Keansburg School District

November 21, 2014

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Fail Forward

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ASCD Presents Whole Child Symposium on Teacher Leadership

The symposium will take place from 1:30–4:30 p.m. eastern time on December 3rd, 2014, in the Knight Studio at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and will be streamed live for free at

In this panel event, education leaders, experts, and practitioners will define the teacher leader role, analyze its importance to the profession, and describe how administrators and the education system can prepare future teacher leaders for success.

Two panels will participate in the symposium. The first will present organization- and systems-level approaches to teacher leadership, including the U.S. Department of Education's Teach to Lead initiative. These panelists include the following:

Becky Pringle – vice president, National Education Association

Maddie Fennell – classroom fellow, U.S. Department of Education

Tanya Tucker – vice president of alliance engagement, America's Promise Alliance

Panel two will present on-the-ground and in-the-school perspectives from the following panelists:

Robyn Jackson – Author of the ASCD book Never Underestimate Your Teachers: Instructional Leadership for Excellence in Every Classroom

Peter DeWitt – Former elementary principal, education consultant, and ASCD author

Jennifer OrrASCD Emerging Leader and kindergarten teacher

Educators can watch the event and follow @ASCD on Twitter using the hashtag #WCS14 to hear more about the topic and share their input.

District Whole Child Conference Call for Proposals Still Being Accepted But Time Running Out

From Ms. Mignoli, on November 4, 2014

It is with great pleasure that I announce that the Keansburg School District will be hosting and facilitating our 2nd Annual Whole Child Conference on Friday January 30th, 2015.

Last year we hosted our first Whole Child Conference and the feedback that we received amongst Pre-K through 12 staff members was resoundingly positive. Further, the sessions and information that were presented at least year's conference were integrated into instruction, social and emotional child development, and the overall climate and culture of the district.

Part of what made last year's conference such a positive and impactful one were the sessions that were constructed and presented by our very own district educators. With that being said attached in this email is a call for proposals, indicating our need for presenters for each breakout session. Much like our district educator led PD academies, these sessions will generate learning and walk aways associated with our district non-negotiables and the tenants of the Whole Child initiative. It bears repeating, these sessions last year evoked positive change in our instruction and our approach with students that were notable district wide. Not only is a call for proposals document attached in this email but a comprehensive document that outlines the tenants of the Whole Child initiative is attached for you to refer to, you can also access the ASCD Whole Child website if you click here. So please, if you have had success with an instructional tool or theory that is aligned with the Whole Child initiative please submit a proposal! Lastly, it should be noted that all presenters are compensated for preparation time above and beyond the contract associated with their sessions as per the statement or work; all proposals are due November 26th, 2014.

Please refer to her email for copies of the Tenets of the Whole Child and the Outline for Proposals


PARCC - Online Professional Development

PARCC is developing a series of online professional learning modules to help teachers, counselors, school leaders, and school and district testing coordinators understand the new PARCC Assessment System and put the new high quality assessments to work for them and their students.

These tools will help educators learn how to read results from the assessments, make inferences about the results, and identify learning gaps in time to make relevant instructional decisions and modifications.

The first two completed online professional training modules focus on the PARCC Common Assessments Overview and the PARCC Accessibility System.

Future professional online learning module topics include: Introductions to the PARCC Mid-Year Assessment, PARCC Diagnostic Assessment and the PARCC Speaking and Listening Assessment.

Available Online Professional Learning Modules

  • How To Use the Modules — Watch this first!
  • PARCC Assessments Overview
    • In Theory: Practical theories behind the PARCC Assessments and related goals.
    • In Practice: Information about how a student will be assessed throughout their school career and offers an assessment walkthrough (based on the role selected administrator, primary teacher, secondary teacher- English/Language Arts, secondary teacher, Mathematics)
    • In Context: Valuable, downloadable resources focused on the PARCC Model Content Frameworks for mathematics and English/Language Arts
  • PARCC Accessibility System
    • In Theory: An overview of accessibility features and details about how they are built into the PARCC design.
    • In Practice: Information about how teachers use accommodations in the classroom
    • In Context: Downloadable the Accessibility Features and Accommodation Manual

Three More Modules Coming

In addition to the two modules above, we will be posting three additional modules in the coming months:

  • Introduction to the PARCC Mid-Year Assessment
  • Introduction to the PARCC Diagnostic Assessment
  • Introduction to the PARCC Speaking and Listening Assessment

District PARCC Resource Page

Lead Editor: Mr. Anthony Emmons, Supervisor of Curriculum & Instruction

This site is currently under construction. What you see below is a draft, though the links are live.

Any feedback/suggestions, please email Anthony Emmons:

Table of Contents (Click to Jump)

General Information

English Language Arts


Physical Education

General Information

PARCC Online - Official PARCC Website

Strong starting point with resources for parents and for educators

Pearson Access - Must Use SAFARI (added 11/18/14)

Sample Items


Practice Tests

PARCC: KSD Strategy

Powerpoint Presentation prepared by Donna, Michelle, and Anthony

High School Graduation Requirements (added 11/12/14)

Reading and the Common Core: It's Not Just for ELA (added 11/12/14... thanks E.Mac!)

