4/22 Letter to Students & Families
From Ms. Short Re: 3rd & 4th Quarter Next Steps
Dear Students and Families:
April snow brings May flowers - that’s how it goes, right?
I am very proud of how we all continue to make our way through this challenging time. We are New York tough, but we are also a special kind of Adirondack tough, and that really shows during times like this (especially when you wake up to a fresh blanket of snow!) I think of all of you each day and sending you wishes for good health and happiness. I hope you had a chance to see the video that our staff put together to say, “Dear Students and Families, We miss you!” It is on our Facebook page if you haven't had a chance to see it.
On Monday, April 20 we officially entered the fourth, and final, quarter of the school year. With the news of our school closure being extended through May 15, I am writing with updates on our next steps. Although Governor Cuomo has not yet made any announcements of closing New York State schools for the remainder of the school year, we are preparing for that possibility.
Key pieces of information that are outlined in this letter include:
1. 3rd Quarter Report Cards will be mailed home next week and we have outlined what
you can expect for each grade level.
2. The 4th Quarter has started. Tomorrow, Thursday, April 23, we will transition from review/enrichment of the 3rd Quarter to delivering new instruction and standards-based grading throughout the 4th Quarter. We have outlined what you need to know for each grade
As always, we are working hard to do the best we can to continue our instructional program in a way that meets the moment of uncertainty, while also providing our students with opportunities to learn and grow.
Next week we will be mailing home third quarter report cards. These will look a little different, but we have worked hard to create a pathway that honors the work that was done in-school, while also understanding that at the midpoint of the quarter we abruptly shifted to online and remote learning.
To review our original plan, the third quarter started on January 27 and our online and remote learning experience began on March 18. At the start of this, we explained that we would focus on review and enrichment. We also explained that while grades would not be collected, we would share feedback, expect engagement and collect information for progress-monitoring.
Below is an outline of what you can expect for your child’s third quarter report card:
PK students were issued their progress reports at the March parent teacher conferences, and will receive another progress report in June. They will not receive a mailing next week.
For all students in K-12, teachers will be sharing and communicating the effort/progress, descriptors, and grades that they collected through March 13.
For March 16-April 17, and third quarter final grade calculations, you can expect the following:
K-2: Teachers will share a narrative of your child’s progress and will use the NYS standards as a framework. The final third quarter reports will be a combination of the effort/progress report from the first half of the quarter and the supplemented narrative.
3-6: We will not be issuing final % grades for the third quarter. You will see the % grades as of March 13 as a notation for progress. Teachers will share a narrative of your child’s progress and will use the NYS standards as a framework. The final third quarter reports will include the % grades notated, progress/effort, descriptors, and the supplemented narrative.
7-12: Our 7-12 students receive a % grade for all subjects and they will be issued a third quarter % grade. They also have half and full credit courses that they are enrolled in. While most half credit courses are also aligned with first and second semesters, we do have some courses that are half credit but full year, that is why we emphasize full and half credit, as opposed to full and half year. Teachers will share a narrative of your child’s progress and will use the NYS standards as a framework.
For full credit courses: The % grade for the first six weeks of the third quarter will represent 1/2 of the student’s third quarter grade. The other 1/2 will be an average of your child’s first and second quarter grades for the subject. The final grade for the third quarter will be the average of the two scores (first six weeks average and the Q1& Q2 average).
For half credit courses: The % grade for the quarter will equal the first six weeks of the quarter. In situations where a student is failing and there is no evidence of progress, credit recovery will be issued with a deadline for completion.
Our focus for the fourth quarter is to create a productive and sensible academic experience for each grade level. Our overall objective is to end this school year as strong as we can.
Regardless of where we are during the final weeks of the school year, it’s important to emphasize that school is in session. We will be prepared to return to school if Governor Cuomo gives us the green light, but we will also be prepared to finish out the school year in our current remote and online setup. We’ll be flexible and we will figure it out together.
Tomorrow, Thursday April 23, our teachers will begin delivering new instruction to students. This will continue throughout the remainder of the fourth quarter.
