Curriculum and Assessment Updates

December 2022

Educator Spotlight - Heather Oliver (aka Ms. Frizzle) does PBAs

This fall, students in Ms. Oliver's eighth grade science class explored planetary systems with an engineering twist. MS-ESS1-1 of the NGSS asks students to "Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons."

The corresponding Science and Engineering Practices for this standard are "Developing and Using Models" which are described further via National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

"Scientists construct mental and conceptual models of phenomena. Mental models are internal, personal, idiosyncratic, incomplete, unstable, and essentially functional. They serve the purpose of being a tool for thinking with, making predictions, and making sense of experience. Conceptual models, the focus of this section, are, in contrast, explicit representations that are in some ways analogous to the phenomena they represent. Conceptual models allow scientists and engineers to better visualize and understand a phenomenon under investigation or develop a possible solution to a design problem."

The students in Ms. Oliver's class were also given choice in the format their model would take, a practice which deepens the DOK Level of the task required as they must apply, analyze, and create. The Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrix scores demonstrates how these types of tasks can extend student thinking and learning.

The Magic School Bus - Season 1 Episode 1 - Gets Lost In Space (1080p HD Upscale)
* If you would like to have a classroom activity or lesson featured in an upcoming newsletter, please email me! I'd love to share the wonderful work happening in your classes.

Teacher Evaluation System Review

A committee has been brought together, comprising representatives of the MVREA and building administration to complete the annual review of the Teacher Evaluation System (Appendix E of the Professional Agreement). The group will meet this fall and winter and make recommendations for updates as needed.

Alma - Student Information System

The MVRSD will transition to a new Student Information System in 2023-2024 to replace Rediker. Staff, students, and parents will access all information in the Mascoma Alma site for their building. The Technology Department is hard at work building the site and uploading our information. This winter we will begin to train staff to ensure a smooth transition to the new platform.

Why Alma?

  • Ease of use

  • Empower educators

  • Google.classroom sync

  • Communication with families

  • Report card format

  • State reporting

  • Scheduling


  • 21-22 research, SIS selection

  • Fall ‘22 - IT builds the Mascoma Alma site & migrates data

  • Fall ‘22 - introduction to staff

  • Winter ‘22/23 - Guidance, secretaires, administrative assistants, administration trainings

  • Early ‘23 - HS schedule build in Alma for 23-24

  • Spring/summer ‘23 - elementary report card committee

  • Summer ‘23 - Staff Alma mentors selected & trained

  • August ‘23 PD Days - All staff trained; full implementation 23-24

Welcome to Alma

Performance Based Assessments

Resources to explore:

An Engaging Alternative to Traditional Test-Taking

Center for Collaborative Education PBA Resources

Let's Teach for Mastery - Sal Khan

Performance-Based Assessment - Myths & Falsehoods

Quality Performance Assessment Resources, CCE

High-Quality Project-Based Learning

Math Summative Tasks, Middle/High

The Historical Thinking Project

PBAs - Inquiry Labs

PBAs - Making Math Relevant

WA - PBAs by Content Area

The Reading & Writing Center PBA Resources


Performance Assessment Resource Bank

Cognitive Rigor Matrix (DOK & Bloom's Taxonomy)

NHLI PBA Resources (email Angel Burke for the password)

The NH Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) tasks are available through the NHED Canvas site. These tasks were designed as an innovative assessment to ensure meaningful opportunities to achieve critical knowledge and skills in supporting deeper learning for students. The link to access these tasks is here.

Many organizations have a rich history in the granite state working on innovative assessment systems including NHLI and the CCE through the Assessment for Learning Project (AFL).

The Center for Innovation in Education has continued to develop resources for educators as well as the research to support the shift in educational practice. Their presentation, "How Performance Assessment Supports Deeper Learning and Equity" highlights this research with partner states, including New Hampshire (see the map below).

Performance Assessment Student Work Examples SCIENCE Oral Defense

The Center for Innovation in Education - Mapping Shifts in Teaching and Learning Supported by Performance Assessments

Big picture

National Endowment for the Humanities’ Landmarks Summer Institute, From the Fragments: Places and People in Colonized New England, at the University of New Hampshire

We invite K-12 educators from all disciplines and learning communities to apply for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Landmarks Summer Institute, From the Fragments: Places and People in Colonized New England, at the University of New Hampshire. This institute is inspired by the Great Bay Archaeological Survey (GBAS), a research project revealing new dynamic histories of early colonialism (ca. AD 1600 – 1750). Spend a week immersed in place-based learning through cultural and archaeological site visits along the Great Bay Estuary/P8bagok Bay (pronounced P-ohn-ba-gock, this ecosystem’s traditional Abenaki name).

Expert guest lectures will augment field visits, and over the week we will create space for educators to reflect and infuse their own expertise and local contexts with inspiration from these histories to design educational experiences that center new insights about our shared pasts for the next generation of learners.

Ready to join us?

Visit our website ( for details on eligibility and to submit your application! Space is limited. Participants will receive $1,300 stipend and 30 Contact Hours (certificate from UNH).


Your From the Fragments NEH Landmarks Team

Math Pilots, K-8

Brave educators in grades 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 started piloting new math programs after extensive discussion last school year. During the summer Math Retreat, a review of eight different math programs. We researched each, using EdReports for additional information and ratings. We settled on two programs to pilot:

Illustrative Math

Eureka Math

The Mascoma CIA is using a Math Program Review Rubric , (thank you to the Massachusetts DOE for this resource as part of their Curate Program - Curriculum Ratings by Teachers), to assess the validity of the pilot programs as well as our current math programs (Everyday Math and SAVVAS).

We will report out results of the pilots and rubric scores at a January faculty meeting.

Assessment Schedule

Please find attached the 2022-2023 MVRSD Assessment Schedule and resources

Frontline for Professional Growth

Please see the Frontline Help Document for directions, including screenshots and videos, on the Frontline process for tracking individual professional development. Additionally, the Frontline Help icon in the top right-hand corner has a wealth of information.

Check with your building P.D. Representatives for individual questions.

Big picture

Virtual Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment meetings

Grade and subject specific curriculum meetings will begin in October. We will continue to meet virtually - a calendar.invite with a will be sent to each group.

22-23 Faculty In-Service Calendar

January 13 - ED

March 30 - ED

March 31 - Teacher Workshop Day

April 19 - ED (elementary & IRS Parent-Teacher Conference)

May 3 - ED

Early Release and PD Days, 2022-2023

Please follow this link to find the draft schedule of professional development for the 2022-2023 school year. We will continue to focus on completing Scope and Sequence documents; the Math Institute work on this document will help shape our formatting. We will use this information to start planning common Performance-Based Assessments (PBAs).

Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Angel Burke

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” ~ Mahatma Gandhi