Sunday, September 21, 2014

Let's Talk about PARCC

Principal ponderings...

Several of you had a chance to come to one of the sessions last week where you got to try out some of the PARCC practice tests.  I plan on using some of my blog posts over the next few months to gather PARCC information in one spot for you.  This is a big change, and I want make sure that we are taking time to talk about it, read about it, figure out together what this means for our instructional practice.

Here are some of the facts about PARCC and the timelines:

  • In grades 3-8 across the state of MA, 40% of the schools will still be doing MCAS this year.  60% will be switching to the PARCC
  • High school students will continue to take the MCAS this year.  The Science MCAS will also still be administered.
  • PARCC stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
  • The following are the states that are part of PARCC: Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island.
  • PARCC is a computer-based test, although during the beginning stages some districts will be doing a paper-and-pencil version.  We are using the computer-based test.
  • PARCC will assess writing at all levels, unlike MCAS which only assesses writing at grade 4, 7 and 10.  With PARCC, students will be writing in response to reading or writing to a source.
  • After the completion of the two year pilot of PARCC, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote in the fall of 2015 on whether PARCC will be fully implemented.
  • There are 2 summative assessment components: Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) and End-of-Year Assessment (EOY).
  • PARCC was designed to assess whether students were on track for college and career and has been aligned to the Common Core Standards.

PARCC will assess key shifts in mathematics standards:
Test administration window for Performance-Based Assessments for schools doing computer-based testing (both English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics) - March 16 - April 10

Test administration window for End-of-Year Assessments for schools doing computer-based testing (both English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics) - May 4-May 29

Monday night on Twitter PARCC will begin hosting "office hours".  Here's a good place to see what questions educators have, ask questions and share resources...
 Here is a quick 6 minute video clip that was created last year and tells you a little bit about the design process and reasoning behind PARCC:
Here is a link to a frequently asked questions page:

Here is a link for the resources for educators page on the PARCC website:

Currently reading:
I was very excited to get an autographed copy of The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm in the mail last week!  I won it just by commenting on a blog post.  There are lots of people that run contests on their blogs and give away free books.  I am always entering, but this was the first time I actually won!  This is one of the books that is part of the Global Read Aloud this year.  It was a quick read that incorporated science into the plot and explores the idea of creating a way to never grow old. I just started reading Little Dog, Lost which is one of the books on the MCBA list.  It's a book written in free verse form.
And since I am a member of ASCD, I just got a new professional book in the mail that I will be checking out.  It's called Sparking Student Creativity:Practical Ways to Promote Innovative Thinking and Problem Solving.

Events this week:
Monday - SAFE House and the Groton Fire Department will be here all week.
Tuesday - Trimester 1 Bus Meeting at 9:20
Wednesday -
Thursday - Bus evacuation drill in the morning, Informal curriculum chat with Dr. Novak @ 3:15 in the library
Friday - Book Fair Preview for the teachers (11:30-1:30), Scholastic Rep with be there along with snacks!  If you can't go over during that time, Joelle can be there either before or after, just let Liz know.  Remember that you get to select $20 worth of books!
**On Friday, during 3rd and 4th grade lunch, the Harlem Wizards will be in the cafeteria to talk to the students while they eat.
Saturday - The Joseph Middlemiss Superhero Rock n' Roll Run @ 10:00, Harlem Wizards game at the high school @ 6:30

Great things I noticed last week:

  • We had a successful first fire drill on Friday.  Everyone got out of the building quickly and quietly, and I don't think I saw any tears or meltdowns!
  • Grace shared some interesting MCAS data with the staff and discussed how our ELA student growth and achievement looked.
  • Mrs. Fournier's students showed me what kind of class they are: Awesome!  I did a book chat with them right before they started to have a discussion about creating a buzz around books.
  • We tried out a new format for staff meetings where staff had a chance to select two different sessions to go to during the afternoon.  Teachers gave lots of positive feedback about this new format!
Check it out:
An interesting read about how teachers can help students find the beauty in math:

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