Lowell Lions' ROAR!

March 2017

From the Desk of Mrs. Larva

Testing, testing, and testing!

It seems like once we get back from winter break, our “testing season” begins. Today I would like to take a few minutes to explain some of the current and upcoming assessments that are conducted at Lowell Elementary School.

FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers):
This suite of reading and math assessments are used by all of our teachers from Kindergarten through Fifth grade. These tests are considered screening tools, which means that we are doing a quick check to ensure that your child is successfully reaching grade level targets. We screen our students in the fall, after winter break, and again just before school ends.

This suite of tools includes an adaptive reading and math assessment that is computer based. Our adaptive reading and math assessments attempt to ascertain the general level of ability of our students. Computer adaptive tests continually adjust the difficulty by choosing each test question based on the previous question. If your child gets a question correct, the computer increases the difficulty of the next question. If the question is answered incorrectly, the difficulty is decreased.

Additionally, students in grades 1-5 will be checked for reading fluency through the R-CBM assessment. This test is conducted by a staff member who is listening to your child ready three separate passages for one minute each. Each miscue will be marked for a score of correct words per minute. We compare this information with the target for each testing period.

So what exactly do we do with the results?
Teachers use the information from FAST to make curricular based decisions and to differentiate instruction for the students in their classroom. Students can be referred to support services, such as Reading or Math PRIDE interventions, if we find that a student is struggling. We can compare our students at the school and national level. These testing results will be communicated with families during conferences. At the end of the year, we must report our final assessment data to the Minnesota Department of Education as part of our Reading Well by Third Grade Plan.

MCA-III (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments series III):
This is the state of Minnesota’s accountability test used by all public schools. The Reading and Math assessments are administered to all students at Lowell in grades 3-5. Only fifth graders are given the Science test. These assessments align with the state standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science, and are designed to ensure that school districts have aligned their local curriculum to meet these high academic benchmarks.

These results are used by the state to determine if our school is meeting our proficiency targets, closing our identified achievement gaps, and meeting growth targets for our students. These components are then combined for our score that is used to determine our Multiple Measures Rating (MMR) achievement level. Each fall, individual student results are mailed to the school. This data is used by the teachers to identify students that might need additional supports during the school year. Teachers review the data with families at our first set of conferences.

Our MCA testing will begin in March and specific dates will be communicated to families through the classroom teacher.

Upcoming March Events at Lowell

March 17: PTA Sponsored Family Dance (see event description below)

March 20: PTA Meeting

March 28-30: MCA Reading testing 4th grade

March 27: Kindergarten Round-Up (see information below)

Please note that there are NO KINDERGARTEN CLASSES on March 27 due to our Round-Up Event!

Kindergarten Round-Up

It is time to round-up our new incoming Kindergarten students for 2017-18. Lowell is excited to meet our new families and welcome our returning ones. Please help us spread the word to families with young children that will be eligible to attend Kindergarten next fall by sharing the following information:

Lowell is hosting two Round-Up sessions on Monday, March 27, 2017.

Morning: 9:30-11:30 Evening: 5:30-7:00

Registration 9:30-10:00 Registration 5:30-6:00

At Round-Up, you will:

  • Complete enrollment paperwork
  • Attend a principal informational session (10:15 AM and 6:15 PM in gymnasium)
  • Take a commemorative photo with the Lowell Lion backdrop
  • Stop at all information tables
  • Visit the Kindergarten classrooms
  • Tour our building

Please bring:

  • Immunization Records
  • Birth Certificate
  • Proof of residency

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Lowell Elementary, in partnership with faculty and students from The College of St. Scholastica, provided STEM Day activities for grades K-5 on Tuesday, February 28. Students took part in a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities, designed to:

· engage students in the process of science,

· spark the natural excitement and curiosity children have for exploration and discovery

· improve understanding of fundamental concepts in a way that capitalizes upon design, visualization, creativity and teamwork skills

· introduce exciting career paths

· provide STEM assessment opportunities for K-5 teachers

PTA Sponsored Family Dance

Friday, March 17th, 6-8pm

2000 Rice Lake Road

Duluth, MN

Come join us for a fun, family night event!

  • DJ
  • Photo Booth
  • Cake

Free will donations will go to the Lowell PTA


Monday, March 27th, 9:30am

2000 Rice Lake Road

Duluth, MN

We are planning a fun-filled event for both the morning and evening roundup sessions. Each child will be given a Lowell Lion PRIDE bag to fill as you explore the school. I have scheduled parent meetings to relay important information about the Lowell school community and educational opportunities that we offer your child.

Please note that there is parking at the main entrance as well as from the Barnes Road Entrance in the back of the building. Our roundup is scheduled for Monday, March 27th:

Morning: 9:30-11:30

Registration 9:30-10:00

Presentation 10:15

Evening: 5:30-7:00

Registration 5:30-6:00

Presentation 6:15

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Spring Into Engineering (Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers)

  • When: Saturday, March 18, 2017
  • Where: UMD Civil Engineering Building (High Bay Laboratory)
  • Drop-off time: 12:00/Pick-up time: 4:30 PM
  • Who: Grades 3-5
  • Cost: Free event but must register to attend.
  • Register online through this link, which is also accessible through https://scse.d.umn.edu/outreach/events

Event Description:

The UMD Society of Women Engineers is hosting an afternoon of hands-on activities for children in grades 3-5 to learn what it is like to be an engineer. Children will learn about many different kinds of engineers and what they can do by putting creativity and problem-solving skills to the test.

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