Social Studies

This fall a team of middle school and high school teachers from North Smithfield participated in the Choices Program professional development. The Choices Program is a non-profit organization based at Brown University. Choices materials incorporate the latest scholarship from Brown University and beyond to draw connections between historical events and contemporary international issues. 

Math Updates... Go Math!

A team of eight teachers in grades 3-6 will be participating in the Bureau of Education and Research focusing on guided math instruction. Guided math can develop practical techniques, instructional strategies and routines that allow teachers to work with students in small groups at their level of understanding and need. Using classroom-proven techniques to implement guided math in the classroom, teachers will be able to differentiate math instruction in ways that better meet the diverse needs of your students. Dr. Barbara Blanke will share a variety of easy-to-use guided math techniques, including how to create, set up, implement, and manage small guided math groups designed to better meet your students’ needs – from those who excel in math to those who struggle with basic math skills. Barbara will show you how to implement guided math using your current math curriculum and how to create and manage timesaving, easy-to-implement math centers for the rest of the class while you work with guided math groups.

Grades three through five are implementing the McGraw-Hill My Math program this year. The My Math program provides the rigor, personalization, and student engagement needed to be successful with the Common Core State Standards. The program adoption committee members expressed enthusiasm and excitement about this program due to its online features, the large variety of lessons, rigor of problems, comprehensive assessments and ease of use. On October 12, 2016, a representative from McMillian/McGraw Hill held a professional development of the program sharing information about the lessons, stations, standards and activities within the program, as well as, the online tools and resources.

Our Algebra I teachers participated in the Bureau of Education and Research full-day professional development focusing on strategies to engage and support struggling students on November 8, 2016.

On October 24th the K-12 Mathematics Committee met to review and discuss PARCC assessment results, new programs, math intervention and professional development. The time, energy and effort of the participating teachers are much appreciated!

PARCC Updates and Changes

There are some changes to the PARCC assessment this year. The first (which I am thrilled with) is the availability of extra time for all students who need it. To provide flexibility and to reduce student stress, RIDE is establishing a Rhode Island-specific policy for extended time on PARCC assessments. I know that our students will benefit from this change.

Another change involves the assessment at the high school level. It is a bit more confusing so bare with me. Federal requirements state that studentsmust be tested once in ELA and once in mathematics in high school. For RI high school students, this means that all eligible 9th graders must take ELA9 (to satisfy the ELA requirement) and *nearly all students must take Algebra I prior to graduation (to satisfy our math testing requirement). Here are a few points to remember when considering which students need to take a PARCC math test and when they must take the test:
If any high school student took PARCC Algebra I in grade 8,then they must take either Geometry or Algebra II in grade 9, 10, or 11 instead. For all other students in grades 9, 10, or 11 (12th grade students never participate in any PARCC testing), they must take the Algebra I test while enrolled in this course as a 9th, 10th, or 11th grader.
For any 10th or 11th grader who took Algebra I as a 9th grader, there’s no need for them to participate in any other PARCC math testing, even if they’re currently enrolled in Geometry or Algebra II.

Science Update

Last year our teachers worked throughout the year to align curricula with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS.) Our curriculum development teams created curriculum guides that 'unpack' each standard, a curriculum map that shows which standards we are teaching by quarter and units of study based on the Understanding by Design (Ubd) format. It was great to team up with Burrillville High School science teachers during this process. We have begun to implement the new units of study.

Teachers will be participating in professional development sessions throughout the 16-17 school year with East Bay Educational Collaborative as we begin implementation.

East Bay Education Collaborative representatives came to North Smithfield High School this past Tuesday to work with our High School Science Department to develop tasks, activities and lessons that align with and support the implementation of the new curriculum and the NGSS.

Upcoming Science PD:
December 8th- Human Systems – Grade 7
February 28th- Waves, NGSS – Grade 8
March 9th- Earth and Sun- Grade 5
March 10th- Motion and Matter – Grade 3
March 14th- Environments- Grade 4

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