Saturday, March 22, 2014

Two Important Meetings Scheduled for Monday, 3/24. BOE Has Created a Scheduling Conflict That May Force Parents to Attend Only One.

There are two important meetings scheduled for Monday, March 24, that we encourage community members, parents and teachers to attend.  Unfortunately, the meeting times have some overlap that may make in impossible for interested persons to attend both.

The first meeting, announced on March 17, is the superintendent search focus group led by BWP (the search firm).  This meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at Elm School.  The purpose of the focus group (as stated on the D181 website) is "to further capture staff and parent input in the search process" beyond that obtained through the BWP survey.

The second meeting is a Special Board Meeting that will also be held at Elm School beginning at 7:30 p.m.  This meeting was first announced to the public on March 21 in an email communication sent out by the Director of Communications.

The announcement stated that "[t]he meeting will begin at 7:30 to allow time for those interested in attending the Superintendent Search Focus Group at 7:00 p.m. to attend both events."

Nice attempt to dodge the criticism the BOE must have known would result by choosing to meet during the focus group.  Does anyone really believe that the focus group will start promptly at 7 pm and then conclude within 30 minutes?  If so, how interested is BWP or the board in providing a meaningful amount of time to gather input from community members?  Even if only a few parents show up, 30 minutes is hardly enough time to let each person speak.

No, it is painfully obvious to us that the BOE intended to create this conflict and intentionally scheduled both meetings at the same time in order to keep the attendance down at its board meeting.  You might ask, why would the BOE do this?  Well, here are the reasons we have come up with:

The last few meetings have been very well attended by parents willing to step up and make public comments critical of the board, administration and the Learning for All Plan.  By creating a scheduling conflict, it is likely more parents will choose to attend the focus group and stay away from the board meeting.

While there are only 2 items on the agenda for the special meeting (click to open agenda posted on Board Docs), Amended School Calendar and Personnel, both items are somewhat controversial and we are sure the board would prefer to address them quickly and quietly.

The Amended School Calendar is up for final approval.  It will result in Hinsdale Middle School students attending school on Good Friday, while the rest of the district has the day off.  There may be some parents who oppose this plan, but if given the choice between making a public comment at 7:30 or providing input for the superintendent search at 7, most parents will likely forgo attending the board meeting.

While we do not know what the Personnel item is, we can make a pretty good guess.  The board must publicly approve the renewal of Administrator Contracts on or before April 1, or they will automatically be renewed after that date.  Up for renewal are all of the Central Office administrators, the principals, assistant principals, deans and PPS administrators. We hope that the board will be formally voting on these contracts at this meeting, since no other meeting is currently scheduled to take place before April 1.  Each board member should be allowed to vote yes or no on each administrator.

Parents have been quite vocal on this blog, and in letters sent to the board, about their desire that one or more administrator contracts not be renewed.  We will not identify those administrators in this post, but we agree that change is needed in some of the Central Administrative positions.  As a result of the public criticism, it is clear that by scheduling these overlapping meetings, the board is hoping to deter public comments relating to the administrator contracts.

Wouldn't it have been possible for Board President Turek and Dr. Schuster to pick any other date between Monday, March 24 and April 1 to hold their Special Meeting?  If not, wouldn't it be possible to begin the meeting at 8 or 8:30 pm to allow people to attend both meetings?

In our opinion, not doing so is simply the latest in a series of attempts by Mr. Turek and Dr. Schuster to stifle open government and transparency.  While the district can look forward to a new beginning (of sorts) on July 1 with the hiring of a new superintendent, there is also the BOE officers election to be held during the annual Organizational Meeting (in late April or early May)(Click to open Board Policy 2:110.)  We hope at that time a new board president will be chosen.  The non-renewal of some administrators is not the only change needed in D181.


Anonymous said...

