Family, friends, and staff gathered to celebrate the BGS Class of 2016 at Long Island University. "You are all incredible," Principal Lydia Colon Bomani said to begin commencement, which featured a story of a potted plant that a former student gave to her during her first year at BGS. This plant parallels a journey taken on by BGS students: thriving despite all the obstacles and challenges. Art teacher, Octavia James, and parent coordinator, Robin Simmons, led the rest of the ceremony by distributing prestigious awards and watching a slideshow of Class of 2016's years at BGS. Five students, including the valedictorian and salutatorian told their stories of overcoming challenges to achieve success; for several students, this included immigration to the US after disasters like the earthquake in Haiti. The commencement ended with Louis Garcia, the assistant principal, confirming the students" completion of high school as they were given their diplomas. A slide show during the awarding of the diplomas included each student's senior photo and where they were choosing to attend college. Congratulations Class of 2016!

Pictured: BGS Graduating Class of 2016


The National Conference of State Legislators, held in Denver June from 19th-21st, welcomed legislators from across the United States to develop an understanding of the research, best practices, and policy strategies available to states to improve rural school principal preparation, recruitment, and retention.  The legislative conference featured educational leadership experts from around the country to present lessons learned surrounding the rural school principal in order to support the legislators in applying and considering state policy challenges 
surrounding this key topic.  Jon Reinhard provided input on the panel focused on the Retention through Mentoring and Professional Development.  Denille LePlatt, outgoing Superintendent/Elementary School Principal from Primero School District provided the real-world perspective of the rural leader as the dinner speaker.  

On the occasion of this presentation, GSN also announces that LePlatt is transitioning from her role as district leader to joining the GSN team as our S enior  Director of Implementation and Coaching starting on July 14th. LePlatt has been a rural educator and leader for over a decade, and has served as a teacher, director, principal, and dual-role Superintendent. She was instrumental in earning the title of School of Distinction for Primero School District for seven years, and brings a unique rural perspective to today's challenging educational landscape. Through her work,  she has been active in the Colorado Association of School Executives as both a workshop presenter and panelist, and has served on the  Colorado
Association of Superintendents and Senior Administrators Bo ard of Directors.  LePlatt lives west of Trinidad with her husband and two boys, Ralsten and Reese.  In her spare time, she  enjoys showing reining horses and relaxing with her  family.

Pictured Above: LePlatt presents at the NCSL conference in Denver. Pictured Below: Denille LePlatt


In a recent showcase, BGS had the opportunity to demonstrate their innovative school calendar and revised teacher roles to and responsibilities. After the ballot passed, BGS  was approved to join  the PROSE (Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence) network in New York. PROSE provides the opportunity schools and teachers to expand their innovations and conversations about teacher roles.
BGS joins a network of similar ideas in the design of time, talent, and resources with other schools and teachers and celebrates the district and union creating the structure with which more good ideas can be piloted and nurtured.


Over two years, GSN has provided coaching and technical assistance, in partnership with ExpandEd and the National Center on Time and Learning, to support the NYC DOE's $8M Extended Learning Time (ELT) initiative. On May 19th , GSN supported a Showcase at Highbridge Green School with administrators, teachers, parents and students from the ELT schools who demonstrating the impact on students' learning, their social and emotional growth, and their confidence as students. The parents spoke appreciatively of the time their children are safe and productive at school, and the opportunity it provides for them to prepare dinner before the children come home, or to work longer and bring a little more money into the household. The Showcase was attended by NY State Assistant Commissioner Renee Rider and NY State's Elizabeth Whipple, NYC Deputy Chancellor Phil Weinberg, and a number of local elected officials. Deputy Chancellor Weinberg emphasized the value to schools of extended learning time. He said that time is one of the most valuable resources schools have, and they never have enough of it.  He pointed to the value of this time to support students' social and emotional growth, to prepare them for college and career, and to provide teachers time to collaborate.


On May 24th, 2016, Teach Strong, the effort GSN joined forces with over a year ago on the East Coast, held its first meeting in Colorado. GSN Senior Director of School Support and Implementation, Kate Lister, attended to represent GSN and get the word out about GSN's current efforts to support teachers nationally and in Colorado. In addition to GSN's model, which is beneficial for students, teachers, and industry simultaneously, we also support teachers to become highly skilled and sustained in their profession. To that end, GSN has two teacher efforts underway in Colorado.
Both efforts are funded by Colorado Department of Higher Education Improving Teacher Quality Grants. The first is taking place in the Santa Fe Trail BOCES districts with CSU-Global to offer coursework that both helps to recruit teachers and qualify them to teach concurrent enrollment as a way to increase their knowledge and sustain them in their profession. GSN's role is to then help the school's design schedules across the BOCES that maximize concurrent enrollment opportunities for students.
The second effort is taking place in the SC BOCES districts in partnership with CSU-Pueblo through holding Teacher Immersion Experiences with potential rural teaching candidates. The first experience took place in May 2016 with two additional events planned for Fall.
For more on Teach Strong's effort:


Experience Rural Colorado, Teacher Recruitment Event
La Veta, CO - September 14-16th 
Calling all individuals who aspire to change lives through teaching! Aspiring teachers, current teachers, and individuals interested in becoming teachers -with a desire to become an integral part of a close-knit rural school and community -are welcome to participate in the Experience Rural Colorado Teacher Recruitment Event. Come and engage with school leaders, students, and community members through activities, professional development offered by nationally recognized PD providers, school and community tours, and face-to- face meetings to learn about rural Colorado: its lifestyle, traditions, and history. 

For more information, please contact Katie Peyton.

SOAR Learning & Leading Collaborative Workshops
 The Ohio Union, Columbus, OH - October 4th

GSN will be continuing their professional development with Ohio's SOAR districts on October 4th, 2016 and through the school year. Team members will continue presentations on Social Emotional Learning and provide units to participating districts!

For more information, please contact Katie Peyton, or visit SOAR Professional Learning.

Military Careers Peak Readiness Event
Littleton High School, Littleton, CO - October 5th

GSN and Littleton High School will host a Military Career Day for high school students at Littleton High School and the surrounding high schools to explore a future in the armed services. Students will be excused from normal classes for the day in order to have the opportunity to hear from current and former military personnel on topics such as "Why I Serve," "Academic Requirements for the Military," "Training and Educational Opportunities for Service Men and Women," etc. Students will also have the opportunity to take the military's ASVAB practice test, participate in military mock interviews, explore fitness requirements, and more. We are currently looking for current and former military members to help us make this day great! 

If you have any suggestions or would like to participate as a mock interviewer,  session presenter, or sponsor, please contact Leslie Tjajadi .

Western Slope Rural Share Fair Event
Rifle, CO - October 7th
FREE World Class PD for Rural Teachers
Colorado Rural Education Collaborative Superintendent's Meeting
Rural Teacher Candidate Job Fair

For more information, please contact Brittney Ames.

Rural Teacher Immersion Experience
Manzanola, CO - October 26-28th
For more information, please contact Katie Peyton.  

Colorado Rural Share Fair Event
Pueblo, CO - October 28th
FREE World Class PD for Rural Teachers
Colorado Rural Education Collaborative Superintendent's Meeting
Rural Teacher Candidate Job Fair

For more information, please contact  Brittney Ames.

Generation Schools Network™
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