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Summer Technology Institute

 Dear North Smithfield Faculty and Staff,

I am happy to send you an invitation to the Summer Technology Institute.

The four school districts of the RI Northwest Schools Consortium, Burrillville, Lincoln, North Smithfield and Smithfield, are excited to offer a summer Teacher Technology Institute open to all teachers, administrators or staff members from any of the four districts. The institute will consist of four professional development sessions spread across two days. Each session will focus on different technology tools and how to integrate them into your current work. All sessions are available to participants free of charge, although seating will be limited.

The summer 2014 Teacher Technology Institute will be held on Tuesday, July 29th and Wednesday, July 30th at Lincoln Middle School. There will be a number of different sessions to choose from, so please look at the course catalog for specific information about each session.

Visit for more information and to register for any of the sessions.


Parent Survey

Dear Parents,

As you know, we've implemented a new Math Curriculum this year! We've worked hard to provide parents and students with information to help them in their math education. We would like to ask you about your awareness of our Math Curriculum initiative and Math Unit Guide initiative. Please take a moment to complete this online survey. We appreciate your feedback in order to help your students!! Thank you!!!


The NS District Data Team

Dr. Mary Ellen Tillotson, North Smithfield High School/Middle School
Mrs. Michelle Halloran, North Smithfield High School/Middle School
Mrs. Amy Gibbons, North Smithfield High School
Mrs. Diana Comtois, North Smithfield High School
Mr. William Pepin, North Smithfield High School
Mrs. Angela Dacosta, North Smithfield Middle School
Mrs. Renee Guertin, North Smithfield Middle School
Mrs. Jillian Bitee, North Smithfield Elementary School
Ms. Cheryl Sachs, North Smithfield Elementary School/Halliwell School
Mr. Mark Salisbury, Halliwell School

Below is a sample unit guide that teachers have created to keep parents and students informed, as well as,  share online resources and tutorials.

District Professional Development Advisory Committee Meeting

 Just a friendly reminder that the District Professional Development Advisory Committee will  be meeting on Thursday, May 8th at 3:00pm at KD. I am looking forward to it!


Mathematics Common Core Task Force

Dear Math Common Core Task Force,

The next Mathematics Common Core Task Force meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 3:00 at KD.
We will meet to discuss:

  • Curriculum implementation strengths and areas in need of improvement
  • Parent/Student Unit Guide Initiative
  • Curriculum and Assessment Refinement Grant
  • Materials and Supplies
  • Google Docs and assessments

All interested Math/ Sp Ed teachers are welcome (even if it is your first time participating.) If you are an elementary teacher, feel free to work it out with your principal so you can be at KD for 3:00. But if you arrive late, no worries.

Go Math!


ELA PARCC Model Content Framework

 This is just a reminder, that the English Language Arts curriculum was based on the Model Content Framework. The template that we utilized is a really great 'snapshot' of the curriculum for the year. To access the framework, go to the 'curriculum documents' tab and select ELA curriculum and click on the grade level. Each grade level has a live binder with the curriculum documents. The PARCC framework tab can provide quick and useful infomation.

NS Curriculum and Initiatives Newsletter Update

Dear Teachers,

It has been quite a year for the curriculum department- changing standards, developing curriculum and implementing new/comprehensive programs is an enormous undertaking. It involves studying standards, identifying best practices for instruction, compiling resources for instruction, developing assessments, creating rubrics, analyzing data, organizing systems and structures to inform community and much more. I say this all because I want to acknowledge your work, effort and commitment.

This newsletter communication is simply to keep you all in the loop.


District Data Use Team

This year we have developed and implemented a District Data Use Team. This team is participating in a Data Use Professional Development series to learn and implement a culture of collaborative data use. These educators will be critical in implementing and maintaining data-driven instructional practices at the district and school level. We truly appreciate the time and effort of the team members: Jilian Bitee, Cheryl Sachs, Mark Salisbury, Renee Guertin, Angela DaCosta, Michelle Halloran, Mary Ellen Tillotson, Amy Gibbins, William Pepin, Carolyn Frayne, Diane Jolin, John Lahar and Robert Mezzanotte. The District Data Use team is in the process of analyzing mathematics data across the district and will ultimately make recommendations about strengths, areas in need of improvement, as well as, recommendations for future professional development sessions. 

Math Unit Assessment Project

This Mathematics Assessment Project utilized grant funds to convene a group of K-12 teacher leaders to study assessment best practices, research on-line resources and develop mathematics unit assessments aligned to the common core standards. The unit assessments were formatted to align with newly developed curriculum based on the PARCC model Content Frameworks and Common Core Standards as well as the development of rubrics to assess mathematical practices. Developing unit assessments aligned to the developed curriculum based on the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC content frameworks was critical piece. The unit assessments help clarify the level of rigor expected from the standards and allow for measuring student proficiency of those target skills as the year of instruction progresses. Each assessment has a variety of DOK questions in a multiple choice, short answer and constructed response format. Teachers utilized resources available (Illustrative Mathematics Project funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IMS system, RIDE test construction tool, Khan Academy and many more vetted resources) and compiled assessment questions/problems by grade level and standard. This initiative has proven to be challenging is so many ways, but equally it has been powerful as we flipped the switch to the common core. I am not exactly sure how to thank folks for thousands of hours of work. So, I say ‘thank you’ knowing that it is not enough. 

K-5 Writing Assessments

 The fabulous K-5 curriculum writers and grade level teams organized the writing genres into three trimester focus areas. For example, during trimester two for second grade, the focus area of instruction is ‘opinion writing’ which constitutes approximately 60% of instructional time. This leaves 20% of the time for Narrative writing and 20% for Informational writing. It is a great framework that gives the educator clear path to follow. For each focus area, our literacy department developed/modified on-demand prompts that align with the focus area. I can’t tell you all enough how impressed I have been with the student products that you all have been sharing with me. Seriously, it is almost breathtaking to see what our littlest ones are able to produce. In the future, I would love to do some collaborative scoring and discussion…. But one thing at a time, we can table that idea for now.

Professional Development Advisory Committee

I would like to expand our Professional Development Advisory team. Currently we have four educators (one from each building) that meet with me to discuss professional development plans and initiatives. Ideally, I would like to have two building administrators and eight teachers participate. This team will look at the system and structure of our current PD days and make some recommendations to extend and refine our system. It is a voluntary group that would meet after school. If you are interested in serving, please shoot me an email. 

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