School panel adopts new national assessment to begin in two years
In less than three years students will test their math and reading skills on a new national test that will make American students more competitive with students from across the world.
As part of the newly mandated Common Core State Standards, Jamestown schools have embarked on preparing students and teachers for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a new literacy and mathematics assessment to replace the current state assessment in 2014-15. (The current system is the New England Common Assessment Program.) Rhode Island is one of 44 states to adopt the new standards, the School Committee learned at its Jan. 19 meeting.
PARCC is composed of two assessment components given at the end of the school year. These include hard-to-measure standards through performance tasks like writing effectively when analyzing text. The second component is an end-of-year component. They will provide a total score for students.
Superintendent Marcia Lukon said the district has already set aside two professional development days for teachers to learn the new curriculum in time for the multi-state effort to “regain our competitive edge and to make sure the kids coming out of our high schools are college and career ready.”
As part of Jamestown’s preparation, Lukon said the district will introduce the common core standards and work with Rhode Island Department of Education professionals, who have developed resources for teachers, administrators and parents. The state department will make sure schools are using curricula aligned to the Common Core State Standards and outlining a transition plan to implement the curriculum in time for PARCC.
In Rhode Island, the districts will be divided into two groups to initiate the curriculum. South County schools will work on the math assessment.
“We’ll be continuing our work with curriculum analysis, writing and analyzing the materials we have in place,” Lukon said. “How does everyday math align with common core standards? It’s going to take a tremendous effort to get us ready.”
According to the
Department of Education, the Common
Core State Standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that when they graduate from high school they will be able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The Rhode Island Board of Regents adopted the Common Core State Standards on July 1, 2010.
The common core standards combine existing standards of grade level expectations and grade span expectations for math, reading and writing. The standards were designed to bridge an “expectation gap” found nationwide that marks a disconnect between what is needed for a high school diploma and what is needed to be successful in college and careers.
In other school news, Lukon reported that profits from food service is growing. Total revenue for December was $14,763. The district served 5,115 meals in December, averaging 256 meals per day. This includes all reimbursable meals along with equivalent meals based on cash sales. Total meals per day at Melrose Avenue School was 139, while total cash sales was $738. Total meals per day for the Lawn Avenue School was 117, while cash sales totaled $2,470.
To handle the growth in food service, Lukon said the district will look into hiring an additional employee, which would not be a costly expense that would reduce savings. Right now the food service manager can only work at the Lawn Avenue School and cannot get over to Melrose. The proposal is due to the increased volume of students buying school lunch.
The School Committee also approved a revision to the policy on the distribution of flyers. The revised policy will no longer allow any distribution of correspondence that is not school-based or schoolsanctioned. This is to avoid issues such as when a student brings birthday invitations to class and does not invite all the students.