The Common Core Standards place a strong emphasis on reading informational texts. This does not mean that ELA teachers should stop teaching literature--it means that other content area teachers should begin using informational texts to teach their curriculum. This supplement includes helpful, age-appropriate resources your district can use across the curriculum to ensure students strong reading skills in all subject areas. Resources for Parents (added 11/12/14)

I cut and pasted an email I received into a word document... contains links to information and videos for parents.

Check out AchieveTheCore.Org for even more information.

New Jersey Department of Education PARCC Assessment Page

Pearson Access Support Page

Contains links to technology information, manuals and documents, templates, and training

Wowzers Preparing for PARCC: 10 Key Online Testing Terms

PARCC Fact Sheet and FAQs - August 2013

Article: How to Prepare Students for PARCC Tests

Article: How One School District Readied Itself For PARCC Implementation

The Learning Institute: February/March 2014 High School Mathematics Newsletter

Two Articles titled, "Preparing for the PARCC Assessment" and "When Will I Ever Use This Anyway?"


PARCC Task Prototypes and New Sample Items for ELA/Literacy

This links to a page on that provides (on the left side of the page) Samples by grade, as well as information on Rubrics and Writing Forms.

Pearson Access - Must Use SAFARI (added 11/18/14)

Sample Items


Practice Tests

Marlboro Township PARCC English Language Arts/Literacy How To Be Successful Videos

(added 11/13/14 thank you, Christine Formica)

MULTIPLE Tutorial Videos demonstrating the major technology functions of the assessment including drag and drop, drop down menus, highlighting, use of the magnifier tool, use of the line reader tool, and more.

Contents of the Grade- and Subject-Specific Performance Level Descriptors: ELA/Literacy

Sample Items from Cave Creek Unified School District #93 in Arizona (added 11/18/14)

Grade 3 Literary Analysis - Student Version

Grade 3 Literary Analysis - Teacher Version

Grade 4 Informational Text - Student Version

Grade 4 Informational Text - Teacher Version

Grade 11 Literary Analysis - Student Version

Grade 11 Literary Analysis - Teacher Version

Grades 3-5 Caring for Your Pet Gerbil

Grades 6-8 A Second Chance for Chance

Grades 6-8 Skateboarding Basics: The Ollie

Ohio Department of Education - PARCC English Language Arts

Passage Selection Guidelines

Powerpoint titled "Quality Criteria for Selecting Texts Worth Reading"

Understanding the ELA/Literacy Evidence Tables

Achieve the Core ELA Resources (added 11/12/14)

Contains links to Lessons, Student Writing Samples, Assessments, and more.


PARCC Task Prototypes and New Sample Items for Mathematics

This links to a page on that provides (on the left side of the page) Samples by grade.

Pearson Access - Must Use SAFARI (added 11/18/14)

Sample Items


Practice Tests

The Mathematics Common Core Toolbox (added 11/18/14)

Elementary School Tasks

Middle School Tasks

High School Tasks

Sample Items from Cave Creek Unified School District #93 in Arizona (added 11/18/14)

Mathematics Sample Grade 4 - Student Version

Mathematics Sample Grade 4 - Teacher Version

Mathematics Sample Algebra 1 - Student Version

Mathematics Sample Algebra 1 - Teacher Version

Marlboro Township PARCC End of Year Mathematics Explanation Videos (added 11/13/14... thank you, Christine Formica)

Seven Videos focusing on grades 3-8, courtesy of Dr. Hibbs of Marlboro Township Public Schools

Marlboro Township PARCC Mathematics How To Be Successful Videos (thank you again, Christine!)

MULTIPLE Tutorial Videos demonstrating the major technology functions of the assessment including dividing and shading a circle, drag and drop, drop downs, graphing a line, using the protractor, using the calculator, and more.

Keansburg Mathematics Resources (added 11/13/14)

This links to the GoogleDoc that district math teachers have been collaborating on for some time now. It is a collection of resources and tools from numerous sources.

Contents of the Grade- and Subject-Specific Performance Level Descriptors: Mathematics

Ohio Department of Education - PARCC Math

PARCC Calculator Policy

Standards for Mathematical Practice

Article: A Guide to the 8 Mathematical Practice Standards

Achieve the Core Math Resources (added 11/12/14)

Contains links to Tasks, Assessment, Lessons, and more.

Physical Education Physical Education Resources for Teacher (added 11/12/14)

Contains links to Social Studies- and Mathematics-Related Resources and more.







Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?

Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?


Published: December 11, 2011

Durham, N.C.

NO one seriously disputes the fact that students from disadvantaged households perform less well in school, on average, than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. But rather than confront this fact of life head-on, our policy makers mistakenly continue to reason that, since they cannot change the backgrounds of students, they should focus on things they can control.

