Points of Pride 2018-19

  • Global/Real World Learning

    • A team from Edutopia’s Schools that Work visited BCS in October 2016 for a case study spotlighting the innovative teaching and learning at BCS.  The case study along with five accompanying videos were released on April 6, 2017 and can be found through a link to the article Birmingham Covington: Building a Student-Centered School.  Also, the case study was featured in the ASCD SmartBrief on April 7, 2017.
    • In an effort to provide students with a real world hands-on experience that explores the nutrient cycle, 3rd and 4th graders at BCS have engaged in hydroponic gardening since 2015. This experience received a Promising Practice from Character.org.
    • BCS is proud to announce a new Advanced Research and Design Lab available for students grades 3-8 in September 2018. Most notably our 3/4 mass production unit implemented all the high tech tools from this space and saw substantial collaboration between all grade bands 3-8.
    • BCS hosted our first Make Share Faire in June 2, 2017 where students shared their design projects and their progress over the year. This was a faire for students to learn about other students’ projects and showcase their own. Photos of the event can be viewed on the BCS Facebook page, BCS Make Share Faire on flickr and Mrs. Heckman’s Engage on flickr.  
    • Eighth grader, Krishnan Madhavan, won the 2018 National PTA Art Reflections Program Contest. Krishnan’s photograph submission “Knowledge is Within Reach” won both the district level contest as well as the state level contest. https://www.michiganpta.org/page/2018Winners
    • Our BCS fourth grade students placed in the top 10 finalists for the 2016-17 Global Enterprise Challenge.  This is a fantastic achievement out of approximately the 250 teams that took part from around the world.
    • The BCS Destination Imagination team competed with 17,000 participants from 17 countries at the Global Finals tournament.  
    • The Forensics and Debate team took 5th place overall in their division at the Mackinac Island Tournament
    • Students in both grades 3/4 and 5/6 continued their partnership communicating with students at Olympia Schools in Hanoi, Vietnam.
    • BCS continues to be recognized by GreatSchools.org as one of “The 50 Best Middle Schools in the US," based on several distinct criteria including providing a “rich school experience that prepares students superbly well for high school, college, and life."
    • The BCS philosophy continues to include the leveraging of technology across all curricula with a focus on global learning and local service opportunities.
    • Our students participate in many field trips including the Holocaust Memorial Center, the Detroit African American Museum, the Detroit Historical Museum, the DSO, the Ford Rouge, the Henry Ford Museum, Mexicantown, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Sea Life Aquarium, and a Spanish and Band/Orchestra immersion trip to Chicago.
    • A group of 7/8 students travel to Boston, MA, and Washington, D.C., in alternating years for experiential learning in U.S. history and social studies aligned with the curriculum at that level. In 2017, the group attended the Inauguration in Washington, D.C.
    • A group of 5/6 students travel to Colonial Williamsburg and Virginia Beach every other year for experiential learning aligned with the social studies curriculum at that level.
    • In March 2014, a team of BCS faculty was invited to the Microsoft Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain where they were immersed in learning opportunities with other educators from across all regions of the world.
    • Students from the BCS Bees project spread the word about the plight of the honeybee as guest presenters at the Taylor Conservatory and the Baldwin Public Library. They also presented at the Southeastern Michigan Beekeeping Association, the Detroit Zoo, and the Birmingham Education Association Expedition: Designing a Better World. The purpose of this project is to help educate others about the impending honeybee crisis.
    • BCS students participate in Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart, raising money for the American Heart Association. In 2017, they raised $11,000 for the American Heart Association to aid in their fight against heart disease and stroke. This was a new record! The top fundraisers were honored at the Detroit Pistons game in March.
    • BCS was awarded the bronze certification from the Michigan Department of Education for their efforts to meet the Healthier U.S. School Challenge.
    • A BCS collaborative student video received 3rd place in the Birmingham Public Schools Sustainability Film Festival.
    • In 2014, a BCS teacher was one of 25 teachers nationally who earned a scholarship for a summer Fulbright Study Exchange in Japan.
    • In January 2014, a team of BCS students in grades 5/6 shared information with citizens outside the legislature in Lansing regarding the issue of climate change.
    • BCS and teacher Pauline Roberts are highlighted throughout a report entitled A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning (Fullan & Langworthy, January 2014).  The “report is about three new forces that are converging to break open prodigious learning possibilities…new pedagogies…new change leadership…new system economics.” (Check out in particular pp. 11, 15, 25-26, 40-41, 52 and 61.)

