Points of Pride 2019-2020

  • 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. Rallying on this exciting learning opportunity in 2019 BCS is implementing a mobile makerspace to bring these state of the art tools into all classrooms.
    • 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 Heckman’s Engage on flickr. BCS hosted our second Make Share Faire on May 31, 2019. Photos can be viewed on the BCS Facebook page.
    • Eighth grader, Krishnan M, 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
    • Fifth grader, Grace Y., won the 2019 National PTA Art Reflections Program Contest. Grace’s piece “Pet Vet” won the district level contest and received an Award of Excellence at the state level contest.  2019 State Level Winners. At the district level, both Charliza P. received an  Award of Excellence in Intermediate Music Composition and Alice F. Honorable Mention in Intermediate Music Composition.
    • 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.
    • 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 inKids Heart Challenge 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. In 2019, students raised over $11, 000 for the American Heart Association.
    • In 2014, a BCS teacher was one of 25 teachers nationally who earned a scholarship for a summer Fulbright Study Exchange in Japan.
    • BCS and teacher Pauline Roberts are highlighted throughout a report entitled A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies For 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”) and mobile makerspace has served to enhance the digital fabrication opportunities within our curriculum and with our students.
    • On Saturday, April 13, 2019 the 4th & 5th Grade Elementary Science Olympiad Team competed at the District Tournament. There were 21 teams and all Birmingham elementary schools were represented. BCS came in 1st place overall! See the Science Olympiad Individual students results.
    • Annually BCS hosts a renowned Middle School Invitational Science Olympiad Tournament (Cobra Invitational). This dynamic tournament includes more than 13 schools with 36 teams and over 300 students!
    • In April 2019 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 19th place overall in the state of Michigan!
    • The BCS 2017-2018 Destination Imagination elementary improv team took first place at the statewide competition at CMU. They competed at Global Finals in Tennessee at the end of May and placed in the top 50 teams globally.
    • One of our BCS 2018-2019 Destination Imagination teams traveled to compete at Global Finals in Kansas City, MO and placed 9th for Elementary scientific.
    • In May 2017, BCS Forensics Coach Aleksandra Luchin won “MSCI Middle Level Coach of the Year.” See the press release for more information.
    • On Saturday, April 27, 2019 the BCS Forensics Team competed in their Spring State Tournament at Bloomfield Hills High School. 27 students competed. BCS finished with 7 finalists and 7 semi-finalists.
    • In May 2019, The Forensics and Debate team took 3rd place overall out of all middle schools at the Mackinac Island Tournament.
    • The BCS Math Pentathlon Team competed at their State Competition in April 2019! Aryana D. won the silver medal and Dominic B., the bronze. Gabe M. received Honorable Mention and Corrine A., Marina A., Phoebe A., and Isabella C. won the Participation Award.
    • Anderson C. won the BCS Geography Bee and was named as a semifinalist for the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee Michigan State Competition
    • Caroline M. won the school spelling bee in 2018 and Maya J. in 2019.
    • Ten BCS students in grades 3-8 were selected to participate in the District Art Show in May 2017 and thirteen students in May 2019.
    • In December of 2018 the BCS Debate Team competed in the Middle School State Championship and finished 2nd in the state. The students debated the topic: The United States federal government should impose price controls on the pharmaceutical industry.
    • BCS offers daily, school-wide enrichment through our extended day Choice Hour
    • BCS 4th and 5th grade students were invited to participate in the annual reading incentive program Battle of the Books.
    • 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 2018 Birbery award-winning book
    • 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.
    • 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.

