2011-09-22 / News

Teachers prepare for new state evaluation standards

BY KATHLEEN MCKIERNAN

With the beginning of the school year well underway, teachers are preparing for their next big endeavor: the new state teacher evaluations.

The new Rhode Island Department of Education evaluation standards will measure professional responsibility, educational leadership, and professional teacher standards set by the Office of Educator Quality and Certifi cation. Superintendent of Schools Marcia Lukon said that RIDE is giving the district much support.

“Teachers and parents are in the process of setting personal and professional goals,” Lukon said. “We’re setting school-wide goals and from that they’ll rewrite student goals.”

Representatives from the Department of Education came on Aug. 30 to the professional development day for teachers, where an overview of the Rhode Island Model was presented. On Sept. 19, a representative from the state department reviewed the student learning objective component to the evaluation system. A second reading will take place at an October School Committee meeting.

“It’s anxiety producing, but I’m pleased with the amount of thought and reflection,” Lukon said.

Lawn Avenue School Principal Kathleen Almanzor said teachers are working hard to prepare for the evaluations.

“It’s a lot because it’s new and different, but I really commend them because the start of school is difficult enough. They’re working diligently,” Almanzor said. “We know the teachers are taking this serious but it’s going to be the focus of the school year and they believe in it.”

In other news, the School Committee approved revisions to the Internet acceptable use policy in its first reading. Changes include the required signature changing from hard copy format to an electronic acknowledgment.

Also, North Kingstown approved entering into a discussion about the contract prior to the Nov. 1 deadline for accepting Jamestown students to the high school.

Teachers will administer the Degrees of Reading Power assessment to students in grades two through eight this month. Students in grades three through eight will take the Scholastic Mathematics Inventory and the Scholastic Reading Inventory for additional data. The NECAP assessments will begin the second week of October.

In other business, the physical restraint and crisis intervention will be revised. It was last updated in 2002. Director of Student Services Ken Duva, who is also a member of the Special Education Local Advisory Committee, will be trained as an instructor on how to prevent conflict from happening.

Lukon said the district received $2,500 for allowing Newport students to ride Jamestown buses. Currently, there are six students right now on the Meadowbrook bus.

So far, food service in the school cafeterias is being served up to the pleased appetites of students. The Aramark food service contract was reviewed with minor changes proposed. Currently, Melrose Avenue School averages 83 meals and Lawn Avenue School averages 80. Last year, it was 74 meals at Melrose and 47 at Lawn.

The Melrose School Improvement Team discussed highlights of the Model School Conference. Its goals for the year include “expanding the outdoor classroom, conducting a community service project, enhancing classroom technology by making Skype available in every classroom, and seeking grant opportunities that would allow the expansion of science enrichment programs to Melrose.”

Also, Lukon announced that Marilyn Hostetler was chosen by a selection committee as Jamestown’s Teacher of the Year. Hostetler will represent the school district as a candidate for Rhode Island Teacher of Year. In other personnel news, the committee voted to appoint Catherine Goode as crossing guard, and also named Renie Sullivan as wellness coach and Gilda Bullard as student council advisor.

The School Committee also voted to approve two home schooling requests.

As for the selection of a chairperson and liaison to the Wellness Committee, the committee agreed to table the appointment until after the Nov. 8 election.

An open house for Melrose Avenue School will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. The next School Committee meeting will be held at Melrose on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m.

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