In Touch, In Tune

ELA/Reading Reminders, Opportunities, and Inspiration

Thanks for Tuning In!

April 2015


We're excited to launch our first In Touch, In Tune monthly newsletter - packed with reminders, opportunities, and inspiration for Secondary Reading and English Language Arts teachers. We hope this publication will help you feel more "in touch and in tune" with curriculum on a county, state, and global level so that you can continue to grow!

In the Spotlight

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (But Mostly Good!)

Upcoming Meetings

High School Reading Intervention Meeting

Wednesday, April 1st, 7:15-10:15

Staff Development Center


Middle School Reading Intervention Meeting

Wednesday, April 1st, 12:15-3:15

Staff Development Center


RADAR Training for Literacy Specialists

Tuesday, April 7th

Staff Development Center, Lab #1

  • High School 8:00-9:30
  • Middle School 9:30-11:00

Middle School Literacy Specialists & Department Chairs Meeting

Tuesday, April 21st, 8:30-3:00

Staff Development Center, Labs #1 and #2

PARCC Practice Tests

Students can try out sample test questions on the technology platform that they will use when taking the PARCC assessments. Click here to access practice Performance-Based and End-of-Year Assessments. On the PBA Practice Tests, questions 1-7 represent the Literary Analysis Task; questions 8-17 represent the Research Simulation Task; and questions 18-23 represent the Narrative Task.


More information can be found on the ELA website.

ELA Assessment Windows

Formative Research Simulation Task

  • Middle School - Window closed in January (Scores should be in TAC already.)
  • High School - Window closes on 4/2 (Please enter scores into TAC by 4/17.)


Summative Research Simulation Task

  • Middle School - Window closes on 4/17 (Please enter scores into TAC by 5/1.)

  • High School - Window is open 4/7-5/8 (Please enter scores into TAC by 5/22.)


Formative EBSR

  • Middle & High School - Window closes on 4/2 (There's no need to enter scores into TAC.)


Summative EBSR

  • Middle & High School - Window is open 4/7-6/12 (There's no need to enter scores into TAC.)


Click here for full ELA Assessment Windows Chart.


Please Note: There is a modified EBSR (fewer answer choices) available via paper/pencil. Only students with this accommodation on their IEP should use this version. Since the answer key is different, the modified answer sheets need to be graded by hand. Teachers should use the scores as needed for grades/CRES, and they should maintain a record of the modified scores. Teachers should NOT scan the modified answer sheets back into Global Scholar.

Read 180 News

Upcoming SRI Window: May 6- May 15


Tip of the Month: At a recent meeting, High School Literacy Specialists explored the Resources For Differentiated Instruction (RDI) Book 4- Assessment Strategies & Practice. Each lesson in RDI Book 4 presents texts and tasks at three levels of difficulty and focuses on a question type and a standards-based question strategy. Consider how you can best use this resource to meet your students' needs.

Resources to Explore

Dear Poet

April is National Poetry Month! Engage students in this multimedia education project that invites them to read/listen to poetry and write letters to award-winning poets. (We can thank Carrie Mehl for this great find!)


Online Instructional Toolkit

The gateway for thousands of educational resources aligned to Maryland College- and Career-Ready Standards (MCCRS)


ELA Digital Texts Symbaloo

A bank of online resources where you can find varied texts (literary, nonfiction, audio, video, performance, art, etc.)

Instructional Technology Tips

Leadership and Professional Learning Opportunities

Help Us Help You!

Complete this form to let us know your immediate and long-term ELA and Reading Intervention needs. (The link to this form is also located on the ELA website.)

Don't Be Shy!

Is there something you'd like to share in next month's In Touch, In Tune publication? Email Kristi.Schmidt@fcps.org (English Language Arts) or Susan.Verdi@fcps.org (Reading Intervention) with the details!