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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bedford Educators: Professional Development on Election Day

As adults were heading to the polls, educators in Bedford engaged in a wide variety of professional development across the district on November 6th. The work was building-based, all connected in various ways to building and district priorities.

Educators at Bedford High School began orientation to the 3-year Challenge Success project. Challenge Success, an independent non-profit organization affiliated with Stanford Graduate School of Education, partners with schools and families to identify and implement strategies that “decrease student stress, improve social and emotional health, and promote academic engagement.” The program began with training over the summer of a core group of educators, students and parent representatives led by Principal Galante. The faculty learned about the program this week from Challenge Success representative Jon Kleinman, who also presented “The Well-Balanced Student” to parents on Tuesday evening.

The goal of the program is to broaden the definition of success beyond a narrow one that overemphasizes grades, test scores, and performance, allowing little time and energy for young people to develop essential skills to become independent, ethical, and critical thinkers.  As Principal Galante stated, it will allow students to “live their best lives.” Following the presentation, educators completed collaborative and reflective exercises connected to the program. Students will take a comprehensive survey in the coming weeks which will lay the foundation for deeper study and development of recommendations for improvement.

Faculty at John Glenn Middle School spent the morning in team-based parent conferences designed to give families a more comprehensive view of their students’ academic and social growth during these middle years.  In the afternoon, faculty engaged in several design challenges, including one in which they needed to guide a sphero remotely. The purpose of the work—even though it was set up more like a game or contest—was to give faculty members some ideas about how they might integrate design challenges into their curriculum. Such challenges engage participants in team work and creative problem solving skills.

Elementary educators at the Lane School continued to hone their experience and skills in the Lucy Calkins Readers Workshop, the core of their literacy program now in its first year of full implementation across all three grades. During the intensive small group sessions, teachers collaborated using their students’ pre-assessment data for the current non-fiction unit to develop strategy groups and individual learning goals.  The work continued into the afternoon as they developed lesson structures, readings and other options for their student groups.

Davis School faculty members spent the morning, first with a community building exercise, followed by related workshops in social-emotional learning facilitated by counselors or behaviorists paired with classroom teachers.  Teachers chose two of the five workshops to attend.  Following lunch, teachers met in their grade level teams to discuss the science work they have thus far been able to integrate into their curriculum. This discussion was the culmination of three professional development sessions connected to the science standards, the goal this year being to unpack and prioritize the science standards, and to deepen the science aspects of the integrated curriculum. The work is grounded in the faculty’s shared study throughout this year of Developing Natural Curiosity through Project-Based Learning by Dana Laur and Jill Ackers.

It was an exciting and inspiring day for educators across the district. We appreciate the community's support of this in-service professional learning.  MLS

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Laying the Foundation for K-12 Guidance and Counseling

In recent years we have all come to understand the significance of social-emotional learning to a student’s overall development and progress.  We have a better understanding of the emotional conditions that best support academic learning, among these being a sense of belonging, of mattering, of being known and understood by their teachers.  We also know that without self-regulation and resilience, a student is much less likely to learn and thrive in school or at home. Helping students feel safe AND helping them develop the dispositions, independence and sense of self that are needed to strengthen learning has become an important focus of our work across all of our grades.  At the same time, the social-emotional complexity of children has also increased, with greater numbers and percentages of students coming to school with anxiety or a history of trauma that can potentially interfere with learning and developing strong relationships necessary to it.  We see this rise in acuity among all demographics, among majority and minority members of racial and income-differing subgroups.

In responding to that need, the district leadership team has become increasingly aware of the importance of a coherent, coordinated K-12 guidance and counseling program. We have effective counseling programs, interventions, services, and supports in place within each of our schools, but we recognize the need to coordinate and facilitate those programs more closely K-12 in order to develop the coherent program that will be most effective for students and their families. Last spring, we created a K-12 Program Director position for Guidance and Counseling and hired Alicia Linsey to fulfill that role.  Alicia comes to us from Lexington High School, where, as a guidance counselor, she has played an important leadership role in national guidance counselor organizations.  She brings to Bedford a deep understanding of social-emotional learning, a strong commitment to equity, and a powerful set of skills and relationships derived from her years of experience running a college counseling business.

