carnold's blog

Mathematics Core Implementation and Parent Communication Project

The “Mathematics Core Implementation and Parent Communication Project” is a project supporting the launch of mathematics curriculum implementation aligned to the common core standards. To propel and support the implementation, this project consists of developing communication tools for parents. The parent communication tool is a guide for each mathematics unit of study (all grade levels have a total of five units of study for the year) and will be available online and in hard copy. The guides (currently in development) clearly explains the standards taught in the unit, has suggestions for parents as to how to support their child, links to online videos and practice sites by standard and examples of problems to solve for practice by standard. The guide is driven by these parent questions… What is my child learning in math? How can I support my child? Where can I find online resources for tutorials and practice? What types of math problems will my child have to solve? When will my child be assessed on these standards? Are there practice problems I can do with my child? This initiative is on-going, thus far I have received positive feedback from teachers and parents. 

Social Studies Curriculum Development Update

This year, we are writing social studies curriculum for grades 7-12. The reason we decided to put K-6 social studies curriculum writing ‘on-hold’ for now is simply because K-6 classroom teachers instruct in all subjects and are in the process of implementing new curriculum in ELA and Math. The 7-12 teachers began the curriculum process by meeting for a full day during a PD day to determine the content, courses, and framework - including a 7-12 scope and sequence of topics. Each grade level/course team will meet for four days to unpack each standard, develop a curriculum guide, group standards into units of study, identify ‘best-practice’ teaching strategies, develop units and create rubrics. Our Social Studies task force is in the process of creating a mission and guiding beliefs as the foundation of our curriculum work. The NS social studies teachers have been amazingly committed to this important project.  

PE Curriculum and Task Force

The K-12 Physical Education curriculum is complete. Each team of teachers met for four days to develop a curriculum guide, curriculum map, units of study and scoring rubrics. The curriculum is thorough, thoughtful and clear. I sincerely appreciate our teachers’ tremendous effort and time. Once the documents are finalized, they will be uploaded into a ‘live binder’ and will available on the North Smithfield curriculum website. The Physical education Task Force team met regularly throughout the curriculum writing process. The team developed a mission statement and guiding beliefs, which is the cornerstone of the curriculum work. The task force participated in engaging conversations about instruction, teaching and learning strategies, and grading practices. The task force ensured through their participation and communication that our curriculum is articulated and truly aligned K-12. With much appreciation, I would like recognize Pam Authier, Jeff Crins, Nancy Crowell, Mary DiSpirito, Kathleen Fagnant, James Fitzgerald, Amy Gravel, Mark LaBossiere, Christina Lima, Alisha Pirri, Ariana Stranton and Matthew Tek for their commitment and energy to this work!!! 

PARCC Practice Test

 Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am writing to let you know about an important opportunity that our schools are participating in this spring.

As you may have heard, Rhode Island is among a group of leading states that are in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Rhode Island educators are helping to develop next-generation tests in math, reading, and writing that are of exceptional quality and will measure students’ content knowledge and key skills, such as their ability to think critically, solve problems and use information from what they read to write well-developed essays.

Before we can administer these tests—which will be replacing the NECAP Mathematics, Reading, and Writing tests—we have to have a practice run of the tests this spring. The practice run provides an opportunity to “test the test” to see how well it works and whether we need to make any adjustments before kids take the actual PARCC assessments in the 2014-15 school year. Some students will be taking a paper-based version of the assessment and others will take an online version. For those schools administering the assessment online, this is also a great time for us to make sure the tablets, laptops and desktop computers most students will use for the PARCC assessments next year work properly and will meet the minimum requirements for online testing. Although students and schools will not get scores back based on the assessment, they will get a chance to engage in challenging math or reading problems and writing exercises. By taking part in the practice run, our teachers and students will play an important role in the development of Rhode Island’s future tests.

Educators throughout the state are looking forward to this opportunity to become more familiar with PARCC, which is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. These Standards, adopted by Rhode Island back in 2010, are designed to prepare students for success in college and careers.

