Bayview Ignite

Bayview Ignite participants complete a team-building activity focused on effective communication and problem-solving skills
District leaders have made improving the schools in the Bayview a priority, and one issue is that teachers and school leaders in the Bayview neighborhood seldom get a chance to collaborate across schools, even though they often face similar challenges. To this end, they wanted to create a professional learning community and network amongst all Bayview teachers and staff.

On August 9, their dream came true when 125 teachers, counselors and principals gathered for “Bayview Ignite.” Staff from Bret Harte Elementary, Dr. Charles Drew Academy, Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary, Malcolm X Academy and Starr King Elementary agreed to end their summer vacations three days early so they could learn together and strengthen their community ties. Many district leaders joined them.

Bayview Ignite brought together the people who share a common commitment to and passion for serving the students and families in the Bayview. “For these are all of our children. We will either profit or pay for what they become,” read a James Baldwin quote printed in the agenda.

Assistant Superintendent for Cohort 3 Enikia Ford Morthel, one of the organizers of Bayview Ignite, said she wanted participants to walk away with an aligned vision, common strategies and tools for collaboration and planning. Tamitrice Rice Mitchell, Director for Cohort 3, longtime Bayview principal and resident of the community, co-led the institute, which she hopes provided staff a renewed sense of purpose and pride in their shared work.

Participants looked at data about attendance, test scores, school climate, and other indicators of where their schools are excelling and struggling. They discussed approaches to making the curriculum more relevant to students, engaging families and using the workshop model and other effective strategies.

One of the many poignant moments of the institute included a tour of the community. One participant wrote, "I felt a lot of emotions following the community tour. I felt a great sense of pride, but also great sadness. I hope that we all see our students and their families as strong and resilient assets and not people in need of our pity."