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 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. Upcoming unit implementation/professional development dates:
February 1st- Grade 2 “Insects and Plants”
February 9th- Grade 8 “Electromagnetic Waves”
March 1st- Grade 4 “Landforms”
March 2nd- Grade 3 “Structures of Life”
March 6th- Grade 5 “Living Systems”
In 2010, The School Districts of Burrillville, Lincoln, North Smithfield and Smithfield formed, by a Resolution of each School Committee, the Northwest School District Consortium (NWSC). The purpose of the Consortium was to create cost efficiencies and share resources while improving the quality of education across all four districts.
The Northwest Consortium Career and Technical Education mission is to work collaboratively to ensure a diversity of programming within the four districts and allow for the strategic utilization of resources.
Our Career and Technical Pathway Programs engage students to be problem solvers and self-motivated adults with the communication skills and academic aptitude to succeed in their desired post-secondary college and career choices. The four high schools within the consortium collaboratively provide students unique educational programs that are intellectually stimulating and personally relevant with a strong emphasis on becoming responsible citizens. Our pathways leverage technology, business partnerships, project-based learning, and 21st Century teaching to enhance the student experience.
In 2017, the Governor signed a bill into law that allows districts to submit detailed plans for their schools to conduct instruction through virtual education when schools have been closed due to inclement weather or other emergency.
North Smithfield Schools is interested in gauging the interest of all stakeholders in Virtual Instruction Days in North Smithfield beginning in the 2018-2019 school year and whether to pursue this as an option in the future.
In alignment with the RIDE guidance, Virtual Instruction Days would be structured so that teachers assign work that can be done virtually or on paper and there will be extended time after the virtual day allowed to complete this work to allow for internet and technical issues. Teachers will be available all day to assist students and all work will be aligned to the established teaching standards. While a formal policy and procedure has not yet been created, we must begin with gauging stakeholder interest. The two question survey will be sent to parents, teachers, staff and administrators.
All middle school and high school math and science teachers have participated in Gizmo professional development. The Gizmo platform has online simulations that students access using chromebooks. Interactive design allows for extensive manipulation of variables and "what-if" experimentation.Visualizations and graphing tools help capture and compare results from experiments. Teachers are finding the platform to be user friendly and highly engaging.
The PDAC committee has been the driving force to our approach to the district’s professional development system. The Professional Development Advisory Committee is a volunteer team of K-12 teachers that meets quarterly to help develop and refine the district’s professional development plan. The team has worked over the years to revamp the system and structure of professional development days which has received positive feedback. Our first PD day for the 17-18 school year was on August 30th. We were able to offer over twenty different sessions throughout the day due to a collective effort of faculty, staff and administrators. We are incredibly appreciative of the time, energy and efforts of all involved!
This past summer the North Smithfield School Department hosted a Freshman Math Academy for the Class of 2021. The Math Academy was developed for all students. During the Freshman Math Academy students learned to navigate the school building, met new friends and reacquainted with old friends, as well as, learned concepts and skills that came directly from their first unit of study in math as freshman. The concepts were tied to each student’s freshman math class including, Honors Geometry, Geometry, Algebra Readiness and Algebra I. We are incredibly thankful to have had local business professionals, Mr. Michael Black and Mr. Ed Yazbak, come in to share with students “real world” math applications and connections. Students took a survey at the end of the program and gave informative feedback and positive reviews.
As you may have heard, RI has made some significant changes to the State Assessment system. PARCC will be replaced by "RICAS" which is being purchased from Massachusetts. Massachusetts uses the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.) The MCAS has been updated and is referred to as the "Next Generation MCAS." The Next Generation MCAS (aka RICAS) will be almost identical to PARCC in many respects as it will include some PARCC questions and will use the Pearson platform. RI will also be purchasing a new science assessment to assess the Next Generation Science Standards. RI is not using the Massachusetts science assessment.
Here are a few important bits of information:
The North Smithfield School Department is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Freshman Math Academy for the Class of 2021. The four day Math Academy is for all incoming 9th grade students and will be held at North Smithfield High School on August 15th, 16th, 17th, & 18th.
Who: Incoming Freshman (Class of 2021)
What: Freshman Math Academy
Where: North Smithfield High School
When: August 15th, 16th, 17th & 18th
During the Freshman Math Academy students will:
· Learn to navigate the school building
· Meet new friends and reacquaint with old friends
· Learn concepts and skills that come directly from their first unit of study in math as freshman
· Learn concepts that will be tied to your student’s freshmen math class including:
o Honors Geometry
o Algebra Readiness
o Algebra I
Spring 2017 PARCC administration is currently ongoing in Illinois, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island (along with schools managed by the federal Bureau of Indian Education), and to date, more than 1 million assessments have been administered. The District of Columbia is the last jurisdiction to begin PARCC testing, with schools in the nation's capital beginning administration this coming week. To find out when your local school district is administering tests, please contact them directly.
The PARCC consortium website has resources for students, parents, and teachers to learn more about the assessments, how they are designed, and the ways they have been built to be accessible to all students. The site also features practice tests, answer keys for authentic items from previous years' assessments, links to technology readiness tools, a checklist for parents, and much more, including resources from partners like the National PTA, Learning Heroes, and GreatKids.
Clare Arnold, Assistant Superintendent