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 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 .
To learn more about the specific sessions offered, please click here:
For a brochure with specific session times and schedule, please click here:
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