Effective teaching practices ensure student achievement
The Bullis curriculum is designed to promote student achievement, effective teaching practices and to ensure that the School offers a rigorous, relevant course of study that satisfies the mission of the school. The sequenced and aligned curricular activities include instruction in each of the subject areas listed here, as well as planned courses of study in five key signature program areas involving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Entrepreneurship, Humanities, Visual and Performing Arts and Global Studies.
Bullis Core Academic Values:
The desired overall goals and outcomes of the Bullis foreign language program are for students to: (a) function in the target language, (b) understand and respect the cultures that use the target language, and (c) form interdisciplinary and personal connections through the study of the target language and culture. (Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons and Communities are represented in the statement).
Instruction in the Health Sciences supports our mission of encouraging excellence through balance for each Bullis student. We use a skills based approach that includes debates, project based learning, media literacy assignments, and collaborative group work to learn about personal health, health and safety, mental health, and global health. The primary goal of each health science course at Bullis is to positively influence the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of students in order to promote a healthier lifestyle during adolescence and beyond.
Graduates apply effective reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills across a variety of media as thoughtful participants in a global community. Strands include: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking
Through research, problem solving, and current technologies, Bullis mathematics students will seek and discern patterns in mathematical ideas; they will also apply theoretical concepts to other scientific disciplines and learn to communicate their solutions effectively.
Visual and Performing Arts
The Bullis Visual and Performing Arts department fosters an appreciation, understanding and application of the arts grades 2-12. Students explore the value of convention and innovation by engaging in challenging and dynamic artistic experiences. Students develop independent thinking and personal voice through the acquisition of core skills, collaboration, problem solving, and risk taking. Strands include: Elements of Art, Principles of Art, Materials & Techniques, Visual Analysis and Contextual Studies.
The overall goal of the Lower School physical education program is to develop, motivate and strengthen the physical, social and emotional needs of students participating in athletic activities. The Bullis physical education department strives to develop physically educated individuals who will have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. Fair play and good sportsmanship are valued components of our program with less emphasis on winning and losing.
At Bullis we believe that science instruction is driven by students' natural curiosity about the world. Our inquiry- based approach is founded upon engagement in the process of scientific investigation. Solving problems, thinking critically, using evidence to support claims, and applying findings to practical and real world situations are key. Students appreciate the beauty and wonder of science and how it relates to their everyday lives. Cross cutting concepts unify the study of science and engineering through their common applications across fields. By the 12th grade, active learning involves students practicing the skills needed to pursue careers of their choice including but not limited to careers in science, engineering, and technology.
The Bullis Social Studies program provides students with opportunities to develop in-depth understandings of their communities and the world, past and present, in order to become responsible and empathetic global citizens.
Bullis currently offers planned courses of study in four signature program areas—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Entrepreneurship, Humanities and Global Studies and Visual and Performing Arts. The Signature Program model entails opportunities for interdisciplinary study, experiential education, research-based culminating/capstone experiences and student choice among curricular offerings. Signature programs are available at all grade levels, 2 through 12, to teach institutional and core academic values of the school and afford students an understanding of the personal traits and interpersonal behaviors associated with successful performance in life.
In the Lower School, cross curricular Signature Programs, which are embedded into the core curriculum of reading, writing and math, provide emerging experiences for students. Middle School embraces an issues-based, modular approach to Signature Programs that provide greater opportunities for student exploration and build readiness for some stand-alone courses in the 8th grade. Students in the Upper School may opt for rigorous, innovative courses that build on core graduation requirements. The Upper School Program allows students to concentrate on select classes related to a given signature program and deepen their experience in a chosen area. Students participating in signature programs may also engage in a formalized internship program and mentor relationships.
Bullis School, in its vision to prepare its students with radically different learning and living skills necessary for the 21st century, has implemented a blended learning initiative. Blended learning, which combines the delivery of curriculum in an online environment with other modes of instructional delivery, is a proven successful medium for teaching and learning and, at the upper school level, is the fastest-growing segment in the educational arena.1 The blended approach with accessibility and flexibility of structured online curriculum combined with the “human touch” of interaction with the teacher in a face-to-face setting is an ideal paradigm for teaching and learning.
Bullis offers blended learning modules and/or courses in the Middle School and the Upper School. The modules and/or courses have been developed by the teaching staff and are housed in and taught through its web-based learning management platform called Haiku Learning Systems. The complete module and/or course descriptions are included in the listings for each division.
In the Upper School, the faculty authors of the courses have developed high-quality online courses that will be taught in a blended online structure. Typically, each class will meet with the teacher (face-to-face) in the traditional classroom setting two to three days per week. For the remaining two to three days per week, students will manage their use of time in virtual sessions; after signing in with a proctor they can do online work for their class, work on other course work, or even do off-campus work. While the workload for each blended online course is in alignment with the typical schedule rotation of the traditional class, the online work settings during the schedule rotation will provide flexibility for students to manage their time.
Class participation in the online component will require interactivity through asynchronous discussions, collaborative work using technology-rich resources, and possibly scheduled synchronous sessions via web conferencing, all with regularly scheduled due dates and deadlines. All Bullis teachers developing and teaching blended online courses have prepared their courses with formal teacher professional development in this new teaching/learning delivery style. The courses are fully developed with clearly defined goals, objectives, activities, and student outcomes that meet core academic standards.
The Middle School is using a module approach to incorporating blending learning in the classroom. This approach will complement the traditional face-to-face instruction students receive on a daily basis. A typical module will last up to two weeks and will be accessed through the Haiku Learning System. They are designed by Middle School faculty and encourage differentiated instruction by allowing students to work at their own pace. Modules are crafted to introduce students to a specific unit of study within a broader topic. For example, a social studies teacher may develop a political convention module to support a unit on democracy. Consistent with the Upper School model, they are developed to meet the Bullis core academic standards.
1from The Rise of K-12 Blending Learning, by Innosight Institute, Inc. 2011
Bullis is committed to preparing students for tomorrow’s world with leadership skills for developing self-esteem, risk-taking, self-advocacy, motivation, interpersonal effectiveness and vision.
In the Lower School, students run a portion of their parent-teacher conferences. Teachers facilitate the conferences, but students respond directly to parent questions and concerns. Students practice self-evaluation and communication skills while being empowered to make improvement through the experience of setting clear goals.
In the Middle School, staff members also work to enhance student leadership opportunities. Middle School students can participate in the National Association of Secondary School Principals Leadership conference, lead a Facilities Management Appreciation Day, and take part in the Key Empowering Youth Program Pre-College Science and Technology program at the University of Maryland.
In the Upper School, our Signature programs, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Entrepreneurship, Humanities, Visual and Performing Arts and Global Studies, foster increased student leadership. Additional opportunities for leadership are available in the senior prefects program.
Schoolwide, Bullis’ outdoor education program instills qualities of leadership and responsibility, while promoting an understanding and appreciation of the natural world, and the power of concerted group action.