    Measured Academic Achievement

    • Along with rigorous academic courses and a variety of co-curricular opportunities, BCS students in grades 3-8 participate in Engineering Technology classes, as well as classes based in inquiry and design. These courses, called Engage and Thinkering Studio, offer project-based learning opportunities for all students.  Our state-of-the-art Research & Design Lab (“makerspace”) has served to enhance the digital fabrication opportunities within our curriculum and among our students.
    • In January 2016, more than 13 schools with 36 teams and over 300 students competed at Birmingham Covington School in its Second Annual Cobra Invitational Science Olympiad.  BCS Black team placed 2nd overall.
    • In April 2017 the BCS Middle School Science Olympiad Team competed at Michigan State University against the top 60 teams (out of over 600 Middle and High School teams) from across the state of Michigan. It was an amazing day filled with great success!  The team took 10th place overall in the state of Michigan.
    • The BCS Destination Imagination elementary improv team took first place at the 2017 statewide competition at CMU. They competed at Global Finals in Tennessee at the end of May and placed in the top 50 teams globally.
    • In 2017, The BCS Forensics Team traveled to Mackinac Island for the 2017 MSCI Spring Conference. Nine BCS students competed in a high school tournament in various forensics and debate events. The team placed 6th in their division. Other weekend highlights included: The selection of an 8th grade student by the MSCI Board of Directors to perform her Spring State Championship selection at the annual Evening of Champions hosted in the Grand Hotel Ballroom to an audience of a few hundred people, and first year BCS Coach Aleksandra Luchin winning “MSCI Middle Level Coach of the Year.”   
    • Ten BCS students in grades 3-8 were selected to participate in the District Art Show in May 2017.
    • BCS offers daily, school-wide enrichment through our extended day Choice Hour program.
    • BCS 4th and 5th grade students were invited to participate in the annual reading incentive program Battle of the Books.  Of the 216 eligible students, 165 students participated on a Battle team.  The district-wide second place team was comprised of three 4th graders from BCS.
    • BCS 6th-8th grade students were invited to participate in the annual reading incentive program Birbery.  Students who read all ten titles competed in the Birbery Quiz Bowl.  The top five winners of the Quiz Bowl then participated on the committee at Baldwin Library, where they discussed the merits of all the nominee books and then selected the 2017 Birbery award-winning book, The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle as the best book of the year.  
    • In 2017, based on the theme “What is Your Story?” creative works from 24 students, out of 105 participants, were moved on to the BPS District PTA Reflections program. Following this, 19 of our 24 entries were moved on to the state level -- more than double any other Birmingham school!
    • BCS orchestra students attended the Michigan Schools Solo and Ensemble Festival through Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association.  All students received superior markings.
    • Several of our 7/8 students showcased their talent at a 7/8 Talent Show in May 2017.
    • In April 2017, four BCS students were honored at the Henry Ford Museum as winners in the Kroger “I Can Make History” contest in honor of Black History Month.
    • Our 3rd-5th grade running clubs “STRIDE” and “Girls on the run” participated in the annual YMCA 5K amongst thousands of other elementary running enthusiasts.  

    Global Citizens of Character

    • The BCS Moral Compass is the foundation of who we aspire to be in our community with a focus on displaying a high degree of character in three key areas, the 3E’s: Education, Each other, and Environment.
    • In 2018 BCS was recertified as a National School of Character by Character.org.  See the press release for all the details.
    • In January 2015, our school community lost a teacher after her year-and-a-half battle with cancer.  In October 2014, our community organized a walk in her honor to raise money for medical expenses and honor her as an individual.  Over 600 people attended the “Walk for Fitz”.  Additionally, in June 2015, we held a memorial ground-breaking of the “Fitz Hive” reading corner dedicated in her honor.
    • Eighth grade Integrated Learning Design (ILD) classes created school wide service learning projects centered around the theme of diversity during the 2016-2017 school year. In the 2017-2018 Character.org awards BCS a  Promising Practice from Character.org. The Character.org awarded BCS teachers a 2017 Promising Practices award. In 2014 a team of teachers and students were invited by the Character.org to present at their annual conference in Washington D.C. describing their service learning journey.
    • Annually, BCS 7th or 8th grade students participate in Challenge Day whose vision is that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated.
    • The BCS Diversity Committee continues to host their Film Series annually, which, for the 2017-18 school year, included films rooted in the schoolwide theme of empathy.  
    • "Character Connections" provides opportunities throughout the year for all 3-8 students, in cross-grade level teams, to connect, learn, collaborate and problem solve toward building character and enhancing our positive school culture.
    • A group of 7/8 students traveled to Puerto Rico (2015) and New Orleans (2017) for a service learning and language field experience through Global Works Travel.
    • A beautiful painting done by students in an art Choice Hour was hung in honor of Jerry Melton and the service he provided to students over his 50 year career.

