October is the month in schools when routines have finally taken hold and students appear comfortable interacting and engaging with their peers and their teachers. For educators, October is generally the time that we dig deep into student data, looking for trends and patterns that inform our practice for all of the students in our classes. In this newsletter, I will provide you with a brief overview of how we use this data to inform instructional decisions.
If you have children in grades 4-11, you will receive the MCAS results from the spring 2019 administration. The results provide you with the opportunity to review this snapshot in time with your child. Teachers will also review MCAS reports on how their current students performed last year, and how their previous year’s class performed as well. The former provides teachers with insight on areas of strength and opportunities for growth for individual students in their classes now, while the latter helps to drive instructional decisions based on overall grade-level performance against the State standards. Teachers work in teams to analyze the data and to set goals for improvement for the current school year based on this analysis.
Additionally, this fall the District continues to implement MAP diagnostic assessments for all students in grades K-8 for both literacy (reading) and math as well as Dibels testing in Grades K-6. The results are delivered in real-time to teachers, as soon as students complete the test. The information that teachers receive helps target instruction based on the results of the diagnostic assessment both for individual students and the class as a whole. Students will take the assessment a second time to measure growth, ensuring that all students are making significant progress throughout the year from wherever they started. This type of teaching, learning, and assessment is dynamic, adapting to the unique needs of the students in the moment.
This year, the District universally offered the PSAT assessment for all students in grades 10 and 11 for many of the same reasons we administer MAP and Dibels testing; and with the added benefit of exposing all of our students to this particular type of practice college entrance exam. By taking the PSATs as sophomores, ideally our students will be ready and comfortable when taking the assessment again as juniors and then the SATs before applying to college. Teachers will also receive detailed information about their students similar to the data gleaned from the MAP & Dibels testing and will use the data in much the same way.
Recently, an article was written by the Telegram and Gazette’s Scott O’Donnell that was published on September 24th, 2019, highlighting the District’s accountability data, which was drawn from the 2019 MCAS results. You can also find additional information about the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District and its schools on the profile page of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website.
I welcome you to join me at my Coffee on October 28th at 9:00am at McDonalds Restaurant in Spencer, MA at which time I will be more than happy to review our District and school accountability and MCAS results, along with other SEBRSD news and updates – including our progress on the David Prouty High School Core Project. Finally, thank you for partnering with us in the education of your child. I look forward to learning from, and with, all of you in the coming months ahead. #ChooseSEBRSD #Progress #Unity #Knowledge
Paul S. Haughey, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools