From the Director of Instruction

December 2015

Winter Greetings!

I apologize in advance to all of the fans of winter out there but, I'm loving this winter weather! I continue to be impressed at the great work that is happening in classrooms across the district. From elementary to secondary, discussions about student data, instructional practices, and curriculum are happening in PLC meetings, curriculum meetings, staff meetings, etc.. These conversations and practices will only help us to grow stronger as a district and help us to better meet the needs of our students. As 2015 comes to an end, I hope that you have a restful break. I look forward to continued work with all of you in the new year!
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M-STEP Assessment Results

At the end of October, the State of Michigan released statewide results for the M-STEP assessments that were given last spring. I included those results in my November newsletter. According to the state, "Statewide student scores, while higher than expected, were lower than prior MEAP test scores. M-STEP is the first test to measure Michigan’s higher English language arts and mathematics learning standards approved by the State Board of Education in 2010."

The state has released raw data and as you may be aware, that data is available for your review in the Golden Package. Please keep in mind that that state has not lifted the embargo on this data yet. This means that data may not be shared outside of our district staff. I anticipate the embargo being lifted within the next few days. As a district, we should expect to see a significant decrease in the percentage of students who are proficient in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies, consistent with statewide results.

We have many excellent initiatives in place in our district to increase student achievement and help all of our students to be career and college ready. Our district’s K-12 Curriculum Committees have been meeting to discuss our curriculum and make adjustments to meet the needs of our students and put us in a position to meet and exceed standards established by the state. Our district’s Professional Learning Communities are working to improve their practices in order to provide students with the best instruction possible, I see groups of teachers working collaboratively to fine tune common assessments, examine data from common assessments, and work to provide students with opportunities for enrichment and intervention on essential standards. The Multi-tiered systems of support being implemented across the district continue to improve and assist us in meeting the needs of all of our students.

The average ACT composite score from our current senior class is the highest it has been in five years and has continued on a positive trend. We are taking the steps necessary to prepare for the transition to the SAT and anticipate receiving results from the PSAT, recently taken by our junior class, in the near future to assist in the planning efforts. Results from the NWEA MAP assessments taken by our K-8 students show that we continue to increase the number of students who meet or exceed their target growth each year.

The work of our school district cannot be defined by the results of one assessment. While we will use the results of the M-Step assessment to help us improve and grow as a district, it is important not to lose sight of the work we do everyday in order to prepare our students for success.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about M-Step data as you review it.

NWEA Winter Testing

NWEA winter testing will take place starting January 11th.

Check out this article: Six Ways NWEA MAP Data can help Students and Teachers.

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Did you know that the district has a PLC Leadership team? This team is charged with providing guidance and planning professional development for staff to help with the PLC process. Is your PLC struggling to identify essential standards? Are you having trouble navigating the data analysis protocol? Do you need help deciphering the difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 intervention? Your feedback is important. Please let me know how we can support your PLC!
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Educator Evaluation Changes

As you are likely aware, there have been modifications to requirements for educator evaluations beginning this school year. The change that takes place this year that impacts all of our educator evaluations is that the student growth data requirement has been decreased from 50% to 25%. Summative evaluations will now be weighted using the following percentages:

10% Building Goal

15% PGP – Student Growth Component

15% PGP – Process

60% Walkthrough Data and Feedback

Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Did you know.... Every Student Succeeds Act replaces No Child Left Behind

President Obama has signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). According to ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), the key highlights of ESSA include:

  • Shifting key decisions about accountability, educator evaluations, and school improvement to state and district authorities.
  • Updating the definition and delivery of educator supports to ensure personalized, ongoing, job-embedded activities are available to all school staff.
  • Allowing states to limit the amount of time spent testing and decide how much weight to give tests in their accountability systems.
  • Requiring state accountability systems to include both academic and other indicators of school quality, such as student or educator engagement or school climate and safety.
  • Requiring state plans to show how they are improving conditions for learning, including reducing bullying and harassment and addressing behavioral interventions that compromise student health and safety.

I'm sure there will be additional communication in coming weeks and months on how this will impact the State of Michigan. I'll be sure to pass that along as it becomes available.