In an effort to "create the leaders of the next generation," Byram Hills continually seeks to improve current programs while finding new ways to engage our students in meaningful learning experiences. This page summarizes some of our current and ongoing initiatives that meet the District mission:
In an environment of mutual respect, the Byram Hills School District and its community will provide students with the means, the knowledge, and the opportunity to excel in order to become productive and responsible citizens of the twenty-first century.
The District uses a cycle of continuous improvement for all academic programs. You can view an overview presentation of the current review cycle.
As we move deeper into the 21st Century, we have left the information age and entered the innovation age. People
In 2017-2018, we launched year 1 of a 3-year Global Scholars Program, a study of global issues and leadership, at the high school level.
You can read more about the start of our global competency initiative in this presentation to our Board of Education.
(Information coming soon.)
For the past 20 years, the District has engaged in a focused and sustained effort to integrate technology into every classroom at all grade levels to support student learning. We continue to support the use of meaningful technology in our classrooms, and now, technology is ubiquitous to our curricular, instructional and assessment programs. Some highlights about technology include:
- Updated our infrastructure starting in 2014.
- Joined the Google environment in 2014.
- Launched a mobile learning initiative in 2014-2015
with1:1 Chromebooks in grades 3 through 8, and mobile devices throughout K-2 and 9-12.
For more information about technology, visit other sections of our District website.
You can view Bobcat TV programs on various technology and STEAM initiatives: (coming soon)
- Robotics & Coding
- Data Collection Devices in grade 3
- High School Physics
- Lego Robotics at Wampus
- HCC Robotics
The District seeks to "create the leaders of the next generation." To achieve this goal, all aspects of our curriculum, instruction, and assessments are
Additionally, the District provides other ways for students to learn the skills of leadership and to become true leaders. Some examples are noted below.
Watch this Bobcat TV show on the Chemistry TA Program. (
All high school students are required to take a Health course, which includes important topics for students in the midst of transition to adulthood. To provide guidance, we offer a Peer Leadership program where high school
A signature program at the high school is our 9th grade Mentor class, a one semester course to orient ninth grade students to the social, emotional, and academic life of the high school. The Guidance Department
Student Leadership Board.
Growing out of the District's initiative on cultural proficiency (see below for more information), we created the Student Leadership Board, a program for high school students in grades 9 - 12 to learn the skills of cultural proficiency, expand their view of global issues, and develop leadership skills to make a difference in their local and global communities.
- View this presentation to the Board of Education on the Student Leadership Board. (
- Watch this Bobcat TV video on the Student Leadership Board. (
The District adopted a set of core values with respect to character education over 15 years ago. These values, determined from a survey of parents, teachers and students, are:
- Respectful Dialogue
- Respect for Self and Others
- Service and Kindness
The character education principles are supported in a variety of ways, in and out of the classroom, and integrated throughout the curriculum. The District-wide goals of the Site-Based Teams continue to focus on our character education principles, and each year the
Additional ways we seek to cultivate the tenets of character education are noted below:
In 2005 the
The links below offer detailed information about this important initiative.
- View the cultural proficiency Conceptual Framework.
- Read an Overview of our cultural proficiency initiative since 2005. (Coming soon)
- Read this article on teaching students cultural awareness through systems thinking in K-2 classrooms, written by Jane
delVillar, our K-2 Library Media Specialist. ( comingsoon)
The District recognizes the importance of supporting the social, emotional and academic needs of students. We are deeply committed to addressing student wellness through all aspects of our school environment. Recent initiatives have proven successful, and we are finding ways to assess these programs and find data that demonstrates the degree to which we are successful at supporting students' emotional health. Some recent initiatives include:
- Created the flexible support program at the high school to help students succeed in our academic programs.
- Study various instructional strategies to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Provided training from the Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence, to help students become aware of emotions and learn to regulate them.
- Interview with the Director of the Center for Emotional Intelligence, Marc Brackett: On the science and teaching of emotional intelligence.
Bullying Prevention / Internet Safety
The District seeks to create a positive school climate. In doing so, we implement programs on bullying prevention and
- You can view our pro-social behavior programs for each school.
- Bullying Prevention: view the Parent Resource Guide.
- Watch this Bullying Prevention Program, titled, What Works and What More Can be Done. (
- Visit the Byram Hills PTSA website for additional information on ways in which families can get involved in our schools.
- View the Bobcat TV show on Internet Safety and Cyber Bullying at HCC Middle School, featuring Detective Frank Kolarik, the HCC Guidance Counselors, and Dr. Evan Powderly. (
- View the Bobcat TV show on Internet Safety with Judge Elyse Lazansky. (
- Visit the
schoolsweb pages for additional information on school-related programs.
Facing History and Ourselves
Since 2007, the District started to engage in teacher training and curriculum writing to integrate ideas and principles
Watch the Bobcat TV show: Facing History and Ourselves. (
A recent research study shows that "students of the Facing History teachers demonstrated significantly greater historical thinking skills, civic efficacy, and tolerance for others with different views than control students. They also reported that their classrooms were more inclusive, respectful, and tolerant of different points of view." (You can read the full report here, conducted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.)
The Byram Hills School District recognizes the importance of educating students, parents, faculty and community members about environmental responsibility. The District models best practices in the schools, develops a coordinated K-12 curriculum, integrates environmentally sustainable products and practices into the facilities and transportation departments, and finds partners with local, state and national communities and organizations.
"Educators for sustainability work to develop in young people and adults the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and enduring understandings required to individually and collectively contribute to a healthy and sustainable future." (Jaimie P. Cloud, Educating for a Sustainable Future, 2010, p. 168)
- Watch two presentations on our Education for Sustainability curriculum at Board of Education Meetings:
Wampus Sustainability, April 20, 2010 ; HCCSustainability, May 12, 2009. ( comingsoon)
- See an overview of the Education for Sustainability curriculum K-8, including essential questions and alignment with the sustainability standards: K-8 EfS Chart.
- Review the Education for Sustainability Standards, by the Cloud Institute, which serve as the framework for our curriculum.
- Our sustainability curriculum was written by teachers through a regional initiative, sponsored by Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES. You can review the Education for Sustainability website for detailed information.
Authentic Learning Experiences
Since 2005, the District has provided extensive training in the development of high quality performance assessments. Various high-quality performance assessments exist throughout the district and the areas of focus are captured on our curriculum maps. While various
Given the District focus on STEAM and Global Competency, we are entering a new era for assessing student learning. We are moving away from the term "performance assessment" and moving more toward an ongoing cycle of demonstrating learning through "authentic learning experiences." We will post more information as we make progress on this ambitious initiative.
The District strives to meet the learning needs of every child. Over the past ten years we have provided professional development at all grade levels to support teacher learning of the theories of differentiation and provide opportunities for collaboration on differentiated lessons, activities and assignments. Our efforts have been guided by the work of Carol Ann Tomlinson, and recently.
Most recently, we
We continue to add new information to our work in this area.