Volume # 7
January 2018
 
In order to assist you as the primary educator of your children, we have committed to providing you with three Pillar in Action newsletters a year. Each of these newsletters will follow a specific theme that ties to one or more of our mission pillars. The content of these newsletters is created by the faculty and staff of BFCCPS.
 
If you have any questions or would like further information on any of the information included in this newsletter, please contact Mrs. Zolnowski. Previous issues are archived here

Data and Evaluation:  
Our second edition of the Pillar in Action Newsletter is focused specifically on your role as the Parent as Primary EducatorThis issue is dedicated to sharing more information on our Accountability Report Card created by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as well as about the various assessment tools that we use here at BFCCPS.

Recently parents of students in Grades Four through Eight received the MCAS scores from the 2016-2017 School Year.   MCAS is only one of the many sources of data that we use to continually monitor the progress of our students.  In this issue, you will learn more about  the various assessment tools that we use here at BFCCPS. 

Each year, we begin by assessing students in the areas of math, reading, and language (including grammar, punctuation, etc.)  We also assess students in the middle of the year and end of the year using benchmark assessments.  We have used various assessments in grades K-8 that align with our curricular programs, mainly Wonders for Reading and Language, Expressions for math K-6, and Big Ideas for math 7/8.   

This year we are also piloting MAP growth assessments as a way to determine your child's instructional level, and academic growth over the year.  This assessment can be used to not only measures academic growth throughout the school year, but also from year to year in the areas of Reading, Language, and Mathematics.   

BFCCPS District Report Card:  

We are pleased to attach a copy of our school's report card . It contains information about school and district accountability, achievement, our students and teachers, and other important measures of school performance.

The first page of the report card contains important accountability information:
  • Accountability and Assistance Levels: Schools and districts are placed into one of five accountability and assistance levels (1-5), with the highest rating being Level 1 and lowest rating being Level 5.
  • BFCCPS has been a Level 1 school for 5 years, since the DESE started the leveling system in the 2012-2013 academic year.  Since Accountability/Assistance levels are mostly based on MCAS performance, and last year was the first year of MCAS 2.0, Accountability/Assistance levels were based on meeting MCAS 2.0 participation guidelines.  All schools that were previously a level 1,2, or 3 that met these thresholds were given an accountability "Pause" and granted a  "no level" designation.  Any school that did not meet the threshold and was previously a 1, 2 or 3 received a level of 3.  All schools that were a level 4 or 5 maintained their level for the 2017-2018 school year. Since we were a level 1 school in 2016-2017, we met our participation threshold of 90% of students taking the MCAS, BFCCPS is considered a "no level" school.
Please read below about our Response to Intervention RTI Pilot program that we are implementing to improve student performance in a targeted fashion. We encourage you to become involved in helping us improve our school. Some of the ways you can become involved are:
Finally, since your child attends a school that receives federal  Title I funds, you also have the right to request the following information about the qualifications of your child's classroom teachers:
  • Whether your child's teacher is licensed in the grade levels and subject areas they teach
  • Whether your child's teacher is teaching under an emergency license or waiver
  • The college degree and major of your child's teacher
  • Whether your child is provided services by paraprofessionals and, if so, their qualifications
For more information about what we are doing to improve student achievement or to request information about the qualifications of your child's classroom teachers, please feel free to contact Mrs. Zolnowski at  hzolnowski@bfccps.org. For a full copy of this report card, or to see report cards for other schools, visit  profiles.doe.mass.edu.  


MCAS: 

You should have received a copy of your student' 2017 MCAS 2.0 results if they are currently in 4-8th grade.  

2017 was a pilot year for the MCAS 2.0 assessment in both Math and Reading. MCAS is a high-stakes, yearly assessment required of all students attending public schools in Massachusetts.  

Students were tested in grades 3-8 in Math and Reading in an electronic format in March and May of 2017.  Results were not provided to the schools until October of 2017.  Students in grades 5 and 8 took a legacy, paper and pencil based assessment for Science, Technology and Engineering. 

While it is difficult to base any instructional decisions on pilot testing that was administered in March/May of one academic year, and results shared in October of the following academic year, we do look at the data provided by these assessments to see if they support academic strengths or areas of improvement that we are seeing in the classroom, and through internal assessments.    

