Office of Curriculum & Instruction
Westwood Regional School District
Here, in the Westwood Regional School District, we are deeply committed to fostering progressive, research-based practices that support the personalization of learning for all students in the district. This website is designed to provide you with access to information and resources about the educational experience in our district to help you feel more connected to what our students are learning in the classroom to prepare them for success.
Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment News
Changes to PARCC Testing for the 2018-2019 School Year
The NJDOE has worked in collaboration with the State Board of Education and other stakeholders to develop proposed changes to Chapter 8, Standards and Assessment, of the administrative code. These proposed changes that are being considered by the State Board – addressing the number of required assessments in high school and the graduation assessment requirements – are summarized on the NJDOE Assessments website. The proposed changes have not been adopted, and the current regulations remain in effect.
Separately, the NJDOE is implementing changes starting with the Spring 2019 test administration. These changes do not go through the State Board process, but are implemented by the Commissioner. The following is a description of the assessment name, length and time changes that have been implemented by the Commissioner.
State Assessment Name Change
The State of New Jersey has ended its membership of the interstate consortium that produced the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments. While the online platform will remain the same, the state’s mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) assessments will no longer be called Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC). The statewide assessments for ELA and mathematics will be called:
• New Jersey Student Learning Assessments-ELA (NJSLA-ELA)
• New Jersey Student Learning Assessment-Mathematics (NJSLA-M)
Reduction in the Length and Time of the Tests
Starting with the Spring 2019 statewide assessment, the item counts (i.e., test questions) will be reduced, resulting in fewer units for ELA. The number of units for ELA will be reduced from three to two, resulting in a reduction of 75 minutes for grade three and 90 minutes for grades four through high school (ELA 10). For mathematics, the item counts are being reduced, resulting in fewer units, or testing blocks. In grades three to five; the number of units will be reduced from four to three, resulting in a reduction of 60 minutes of testing time. For grades six to eight, the number of units remains at three, but the time allotted for each 80-minute unit will be reduced by 20 minutes per unit for a total reduction of 60 minutes in testing time. Within each unit, the item counts have also been reduced. Similarly, the Algebra I end-of-course test will be reduced from three units to two units of 90 minutes each, for a total reduction of 90 minutes of testing time.
Grades K-7 Literacy Professional Development
The district welcomes Patty McGee from Gravity Goldberg, LLC as our K-7 literacy professional development provider for the 2018-2019 school year. Mrs. McGee has worked with our grades 6 and 7 teachers in the past. This year, she will be meeting with the K-5 teachers as well.
Mrs. McGee brings a vision for creating learning environments where teachers and students discover their true potential and power. She is passionate about supporting people where they are, coaching leaders and teachers in their schools and classrooms. It is in the moments when teachers are working collaboratively with students that she sees great growth, change and success.
She is the author of Feedback That Moves Writers Forward (Corwin 2017). Prior to her work as Literacy Consultant, she was Supervisor of Professional Learning in Literacy with the Northern Valley Curriculum Center. Experience as a fourth grade teacher, a Library Media Specialist, and a Literacy Coach has given her a variety of perspectives, these are key in her ability to support and guide teachers and leaders.
Mrs. McGee received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Loyola University in Maryland, an Associate School Library Media Specialist certification through Rutgers University, and her M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership through Montclair State University. She has also studied literacy and literacy coaching through Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project and Iona College. Mrs. McGee has received the Milken Educator Award (2002), worked as a consultant for Workman Publishing, Scholastic, and Corwin Press, and served on several committees for the New Jersey Department of Education.
Mrs. McGee has also been a literacy advisor for LitSafari and the HangArt app for primary word learning. Furthermore, she has been an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and presenter at the ILA, NCTE, ASCD, and Learning Forward national conferences.
Mrs. McGee is a crucial component of our transition to the Reading and Writing Workshop instructional model for English Language Arts.
Blended Learning Professional Development with Kiker Learning
We are very excited to announce that next year, the district will partner with Rich Kiker of Kiker Learning to provide professional development for grades 6-12 teachers. Two cohorts of approximately 15 teachers each will work with Kiker five days during the school year on the Models of Excellence in Connected Learning workshop. Kiker, a former technology teacher, is the Founder and CEO of Kiker Learning, a Google Education Partner for professional development. As national consultant for K-12 and higher education entities, Kiker has New Jersey partnerships with the Jersey City Schools, Camden Schools, and Edison Schools.
Kiker's work with our staff will be particularly useful as the district begins its 1:1 rollout in the high school this year, which is part of the five-year strategic plan. Our goal is to continually implement contemporary and blended curricula that provide students with a significant edge as they prepare for the real world situations.
New K-5 Social Studies Curriculum
Thanks to the hard work of Principal Melissa Palianto and the members of the K-5 Social Studies Committee, the district will debut a new curriculum in the 2018-2019 school year. Below you will find an overview of the scope and sequence.