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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School visit

The faculty and staff at Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School were very pleasant and accommodating. I was escorted by the family coordinator for BLCS, Mrs. Michelle Clayborn. Upon my arrival, the students were on their last lunch session as other students were already back in class. As I toured the school, we had some dialogue about the school’s structure. BLCS has over 450 students enrolled. The school accommodates grades kindergarten through eighth grade. There are two classrooms for each grade with a maximum of 25 students. The school hours are from 8AM-4PM. The “K-4th” grade students are located on the first floor and the 5th-8th grade students are located on the second floor. There is a Director of Instruction on each floor whose primary responsibility is teacher support.

The school serves both breakfast and lunch for 30 minutes and 20 minutes respectively. The lunchroom is also used for their after-school program and parent sessions. The parents are required to attend at least two sessions. In addition to their major subjects taught, BLCS also offer Music, Spanish, Technology, Art, and Library classes. During my visit, there were students practicing on the drums in preparation for their Christmas program through a community partnership. BLCS integrates art programs to support their mission. This allows their students to be creative through learning. The school has an art studio which displays many works by the students.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a third grade class. The teacher was covering an English exercise where students identified topic sentences and details within a paragraph. The students were very attentive. The asked relevant questions and seem to understand the lesson. The teacher did a good job with her delivery of the lesson. I also observed an eighth grade class where the teacher was covering a book reading assignment. The students are to read 10 books of their choice. Upon reading the books, the students are required to complete a book review, engage in book talk and online discussion. She also covered a lesson on writing an autobiography. She passed out index cards that had questions on them. The students asked the teacher questions from the cards. She provided answers as a way to stimulate their thoughts for writing an autobiography. Once the students complete the autobiography, they have to create a PowerPoint presentation or poster display. I also visited the computer lab. The computer teacher is relatively new to BLCS and will be taking on a technical support role for the school. She also mentioned that their administration currently serves as their technical support.

-Jerald Blackwell

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