I think it is a no brainer that the BOE meeting should be moved to 8:30. There are only two agenda items so it should be a short meeting. And shouldn't the BOE actually be present at the focus group to hear what the community has to say? And shouldn't the community have the opportunity to be heard at BOTH meetings and not have to rush through either? While I commend the BOE for realizing that they need to take a public vote on the contracts, this is not the way to do it. Every time I think they cannot sink any lower, they do. MOVE THE BOE MEETING TO 8:30!!! BTW, this is also a sneaky way to ensure that the press only covers one event.

jay_wick said...

I doubt the administration or anyone from the BOE involved in scheduling things like these meetings really planned for "maximum conflict". That seems far too calculating and I doubt that is what motivates them so much as they just don't put enough priority on the things that really do have consequences. In short, they probably tried to "squeeze things in". Not good.

How often have we seen this?

Whether it is facilities issues or concerns with not having adequate time to plan for major curricular shifts or up-ending the educational path of large numbers of students there seems too often an odd pattern of doing what is easiest to accept / "good enough" instead of really putting in the hard work required to the get "the best".

Believe me, you don't need to be a crazed "tiger parent" to see lots of examples of the district settling for "good enough".

I have said this before and I really hope that it sinks in with folks on the BOE that ought to be holding themselves and district staff to higher standards: there are at most two meetings a month where the important decisions about the current operation and future direction of the district are decided. The relative ease of "continuous benchmarking" against other districts by spending a few hours every week using the internet to gather information about issues ought to be part of the one's personnel commitment to the neighbors that elected them! This is not "micro managing" anymore than it would be for folks on a corporate Board of Directors to come to scheduled meetings ready to ask staff to show where a firm stands relative to its competition. To do otherwise breeds complacency and decline... One can see this pattern in some of our most famous firms -- How Microsoft Lost its Mojo

HP's Revolving Door in the CEO Office

Parents and kids get "one shot" at having the best experience in each grade -- over the course of your four year term you really need to do everything in your power to ensure that happens by not letting staff get by with anything less than their best effort.

Look around. Do you really believe "good enough" got anyone in this community to where they are? Sure there is some "serendipity" that helped folks a bit, but the importance of diligence and competence are overwhelmingly fundamental to success.
If everyone on the BOE does not really start modeling the sort of commitment to doing FAR MORE than "good enough" in selecting the most qualified replacement for district leadership the consequences of that lack of commitment will be a specter that handicaps our ability to meet the challenges of Common Core as well the ongoing needs of our demanding community.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. I am so tired of hearing from the BOE and staff "We are working on it" and "Your child is doing fine!" We didn't move here to meet minimum standards. If we wanted that, we could have stayed in the city and been closer to our jobs. Parents are work overtime to volunteer and provide extras for schools and teachers. We are not stupid. We all know which teachers barely put forth the effort, and run out the door when the bell rings. We all talk about which teachers hate active little boys or could care less about making 1st grade girls cry. But none of us know why these teachers are allowed to get away with it.

jay_wick said...

There is a downside to having a district with TWO middle schools and SEVEN elementary schools -- it is impossible for any parent to really get to know all the teachers. Even the most optimistic / idealistic community member would have to acknowledge teaching talents lie along a spectrum.

That said every indication is that the overwhelming majority of teachers are EXTREMELY committed to doing an excellent job with every child.

When the district fails to consider the downsides of larger class sizes or exceptionally wide range of learners per classroom that does put teachers at risk of becoming less effective. If the district compounds this problem by not giving principals sufficient time to evaluate and guide teachers the inevitable result is that some teachers may diverge from the excellent performance they almost certainly exhibited when selected to be part of the district.

Given the size of our district and the number of administrative positions that the district now supports one would hope that any teachers that are less than fully effective would have resources available to get them back on track.

In all seriousness, given the rare opportunity to start NEXT school year with a new contract for staff as well as new superintendent I would like to believe that when new leadership it selected to fill the already announced departures there is a policy and BOE procedure to ensure that principals have a way to guide teachers to a respectful and positive process of continuous improvement which will be the only way to address the demands of renewing instructional methods.

Anonymous said...