To see a grade level comparison of how our students performed compared to the state averages in each content area tested at each grade level, please click  here .  These graphs show the percentage of students tested in each grade level that met or exceeded grade level expectations for reading and math for each grade level.  It also shows how our students did compared to the aggregate of students in our sending districts (the towns in which our students live).

The state mandated  MCAS testing will take place in April and May. 
  • Grades 3-8 will take the ELA MCAS between Monday, April 2- Friday, April 13.  
  • Grades 3-8 will take the Math MCAS between Monday, April 30- Friday May 11.  
  • Grades 5 and 8 will also be taking Science MCAS exam between Monday, April 30- Friday, May 11.  
Here at BFCCPS we don't "teach to the test" but we are confident that the rigorous education we provide to our students has them prepared for the challenges of MCAS.  Additionally, their ongoing use of technology in the classroom provides them with the skills they need to easily navigate the online testing environment.

General Information:
  • All testing this year will be electronic (including Science, Technology and Engineering for students in grades 5 and 8).
  • 3-5 Grade Students will take three sessions of ELA
  • 6-8 Grade Students will take two sessions of ELA

  • 5 & 8 have two sessions of Science  and Technology/Engineering (STE).

  • All students in grades 3-8 have two math sessions


MAP Testing

This year, we are piloting a coordinated, standards based assessment for students in grades K-8.  All students completed the Measures of Academic ProgressĀ® (MAPĀ®) test at the beginning of the year to determine their instructional level.  These served as baseline assessments for the school year.  The next two rounds of MAP testing will be used to measure academic growth throughout the school year.  Future testing will be used to measure year to year growth in the areas of Reading, Language, and Mathematics. 

The second round of MAP testing will take place between  Tuesday, January 16 through Friday, January 26.  

Each school year, students in grades K-2   take the tests in Reading (approximately two 20 minute sessions) and Mathematics (approximately two 20 minute sessions), and grades 3-8 take the tests in Reading, Language, and Mathematics (each in approximately 45 minute session). We will administer MAP tests 3 times/year. MAP tests are administered electronically, and are unique in that they adapt to be appropriate for your child's level of learning. As a result, each student has the same opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing.  MAP assessments are shorter tests than MCAS assessments, use less class time to administer, and we receive detailed, accurate information on each student's growth immediately following testing. The assessments are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, and are a good indication of how a student may perform on the MCAS exam.    

After each administration, grade level teams meet with administration, and Reading/Math specialists to discuss the results, and suggest interventions for students who are performing below grade levelexpectations.  These interventions are based on specific areas of improvement for each child needing an intervention, and include what the intervention is, who will be delivering it, how progress towards the goal will be measured.  We meet again 6 weeks after that initial meeting to monitor students' progress towards their intervention goals.  This process is referred to as Response to Intervention (RTI).  We are in the pilot stages of this process, and have been working with other schools who have successfully implemented RTI practices to establish and execute our RTI program.  It is a work in progress, and something we will continue to refine as we go through the process.  

We have received training in administering the MAP Growth assessment, and how to interpret the results, and use those results to inform our instruction.  While this is a pilot phase of the program, we have not yet shared this data with parents, as we are still learning to interpret it our selves.  As we get more comfortable with the program and the reports, we will begin sharing student reports with parents. If your child isreceiving intervention services as a result of the January MAP testing, you will receive an email notification from me detailing what your child is receiving intervention for, and who will be delivering it.  If you do have any specific questions on your child's participation or results, please feel free to  reach out to me at  hzolnowski@bfccps.org .

We are truly excited to begin a new era that focuses on every child's individual growth and achievement. Partnering to help all kids learn, parents and teachers can have a profound positive effect on the lives of our children.



Parent Portal: 


BFCCPS offers parents insight into students calendar, upcoming assignments and grades through the BFCCPS Parent Portal

Starting this year, all report cards (and mid-term reports for students in Grade 5-8) are published to the Parent Portal for download. Should you need to obtain your username and password for the portal, please contact Deb Leonard for assistance. 



BFCCPS  | 508-541-3434 | bfccps.org