• February 12, 2016

    Dear Parents and Guardians of Students in Grades 3-8,

    I am writing to inform you of some changes in the New York State testing program (NYSTP) that will impact your child’s testing experience. 

    As you know, with the adoption of new standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics in 2011, the NYSTP has undergone numerous changes during the past several years.  This transitional period has seen changes in the length of tests, types of questions, and addition of “field test” questions occurring within the yearly spring exams. 

    Two recent changes, announced in January, 2016, will impact your child’s testing experience this spring.  

    • The length of both the ELA and Mathematics tests has been reduced. 
      • In ELA there will be a slight reduction in the number of reading passages students will be required to read as well as a reduction in the number of questions that will appear on the tests.
      • In Mathematics, the number of multiple choice questions has been reduced.
    • The testing sessions will be untimed – allowing students to work at their own pace to complete the tests to the best of their ability.  Additional information about how this will be accomplished will be forthcoming from our building principals at SIS and SMS.

    The following is our spring testing schedule:

    New York State Assessment  for Grades 3-8

    Administration Dates

    Make-up Dates

    English Language Arts

    Tuesday, April 5 –       

    Thursday, April 7

    Friday, April 8 –

    Tuesday, April 12

    Mathematics

    Wednesday, April 13 –

    Friday, April 15

    Monday, April 18 –

    Wednesday, April 20

    Grade 4 Science Performance Test

    Wednesday, May 25 –

    Friday, June 3

    Make-ups must be given within the testing window

    Grade 8 Science Performance Test

    Wednesday, May 25 –

    Friday, June 3

    Make-ups must be given within the testing window

    As always, should you have any questions, please reach out to me or your building principals. 

    Wishing you a warm and enjoyable winter recess and time to create special family memories.

    Sincerely,

    Julie Gherardi

    Assistant Superintendent for Learning


     
     
    NYSED Update

     

    As a New York State public school, we are bound by the regulations of the New York State Education Department and their governing body. 

     

    The following recent changes play a significant role in our work:

     

    NewYork State adopted the Common Core Learning Standards for Math and for English Language Arts and the Technical Subjects (all other subjects outside of ELA and Math) in 2010.  These standards inform the development of curriculum in all subject areas and all grades. 

    The major shifts in these new standards are:

    For ELA and Technical Subjects

    1.     Building knowledge through content-rich non fiction

    2.     Reading,writing and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational

    3.     Regular practice with complex text and its academic language

    For Math

    1.     Focusing more strongly on the prioritized standards

    2.     Thinking across grades and linking to major topics within the grades

    3.     Pursuing conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency along with application of these

     

    The focus of the Common Core State Standards movement is to ensure that upon graduation from high school, all students are college or career ready. The Common Core State Standards have been adopted by 45 states.  The authors of the standards are the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

     

    New York State Testing Program

     

    As a result of the adoption of new standards, state tests have been undergoing changes.  The first round of Common Core aligned state tests was administered during the spring of 2013. These tests were longer and more challenging.  As with any new testing program, the initial implementation – usually 3-5 years – involves adjustment and study of test format and questions in order to ensure that the tests are accurately measuring student learning in relation to the new standards.  We work through these initial implementation years by maintaining our district's focus on student learning and building a strong bank of our own assessments in order to give us more timely and relevant feedback with regard to student learning.

     

     

    Helpful NYSED Resource:

    This site provides information about the Common Core Learning Standards and New York State testing program.

    http://www.engageny.org/parent-and-family-resources

     

     

    New Teacher Evaluation Program

     

    In order to acquire federal grant money from the federal Race to the Top initiative which hopes to close the achievement gap among students in the United States, New York created a new teacher evaluation plan. Titled the Annual Professional Performance Review Plan (APPR), it requires all New York State public schools to evaluate teachers using a consistent model of effective practice and to link student learning data to a teacher’s performance review.

     

    Local Assistance Plan

     
    New York State assessment data in English Language Arts and Mathematics for 3rd grade during the 2013-2014 school year prompted a review of programs and practices for special education students in Primrose School.  The NYSTP data identified an achievement gap between the third grade general education students and identified special education students.  Because this involved only the third grade students, the school for focus was Primrose where students build early foundational skills prior to their initial testing experience in grade three.  
     
    The request for this review came 2 1/2 years after the assessment and since this testing period, several measures had already been put into place to improve learning for all students.  This self-review gave a team of district and building administrators and faculty members the opportunity to recognize the work that has already been done as well as identify plans for continuous improvement. 
     
    Click here to access the completed Local Assistance Plan with the identified areas of focus for improvement.