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.
The world our children face is rapidly changing, requiring new skills and preparation to be ready for college, career and citizenship. A blended approach enables educators to integrate technology with face to face instruction to differentiate and personalize learning for all students. Through engaging and rigorous standards-based instruction, blended learning allows all students to reach their potential.
Differentiation: Teachers respond to student learning needs based on continuous formative assessment practices. Instruction is paced to learner needs and tailored to learner styles.
Personalization: (Standards-based) Instruction is tailored to learning preferences and connected to student interests. Students have voice and choice in their learning and opportunities to participate in decisions about content extensions, skill applications or demonstrations of knowledge.
Engagement: Students are actively involved in their learning, persist through challenges and are proud of the work they produce.
Environment: The classroom environment supports a variety of learning models; collaborative, independent and small group activities; productive student interactions; as well as systems that promote the integration of technology into instruction.
Through the Northwest Consortium (North Smithfield, Lincoln, Burrillville and Smithfield), our High School Science teachers participated in a full day professional development session with East Bay Collaborative focusing on biology, chemistry and physics lesson development aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers in all four school districts filled out a feedback survey which validated the need and support for multi-district professional development. All teachers found the day to be valuable and engaging.
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. Grades 3-5 teachers will be participating in science PD in the coming weeks. A few of the dates were rescheduled due to snow and weather cancellations. Grade 5 teachers will be participating in the“Earth and Sun” unit professional development, grade 4 teachers will participate in the “Environment” unit professional development and grade 3 teachers will focus on the “Matter and Motion” unit.
The final professional development day was held on February 17, 2017. We offered 20+ different sessions including: Personalized Learning, CPR overview, Math Problem Solving, Hyper Docs, ELL Resources, Next Generation Reading Instruction, Osmos, Technology Troubleshooting, Teaching Empathy, Amazing Race-The Google Form Way, and many more. The vast offerings are due to the continued support of our whole-school community. A special thanks goes out session presenters: Dr. Mary Ellen Tillotson, Ryan Manzi, Dr. Betty Calise, Amy Wright, Tracey Nangle, Jennifer Ramirez, Tracy Lafreniere, Andrea Carey, Jen Daigneault, Tara Williams, Alyssa Koerner, Adam Stanley, Marc Braydon, Melissa Mathurin, Diane Jolin, Michael St. Jean, Brittany Robichaud, Sarah Glover, and John Lahar.
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. Typically each PD day is broken into three separate sessions in an “un-conference” format. Teachers are provided a menu of topics and chose from, session instructors include teacher leaders, administrators and consultants. Our last Professional Development Advisory Committee meeting was held on January 23rd @ 3:15 in the Middle School. A special thanks goes out to committee members for their help planning PD day as well as working on the 17-18 school calendar. The PDAC members include: Alyssa Koerner, Jennifer Daigneault, Brittany Robichaud, Amy Wright, Tracey Nangle, Deana Cook, Sarah Glover, Adam Stanley, Corinne Ferri, Tracy Lafreniere, Diane Jolin, and Kimberly Rawson.
Our Community of Practice initiative is going strong. 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. We appreciate the support of the Northwest Consortium districts for the support. We have recently visited classrooms in Smithfield, Lincoln and Burrillville. All grade levels had positive feedback. After the school visitations all ELA grade level teams met with the Curriculum Director to discuss our writing focus “prose constructed response” and share expectations and student work. This week the High School English teachers will be conducting observations and participating in the planning sessions.
Also, through the Northwest Consortium (North Smithfield, Lincoln, Burrillville and Smithfield), our High School Science teachers will be participating in a full day professional development session with East Bay Collaborative focusing on biology, chemistry and physics lesson development aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.
Clare Arnold, Assistant Superintendent