. The Academic Support Team works with grade level teams to implement curriculum mapping and vertical planning to develop quality curricula designed to meet or exceed NY State Standards and ensure the sustainability of fundamental instructional goals. Research-based programs, texts, and supplemental materials are utilized to enhance the school’s core curriculum.
Technology Integration – Technology is an essential element to increase the capacity of staff to meet student needs. The instructional program is enhanced through multi-media classrooms. These rooms may include some or all of the following equipment: student workstations, touch-screen monitors, interactive white boards, LCD projectors, document cameras, DVD/VCR units, Classroom Performance System (CPS), and interactive tablets. Furthermore, mobile labs, printers, video cameras, digital cameras, and TV/DVD/VCR units are available for classroom use. In addition to the physical technological components, teachers and staff utilize various web-based programs such as AIMSweb, Powerschool, and the Performance Plus Suite, which includes Tech Paths/ Curriculum Connector, Performance Tracker, Assessment Builder, and Bubble Builder.
Character Education – SBCS is committed to a strong focus on integrating character education into our instructional program. Students are exposed to the basic principles of core virtues: responsibility, respect, citizenship, kindness, courage, tolerance, self-control, honesty, determination, and teamwork. SBCS also utilizes the Second Step Program and Project Wisdom as classroom based skills training for character education.
Extended Day and School Year – Research shows that an extended school day and school year can result in an improvement of student achievement through increased instructional time. The school day at SBCS is no less than seven hours, between one and a half or two hours longer than the New York State requirement. Teachers and staff are required to be in attendance for no less than eight hours. This additional time is used for planning and professional development. The school year at SBCS is between ten and fifteen instructional days longer than the New York State requirement of 180 days.
Professional Development – Job-embedded professional development is a vital component of SBCS’s dedication to the improvement of teaching and learning. Professional Development is integrated into the school day through common planning/data meetings where teacher receive support from the Academic Support Team and outside consultants. In addition, no less than ten dedicated Professional Development and/or Superintendent Conference Days are included in the school calendar. Teachers and staff are also encouraged to attend Professional Development conferences outside of school offerings.
Parent/Guardian Involvement and Engagement – SBCS offers the following opportunities to foster the home/school connection: