English Language Arts Dispatch

April 2015

ELA Updates

Semester 2 Performance Tasks

· Look for Semester 2 Performance Task Anchor papers on the ELA Canvas Curriculum page under “Tested”. We will post them as soon as we receive them from PLCs. You may also find them on the R & E Canvas page.

· ELA Site Curriculum Specialists should be working with PLCs to calibrate and score the PTs using the district-provided rubric. This provides a baseline for equity across the district.

Illuminate training

On April 30 and May 1st, site curriculum specialists received an initial training in Illuminate Data Management System. Ask them about what they learned! https://www.illuminateed.com/illuminate-data-and-assessment-features.html

Literacy TA

Anyone who has received a recent Literacy TA subscription, this is a reminder that there will be a training on May 11 from 8:00-3:00 in the PDC with Jonathan LeMaster. Email Rhea if you have further questions.

Final Exam Constructed Response

· All exams will include one constructed-response, teacher-scored item.

· The CR Task is Item #1 and is formatted so that it can be administered separately from the full Final Exam version.

· This portion of the exam may be given prior to the rest of the exam. The Office of R&E will be delivering 1 copy/teacher of the ELA Final Exam DFA.

· The DFA includes administration instructions, scoring instructions, and scoring guides with possible answers for each score. The DFA also includes a clean copy of the CR Task which sites can photocopy (class set or per student) for early administration of the CR Task to their students.

· The full Final Exam also has a copy of the full CR Task in case teachers would rather not separate the two sections (CR and M/C sections).

· Some grade-levels have a separate text(s) for the CR Task (e.g., ELA 7). For some, the text(s) in the CR Task will also have accompanying M/C items (e.g., ELA 8, 9, and 11).

Final Exams 2015 FAQ?:

Q: What is the final exam testing window?

A: The final exam testing window is from May 18-June 4th.

Q: Will both Parts 1 and 2 of each final exam be available on R&E on May 18?

A: Both parts will be available on May 18th

Q: Should finals be given on paper (class set) or may they be posted on Canvas?

A: The finals are on paper. Teachers will get a class set of 50 copies from R+E. Additional copies may be made with site funds/copying.

Q: How will the constructed response question be added to the total score? Bubbling in on DD sheets?

A: The constructed response is question number one on the final exams. It is marked (for teacher use only). Teachers can bubble it in prior (use pen) or after.

Q: How much weight will the constructed response question have? Is it just worth 2/30 points or do those 2 points have greater weight similar to a PT?

A: The CRs have an un-weighted point value of 2-4.

Curriculum Feedback Survey

Complete as a PLC or individually. In an effort to align Written, Taught and Tested Curriculum, we are seeking input about PLCs' quarterly instructional plans. This information will be used to develop and revise grade-level Instructional Guides.

Teaching Resources

Technology Tools Update

Canvas is the Learning Management System (LMS)

This program allows teachers to create or store curriculum, units, and lesson plans. It allows teachers and students to share course materials, information, quizzes, and documents. We have a 6 year agreement with Canvas that enters into year 4 for 2015-16.

Power Schools is the Student Management System (SMS)

This is where teachers take attendance and submit grades. Power School will be replaced with Infinite Campus beginning July 2016. Infinite Campus has a grade book similar to the one Jupiter Grades provides. It will also talk with Canvas to make a more integrated experience for teachers and students.

Jupiter Grades

Jupiter Grades will be available for teachers for the 2015-16 school year. Once Infinite Campus comes online, Jupiter Grades will no longer be supported by the District.

Illuminate will replace Data Director beginning 2015-16 school year. Illuminate, like Data Director, stores performance data and manages assessments. The purpose is to provide data for the purposes of monitoring, tracking and reporting on student achievement. Illuminate will also be integrated with Infinite Campus.


Beginning in July for students and staff there will be a single sign on solution. Stoneware will solve the problem of having to remember user names and password for every product we use.

* 11th Grade * EAP on SBAC *

The EAP has been the test students take in 11th grade to determine early college readiness. The EAP was developed by the CSU in collaboration with the California Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education and is accepted by participating CCC campuses as well as the CSU. Starting 2015, the EAP as we used to know it is over. SBAC will be used to determine college readiness. All grade eleven students who participate in the English and mathematics CAASPP examination will achieve a performance level that will be used for the EAP.

The EPT, however, will remain the same. The EPT is the English Placement course for the CSU system. The California State University (CSU) requires you to take the English Placement Test (EPT) and the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) exam prior to enrollment in the CSU unless you are exempt by means of scores earned on other appropriate tests such as the CSU’s Early Assessment Program (EAP) tests in English and Mathematics, the SAT®, ACT®, or Advanced Placement (AP®) tests.

The EPT and the ELM are not admission tests; instead, they determine eligibility to enroll in specific courses. If you are required to take the EPT and the ELM but fail to do so, you will not be allowed to register for General Education courses at the CSU.


In the next few months, California’s new statewide system for assessing public school student achievement in grades three through eight and eleven will be fully implemented. The new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System will have a direct impact on the California State University’s (CSU) Early Assessment Program (EAP). Beginning in spring 2015, the CSU will use CAASPP English language arts/literacy and mathematics performance level outcomes to provide grade eleven students, their families, and their high schools early signals about students’ readiness for college-level coursework.

Our offices have written a letter addressed to grade eleven students encouraging them to do their best on the new CAASPP exams and to authorize the release of their CAASPP examination results, for EAP purposes, to the CSU and/or the California Community Colleges (CCC). We are asking for your support to ensure that the letter is distributed to each grade eleven student.

Students who intend to enroll at a CSU or a CCC are encouraged to release their results by selecting the “bubble” at the end of the CAASPP exam. The CAASPP results can be released to the CSU or CCC only through this process. Students who choose at the time of testing not to release their results, but decide later to do so, will be required to provide a copy of their CAASPP Student Score Report to the specific CSU campus or participating CCC.

Achievement Levels

The Achievement levels identify a student’s ability to perform college-level work in these subject areas and will provide valuable information on skills that can be developed while still enrolled in high school.

Achievement Level 4

Students who are identified at Achievement Level 4 in English or mathematics will be classified as ready for college-level coursework and will be exempt from taking the CSU English Placement Test (EPT) or Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) exam. These students will be able to register in college degree-bearing courses upon entering the CSU or participating CCC.

Achievement Level 3

Students who are identified at Achievement Level 3 in English or mathematics will be classified as Conditionally Ready and will be encouraged to take an approved English or mathematics class in the senior year and earn a grade of “C” or higher to be exempt from placement testing after admission to the CSU. Students who successfully fulfill the condition will also be able to enroll in college degree-bearing courses. Individual CCC campuses may implement requirements for students to demonstrate readiness. The following are approved senior-year courses for the CSU:


  • Expository Reading and Writing Course
  • Advanced Placement English
  • International Baccalaureate English
  • English courses approved for extra honors credit by the University of California (so indicated on the University of California Course Management Portal—formerly known as UC Doorways)

Link to the page with the information above:


ELA Curriculum Team


District ELA Curriculum Specialist, Contact for Zones: 1A, 2B, 3B, 4A

Rhea Faldoenea-Walker

District ELA Curriculum Specialist, Contact for Zones: 1B, 2A, 3A, 4B

Gina Vattuone

SpEd ELA and Read180

Michelle Sturm-Gonzalez

English Learner Programs Instructional Specialist: SEI/BIL/DL

Rebecca Robinson

ELD Curriculum & Instructional Specialist

Lisa Burgess

Lead Curriculum Specialist

Katrine Czajkowski