Knowing that the 6-12 Guidance and Counseling role has traditionally been a full-time position in itself, we are working to develop the necessary infrastructure to make the position and program development manageable and successful. Early this fall, then, we also created a K-5 Guidance and Counseling Coordinator position. Paula Francis-Springer, an exceptional counselor at the Davis school, has been appointed to this position.  Highly respected both for her direct service to students and families and for teaming with Principal Benoit as a school leader, she will continue her counseling work at Davis, but in addition will receive a stipend to help coordinate the K-5 aspects of this larger program.  These two positions will help us to become more effective in helping students navigate the transitions from 2nd to 3rd grade, from 5th to 6th grade, and from 8th to 9th grade.

The 18-19 school year will serve to lay the groundwork for this program. To that end, Alicia has arranged for quarterly K-12 Guidance and Counseling meetings. During these sessions, counselors are reviewing data, such as the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and presenting grade level programs and curriculum to the K-12 team with the purpose of collectively identifying common threads. Simultaneously, counselors will observe one another across the district to determine similar services and programs and identify areas of need. The K-12 meetings will also act as a conversational platform to begin to align department goals and objectives. While there is current parent outreach, the department aims to expand resources for parents/guardians. This concerted work will inform next steps for the 2019-2020 school year.

As a district, Bedford is deeply committed to the important work of social-emotional learning and pleased to announce this plan for strengthening our program.           MLS

Thursday, September 27, 2018



Introduction. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released the MCAS and accountability results at noon today, September 27th. Student results will be delivered to the schools over the next several days and will be sent out to families as soon as possible. This memo is a preliminary sharing, but district leaders will be doing a deeper dive in each area to analyze our results and determine adjustments to instruction, curriculum, or supports.

We are in a testing transition that has extended over the past several years. Students in grades 3-8 took the MCAS 2.0 in ELA and math for the second year in 2018. The first year of the test, 2017, served as the baseline for the new test. Improvement targets were set for all students and for each subgroup based on those 2017 results.

MCAS 2.0 is the new state assessment, which tests students’ knowledge and understanding of the Massachusetts Frameworks in ELA and Math, both of which strongly reflect of the Common Core Standards. These Common Core standards focus on higher order thinking skills in relation to text, and therefore align closely with the Bedford Public Schools’ core focus on strengthening students’ analytical thinking skills. However, where for quite some time we have taught students how to use textual evidence to support claims about the fictional literature that they read, having them do this with nonfiction is a relatively new focus. Developing these skills K-12 is presently our central strategic priority.

Meanwhile, the Science assessments and the 10th grade ELA and Math assessments, referred to as Legacy MCAS, reflect the old standards, with a small degree of the new standards layered in.

Results Overview. Overall, the following information shows excellent achievement and growth at the 3rd – 5th grade levels, with 4th and 5th grade showing the strongest results. In the 6th – 8th grade category, 7th and 8th grade reflect moderate overall achievement, with poorer showings in our subgroup categories like special education and low income students. The 6th grade’s scores are disappointing and require a much more detailed causal analysis. The exiting news is that the Lane School integrated the Common Core well before either the middle or the high school, and its strong scores reflect this. With our new, “all hands on deck focus on literacy”, particularly the development of students’ abilities to independently comprehend complex non-fiction, or paired fiction and non-fiction texts, we are confident that the middle school’s results will become much stronger.

The high school continues to score in the high range for math and ELA, (90% Advanced and Proficient in math, and 96% in ELA), but we have dipped in the past few years. This decline, while small, particularly given the strength of the programs that support our most struggling students, is something that we are anxious to better understand and address. While Bedford’s high needs population is larger than most of the districts that are scoring higher, our mission is to bring all of our students to Advanced or Proficient levels.

Preliminary Details.
 The Lane School (grades 3-5) met or exceeded their improvement targets for all students and in every subgroup in both English and math. The performance of 5th grade students in ELA was exceptionally strong, in the 98th percentile for achievement of all students across the state. 90% of fifth grade students met or exceeded expectations in this very challenging ELA test. The math performance dropped a bit in grades 3-4-5, though that was the case in the state overall. There are
some areas of concern in the grade 3 ELA performance. Overall, the Lane earned 92% in improvement targets, and is thus identified as “Meeting Targets.” They are in the 94th percentile when measured against other similar schools in the state.

 At JGMS, the “all student” group met improvement targets, and the lowest performing students (identified the previous year) improved but fell short of their target. Several of the subgroups in math and ELA did not meet their targets. In grade 7 ELA, 64% of students met or exceeded expectations, in the 84th percentile statewide. In grade 8 ELA, 68% of students met or exceeded expectations, also in the 84th percentile statewide. 68% of grade 7 math students met or exceeded expectations, in the 93rd percentile; 66% of grade 8 math students met or exceeded expectations, in the 83rd percentile statewide.

Overall, JGMS earned 64% in progress toward improvement targets, and is thus identified as “partially meeting targets.” They are in the 71st percentile when measured against other similar schools in the state.

 The 2018 tenth grade MCAS tests in ELA and math, like the science tests, were MCAS legacy for the last year. The 2019 tests will all be MCAS 2.0. In the 2018 ELA test, while “all students” exceeded their target, students with disabilities declined. MCAS math performance held steady for “all students” but declined for students with disabilities and the lowest performing students (identified the previous year). Building leaders and program administrators are working with the results to identify additional supports and instructional adjustments. With the high school, as with middle school, strengthening literacy instruction across all subject areas, which began as a priority in 2017-2018 will take time to have full effect on such measures as MCAS. 10th grade Math scores were 90% Proficient and Advanced, with 71% or our students scoring Advanced. In ELA, we were 96% Advanced and Proficient, with 71% scoring Advanced. In Science, we were 92% Advanced or Proficient, reflecting a strong upward trend. Overall the high school earned 56% in improvement targets, and is thus identified as “partially meeting targets.” It ranks in the 76th accountability percentile.

 The science MCAS test, administered in grades 5, 8, and 10 is not yet a “new generation” (2.0) test, but is rather an “MCAS legacy” test. Improvement targets were set for this test, as with the MCAS 2.0. While science performance fell across the state, especially at grade 8, our science results improved. At grade 5, students in every group exceeded their targets with the exception of English learners (formerly called ELL students), who met their target. Students in grade 8 groups also met or exceeded their improvement targets. In 10th grade science, all students in measured groups exceeded their targets with the exception of students with disabilities, who met their targets.

The New Accountability System. Part of the transition in 2018 is to a new accountability system, which we will be explaining and writing about in more detail in the coming weeks. There are several additional factors now considered in the accountability rating: progress toward attaining proficiency for English learners; chronic absenteeism (more than 10% of enrolled days) measured in grades 1-12; advanced coursework completion at the high school (11th and 12th grades enrolled in at least one advanced course); assessment participation (95% requirement as measured over two years).

Overall the Bedford School District earned 72% and is thus designated as “partially meeting targets” (districts from 75-100 are designated as “meeting target” so this percentage should not be interpreted as a “C-.”) Statewide, 17% of districts are designated as “meeting targets”; 75% of districts are designated as “partially meeting” targets.

As Commissioner Jeffrey Riley indicated in his briefing to districts earlier this week, this is a new accountability system and is thus a year of learning and taking a breath, and a year to celebrate positive improvements. We have a number of things to celebrate with MCAS 2.0, especially at the elementary level, and have sure steps in place to strengthen student learning as measured by these more complex tests.


Overview. Schools have always attended to the safety of their students, whether through thoughtful dismissal processes, teaching students to respect each other’s personal spaces, or promulgating rules regarding and consequences for dangerous behaviors. But of course, during the past two decades, we have been forced to add to those practices a set of protocols and capital investments aimed to prevent and respond to catastrophic emergencies that put students’ and staff’s lives at risk. At the same time, with more and more students experiencing trauma in their lives, we have needed to evolve clear and effective responses to prevent self-harm or the harming of others. And, we have become acutely aware that effective learning does not take place when students do not feel emotionally safe, whether from bullying or malicious teasing, sexual harassment, racism, or social isolation.

How We Prepare for Crises. Several years ago, in the wake of Sandy Hook, we convened a task force to review our safety plans and procedures, many of which had been in place ever since Columbine. These included a district-wide Crisis Committee and regular “lock down” drills at all four schools. The task force, comprised of school personnel, school resource officers, parents and security professionals, recommended, and the school committee approved, that we:

 move to the more flexible A.L.I.C.E. protocol in lieu of the more rigid lock-down response,
 lock all doors and create lines of sight (either by space modifications or the installation of front door cameras) to all front doors, so that visual confirmation may proceed admission of visitors to all of our schools,
 add a special film to large plate glass doors and windows to prevent a shooter from being able to shatter glass to gain entry, and
 continue the critical work of educating our students to be upstanders to stop bullying and to provide critical information should they hear about potential dangers.