To focus our instruction and to frame our standards-based grading, teachers will be focusing on specific standards for the remainder of the school year. I have asked them to identify the most essential components for students to take with them to the next grade level. We will be seeking interdisciplinary learning activities where it is appropriate and are going to focus on the essentials.
Some key terms for you to know, include:
Standards-based grading = Assignments will be evaluated based on the students’ ability to meet the NYS learning standard of focus. For K-4 the evaluation rubric will be based on the Effort/Progress Key you are used to seeing on our report cards. For 5-8 the evaluation rubric will be based on a 1-4 scale, while 9-12 will have a 1-5 scale. All assignments and learning activities will be designed with the learning outcome goal being that the students show progress and proficiency to meeting the standard.
Progress-monitoring = This is a collection of information that helps to track your child’s progress. It’s essentially feedback and just helps us to keep a pulse on where a student is at, and also to help create pathways to help them reach their learning goals.
Checkpoints = During our online/remote learning experience, checkpoints will be used to take “attendance.” Your child’s teachers will be developing age appropriate checkpoints and they will include different modes. This may be a Google Meet or replying to an email, having a phone conversation, responding to a post on Google Classroom - your child’s teachers will set this up in a way that is age appropriate, flexible, and builds off of all that you are already used to doing! They will be working together to streamline and simplify so you are not overwhelmed by modes, times, etc.
Rubrics = This is a tool that is used to organize learning goals and expectations. We will be using NYS standards for the content of rubrics. Our teachers will be selecting standards to focus on for each subject area. This will help to streamline and focus the work, and also guide grading and progress-monitoring. Our goal is progress and proficiency and the rubric will be our tool to help provide students and families with feedback.
Quarter 4 Plan
- Standards and narrative based to monitor progress and preparation for kindergarten
- 1 checkpoint 3 x per week
- Feedback, support, and progress will be shared by Mrs. Farr as appropriate
- Standards and narrative based to monitor progress and preparation for the next grade level.
- 1 checkpoint per day
- Standards-Based and will utilize the “Effort/Progress Key” from Report Card
E= Excellent Progress
G = Good Progress
S = Satisfactory Progress
N = Needs Improvement
P = Pass
U = Unsatisfactory Progress
- Standards and narrative based to monitor progress and preparation for the next grade level using a 1-4 rubric to evaluate
- 2 checkpoints per day
4 point rubric:
4 = Advanced proficiency
3 = Proficient
2 = Developing
1 = Beginning
0 = No evidence of Understanding
- Standards and narrative based to monitor progress, effort, and completion. Utilizing interdisciplinary rubric with 1-5 rubric to evaluate.
- 3 checkpoints per day
5 point rubric:
5 = Advanced proficiency & application
4= Advanced proficiency
2 = Developing
1 = Beginning
0= No evidence of understanding
Our expectations for independence, contact, and rigor increase with grade levels, with our high school students being the top tier. It is important to note that while the Regents exams are canceled for this school year, in order to qualify for this exemption, students must pass the course.
Our teachers are working very hard to simplify, streamline, and meet high school students where they are at. If a student is putting forth effort, doing their best to understand the material, submitting their work, and proving to be accountable, they will be setting themselves up for success. However, if a student disengages and does not complete assignments, follow-through or show evidence of accountability or effort, they risk failing the course.
We are here to help and support all of our student at all grade levels. Our teachers are willing to do 1:1 Google Meets, talk on the phone or via email for extra help. If there are extenuating circumstances, we want to work with students and families and do everything we can to help you. If your family is experiencing a hardship or there is some type of obstacle in a student’s way of completing assignments, please reach out to me or any teacher and we will work through it together.
We appreciate your partnership and we are looking forward to starting off a new quarter. This is not our ideal setup. We miss being together. We know how different this is for everyone. You are doing a great job, though, and please keep it up. We’re in this together. We’ll get through this. We’re ADK Tough!
I am available for phone conversations or videoconference via Google Meet, Zoom or Facetime if you’d like to touch base on any information that is outlined above or if there is anything else that I can help you with. Please just send me an email and we’ll setup a time to connect.
Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay home.
Ms. Noelle J. Short