October 2017

October 11, 2017


District Assessment Committee, Part 2

Last school year, the district and SEA worked together on the District Assessment Review Committee (DARC). This committee was charged with reviewing the assessments used district-wide and recommending which, if any, should be discontinued from use. In March 2017, the committee made the following recommendations.

In Math, the committee recommended discontinuing and replacing the EasyCBM (grades K-6) and Star Math (grades 7-12). Orleans-Hanna will continue to be used in grade 6.

In English Language Arts, the committee recommended discontinuing and NOT replacing CORE phonics (grades 3-6). DIBELS, used as a universal screener in grades K-6, may still be used and the committee will conduct a review for a replacement by grade bands, K-2 and 3-6. It was recommended that SRI might still be used, however, Scholastic is no longer supporting SRI. The committee will seek to replace it as a reading comprehension assessment.

The work continues this year with a goal of presenting to the Superintendent a list of assessments that will replace those that were removed from use. Six meetings are being co-facilitated by Michael Power and Ellen Kaje. By early January 2018, the committee will finalize which assessments to pilot and finalize a pilot protocol. The pilot will be conducted from January through March after identifying teachers in various buildings, grade levels and special programs. By April or May 2018, the committee will analyze findings from the pilot and make a recommendation to the Superintendent. Upon approval of the recommendation at a May school board meeting, the committee will develop an implementation timeline.

SEA is represented by the following members:

  • Donna Hoffman, HT, Language Assistance Program
  • Mary Anne Thomas, PW, Kindergarten
  • Kathryn Pihl, Echo Lake, Grade 1
  • Vanessa Mark, RC, Language Assistance Program
  • Genevieve Wheaton, LFP, Grade 4
  • JT Maschman, AE, Math, Special Education
  • Erica Young, KEL, Reading, AVID
  • Judy Leach, AE/SW, English Language Arts

Partial Release Stakeholder Advisory Committee

During the 2015-16 school year, the district and SEA agreed to appoint a Partial Release Design Committee to research the logistics and implications of a regularly scheduled partial release-day model as a means to provide more time for professional development, collegial and individual work than is provided through the waiver that reduces the student year to 175 days instead of 180. The agreement was to implement an early release model in the 2016-17 school year. To that end, the 12-member committee completed its work and made recommendations to the Superintendent and School Board. The recommendations included implementing a 2-hour early release model during 5-day weeks ONLY and using Mondays as the early release day. In March 2016, five presentations were made to the public and school staffs and a feedback questionnaire was posted on the district website. By the end of the 2015-16 school year, it was clear that more work needed to be done to answer questions and concerns from the community, parents and staff.

In 2016-17, co-facilitators Maria Stevens, Director of Teaching and Learning and Jennifer Etter, 7-12 ELA TOSA (at the time), lead a 40-member committee through a process that resulted in an strategic instructional plan. District and SEA leadership discussed the wisdom of moving forward with more work on an early release model since an instructional plan would have implications for professional development, collegial and individual work. As a result, the Partial Release Stakeholder Advisory Committee was not convened until AFTER the bulk of the instructional plan was completed, which was the spring of 2017. The Advisory Committee met twice last spring to lay the groundwork to continue the dialogue in the fall of 2017.

The Partial Release Stakeholder Advisory Committee will begin meeting in November 2017 to consider an alternative schedule to support professional development for instructional staff. The committee is co-chaired by Marla Miller, Deputy Superintendent and Maria Stevens. The 41-member committee is made up of community, SEA, SESPA and SPA members, parents and central office administrators. The committee will review survey responses, study best practices in professional development, gather additional information needed to make a thorough recommendation, identify ways to address concerns and questions and provide a final recommendation to the Superintendent and School Board.

SEA is represented by the following members:

  • Celeste Dang, HT, Special Education and SLP
  • Tani Stenfjord, EL, Intermediate
  • Heidi Alexander, SY, Librarian
  • Wayne Smolinsky, AE, Grade 7/8 Social Studies
  • Leanne Rozema, KEL and Music TOSA
  • Jeremy Hunter, SW, Social Studies
  • Emily Slack, SC, Engineering and Science
  • Lyn Sherry, SEA UniServ Director
  • Pat Valle, SEA President