Improvements Planned for This Year. Presently, we are exploring a few technical improvements to our safety systems. We plan to implement a communication capability that would enable every staff member to immediately alert all police vehicles of an intruder, which will save minutes in response time, and key in the exact, and ever changing location of said intruder. Also, thanks to the suggestions made by several parents and staff, we intend to implement an identification process for visitors that will add a layer of safety to the existing visual recognition process, because not all visitors are known to the school receptionists. As part of this plan, we are looking to add a vestibule to the front entrance at Lane, since it is the only school that presently does not have one.

Balancing Safety with Privacy- Cameras and the Challenge of Dangerous Bus Behavior. We have long sought to balance safety concerns with privacy needs, and have resisted calls to install cameras in our schools. However, over the past few years we have experienced a range of dangerous behaviors on a number of buses- the nearly full buses on several Davis and Lane Bedford routes, and the elementary bus that takes over an hour and a half to bring students home to Boston. The behaviors have included students getting out of their seats, student to student conflict, throwing objects, etc. For the first time, we are considering adding cameras to these specific buses, keeping in mind that buses are the one place that groups of students are unsupervised during the school day, and we cannot afford to have monitors on each bus. While we have monitors on the METCO bus and have taken other creative measures, the length of the ride presents a tremendous behavioral challenge. Stay tuned for notice of an opportunity for family input on this issue.

Next week: Emotional Safety                                                                                     JS

Thursday, September 13, 2018

What's Love Got To Do With It?- Opening Day Reflections


After a long hiatus, Assistant Superintendent, Mary Lou Sallee, and I are back in the blogosphere, and are aiming for bi-weekly posts to start the year off right!

The school year is off to a great start, despite last week’s grueling heat.  As we toured the buildings, we could feel the positive energy, the excitement, and the commitment to learning that our exceptional staff expresses on a daily basis.  And seeing the smiling, laughing, and sometimes nervous faces of all of our students certainly eased our summer adieus.

New Faculty and Staff.  As you may be aware, teachers return for two days of meetings, professional development, and mobilization around the district’s key, pre-K through 12 priorities, just prior to the long Labor Day weekend.  And prior to that we welcome and orient our new faculty and staff- over forty this year- an exciting addition of new talent, energy and ideas for our four schools.  Among these are three new assistant principals, and two seasoned educators filling new positions- K-12 English Language Learner Program Director, and K-12 Guidance Director, about whom I will share more information in a subsequent blog post.

Heartfelt.  One of the most moving sessions that I sat in on, as I navigated my way past the carefully fenced off construction staging area at Davis School, included all of the guidance and special education staff, as well as the teachers of our “specials” like library and music.  In a ritual that is repeated annually, the group reviewed a long list of students identified as needing some special, “from the start” attention to ensure a successful school year.  Whether academically challenged, emotionally struggling, socially disconnected or physically impaired, each student was reviewed in a two way sharing- one to inform the teachers about the students who will be in their classes, and two, to invite the teachers, who see all of the students over the course of the year, to brainstorm with the support staff about how to best meet the students’ needs. 

I have rarely felt so much love expressed in one room!  The depth of knowledge about each child that these educators possessed, and the thoughtful, deeply caring way that they discussed how to help him or her move forward in the new year, were nothing short of awe inspiring. 

The following example, names changed, captures the spirit of the conversation, which lasted for several hours, as the team worked through an extensive list of students both in regular education and with special education IEPs.   “Let’s talk next about Felix.  He has shown some patterns of dysregulation throughout the year, and he tends to self-isolate,” began the special education program administrator.  “Yes, Felix,” chimed in the music teacher, “the Felix with the green eyes, he’s such a love.  He could definitely use a male buddy to help him feel like he belongs.”  “I know just the student,” responded the librarian- Damion-  “he would definitely take him under his wing.  Plus, they both really like legos.”

Educating children, of all ages, is an act of love.  Our faculty and staff pour their hearts into their work and into their students.  A wonderful colleague of mine from another district wrote a poem that I think expresses this beautifully-  the deeply felt hope and expectations that our families feel, the awesome responsibility entrusted to our educators… one that Bedford’s educators take ever so deeply to heart.                                                                                                       JS

Parents’ Night

One by one the tidy classrooms across the courtyard
are going black.  Parents filter out toward their cars
and headlights flicker across the windows.
But there she is at my desk, smiling out of a shapeless coat.

It isn’t just the heavy Russian accent that makes it hard.
I lean my head toward what she has to say
about her daughter Katya with, I see now, the same shy smile--
her daughter Katya who, too, lingers at my desk after class.

