carnold's blog

New Website

The North Smithfield School Department is in the profess of developing a new website. Information and documents will be shifted to the "Teaching and Learning" section of the district site. Updated information can be found at: http://nspscurriculum.weebly.com/

Science Updates

Through the Northwest Consortium (North Smithfield, Lincoln, Burrillville, and Smithfield), our High School Science teachers participated in a full-day professional development session with East Bay Collaborative focusing on biology, chemistry and physics lesson development aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers in all four school districts filled out a feedback survey which validated the need and support for multi-district professional development. All teachers found the day to be valuable and engaging.
The multi-year implementation to the Full Option Science System (FOSS) kits aligned to the new NGSS standards is going along well. The FOSS program employs a philosophy of teaching and learning that has guided the development of successful active-learning science curricula bridging research and practice by providing tools and strategies to engage students and teachers in enduring experiences that lead to deeper understanding of the natural and designed worlds. FOSS provides all students with science experiences that are appropriate to students’ cognitive development and prior experiences. It provides a foundation for a more advanced understanding of core science ideas which are organized in thoughtfully designed learning progressions and prepares students for life in an increasingly complex scientific and technological world. Grades 3-5 teachers will be participating in science PD in the coming weeks. A few of the dates were rescheduled due to snow and weather cancellations. Grade 5 teachers will be participating in the“Earth and Sun” unit professional development, grade 4 teachers will participate in the “Environment” unit professional development and grade 3 teachers will focus on the “Matter and Motion” unit.

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

Community of Practice

I am excited that we will be able to continue the Community of Practice initiative that we began a few years ago.  The premise of the initiative is simple; by visiting other classrooms we can gain exposure to varied teaching practices, reflect on our own practices and encourage conversation about the art and craft of teaching.  This year we have expanded our initiative and have begun to visit school outside of North Smithfield. Our third grade teachers had the opportunity to visit an elementary school in Smithfield to view a math lesson.  Our fourth grade teachers visited an elementary school in Coventry to get information and ideas about a content-based schedule and our fifth grade teachers visited a “paperless” classroom in West Warwick focusing on how we can enhance instruction by embedding technology. All grade levels had positive feedback. After the visitations I met with all grade levels to discuss our writing focus “prose constructed response” and share expectations and student work.
 
I will be working with building principals to continue to schedule the dates. Based on last year’s feedback, we will be expanding this initiative. Teachers will have the opportunity to observe teachers in other districts as well. I will be reaching out to faculties for volunteers to be “host” teachers. 
 

PD Opportunity

RIDE to hold first R.I. Teacher to Teacher conference on October 29
 
On October 29, RIDE will host the first "Rhode Island Teacher to Teacher Conference: Opening Doors for Innovation and Collaboration," at Lincoln Middle School, 152 Jenckes Hill Rd. This conference will be an opportunity for teachers across the state to learn about successful classroom practices from colleagues. The entire conference will be presented by Rhode Island educators and will be for Rhode Island educators to share innovative practices currently being used in our schools. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn from fellow Rhode Island educators about effective and innovative practices at a variety of grade levels and from various content areas. Guest speakers include Commissioner Wagner and 2017 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year, Nikos Giannopoulos.
 
To register for the event, please visit http://rit2t.eventbrite.com Registration includes a light breakfast and lunch. If you have any questions or would like more information about the conference, please email Mary Keenan, at mary.keenan@ride.ri.gov .
 
To learn more about the specific sessions offered, please click here:
 
 
For a brochure with specific session times and schedule, please click here:
 
 
 
 

Professional Development

The August and September professional development days were a huge success. The Professional Development Advisory Committee has worked over the last few years to help to extend and refine professional development sessions and offerings. Each day was broken up into three blocks of time. Teachers were able to choose from a menu of sessions. The variety of offerings made it a rich learning experience for all involved. The third block of time was dedicated to Professional Learning Communities. We could not have offered such a dynamic menu without our teacher leaders and administrators:


Google Classroom- Tracey Nangle
WIATT-III- Mary Ellen Tillotson
Technology and Collaboration Tools – James Williamson
IXL- Amy Wright
Preschool Initiatives and Standards Based Reporting- Andrea Carey
Gmail and Google Calendar- Melissa Mathurin
Google Forms/Flubaroo- Lisa Cardin
BreakoutEDU- Steve Boss
CPI Training- Sue McPherson
The Power of Story- Tracy Lafreniere
Infinite Campus 6-12- Melissa Mathurin
Google Time- Steve Boss
Digital Citizenship Continuum of Study- James Fitzgerald
Extensions, Apps and Add-Ons- Deana Cook
Cues, Questions and Advanced Organizers- Dr. Betty Calise
Open Circle- Diane Jolin and Jen Daigneault
Understanding and Managing Behavior Expectations- Dr. Ellen Reinhardt
Analyzing data with Google sheets- Michael St. Jean
Teacher Assistant Roles in the Classroom- Andrea
504 Plans and the classroom-Suzanne Rathbun
Enhancing Classroom Management and Productivity with Technology- James Williamson


All teachers fill out an online PD feedback form at the close of the PD day. The feedback couldn’t have been better! The time, energy and effort of all involved is appreciated!
 

PARCC Results

 In the coming weeks parents will receive the results of their children’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC.) These results are for the Spring 2016 English Language Arts and mathematics state assessments in grades 3 to 10. The individualized reports will show how each student performed on the tests, and where those scores fall compared to the average scores for other students in Rhode Island and the district.

The reports will also show whether a student has met the standard in the assessed area, and will identify specific strengths and weaknesses based on the results.Individual students will receive PARCC scores for Mathematics and English-Language Arts. Scores show a student’s readiness for college and careers, using the scale belwo:

o Score of 5: Exceeded expectations
o Score of 4: Met expectations
o Score of 3: Approaching expectations
o Score of 2: Partially met expectations
o Score of 1: Did not meet expectations
 
North Smithfield Schools exceeded the state average at almost every level and showed significant improvement in participation. North Smithfield High School was recognized in the area of  mathematics in a press release from the RI Department of Education for improvement: "North Smithfield High School, up 29 points in achievement and 32 points in participation."
 
Administrators and teachers use this data to inform curriculum and instructional decisions. While we will continue to work towards improving student achievement meeting these more rigorous standards, we are pleased that NS Schools are making improvements. We certainly expect further improvements as we deepen implementation of rigorous standards.
 
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