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Greetings From Gail

March 9, 2015

I am sending a letter home to the parents of students in grades three through six about the new Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) that is replacing the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP). There is much controversy surrounding this new assessment, especially what will be done with the results. While I share some concerns about the use of the test, I share Secretary Holcombe’s position on the assessments. In a letter to superintendents and principals, dated February 17th, Secretary Holcombe stated, “However, I ask you to not let the inappropriate uses to which tests are put under NCLB undermine what value there is in tests, when used appropriately. Unlike previous tests, this is a computer adaptive test which adjusts the difficulty of questions in response to the answers students provide. This allows for more accurate information about what each child can and cannot yet do; this information will help teachers to better respond to their students’ needs.”

The inappropriate uses that she refers to is the “proficiency threshold on the new tests is set so high that twothirds of our high schools students will likely not score as ‘proficient,’ it is likely a virtual certainty that once again, all our public schools will be labeled ‘low performing,’ despite the fact that a study by the US Department of Education ranked us seventh in the world in math and science.”

Students in grades three through six have been working with their teachers and Gabi Martino, our technology integration coordinator, to familiarized our students with the new computer format and the format of the questions. It would not be fair to students to not give them some preparation on this new format.

In next week’s newsletter I will include more information on the SBAC and the types of assessment questions.

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 Important Dates

  • March 12th—EXPO Prek-12, 6:00-8:00
  • March 17th—Annual District Meeting
  • March 18th—5th/6th grade Talent Show**New Date**
  • March 27th—3-Way Conferences
  • April 29th—K-4 Spring Concert
  • May 8th—4th Grade trip to Hulbert
  • May 13th -15th—6th Grade Hulbert overnight Trip

Free Developmental Screening

On Friday, March 27, 2015, at the Samuel Morey Elementary School, the Rivendell Early Childhood Program will be offering a free developmental preschool screening for children living in Vershire, West Fairlee, Fairlee, Vermont and Orford, New Hampshire, who are between the ages of 2.6 and 4.6 years old . This screening is not for children who are eligible for kindergarten next year.

Screenings will be 45 minutes-1 hour. There will be two sessions one at 8:30 and one at 10:00 AM. For amscreening appointment please call Angel Parkin at 802-333-9755. A family unable to attend on the screening day can ask about arranging for an appointment at a later date. All parents are encouraged to make an appointment for their child to participate in the screening at least once during the preschool years.

This screening is a play-based approach assessment for children in which the parents share and receive information about their child’s development. Preschoolers who have delays in their development may be recommended for a referral to be eligible to receive educational services before they enter kindergarten.

Jane Finlay, EEE, Special Educator

March 9, 2015 Newsletter