She burns a trail of smoky words:  Katya loves reading very much,
she has problem with hearing -- she wants to write like Tolstoi --
she liked so much last year’s English teacher--
I thank him thank him for the rest of my life.

When she breaks off, eyes eager at my face,
I pull my head back, clearing for a smooth landing,
but the sentences I pave out about the course, about Katya’s progress,
somehow crumble and fall away.

Her forehead wrinkles; she veers sideways and lifts off again,
circling back over the territory, words thick and halting.
I watch but cannot follow
though I try until the halls are dark.

On the drive home the mother’s words are large-winged moths
that brush soft bodies against my hair
and flutter thinly at the windshield.
Suddenly I see the nonsense of my replies.

“Please,” she’d been saying, racing against the custodian,
rattling his keys as he came, snapping off lights.
“Please,” she had said, those keys jangling toward my door --
“Can you love my child?”                                           
                                                                        --Mary Burchenal       

Thursday, March 22, 2018

March 9th Professional Development: Pre-K-12 Ed Camp Day

Educators across the district participated in our first pre-K-12 Ed Camp Day on Friday, March 9th. The event was a great success, so we look to use this district-wide model in the future. The basic premise of Ed Camp is that teachers teach each other in a wide variety of educational topics organized around a broad educational principle. Educators are free to sign up for the workshops that interest them so long as space permits. The program is launched in the late fall with a survey of faculty interests so that the offerings meet educator needs and priorities.

This year's program was entitled "A Learner's Odyssey" and featured 111 speaker-presenters, including 5 student presentations, over 80 different sessions. Each educator could participate in four 50-minute workshops ranging from teaching and learning strategies; meeting students' social and emotional needs; understanding diverse students, including the Hanscom experience, which featured a field trip to the base; educating boys; strategies for assessing writing; oral storytelling; and engaging in difficult conversation with adults. The final session of the day offered wellness options, including yoga, print-making, and trivia.

The day began with a keynote speech by Audrey Jackson, a fifth grade teacher at the Joseph P. Manning Elementary School in Jamaica Plain, and 2016 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.  Ms. Jackson inspired faculty and staff with her experience and wisdom, including video clips from her fifth grade class. She integrates social-emotional with academic learning to foster an environment that works for all her students. She described the process as differentiating for accessibility and engagement.  All her students are working toward the same standards but from different starting places as she helps them to develop both self-awareness and social awareness. 

Here are a  few follow-up survey comments from educators:

The day was a confirmation of the high level of professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm for teaching and providing a great education for all Bedford students.

Guest speaker was super motivating. Differentiating session provided great resources such as the pyramid model for "all students will be able to; most students will be able to; and some students" for easy use. The day had good energy.

I have two concrete ideas that I want to implement in my classroom. There is a new app I want to try for some lessons, and I am thinking hard about how I want to change how I lecture and give notes.

I have new tools and ideas to add to my classroom. And the guest speaker helped me feel good about the way my classroom is currently operating.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

January Professional Development across the District

Bedford Public Schools values collaborative learning among its faculty as key to our model of continuous improvement. The most important of these opportunities are our full professional development days, one each in November,  January, and March. What follows is a brief description of our work in each building on January 12th

Davis: Teachers at Davis spent most of their day working on various aspects of reading instruction facilitated by ELA Curriculum Director Andrea Salipante, centered on their shared reading of Katie Cunningham’s Story: Still the Heart of Literacy Learning. They began with completing their own reading interest inventory, the principle being that one needs to understand herself as a reader in order to support students in their reading journey. They moved from there through different methods for identifying the reading interests of their students as well as student attitudes toward reading, all with the aim of meeting students where they are in order to help them grow and develop as readers. Students need to see themselves as well as learn about others in the stories they read. The day culminated with teachers examining their own classroom libraries in light of the essentials of a high-quality classroom library.

Lane: Lane teachers also focused on literacy instruction in a workshop launched by Andrea Salipante, then facilitated by reading specialist Kate Berrien and teachers Megan Farrell, Peter Ferguson, and Amy Campbell. The goal of the day was to help teachers understand more deeply how the Readers Workshop plays out within the classroom day-to-day.  The teacher leaders shared videos of their own work with students and answered questions about how to help students set goals and develop effective reading habits by reading “just right” books for their level. In this way, as Kate pointed out “weaker readers can be stronger thinkers” because they have some choice over what they read, and they are reading at their level. Teachers also worked on conferring with students, one of the most powerful tools in helping readers to develop. The day culminated with time for teachers to work in consultation with facilitators on their own current classroom situations and practices.

