The Chromebooks Are Coming!

 Thanks to the approval and support of the North Smithfield School Committee, Planning Board and Town Council, NS Schools is in the process of purchasing 14 Chromebook carts with 420 Google chromebooks. A chromebook is a laptop running Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and data residing "in the cloud". Google Apps for Education is a collection of applications that Google offers to schools and districts for free. All of the applications exist online and all documents can be accessed from any device with an Internet connection. The office suite of tools includes: Docs, Sheets, Drive, Forms, Slides, and more – each tool offers the ability to work from any device as well as share and collaborate. Students and teachers can seamlessly save work and collaborate simultaneously. Our teachers have all been trained on Google Applications. We are thankful for all of our teachers and administrators who have taken a lead role in professional development and implementation of Google Apps: Mr. Stanley, Mr. Mezzanotte, Mr. McGee, Mrs. Carnevale, Ms. Blais, Mrs. Nangle, Mr. Lahar, Ms. Mathurin, Dr. Tillotson, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Benz, Mrs. McAdams, and Mrs. McKay.



Community of Practice - Shared Classroom Initiative

I am excited to invite all K-12 ELA and Math teachers to participate in our Community of Practice – Shared Classroom Initiative. The purpose is to generate meaningful conversations about pedagogy by organizing opportunities for teachers to ‘share’ our classrooms as way of exchanging ideas.

The premise of the initiative is simple; by visiting other classrooms within our district we can gain exposure to varied teaching practices, reflect on our own practices and encourage conversation about the art and craft of teaching. In addition, this initiative will serve as another vehicle to ensure that our curriculum is articulated and aligned K-12.

The development of this initiative stemmed from last year’s “K-12 Math Tours.” Groups of teachers “toured” each other’s classrooms, this project received positive feedback from all teachers involved: host teachers and invited guests.

Who: All K-12 ELA and Math Teachers
What: Community of Practice – Shared Classroom Initiative
Where: Groups of teachers will visit a classroom (not within your own building) during each of the three “Curriculum and Instruction Refinement Days”
When: Dates for the ELA/Math “Curriculum and Instruction Refinement Days” are posted on Curriculum website. Each grade level/department will meet for three full days throughout the 14-15 school year.
Why: To generate meaningful conversations about pedagogy by organizing opportunities for teachers to ‘share’ our classrooms as way of exchanging ideas.
How: To sign up to be a ‘host’ teacher, simply add your name to the shared Google Doc. A representative from each grade level/dept. will email a host teacher to set up a visit. Once a visit is scheduled, please note it in the shared Google Doc.


 

Science NECAP 2014

The Rhode Island Department of Education has released the 2014 NECAP Science results.  The release had been scheduled this past September, but there was a delay in the release due to questions concerning the Middle School/Grade 8 results statewide.  Similar to other districts in the state, our middle school scores decreased.  The RI Department of Education has assured districts that the state level scores are accurate, but has asked districts and schools to use caution when interpreting results.

North Smithfield Schools saw significant increases in student achievement in science at the elementary and high school levels. North Smithfield High School increased proficiency levels by 19% in one year. NSHS was only one of four schools in the state that performed significantly higher than last year and was one of only two high schools that made significant gains since 2008. Dr. Harry L. Halliwell Memorial School also significantly increased this year, 66% of students scored proficient/proficient with distinction. This is a 13% increase in one year’s time.

The RI Department of Education reported that the North Smithfield School District (all schools combined) has the honor and distinction to be the district with the highest amount of growth (22.3%) since 2008. 

NECAP Science Proficiency



School


2008


2013


2014


% Difference since 2008


% Difference from 2013-2014


All Schools


30.9%


46.9%


53.25%


22.3%


6%


Halliwell


52%


53%


66%


13.5%


12.9%


NS Middle


13.5%


52.6%


39%


25.5%


-13.6%


NS High


27.5%


32.1%


52.1%


24.6%


19.9%

District administration and teachers will continue to analyze the results to inform our instruction and programming.  Science has been a focus area for North Smithfield Schools, increasing student proficiency was identified as a District Strategic Plan goal in 2011. Since then, teachers have studied the standards/expectations, written curriculum and units of study, and created performance based/real-world assessment tasks. The time, energy and effort of NS Science teachers and Lauren Nelson, HS Department Chair, is to be commended.

Blended Learning

 North Smithfield Schools has partnered with Highlander Institute to  implement the FUSE RI program which promotes blended learning by working with our educators. Check out the video below to learn more about blended learning.



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Resident Experts - Wanted!

Are you interested in becoming a “Resident Expert?”  Our “Resident Expert” program in a system and structure that we have designed to do a deep study of a topic and provide professional development to faculty. Possible topics to be studied include: student engagement strategies, parcc assessment, Next Generation Science Standards, and questioning techniques. If you are interested shoot me an email. I will be bringing ideas to the Professional Development Advisory Committee. We will develop committees based on interest. Thanks for any consideration.