Well said Wick. Too many demands are being placed on our teachers between class sizes and mixed abilities. Yes there are a few bad apples that really need to go but I support 99 percent of our teachers!

Yvonne Mayer, D181 Parent and Former Board of Education Member said...

Part 1: Here is a letter I sent to the board today. I hope they discuss this issue at Monday's board meeting.

Subject: Taxpayer request that the Repayment Provision (7L) in Dr. Russell's employment contract be enforced by the Board of Education
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2014 10:46:00 -0500

Dear Board of Education Members:

I am writing today to respectfully request that you publicly assure the D181 taxpayers that you will be enforcing the tuition reimbursement payback provision in Dr. Kevin Russell's contract and that prior to June 30, 2014, he will be required to repay D181 the $36,119 in tuition payments that he was previously reimbursed.

As you know, tuition reimbursement contracts were first approved for one or more administrators shortly before I was elected to serve on the school board (2009-2013). Over my 4 year term, I voted NO on each such contract because I did not agree with the reasons the administration gave the board as the rationale for such a lucrative benefit for administrators pursuing an EdD or PhD degree. The majority of the board agreed with the administration's argument that by providing such a benefit, the district could "grow its own" administrators and internal promotions would bring stability to the district. In return, these administrators would stay in D181 longer out of a sense of commitment to the district, thus increasing the longevity of the administrative hires. I disagreed and argued that administrators would leave should a higher level promotion opportunity present itself in another district.

During the ongoing years of debate, a stricter pay back provision was approved by the majority of the board to provide the district with some protection against administrators simply receiving their degrees (paid for by D181) and then leaving right away. Currently all of the administrators, including those who are enrolled in EdD programs paid for by D181, have a provision in their current contract that requires them to repay 100% of tuition reimbursement payments if they leave within 12 months of the last reimbursement payment made to them. (Provision 7L) The contract provision also requires that repayment be made on or before the date the employee receives his last paycheck from D181.

Dr. Russell has this provision in his contract. I filed a FOIA request two weeks ago asking for his contract in order to confirm this. The contract has been produced to me. Dr. Russell executed this contract on June 24, 2013 and this one year contract supersedes all prior contracts. Last week I filed a FOIA request seeking records that would show how much he has been reimbursed under the Tuition Reimbursement provision. Those documents are attached. The responsive documents (which were produced to me yesterday) reflect that he has been reimbursed $36,119 since July 2010 -- not including books for his doctoral program (which invoices are also included, but I did not add those to this amount).

As you know, Dr. Russell completed his doctoral program over the winter. Dr. Russell has now chosen to accept a position as a superintendent of another school district, effective July 1, 2014. His last tuition reimbursement payment made by D181 was in December 2013, less than 12 months ago. Pursuant to his employment contract, he must pay 100% of the $36,119 (and possibly also his book expenses) back to D181 on or before June 30, 2014.

Yvonne Mayer, D181 Parent and Former Board of Education Member said...

Part 2:

Please enforce this contract provision and let the D181 taxpayers know that Dr. Russell will be paying this money back to D181. It is a legally binding contract provision and one intended to protect the taxpayer's interests. $36,119 is a lot of money. Should the board ignore the contract provision or try to modify it in any way to allow Dr. Russell to not repay all of this amount, you will be setting a dangerous precedent. Anything short of full enforcement will send a message to the remaining administrators currently receiving tuition reimbursement payments, that they too can unilaterally choose to leave during or shortly after they complete their graduate work and that there will be no financial repercussions. (The contract does protect the administrators from repayment IF their contracts are not renewed, since it only requires repayment if they make the unilateral decision to leave.)

Finally, I think it is time that the Board revisit the concept of paying 100% of administrator's graduate work. I would urge the Board to strike this provision from the future contracts of any administrator who is not currently enrolled in a graduate program.

Respectfully submitted,

Yvonne Mayer

Anonymous said...

Ok what's up with our kids field testing the PARCC this week after a week of ISAT testing? At what point do they actually start learning?