    Collaboration and Teamwork

    • In the 2017-2018 school year BCS was awarded a Michigan Department of Education (MDE) grant to secure free student licenses for the Minecraft Education Edition (M:EE) for one year. This program aligns to the MDE’s Top 10 in 10 Strategic Plan by enhancing access to effective technology tools that support deeper and personalized learning.
    • The BCS PTSA is an integral part of our educational design, connecting students and staff to the community, and helping to further the mission as a world-class learning community with a focus on science and technology in the digital age.
    • The BCS Proud Dads offer additional programs to enrich students’ school experience such as Career Day, intramural athletics and Eat-and-Run lunches.
    • My Son Pinocchio, Jr, the 10th annual musical production, was performed in January by students in grades 6-8 with great success.  
    • BCS is proud to offer the following competitive sports programs: boys soccer, girls basketball, boys and girls cross country, boys basketball, girls swimming, boys swimming, girls volleyball, boys and girls track and field, girls soccer and boys tennis.
    • In 2015, the BCS Lego Robotics Team, Crazy Cobra Crafters, won first place for “Inspiration” in the Core Values category at the First Lego League Thunderquest Competition.  They were one of eight teams to qualify for the Southeast Michigan State Championship Tournament.
    • BCS added a robotics and engineering Choice Hour that challenged students in a variety of creative intramural competitions.
    • In 2014, the 3/4 Engineering Technology classes mass produced over 240 toy electric vehicles.  The model chosen for this bi-annual event was a 3-wheel jungle transport vehicle to align with the theme of the Project Cope Zambian partnership. In 2016, the 3/4 Engineering Technology classes mass produced 248 R2D2 functioning robot models.   This was the first time the project did not produce a transportation vehicle. The classes created robots based on the theme of the new Star Wars movie.  In 2018, the 3/4 students, in collaboration with 5/6 and 7/8 students to create a Star Wars Speeder which incorporated digital and mechanical tools (3D printer, laser engraver and 3-axis router).  
    • A group of 3/4 teachers received training in Conscious Discipline and attended county-wide training sessions from August 2013 - June 2014.  They have integrated the strategies and components they learned in character education lessons within their classrooms.
    • The Library of Michigan approved Birmingham Covington School’s application for SL 21 status. BCS received Exemplary status.  To achieve Qualified or Exemplary Status for a School Library program schools must submit completed measurement benchmark evaluations to the Library of Michigan for review.  Exemplary status was originally earned in 2014 and renewed in 2017.
    • BCS has welcomed students from the local high schools to assist in classrooms and Choice Hour classes as part of their community service class.

    Service Learning/Environmental Stewardship

    • Service learning is a key component at BCS based on our theme:  Learn Globally, Serve Locally. BCS began what will be a lasting partnership with a village in Zambia through Project COPE. During the 2017-2018 school year, our community raised $1,700 to purchase a router for the village of Chilipula. In addition, during the 2013-2014 school year, our community raised collaboratively over $15,000 to help the village of Chilipula augment their agriculture industry by providing two, 2-wheeled tractors to the local farmers in addition to requisite ploughs, rippers, and water pumps. Helping us reach our goal was Microsoft’s surprise donation to our effort while our students participated in Seattle’s We Day, live via Skype.  They also donated two Surface Pro tablets and a solar generator that will be given to the village as a way to connect our students with the children of the village as well as lantern for girls to study during the evenings. During the 2015-2016 school year, our community raised over $4,000 for the Mwachilele School to drill a bore hole which will provide fresh water for all the teachers, students and the local community. Chess sets and soccer balls were also purchased for the students at the school. Videos are available on the Project COPE Facebook page.
    • BCS Green Team coordinated BCS Earth Week leading up to Earth Day, April 22, 2017. Daily activities were developed to allow the BCS community to embrace green efforts supporting Earth Day.  Activities included waste-free lunches, “Born in China” film, presentation on sustainable building practices, idle free zones, whiteboard commitments, and a list of family activities in which to participate on or around Earth Day.  The BCS Earth Week Flyer has all the details.
    • BCS was named a 2012-2013 Microsoft Pathfinder School due to teachers integrating technology, service learning and problem-based learning into the curriculum. Two BCS teachers won first place at the Global Forum in Prague for their collaborative efforts with students.  In 2013-14, BCS was named a Microsoft Mentor School and two of our teachers Master Educators for enhancing our efforts around innovative teaching and learning.
    • BCS 3/4 teachers were selected to, and continue to participate in, the Salmon in the Classroom program sponsored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. This instrumental learning experience granted students the opportunity to raise, care for and maintain the salmon in their classroom from fall until spring. The program culminated at the end of the school year with the release of the young fish in a local watershed that feeds one of the Great Lakes. Students and teachers participated in this program to follow the life cycle of salmon from eggs, to hatchling to smolt, starting in the classroom.  See the 2018 WDIV News story  or the 2017 C&G News story for more details.
    • 5/6 students work twice annually with the Friends of River Rouge collecting data from the river to help in maintaining the river's health.
    • A variety of BCS student-initiated teams led local service opportunities making a difference in our community.  Efforts supported Variety Feeds Detroit, Lighthouse, Gaga pit construction, Wish upon a Teen, Trends for Teens, Treats for Troops, remodeling the school garden, Disaster Relief at Work (DRAW), Project Warm Winters coat drive, Disabled American Veterans, and the list goes on.
    • In 2016, a sixth grade student took the leadership role in a two-year  project to build a greenhouse from used 2 liter bottles. It was quite an undertaking in terms of time and labor as over 1400 bottles were collected from the community, cleaned, cut and threaded onto over 140 poles.This sustainable and creative project will not only lengthen the growing season for BCS gardeners but also provides an excellent model for environmental stewardship and leadership within the community.