The practice run will help us to make sure the PARCC assessments are as good as they can be. If selected to participate in a PARCC test this year, your child will not receive a score or grade based on her or his performance; however, his/her participation will help to ensure that the test questions are fair, on grade level, and measure the intended skills.

Thank you for your continued involvement in and support of your child's education. If you wish to learn more about PARCC, please visit or ask your child's teacher or principal.

Clare Arnold

Formative Assessment - Resident Expert Team

The North Smithfield School Department has developed a “Formative Assessment - Resident Expert Team" of teachers to study, research and compile resources about formative assessment practices and strategies to enhance instruction and student learning. We are grateful for the work and commitment of our teachers: Jessica Phaneuf, Lindsay Brooks, Jaclyn Cunningham, Kelly Hubacz, Bernadette Hawkins and Tracy Lafreniere. The team will share knowledge and resources during faculty meetings, via the NS Formative Assessment blog and will also create a “formative assessment” library of resources located in a faculty lunch room within each building.
The Formative Assessment Professional Development course is currently available to all Rhode Island educators through RIDEmap. To access the modules, please log into RIDEmap and select the blue Formative Assessment PD link on the right side of the page.
We are using a blended learning approach, which combines interactive online modules with facilitated Communities of Practice at the school level.  The online modules will include direct instruction, testimony from RI educators, video models of practice, assessments of learning, required readings, and extension activities. 
I look forward to working with this talented group of teachers and will certainly keep you all posted with updates and information.

Upcoming Initiatives

As you know we have quite a few curriculum and professional development days coming up. I will be sending out more information about specific initiatives via email. Just to keep you in the loop, some of the upcoming initiatives include:

  • District Data Use Team
  • Formative Assessment Resident Experts (K-12 Reading Specialists)
  • Argument Writing Resident Experts (one teacher per bldg)
  • 7-12 Social Studies Curriculum Development
  • Mathematics Curriculum and Assessment Refinement Project (this is a big one... each grade level/dept will have up to 4 full days to refine curriculum)
  • Math K-12 Common Core Task Force (after school)
  • SS K-12 Common Core Task Force (after school)
  • ELA K-12 Common Core Task Force (after school)

Important Dates for February

Jan 24th- Resident Expert / Argument Writing Team @ MS 8:00am

Jan 29th- Social Studies Curriculum grade 7

Jan 29th- Social Studies Task Force @ 3:00

Jan 29th- Math Curriculum and Assessment Refinement Project Gr. 6

Jan 30th- Mathematics Curr/Assessment Refinement Project-Grade 5

Jan 31st- Mathematics Curr/Assessment Refinement Project-Grade 5

Feb 3rd- Social Studies Curriculum grade 8 & Geo

Feb 3rd- Math Curr and Assessment Refinement Project Grade 2

Feb 4th- Formative Assessment/ Resident Experts

Feb 5th- Social Studies Curriculum grade 7

Feb 6th- Math Curr and Assessment Refinement Project Gr 3

Feb 7th- Math Curr and Assessment Refinement Project Gr. K

Feb 10th- Social Studies Curriculum grade 8 & Geo

Feb 10th- Math Curr and Assessment Refinement Project Gr. 1

Feb 12th- Social Studies Curriculum grade 7

Feb 12th- Math Curr and Assessment Refinement Project Gr. 4

Feb 13th- District Data Team 8am

Feb 14th- Professional Development Day

Feb 24th- Social Studies Curriculum grade 8 & Geo

Feb 26th- Social Studies Curriculum grade 7

Feb 26th- Math Curr and Assessment Refinement Project Gr. 6
Feb 26th - K-12 ELA Task Force @ 3:00pm

Feb 28th- Math Curr and Assessment Refinement Project Gr. 5


PARCC Field Test

PARCC Field Test – Spring 2014

In spring of 2015, the PARCC assessment will replace NECAP. The PARCC assessment is aligned to the Common Core Standards and is part of a multi-state consortium.

