**Blog post by BACA Assistant Consultant Pamela Arles, B.A.; with quotes from BACA Clinical Consultant Bob Ryan, M.S., BCBA; Morningside Academy Assistant Director of Schools & Agencies Kris Melroe; and Dr. Bill Helsel from Morningside Academy
BACA recently had the privilege of hosting Dr. Bill Helsel and Kris Melroe from Morningside Academy in Seattle. During their five-day visit, time consisted of reviewing curriculum which has been or will be utilized by clients at all BACA locations, performing baseline assessments for supplemental programming, and instructional training for staff.
From Bill and Kris’ report, “We were at BACA Prep for three days, BACA 1 for one day, and BACA Z for one day. Main presentations were made in the morning at BACA Prep and included faculty from all three sites. The first presentation focused on what Morningside Teachers’ Academy (MTA) has done and what it has to offer in regards to improving the academic instruction for BACA’s clients. Other presentations consisted of an overview of MTA’s framework, reading comprehension, pre-skills for decoding, math tool skills and much more.”
This visit was the third time the BACA team has met with instructors from Morningside in the past year. The first visit consisted of sending a team of BACA consultants and their assistants to Morningside Academy in Seattle to be trained on precision teaching and participate in a crash course on generative instruction, the model of teaching used at Morningside.
“I think Morningside Academy is revolutionary for reading and math, fluent in precision teaching, and offers generative instruction. All of these things separate them out from typical education, and that makes them revolutionary,” said Bob Ryan, M.S., BCBA.
Dr. Kent Johnson, the founder and director of Morningside, was then able to visit BACA in October of 2012 and provide feedback on the implementation of more institutional routines as well as make suggestions for direct instruction-based curriculum. The most recent visit came at an opportune time in that all recommendations from the previous visit had been implemented and the teams consulted with were ready for new direction.
“The goal for BACA during their visit was to get a better idea of what instruction should be for academics and how to get it done. There’s a chance of them building a Morningside model for BACA,” Ryan said.
The most valuable portion of the training was to be able to learn from experts in the field; both Kris Melroe and Dr. Bill Helsel have an expansive knowledge of not only academics but also verbal behavior. As BACA moves forward in the coming months, we will begin to implement the Morningside Mathematics Fluency programs, Saxon Math, and introduce delayed prompting procedures within one-on-one and group instruction.
Morningside Academy’s programs are competency-based, with a set of procedures and expected outcomes for both learners and teachers. It’s a laboratory school for constantly-evolving powerful teaching and learning methods while striving to improve the quality of instruction by helping to develop a positive work environment. MTA provides interactive, encouraging and supportive classroom coaching with each teacher following training sessions.