Friday, February 16, 2018

And the winners are.....

                                   Congratulations to the 2018 District Writing Contest Winners

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Trimester 1 Report Cards for Grades K-8

Hello K-8 Students, Parents, and Families,

Trimester 1 ended on December 1st, so Reports of Progress will be coming home soon.  This post will explain what you'll see on K-8 report cards, as things look differently than they did last year.

As MSAD #6 continues the transition to proficiency-based reporting, you won't see a single grade or score for a content area.  Instead you see more detail.  Rather than seeing a single grade for "Math," for example, you see scores in the areas of math.  

All of our curriculum documents are public and can be found here, under the Content Standards & Indicators tab:

The basic structure of our curriculum is as follows:
   -->Content Area  (English Language Arts, Math, Science, Physical Education, etc.)
        -->>Graduation Standards (consistent K-12, required for high school graduation)
             -->>>Performance Indicators (specific to grade levels or grade spans)

Example #1 
        -->>Number & Quantity
-->>>Count to 100 by tens (Kindergarten)

Example #2 
   -->Visual Art 
-->>>Students identify career(s) that involve visual arts.  (Grade 4 & 5) 

Example #3  
   -->Social Studies
        -->>Civic Engagement
-->>>Analyze how people influence government and work for the common good. (Middle School)

Last year, our elementary and middle school report cards listed every specific indicator under the content areas, and it was found to be very long and cumbersome.  Many parents expressed frustration, and we agreed!  This year you will see only the main (standards) areas under each content area.  For example, under "Math," you'll see scores for Number & Quantity, Algebra, Functions, Geometry, Statistics & Probability, and (for K-5 only) Measurement & Reference Frames.  All of the detail under each of those still is available to you, by using the online parent portal.  We encourage students and families to use the parent portal, to access further detail about what indicators were scored to contribute to the score for each standard.

On the Report of Progress, you'll likely see blanks on the elementary version for many standards in the Trimester 1 column.  This translates into "Not Scored," meaning that no indicators under that standard have been scored yet.  On the middle school version only the standards that have scores will show up; others are hidden.  If you take a look at the curriculum documents for our content areas, you'll see that there are many performance indicators under the graduation standards.  The goal is quality instruction and student learning, not just getting everything done.  Please be patient, as more will get filled in as the year goes on.  The report card may look sparse, but dig into the parent portal and you'll see the work being done in the various performance indicators!


Middle School:

The other change you'll see from last year's Report of Progress is the addition of Guiding Principles under each content area.  Maine's Guiding Principles are consistent throughout the state for all K-12 students.  Teachers find that students' responsibility, communication, thinking, problem solving, and self-direction sometimes varies by the subject area.  Providing scores this way gives students, parents, and families more information and insight.

 Elementary: (click to enlarge)

Middle: (click to enlarge)

Where you see a standard score, you're seeing where your child is at this point in time toward proficiency in that standard.  Scores may go up or go down through the year, depending on your child's progress with the performance indicators under each standard.  

Another important thing to know is that whatever contributes to a score is from SUMMATIVE assessments.  These are the "end of learning" assessments, where teachers assess what a student has learned within a standard.  What you'll also be able see in the parent portal, but are not counted in proficiency scores, are FORMATIVE assessments.  These are the brief check-in assessments along the way and practice opportunities (homework, for example) that teachers use to inform their instruction with students.  From these formative assessments teachers may slow down, speed up, group students by their specific needs, change instruction, provide challenges and/or provide some extra assistance.  "Grades" aren't made up of formative assessments, but they are a huge part of what we do so it's important for you to be able to see your child's formative work in the parent portal.

An example of an elementary Report of Progress is HERE 

An example of a middle school Report of Progress is HERE

Please contact your child's teacher, principal, 
or the Curriculum Coordinator with any questions.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

High Impact

What a day yesterday at the MSAD 6 Central Office!  There were 60 teachers and administrators, representing our 8 buildings and grades K-12, participating in the second of three scheduled sessions of "Assessment for Learning."  Session 1 was in late August, and session 3 will be in March.  The focus is on proven, research-based, high impact strategies to foster student engagement and learning.  One of the most pivotal quotes of the day was, "This isn't more on the plate, this IS the plate."

The facilitators of this series of trainings are Dr. Jeff Beaudry and Dr. Anita Stewart McCafferty from the University of Maine.  They are both professors at USM in the School of Education and Human Development, and have partnered with MSAD 6 for two years in this work.  Jeff and Anita are joined by Kirsten Gould, a first grade teacher at Buxton Center Elementary School who has been immersed in the work at the state-level.  The 65 participants are charged with training their full staffs at our high school, middle school, and 6 elementary schools, over the next few months.

Teachers have so far learned about the following:
  • Providing clear learning targets--giving students the target (I can...) and clearly what it looks like (This means...)
  • Student self-assessment and goal setting--helping students look at where they are in relation to a standard or target and then knowing exactly what the next steps are toward becoming proficient
  • Helping students track their progression of learning--making a visual for students so they can see the steps in reaching their goal, and providing them a way to track their progress
  • Concept Mapping--helping students tap into what they already know, then make sense and connections between of key terms and vocabulary and concepts scattered through text
The professional development opportunity that has come out of this partnership with USM is so valuable for our teachers, but most of all valuable for our STUDENTS!  Thanks so much to Jeff, Anita, Kirsten, administrators, and teachers who've attended, especially those who shared their work with the large group.  And thanks to all of our teaching staff, committed to the implementation of these high impact strategies!  There is no doubt that these will make a difference for our kids.

 Dr. Jeff Beaudry

Dr. Anita Stewart McCafferty

Kirsten Gould

 Alicia Adams, BEMS Math teacher

 Jessica Webber, BEHS ELA teacher

Patty Simon, Steep Falls Kindergarten teacher