In spring of  2014, the PARCC Field Test will be administered to more than one million students across the 18 PARCC states and the District of Columbia. This Field Test represents a critical milestone in PARCC’s work toward building assessments for the 2014‐15 school year and will give students and local educators the opportunity to experience the administration of PARCC assessments. The Field Test will be conducted in a random selection of schools across the PARCC consortium, and the sample of students in the selected schools will represent the demographics of each state and of PARCC as a whole.

The Field Test will be divided into two separate “testing windows” in spring 2014. The Performance‐Based Assessments (PBAs) will be administered during the March 24th to April 11th test window. The End‐of‐Year (EOY) assessments will be administered during the May 5th to June 6th test window.


The estimated total administration times for the Field Test range from 60 to 120 minutes per session. Times vary by grade level, subject, and type of test. For details on the expected test session lengths at each grade level and for each content area, please see the PARCC Field Test Scheduling Guidelines document. For details on the number of test sessions for each Field Test component, see PARCCFrequently Asked Questions (link below).

Students will not receive scores from the Field Test. The purpose of the Field Test is to gather information about test items and how well the test functions. We will use the Field Test data to learn which test items work well and which need revision. As a result, students will not receive scores and their results will not be available.


In addition to the Field Test, the PARCC Practice Test will be available for all schools to help students become familiar with the PARCC testing technology. The PARCC Practice Test will allow students and educators to become more familiar with the PARCC technology platform as well as with the types of items that will appear on the PARCC assessments. The Practice Test will include a sample of assessment items for each grade level or course as well as a set of scoring guidance. Some accessibility features and accommodations will also be included on the PARCC Practice Test to allow students the opportunity to interact with the various tools and supports that will be part of the testing technology, such as color contrast, magnification, and notepad features. A list of accommodations that will be available for the Field Test will be posted on the PARCC web site.


Click here for the Top 10 things that the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) wants educators to know about the spring 2014 PARCC Field Test.


Math Common Core Task Force Meeting

Dear Math Common Core Task Force,

The next Mathematics Common Core Task Force is scheduled for Monday, December 16, 2013 at 3:00 at KD.

I’d like to meet to review and discuss:

· Assessment implementation, data collection
· Materials and supplies

I think it should be less than an hour to touch base. It would be great if you could attend!!!

Who: Math Common Core Task Force
What: Curriculum/Standards implementation
Where: KD (second floor conference room)
When: Monday, December 16th, 2013 3:00pm

I will send out an additional email to see if there are any other math teachers that would like to join our group. I hope you can make it!!

Go Math!



Argument Writing Blog

Last year our teachers, Jen Daigneault, Corinne Ferri, Tracey Nangle and Hannah Cevoli presented information about argument writing throughout the year. They volunteered to study the common core standards, compile resources, and create an engaging presentation to support us as we transition to the CCSS. They did a great job and I thank them for their time, energy and effort!

After the PD session, one of our HS teachers suggested that we create a blog that all teachers could access to share instructional strategies, tips, and ideas. Great idea, here it is!

All NS teachers are welcome to participate! You may participate by:

(A) visiting and reading the blog
(B) by commenting on posts and information or
(C) by posting your own blog posts sharing your experiences with implementing argument writing

If you would like to post blogs, shoot me an email and I will give you the user name and password.

I will also be available to give a quick tutorial to anyone interested in posting information. It is pretty simple and will only take 15 minutes or so.


Math Common Core Task Force Meeting

This has been quite a busy year already! Implementing the new math curriculum and standards is an enormous undertaking and I must say I am impressed with the dedication, commitment and professionalism of our K-12 math teachers.

During our Math Task Force meeting we will review and discuss:
·      K-12 curriculum documents
·      Sequencing and pacing
·      Assessment implementation, data collection
·      Materials and supplies
·      Professional development plans
Who: Math Common Core Task Force
What: Curriculum/Standards implementation
Where: KD (second floor conference room)
When: Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I am looking forward to seeing you all!


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