    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 2018-2019 BCS was recertified as a National School of Character by Character.org. See the press release for all the details.
      • BCS Chacter.org Promising Practice Awards:
    • 2015-2016 Salmon in the classroom
    • 2016-2017 Hydroponic Gardening
    • 2017-2018 Integrated Learning Discourse (ILD)
    • 2018-2019 Science Literacy
    • 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.
    • Annually, BCS 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 hosted their Film Series annually, which, for the 2017-18 school year, included films rooted in the schoolwide theme of empathy. The Diversity Committee hosted three panel discussions in 2018-19 for BCS families, as well as other community members.  In February, there was an African American Panel Discussion for 7th and 8th grade students; in April, a panel discussions pertaining to Getting to Know LGBTQ+ Persons in Our Communitt; and in May, a panel to explore Islam and Judiasm.
    • Make a Connection Groups provide opportunities throughout the year for 3-8 students, in cross-grade level teams, to connect, learn, and collaborate.
    • A group of 7/8 students traveled to Puerto Rico (2015) and New Orleans (2017) and Costa Rica (2019) 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 2017-18 and 2019-20 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.
    • The BCS PTA continues to recognize a “Volunteer of the Year” annually in order to stress the importance of having volunteers in our schools and acknowledge the outstanding work of our volunteers. In 2019, Ryan Abney was the recipient.
    • Students in grades 6-8 performed My Son Pinocchio, Jr. in 2017, Once Upon a Mattress in 2018 and High School Musical Jr. in 2019.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • BCS continues to offer a robotics and engineering Choice Hour that challenges students in a variety of creative intramural and statewide college-sponsored competitions (Robofest).
    • 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). 
    • 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.  Click chronicle of the continued partnership for more details.
      • BCS Green Team coordinated BCS Earth Week leading up to Earth Day, April 22nd. Daily activities were developed to allow the BCS community to embrace green efforts supporting Earth Day. Activities included waste-free lunches, “Planet Earth” film, presentation on sustainable building practices, idle free zones, and a list of family activities in which to participate on or around Earth Day. 
      • 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. Past and present 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 continues.

    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. Annually BCS is visited or contacted by over 20 educational institutions from across Michigan, nationally and internationally. Our visits to date include dozens of institutions and 100’s educators hailing from all corners of North America (Boston’s MIT Edgerton Center, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, New Hampshire, Ontario).
    • The 7/8 Leadership Team is involved with leadership training to further infuse character education throughout BCS. 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.
    • 2018-19 Faculty awards and commendations include:
      • Four BCS faculty, Mat Brown, Julie Frishman, Chris Emmi, and Jennifer Wagner were nominated for the BPS teachers of the year. Mat Brown, Engineering Technology Teacher, was awarded the BEA/Dr. Francis S. Randahl - MEEMIC Educator Excellence Award.
      • BCS librarian, Ann Truesdell article called Building Empathy with Children’s Literature was highlighted in the Spring 2019 edition of Inspiring Character published by Character.org.
      • Jessie Heckman was named as a Lego Master Educator Ambassador , a volunteer ambassador program to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow by enabling every student to succeed. As a Lego Master Educator Jessie presented at the 2019 ISTE Conference in Philadelphia.
      • BCS Spanish teacher, Joe Leibson, was selected as the BCS Diversity Champion by the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force.
      • The National High School Athletic Coaches Association, the professional organization of school coaches and athletic directors (NHSACA), on January 17, 2019, announced the selection of eight individuals as national finalists in their sport for Coach of the Year recognition. Our own Leon Braisted has been named National Boys Golf National Coach of the Year!
      • Michelle D'Orazio (7/8 English Language Arts) was selected to join the 2019-2021 Galileo Leadership Consortium Cohort
      • BCS teacher and Seaholm Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Chris Manchester was named OAA Blue Division Coach of the Year.
      • On January 4, 2019, Rick Joseph, BCS 5/6 teacher and Diversity Committee chairperson, was appointed to serve as a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Advisory Committee for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Read the Press Release.
    • 2017-18 Faculty awards and commendations include:
      • BCS Engage teacher, Roy McCloud, was selected as the BCS Diversity Champion by the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force.
      • 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!
    • 2016-17 Faculty awards and commendations include:
      • 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.