The Parents said...

Anonymous: what do you mean? Which grades and at what schools are kids taking the PARRC test this week? It is truly outrageous, if true.

Anonymous said...

It appears certain third and fifth grade classes were selected by the state and our district agreed to allow this. I believe all elementary schools are affected and parents were just notified.

The Parents said...

Unbelievable. We 'd love to publish the email parents received. How much instructional time will students be missing?

Anonymous said...

Monroe 5th grade is affected by PARRC testing.

Anonymous said...

We have no idea about how much instructional time will be lost. We were just notified on Friday, and the testing begins next week. TERRIBLE timing to force kids to test again, only a week after just forcing them to do ISATS. When will they stop treating our kids like guinea pigs? Parents' opinions should have been solicited before they decided to take more teaching and learning time away from our kids!

D181 claims it was state mandated, but I doubt this.

Read this editorial:
Parents should opt out of letting their kids be used as guinea pigs for the Common Core/PARCC “pilot” test being given in Arizona schools over the next few weeks. As a “governing board” member of the PARCC testing group, Secretary of Instruction, John Huppenthal, has agreed to pilot and then implement the PARCC test statewide during the 2014/2015 school year.

At a recent meeting with parents and teachers in Oro Valley that I attended, Huppenthal stated that the PARCC pilot test is a “voluntary” test that Arizona schools have agreed to participate in. The testing window starts next week and lasts for several weeks. Hundreds of schools across AZ and the country will have thousands of K-12 students sit for several hours to take the pilot version of the computerized Common Core/PARCC test. Pearson Testing will then gather the results of the pilot test and use them to tweak their version of the Common Core/PARCC test that they will then sell back to states across the country to use to assess the new Common Core standards which have been fully implemented this year.

What will we get from the pilot tests? According to Huppenthal, absolutely nothing, except that teachers will be able to look over their students’ shoulders to get an idea of what next year’s Common Core/PARCC test will look like. Sounds like a pretty cheap date. None of the data derived from the pilot test, regarding academic or computer skills, will be made available to participating schools to assess instruction. No financial compensation will be offered to our students and schools for participating in this pilot test either, though Pearson stands to make millions when it uses data from the pilot test to finalize their nationwide test.

Do students have to take the Common Core/PARCC test? No. The state of Arizona has not yet adopted a test to assess the new Common Core standards, so officially students/parents who opt out of the pilot test cannot be penalized in any way for not taking an “adopted state assessment”. Our kids are being pimped out to the Pearson testing company without the schools asking parents for input or for permission.

What can parents do? Parents are their kids’ ultimate educators and protectors. Parents can call their children’s schools and check to see if their child will be involved in this pilot test. They can then ask that their kid be “opted out” of taking the test or they can simply keep their kids home the day of the test. We have enough problems in Arizona with education, let’s not add to the list the problem of a predatory testing company using our kids for their financial gain.

Brad McQueen
Elementary Teacher – Tucson
Follow Brad on Twitter at @cosmowisdom

The Parents said...

Parents need to speak out in opposition to the PARCC testing. Write letters to the BOE, make a pubic comment at tomorrow's board meeting and OPT your children OUT of this guinea pig test!

Anonymous said...


STURBRIDGE — Less than two weeks after the Worcester School Committee gave parents permission to opt their children out of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers field-testing, the Tantasqua Regional School Committee has done the same.

Tantasqua Regional School Committee member William J. Gillmeister of Brookfield made the motion asking for the school's administration to develop protocol to allow parents of students scheduled to take the PARCC field test to opt out of the testing.

The motion passed with an 8-7 vote.

"I'm opposed to the Common Core and I'm certainly opposed to the PARCC test," Mr. Gillmeister said. "Students have to take the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System), as well as the field test. And I think that if parents feel this is too much testing for their children, they should have the opportunity to opt out of it."

In addition, Mr. Gillmeister said the school committee needs to send the Legislature a message that they are placing unnecessary burdens on the school district.