    Leadership

    • Due to our unique programming and vision to inspire students to lead in the global community through a passion for learning, innovation, and inquiry & design, BCS is visited and/or contacted by a variety of educators from across the globe.  In the 2016-17 school year, BCS was visited or contacted by over 20 educational institutions from across Michigan, nationally and internationally from 14 institutions who visited our school to include nearly 50 educators (Boston’s MIT Edgerton Center, Milwaukee, Indianapolis).
    • Michigan Speech Coaches Incorporated Coach of the Year - Mackinac Island, Michigan – May 26, 2017 – Red geraniums, yellow tulips and America’s longest porch served as the backdrop of a crowning achievement for Birmingham Covington Middle School assistant forensic coach Aleks Luchin as she was awarded the MSCI Middle Level Forensic Coach of the Year.  See the press release for more information.
    • The 7/8 Leadership Team is involved with leadership training to further infuse character education throughout BCS using the “Be the Change” program and skills from Leader in Me.  Since 2015, the team has coordinated “We Connect Wednesdays” leading the 3/4 students in team building and experiential learning activities. The goal of this student leadership team is to improve our school climate by promoting additional character education experiences and upholding The BCS Touchstone, our Moral Compass.
    • Faculty awards and commendations include:
      • On June 4, 2018, Jessica Heckman, BCS Engage Teacher, was named a grand prize winner from Henry Ford Museum’s Teacher Innovator Award recognizing America’s most innovative teachers.  The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Award “looks for teachers who demonstrate the habits of an innovator. Teachers who inspire their students to challenge the rules and take risks, who demonstrate how to be collaborative and empathetic, and teach the value of learning from staying curious and learning from failure.  Check out the Press Release!
      • Rick Joseph has been named to the School Safety Task Force for the State of Michigan.
      • Rick Joseph was invited to give a TED talk to share his work on the LGBT+ guidelines to help make schools a safer and more inclusive place for all students in the state.  
      • Birmingham Education Foundation nominated BCS’s 7/8 English Language Arts teacher, Mary Cruz, for the teacher of the year award 2017-2018.
      • Birmingham Education Foundation nominated BCS’s learning resource teacher, Bill Bodle for the teacher of the year award 2016-2017.
      • John Prisciandaro and Mat Brown have been awarded a position as a teacher researcher in the field of engineering. John and Mat will work in the ongoing mechanical engineering research at Oakland University with aims to design lessons linking classroom activities to cutting edge university research.
      • Valerie Weage graduated from the Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) with a Master’s Degree. TOP is a public/private partnership that promotes education about Germany, fosters intercultural dialogue, and provides the opportunity for North American social studies educators, STEM educators, and decision makers to experience Germany.
      • BCS Engage teacher, Roy McCloud (2018) and BCS community school organizer, Cindy Balicki, (2017) were selected by the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force as Diversity Champions in those respective years.  Each was honored at the Task Force’s annual breakfast at the Community House. Every year since the inception of the award (2000), BCS has had a Diversity Champion.