Bullitt East prides itself on its people: the students it teaches, the faculty and staff it houses, and the community it thrives in. We have always had a tremendous community core with unrivaled support. During the 2019-2020 school year, the faculty and staff sat down to discuss what we value as active members in the community, and what we think is important to impress upon the students of Bullitt East. It wasn’t difficult to see what we all value the most, so we created our “Big Arrows,” which now set our direction and goals for the school, its students, and its staff.
There are three “Big Arrows” we have identified. These arrows not only guide our students to become active members of society, but encourage our staff to constantly analyze and reevaluate what’s working, what isn’t working, and how we can be better.
The first arrow is Improve Student Achievement. This arrow focuses on academics: what students need to learn, how they’re learning it, and how our faculty can improve the learning process. Student achievement is measured through a variety of things, including state assessment data, graduation rate, lesson plans, and GAP.
“We are working really hard to give students what they need to be successful -- no matter what they chose to do,” states Kari Stewart, Assistant Principal. One example of this is in preparation for the ACT; we recently started a “weekly question” that all students, regardless of grade level, answered in their first period. The questions and results are then posted in the weekly newsletter so that students, parents, and teachers have access to the information. Students and teachers are constantly analyzing data, setting individual goals for students, and creating improvement plans. We also offered Saturday ACT workshops, where every hour spent at the workshop counted toward an hour off from school the day before prom -- around 200 kids showed up each week. While we recognize we were unable to have prom this past school year, we are hoping to make up those hours to all students for the 2020-2021 school year.
Our students should receive the absolute best, which is why our teachers also participate in, what we like to call, TOOTS. TOOTS stands for Teachers Observing Other Teachers. This allows teachers to swap systems, strategies, and other useful tools so that they can always assure students the best education possible.
The second arrow is Impact Positive Culture: good begets good. “We want to build a culture where students hold one another accountable,” Stewart says. “It’s heartwarming to see our students encouraging one another to be safe, respectful, and responsible.” Bullitt East is recognized as a Unified Champion School, meaning we have inclusive youth leadership, inclusive sports, and whole school engagement. We want to uphold that inclusive culture across our complete range of students.
We employ Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS) Rewards, where students are acknowledged for doing things that are expected; also known as the “Charger Way.” Through these rewards, students earn points and can use these points to make purchases. Depending on the teacher, these purchases can be snacks, HW passes -- we even have one teacher that will teach the entire class in a British accent!
The final arrow is Enhance Supportive Community. We value our teachers and staff at Bullitt East, and want to create a work environment that makes them want to come back. “If you don’t feel like you're working in a place you’re valued and supported, you don’t want to stay. Why would you?” Stewart asks. Our teachers have several formal ways to give feedback and input for each other, as well as for the school.
We also value our community, who is consistently supporting us no matter what. This is what makes Bullitt East prosper: the pride our community, staff, and students have in our school.
We may have just begun using our “Big Arrows” last year, but they’re here to stay. These are core values we live by, and encourage others to do the same.