JGMS professional development included an engaging speaker/expert on Mindfulness during the morning session, and then, in the afternoon, the teachers were highly energized by the “treasure hunt” activity focused on literacy and different learning styles. This activity is similar to one high school teachers engaged in last fall, so all 6-12 teachers now share the experience of highly engaging yet challenging problem solving in cooperative groups.

BHS faculty focused on student behaviors impacted by emotional challenges.  As Heather Gallante observed in her Friday memo to faculty, “While we have committed to focusing on literacy as a district this year, it must be noted that literacy can cover a number of areas.  As part of an end of year survey, many faculty members expressed an interest in learning more about managing challenging students in an effort to help those students find academic and personal success.  We have looked at literacy through our academic lens.  Now we are going to shift and cover social/emotional literacy as it pertains to our 'hard to reach' students." 

Their guest speaker, Catherine Conway, presented the Concept of the Crucial Cs, through which "educators can develop short-term intervention strategies and long-term prevention strategies that focus on helping students meet their needs in positive ways mutually respectful relationships between teachers and students." Students need to Connect, feel Capable,  Count, and feel Courageous. Often misbehavior is an attempt by a student trying to meet one of these needs.  Teachers who can recognize what need a student is trying to meet can help that student meet the need in a more positive way.

Ed Camp Coming in March
Our instructional and technology coaches have been working for weeks under the leadership of Donna Clements with input from the district leadership team to design our first-ever K-12 EdCamp experience in March. The idea of an EdCamp is that teachers offer workshops to other teachers. This approach to professional development began at the high school several years ago, moved into the middle school, and began last year at Davis and Lane.  The experience has been so successful for participants and presenters alike, and this year teachers have suggested we try a K-12 experience. We are all excited about this day, and we'll be sure to share the details with you.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

MCAS 2.0 and Accountability

Greetings, and Happy New Year!

At the school committee meeting on December 12th, I presented our MCAS 2.0 results, along with our Accountability ratings for the Legacy MCAS test still being administered at the high school level and in science grades 5 and 8. Here are a few highlights from that presentation as well as the full presentation for your review.

We are in a testing transition in grades 3-8 Math and English Language Arts (ELA) that has extended over the past several years.  For two years (14-15 and 15-16) we participated in the PARCC test along with many other districts in Massachusetts. While we received very little item analysis from these tests, we were able to glean several areas in which we needed to make progress: in math around applying concepts to new situations, choosing multiple correct responses, and showing-explaining work; and in ELA around analysis of multiple complex texts, especially in written or essay responses. These skills are part of the Common Core standards in ELA and math, released in 2010 and revised in 2017. We have been working as a district on aligning our instruction to these standards.

The MCAS 2.0 test, which students in grades 3-8 took for the first time in spring 2017, sets a baseline for the new test and as such gives us a solid starting point in a more coherent testing system. While it will take several years to adjust to the new test, Bedford has taken necessary steps to strengthen our instruction and student performance. Lane School's classroom teachers are involved in deep professional development around the teaching of reading so as to meet the learning needs of each student. JGMS teachers are collaborating more closely around the teaching of non-fiction reading and writing to further strengthen students' abilities to analyze and draw conclusions from multiple complex texts. In math, we are working closely to pace the curriculum and build in the more complex math practices required by the standards, and by these tests.

When you review the attached presentation, you will see in more detail how students performed and the steps we have taken.  Families received detailed individual reports on their students' performance in the fall.

In terms of accountability, there are no accountability ratings for these new MCAS 2.0 tests, so the Lane School and John Glenn Middle School have no ratings.  (That is true of all schools grades 3-8 across Massachusetts.) At the high school, we slipped to Level 2 for the first time because several subgroups (such as High Needs students) did not make the required proficiency gains in math and science, although we did make necessary gains in English.  As is our practice each year, we analyze the learning needs of any student who scored below proficient and adjust instruction, student schedule, and course material to meet those individual needs.

Later this month the district will be sending its annual "report card" to all families in the district.  This report card, issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), will give even greater detail on the district performance as well as other factors, including information about student demographics and teacher licensure. You will receive this report via email, and it will also be posted on the district website.

Here is the link to the presentation given to school committee in December.

MCAS 2.0 and MCAS Accountability

If you have any questions, please feel free to write or call.