No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush’s signature education law, did this by setting unrealistically high — and ultimately self-defeating — expectations for all schools. President Obama’s policies have concentrated on trying to make schools more “efficient” through means like judging teachers by their students’ test scores or encouraging competition by promoting the creation of charter schools. The proverbial story of the drunk looking for his keys under the lamppost comes to mind.

The Occupy movement has catalyzed rising anxiety over income inequality; we desperately need a similar reminder of the relationship between economic advantage and student performance.

The correlation has been abundantly documented, notably by the famous Coleman Report in 1966. New research by Sean F. Reardon of Stanford University traces the achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families over the last 50 years and finds that it now far exceeds the gap between white and black students.

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that more than 40 percent of the variation in average reading scores and 46 percent of the variation in average math scores across states is associated with variation in child poverty rates.

International research tells the same story. Results of the 2009 reading tests conducted by the Program for International Student Assessment show that, among 15-year-olds in the United States and the 13 countries whose students outperformed ours, students with lower economic and social status had far lower test scores than their more advantaged counterparts within every country. Can anyone credibly believe that the mediocre overall performance of American students on international tests is unrelated to the fact that one-fifth of American children live in poverty?

Yet federal education policy seems blind to all this. No Child Left Behind required all schools to bring all students to high levels of achievement but took no note of the challenges that disadvantaged students face. The legislation did, to be sure, specify that subgroups — defined by income, minority status and proficiency in English — must meet the same achievement standard. But it did so only to make sure that schools did not ignore their disadvantaged students — not to help them address the challenges they carry with them into the classroom.

So why do presumably well-intentioned policy makers ignore, or deny, the correlations of family background and student achievement?

Some honestly believe that schools are capable of offsetting the effects of poverty. Others want to avoid the impression that they set lower expectations for some groups of students for fear that those expectations will be self-fulfilling. In both cases, simply wanting something to be true does not make it so.

Another rationale for denial is to note that some schools, like the Knowledge Is Power Program charter schools, have managed to “beat the odds.” If some schools can succeed, the argument goes, then it is reasonable to expect all schools to. But close scrutiny of charter school performance has shown that many of the success stories have been limited to particular grades or subjects and may be attributable to substantial outside financing or extraordinarily long working hours on the part of teachers. The evidence does not support the view that the few success stories can be scaled up to address the needs of large populations of disadvantaged students.

A final rationale for denying the correlation is more nefarious. As we are now seeing, requiring all schools to meet the same high standards for all students, regardless of family background, will inevitably lead either to large numbers of failing schools or to a dramatic lowering of state standards. Both serve to discredit the public education system and lend support to arguments that the system is failing and needs fundamental change, like privatization.

Given the budget crises at the national and state levels, and the strong political power of conservative groups, a significant effort to reduce poverty or deal with the closely related issue of racial segregation is not in the political cards, at least for now.

So what can be done?

Large bodies of research have shown how poor health and nutrition inhibit child development and learning and, conversely, how high-quality early childhood and preschool education programs can enhance them. We understand the importance of early exposure to rich language on future cognitive development. We know that low-income students experience greater learning loss during the summer when their more privileged peers are enjoying travel and other enriching activities.

Since they can’t take on poverty itself, education policy makers should try to provide poor students with the social support and experiences that middle-class students enjoy as a matter of course.

It can be done. In North Carolina, the two-year-old East Durham Children’s Initiative is one of many efforts around the country to replicate Geoffrey Canada’s well-known successes with the Harlem Children’s Zone.

Say Yes to Education in Syracuse, N.Y., supports access to afterschool programs and summer camps and places social workers in schools. In Omaha, Building Bright Futures sponsors school-based health centers and offers mentoring and enrichment services. Citizen Schools, based in Boston, recruits volunteers in seven states to share their interests and skills with middle-school students.

Promise Neighborhoods, an Obama administration effort that gives grants to programs like these, is a welcome first step, but it has been under-financed.

Other countries already pursue such strategies. In Finland, with its famously high-performing schools, schools provide food and free health care for students. Developmental needs are addressed early. Counseling services are abundant.

But in the United States over the past decade, it became fashionable among supporters of the “no excuses” approach to school improvement to accuse anyone raising the poverty issue of letting schools off the hook — or what Mr. Bush famously called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Such accusations may afford the illusion of a moral high ground, but they stand in the way of serious efforts to improve education and, for that matter, go a long way toward explaining why No Child Left Behind has not worked.

Yes, we need to make sure that all children, and particularly disadvantaged children, have access to good schools, as defined by the quality of teachers and principals and of internal policies and practices.

But let’s not pretend that family background does not matter and can be overlooked. Let’s agree that we know a lot about how to address the ways in which poverty undermines student learning. Whether we choose to face up to that reality is ultimately a moral question.

Helen F. Ladd is a professor of public policy and economics at Duke. Edward B. Fiske, a former education editor of The New York Times, is the author of the “Fiske Guide to Colleges.”

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on December 12, 2011, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?.

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