Monroe Co. Special Education News

Doing what's right for our students - one child at a time.

May 2016

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Thank You for a Job Well Done!

It seems very fitting to me that the month of May has been set aside as National Teacher Appreciation Month, with Tennessee choosing to set aside the first week of May as Teacher Appreciation Week. May is one of the busiest, most hectic months in the school year. We prepare for and implement our end-of-year tests (in a normal year, anyway). We hold awards ceremonies, field trips, graduations, and other celebratory events to mark the completion of another school year. We process mountains of paperwork to wrap up the year and we begin preparing for next year. We patiently deal with restless students, try to repress our own restlessness, and eagerly mark off day after day on our Count-Down Calendars. We help hunt down "lost" text books, participate in a million transition meetings, and scramble to fit in one more eligibility meeting. Amid all the hustle and bustle, let me encourage you to read through this edition of the Monroe County Special Education News. I want to update you with a few important pieces of information before you head off for summer vacation. I also want to take this time to say how very appreciative I am of the hard work each of you has done this year. For those who have gone above and beyond what is required, I sincerely thank you. All of you have made a lasting impact on our students' lives this year. My hope is that the impact has been a positive one and that you have changed your students' lives for the good. If so, then be sure to look at these end-of-year celebrations as marking your success as well as that of your students. Be proud of the job you have done. Pat yourself on the back. You truly deserve more than just a day or week or month of appreciation for all you've done and endured this year. So, why not spend the entire summer break celebrating your work and your accomplishments? Rest up. Recharge. Renew your desire to change students' lives for the better in 2016-2017! Thank you again for all you do.

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"We teach the whole student...and that includes their heart." - Beth Holen

MSAA and Portfolio Testing Update

On April 27th, Tennessee's Commissioner of Education, Candice McQueen, announced that the State department terminated its contract with Measurement Incorporated and suspended Part II of TNReady testing for grades 3–8 for the current year. It is important to note that the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) was produced by a different vendor with a different platform, and all test materials are still available for use. MSAA testing for all grades, including 3–8, should continue as planned until the May 13th deadline. As of today, the State reports that the majority of students eligible to participate in MSAA have completed their testing. Thank you for beginning and completing this assessment in a prompt and efficient manner.

The State has recently clarified how the MSAA scores will be counted this year. For students in grades 3-11 who participated in MSAA testing, the scores will NOT be included in school or district accountability reports this year. Individual student scores on the MSAA will only count toward the teacher's overall TEAM evaluation score if it benefits the teacher.

The MSAA was originally designed to provide teachers, families, and students with valuable reinforcement and data related to the student's current understanding and mastery of grade-level standards. The reports from the MSAA should help our teachers continue to plan rigorous core instruction that meets the needs of the individual students, in conjunction with the strengths and needs identified in our students' IEPs. While MSAA scores will not be included in school accountability, the importance of this data has not changed. Additionally, the data generated from this year’s testing will inform the design of future assessments in order to continue improving the testing experience and making the data as meaningful as possible.

Portfolio Update: Science and social studies portfolio data has been submitted and the assessment window has closed. Information regarding those scores is forthcoming, once the State department secures a new scoring vendor.

TNReady Update: Answers to Your Burning Questions

The State department has made a "Frequently Asked Questions" document available regarding the tumultuous TNReady Assessment/Experiment. If you would like to view the document you can find it at this link:
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i-Ready Wants Your Input

The good folks at i-Ready are looking for ways to improve their implementation recommendations and are seeking input from teachers who are successfully implementing the program in their classrooms. If you have a moment, why not provide some feedback regarding what is working for you in your classroom? You might even win one of five $50 Visa® gift cards as a reward. i-Ready is only accepting feedback until May 31, 2016, so act quickly to get your name in on the drawing. Here's the link to log-in to your i-Ready account and complete the survey:

Celebrating Our 2016 Graduates