Brocton presents programming in Washington

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From left to right: Dr. Grant Chandler, ACSD faculty member, Melanie Ulinger, Director of Special Education/Curriculum, and Jason Delcamp, Superintendent, recently attended a conference in Washington D.C. to discuss a professional development program, Quick Bytes, implemented by the Brocton Central School District.

Brocton Superintendent Jason Delcamp and Melanie Ulinger, Director of Special Education/Curriculum recently attended a conference in Washington D.C., to discuss a professional development program, Quick Bytes, that the Brocton Central School District has implemented since last spring.

“It was an honor to share our story of partnership with ASCD with the attendees of the conference. We have a mission to reimagine what education and learning can be for students and we want to support our staff to meet each child’s unique needs in the classroom,” Ulinger said.

Approximately 150 educators and administrators from across the United States and several other countries were in attendance as Delcamp, Ulinger, and Dr. Grant Chandler, author and faculty member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), presented their Quick Bytes programming and the benefits it provides the Brocton staff.

“Our use of Brocton Quick Bytes, a professional development loop we developed to use with instructional staff, was developed based on research and professional learning standards in order to have ongoing, sustained conversations with staff about critical priorities and understandings needed to meet the needs of our students,” Ulinger said.

Melanie Ulinger, Director of Special Education/Curriculum

The District began evaluating new ways to address student needs coming out of the pandemic, as the District sought to define its “new normal.” In addition to identifying the evolving needs of students, the District also sought a way to better prepare its staff to meet the academic, social, emotional and behavioral needs of the District’s students.

The Brocton Central School District is a K-12 district with a total enrollment of 559 students. Nearly three out of four students in the District are defined as economically disadvantaged.

In its presentation, the District cited research that states students who attend rural schools such as Brocton often come from communities where they are exposed to adverse childhood experiences and trauma which makes them more susceptible to developing emotional disabilities. The District also cited that without proper support, inclusion is not appropriate for all students.

Brocton sought a way to get every one of its students “to the finish line” despite whatever challenges they face. Through Quick Bytes, “Students will be empowered to develop and sustain healthy relationships, to build successful careers, and to enjoy a level of productivity and success that will help them see themselves as a contributing member of a thriving global community.”

The District noted priorities of creating a “culture of care”; redefining learning as academic, social and emotional; and delivering Brocton’s vision of superior instruction to each student every day in each classroom. Student voice surveys are given each spring to determine how supported the students are feeling and where to improve. The District is also implementing trauma-sensitive, resiliency-based practices beginning this spring, as well as learning targets that integrate academic content with social and emotional wellness.

Jason Delcamp, Superintendent

During its presentation, the District stated, “… it is the authentic, caring relationships we build with our students and with our adults that is the heart of the Brocton story. We will build a learner-centered district which embodies a culture of care. We recognize the multi-dimensionality of learning which encompasses not only traditional academic content, but also focuses on the social and emotional skills students need to be successful and happy in life.”

The District also expressed daily support for students in every classroom through getting to know its students better to foster strong relationships. Regular conversations are held to discuss the hows and whys of classroom instruction and student needs, beyond the classroom and teacher evaluation talks, as well as other “important topics.”

The District cited several testimonials from employees in its presentation. A building Principal at the District stated, “Brocton Quick Bytes has allowed me to continue professional development with teachers on topics that we believe will change the academic success for all students. This began with social-emotional learning and trauma-informed approaches to use in classrooms to get students ready to learn. Brocton Quick Bytes gives us a common language with our teachers about having authentic relationships with students and a culture of care. This has shown great promise in how we perceive student behavior and the success of our students.”

Delcamp noted the presentation was received well, noting the audience “was very attentive and stayed after to ask questions.” Delcamp also stated that ACSD members highlighted that because so many people stayed after the presentation to ask questions, it was clear that the presentation resonated with the needs of many educators.

As stated during the presentation, the new destination the District shares “puts the human (in everyone) at the forefront of our mission. It’s not the policies and the scores — it’s our desire to support individual humans.”


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