December 01, 2017
Dear CCS Friends and Families,
Welcome to December! As the temperature begins to drop, it is great to see our students coming in bundled up so they can enjoy the fresh air at recess time.
We often report out on the student learning and events here at school, but also wish to share updates on the learning and professional work taking place amongst our faculty and staff here at CCS. There was a great deal of work that happened within this week which is an excellent example of the commitment that CCS has to improving our students’ experiences through engaging in adult learning. During our Tuesday professional development time this week, teachers and support staff engaged in Math and Literacy Committee work rooted in the practices of proficiency based learning. The focus of both groups is in building a cohesive and rigorous K-8 learning continuum through analyzing student data, Common Core standards and learning progressions. A guiding question for the work being done in the Literacy Committee this year is “What does proficient look like at each grade level in the area of expository/informative writing and how can we support that proficiency for all students?” A guiding question for the Math Committee included “What are the most important concepts that students must be proficient in at each grade level and how can we support that proficiency for all students?” The work of these committees will also transfer into work being done in the areas of Science, Social Studies and Technology. Our Essential Arts and World Language teachers, school counselors, school nurse and SLP’s are involved within our CCS committees as well as working throughout the year with their partnering teachers on similar work across CVSD.
At times, the continuing education of our staff takes place outside of our own walls. This week, we had a team attending a workshop on Math Menus for teams focused on adopting and fine-tuning a menu model of differentiation to meet the needs of all learners, another team attending a workshop on standards based assessment and grading and a team attending the Vermont Governor’s Conference on School Safety. (Picture on right - CCS Teachers with Rick Wormeli at Standards Based Grading Workshop).
Another major piece of work that was done this week was done within our CCS Diversity Team. This committee consists of staff members, parents and community members, focused on the mission of promoting the respect and inclusion of individuals representing differences in socio-economic demographics, gender and sexual identity, religion and global cultures within the CCS community. The work of this committee focuses on increasing awareness around socio-economics, racial identity, and gender/sexual identity, increasing cultural responsiveness across the CCS community and cultivating resources, partnerships and opportunities to promote respect and equity at CCS. If you are interested in learning more about this work or becoming involved in it in some capacity, please reach out to either Stephanie or Jen at school.
While we are committed to engaging in adult learning to support student learning, we have the most fun getting into our classrooms and engaging in student learning with our CCS students!
Stephanie, Jen and Cassandra
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
Friday, December 1st
Trimester 1 Ends
Movie Night, MPR, 5:30 - 7:30 - Here's what's playing!
Saturday, December 2nd
CCS Holiday Market, MPR, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Tuesday, December 5th
Early Dismissal, 1:55pm
CVSD Board Budget Meeting, CCS Library, 6:00pm
Friday, December 8th
Staff Appreciation Luncheon, sponsored by 5th and 6th grade parents, Staff Room, 11:00 - 1:00
Tuesday, December 12th
Early Dismissal, 1:55pm
Thursday, December 14th
7/8 Winter School Assembly, MPR 1:45pm
7/8 Winter Concert, MPR, 7:00pm
Tuesday, December 19th
Early Dismissal, 1:55pm
Wednesday, December 20th
Q & A with the Principals, 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Thursday, December 21st
Architect Showcase of Student Work, Architect Classrooms, 8:15 - 9:00
Monday, December 25th - Tuesday, January 2nd
NO SCHOOL - HOLIDAY BREAK
CCS MIDDLE LEVEL PBL REPORTS - COMING NEXT THURSDAY
In last week's newsletter we shared some information about how all CVSD and many Vermont schools are implementing proficiency based learning (PBL), including this video link (https://tinyurl.com/yanzbn4e ) in case you missed it. CCS has been thoughtfully making this transition over the past couple years, and next week will mark a big step when we send home our first 5th - 8th grade proficiency based report cards. Every family should receive an email with an attached .pdf on Thursday (12/7), and every student will also receive a hard copy of the same report. If by chance you don't get an email by the end of the day on Thursday, please contact Jen Roth on Friday at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can be sure you get this important information.
The primary difference from previous report cards is that rather than reporting a long list of assignments, our new reports emphasize the skills that were the focus of all the work throughout the trimester. For instance rather than seeing scores on 25 or more different assignments in science or math, you will see feedback indicating whether a student is proficient on 3-5 skills that were targeted this trimester.
Below is a small snapshot showing a summary from a Science class report. The 2.0 shows us that this student is not quite proficient in being able to create graphs, something that was worked on in multiple topics and projects throughout the trimester. Seeing a 2 is a great opportunity to ask questions such as "seems like you almost have this - are there some ways you are working to reach the 3?" Often this indicates that a student is lacking just a few elements of a complex skill, things that they are likely working on with their teacher already.
The 3's show us that this student is meeting the expectations for being able to use and develop models and also is able to use the specific vocabulary for the units that have been studied. This proficiency score is based on evidence from multiple assignments and assessments that were part of the class throughout the trimester. A three is a great opportunity to celebrate a student's success, and also ask if there are elements of the 4 that they are trying to achieve. A report card might also show a proficiency score of 1.0 which indicates that the student is struggling with that particular skill, or a 4.0 which indicates that they have exceeded the expectations for this targeted skill in some specific ways.
Anytime a learning target is labeled with CVSD - such as the second one in the diagram, it indicates that it is a grade level target that is used in all four CVSD middle schools. These common targets have been created in all subject areas and identify the core learning expectations that have been agreed upon by teachers across the district. The district has intentionally limited this list to the very core elements of each subject area (between 3 and 8 learning targets), leaving teachers the professional flexibility to select other targets from national and state standards to indicate the focus of the work the students have been doing throughout the trimester.
Our hope is that at each step of the way, your son or daughter will come home prepared to explain and talk about what their proficiency report means and how they are working to maintain and improve on the work they have done so far this year. To help further those conversations, next week's report card will be followed up within a few weeks by the opening of a digital portal that will allow students and their families to access even more information about student learning at CCS. This will include the ability to see a proficiency report showing specific assignments and assessments, information that simply is too much to include in a basic overall report card. We hope that your first experience with a PBL report card is informative and positive.
Mark your calendar for the 7 - 8 Winter Concert to be held on Thursday, December 14, 2017 in the MPR at CCS. This concert will feature the chorus, band, concert choir, stage band and ukulele band. The show begins at 7 PM. Performers should arrive by 6:30 PM. Performers should wear black and white. The concert free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!
Keep your eyes on the newsletter for more exciting musical events!
Our next teacher/staff appreciation luncheon is scheduled for Friday, December 8th. This luncheon will be hosted by the 5th & 6th grade parents. If you have a child in 5th or 6th grade, please use the link below to sign up to help.
The CCS PTO
CCS HOLIDAY MARKET
LAST PLEA FOR HELP! Can you donate an hour of your time on Saturday to help work at the Holiday Market? If not, can you bake some goodies or drop off some cider or K-Cups? We need your help to make this weekend a success! Please use the link below to sign up. It is THIS SATURDAY (12/2). Thank you in advance for helping! http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0A4AADAB2DA4FE3-holiday
Amy Janetti & Sarah Ringler