Principal and Superintendent’s Report – December 18, 2014
Link to the current Continuous Improvement Plan: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h9mfTofFfdiiUqc6OkdIMZ-GArTWzqpSkTXc3Xinl3o/edit?usp=sharing
Staff meetings on November 12th and 19th were dedicated to working as a large group to develop consistency in our priorities and expectations for writing conventions (basic skills ranging from letter formation and legibility to correct punctuation and capitalization to developmentally appropriate spelling). After two meetings, the writing committee left with the information they need to create our writing conventions scope and sequence and aligned formative assessment protocol and data tracker.
In late November, we embarked on the first of several new assessments that are being implemented across WCSU to beef up our local assessment plan. Our sixth graders took an online version of the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test. This screening tool was administered to students in Grades 6-10, thereby transcending the transition from elementary school to middle school and that from middle school to high school. In January, the reading skills of students in grades 4-6 will be assessed using the DRA-2. This assessment, as opposed to the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment (F&P), provides more accurate and actionable information for students who are reading at high levels in 4th through 8th grade. Like the Gates MacGinitie, this is an assessment that will provide more consistency, as students move from elementary to middle school.
The CIP indicators for November 25, 2014 are listed below. Action steps for literacy will be updated in the coming weeks.
Blue/italics text = indicator that was not met
Red/underlined text = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date (Text in “Did We Make It?” column will be black/bold if indicator has been met)
By November 25, 2014
A. Documented scope and sequence for basic computer skills and typing in grades 2-6 for the 2014-2015 school year (to ensure we have a plan for minimum SBAC readiness)
B. First pre- and post-instruction writing prompts administered; results analyzed for class- and school-wide trends, income/special ed status/gender trends, and individual student needs
C. Evidence of instruction aligned to typing/computer skills scope and sequence in grades K-6
D. Evidence of instruction aligned to writing conventions scope and sequence in grades K-6
E. Formative assessment data entered into writing conventions tracking tool for grades K-6
A. First draft is complete. Jill is cross-referencing with other schools. We will share with teachers in February or March (after students and teachers complete SBAC training activities).
B. Yes and no. Prompts were administered on time. As noted in Item C in the box above, the data tools are still in development both at the WCSU and school levels. Additionally, bad weather and a few instances of an urgent need for a staff meeting have meant that the writing committee didn’t/won’t meet from 11/13 until 1/14.
C. As document is not yet finalized the answer can’t be a full yes. At the same time, regular keyboarding practice is happening in grades 2-6 and Jill is aware of technology skills needed for SBAC (like dragging and dropping, highlighting text, etc.) and working on these with students in lower grades. A list of checkpoints for early February has been prepared and will be administered at that time.
D. No evidence has been collected. At the same time, the staff has agreed to use the conventions elements of the WCSU Writing Student Achievement Non-Negotiables as the guide for this document and teachers do reference the N-N’s when planning instruction and assessing students. Evidence of this alignment should be available in March as the formative assessment protocol will have been finished and in use for about a month at that time.
E. The writing committee plans to have a first version of a writing conventions checklist/formative assessment protocol ready to use by the end of January.
In mathematics local assessment news, we are in the midst of trying out a new computer-based screening tool, easyCBM. This is a great chance to learn, both in terms of the time students spend testing, and in the time it takes for results to be generated; by getting information about how students in grades K-6 are doing in mathematics, AND to practice administration of a computer-based test in advance of the SBAC. The assessment will also be taken by students in grades 7 and 8. Once again, this helps facilitate a smoother transition from CES to the middle school.
In other mathematics assessment news, the work we are doing with Karin Hess in partnership with Orange North SU is underway. Our WCSU Mathematics Steering Committee rep, Kate Rob, reports that, for her grade span, many items for math non-negotiables aligned benchmark assessments are completed and have been “field tested” with students across both SU’s. Kate will soon attend a follow-up meeting at which student work will be examined and items will be adjusted as needed. We are all very much looking forward to having these rigorous, informative, and common assessments!
There are no new CIP indicators since those shared last month; targets for October 31st were shared last month and the next set of benchmarks is due January 30th. Action steps for math were updated last month.
- School Climate
The PTNO’s Spaghetti Dinner on December 5th was a tremendous success! The event brought in a profit of about $1,400 and a crew of 135 hungry customers. Children and adults had a great time, reporting that the food was delicious and that the raffle was exciting and filled with great prizes. We benefitted greatly from donations of prizes from local businesses, as well as the efforts of PTNO members to collect these items. Thank you notes are in the mail!
We held our second All School Celebration on Thursday, December 11th. The event was a ‘Celebration of Peace.’ Students divided into K-3 and 4-6 groups to hear developmentally appropriate stories about peace and create a craft project that tied into the stories they heard. Their creations will be hung on a small tree and displayed until winter break. It was great to have a slight change of pace with a mellower celebration that gave a little time for reflection and let some quieter students shine.
There are no new CIP indicators since those shared last month; targets for October 31st were shared last month and the next set of benchmarks is due January 30th. Action steps for school climate were updated last month.