"Unlike the MCAS at one point, where there was some field testing, that was going to happen," Mr. Gillmeister said. "This particular instance, there is still a great deal of uncertainty as whether or not the PARCC is actually going to be implemented because the board of education still has not finalized that, as well as they have not addressed the question of whether they are going to be offering the PARCC and the MCAS at the same time. There's just too much uncertainty going on here and I think parents ought to have the opportunity to opt out."

School Superintendent Erin M. Nosek said the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's position is students or school districts can't opt out. They see students taking the field tests as part of the required state assessment system, she said.

"The Department of Ed said this is not an option," Ms. Nosek said. "So I'm a little perplexed as to how I move forward."

Ms. Nosek said two Grade 8 math classes (roughly 34 students) are scheduled to have two performance-based assessment test sessions in April, and three Algebra 2 classes (roughly 45 students) at the high school are scheduled for two end-of-the-year assessment test sessions in May.

In the vote for Mr. Gillmeister's motion, School committee member Sheila Noyes-Miller of Brimfield abstained, while School Committee chairman Michael J. Valanzola of Wales, who makes it a point not to vote unless there is a deadlock, cast the deciding vote.

"It reaches the point of exhaustion, relative to the mandates from the state. Every time you turn around, there are new requirements on our school district but no money to back them up," Mr. Valanzola said after the meeting. "And, for me, this sends a message that we are tired of the mandates and, ultimately, we are a School Choice district that believes in choice. Choice should rest with the parents and their right to be engaged in the process."

On Feb. 11, the Norfolk School Committee sent the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education a letter saying it would let parents decide for their children whether they will participate in the PARCC test. On March 6, the Worcester School Committee agreed to send a letter to the state similar to Norfolk's.

Portions of the new test will be given to 81,000 students in Grades 3-10 to help officials at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education gauge whether it should eventually replace the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to decide in fall 2015 whether to replace MCAS English and math tests with PARCC, although the 10th-grade MCAS requirement would initially remain in place.

Contact Craig S. Semon at Follow him on Twitter @CraigSemon

Anonymous said...

Our district has been so busy dealing with the L4A mess, we have yet to fully comprehend and deal with the disaster that common core will mean for this district. This field test is just the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I am livid that our kids are being forced to do this! They already missed so much school from the snow days. Whose dumb idea was this? What ever happened to transparency? I am opting my child out.
My friends opted their children out of the ISATS and it wasn't a big deal at all. Don't believe the administrator's lies that it is "against the law" to not let your child take the test. That is garbage.

Anonymous said...

8th grade classes are also taking this field test.

Anonymous said...

Just what our 8th graders need, more lost school time.

Anonymous said...

5th graders have also been taking middle school placement tests so they've really had no instructional time for two weeks. Unacceptable!!

Anonymous said...

From the D181 website:

PARCC Field Test: Schools and grade levels participating in the field test scheduled for the week of March 24 and April 7 were randomly selected by PARCC. Therefore, not all D181 schools are participating, and not all grade levels within a school are participating. Further, classes were selected will take either the Performance-Based Assessment (PBA), the End-of-Year Assessment (EOY), or both, in either English Language Arts (ELA) or math. To minimize the testing burden on schools and students, the majority of students will take only one component. The D181 participants are noted below.
School Grade
Subject Classes Mode Component
6 ELA 2 Online PBA
CHMS 7 Mathematics
2 Online EOY
ELA 2 Online PBA
ELA 2 Online EOY
Mathematics 2 Online EOY
Madison 5
Mathematics 2 Online EOY
Monroe 5
Mathematics 2 Online PBA
The Lane 3
Mathematics 2 Online PBA & EOY
The Lane 5
ELA 2 Online PBA
Walker 4
Mathematics 2 Online PBA & EOY

Why was this not discussed at any BOE meeting? Why were the parents notified at the very last minute?

Anonymous said...

The district web page lists which grades and schools are part of this field test. It looks like grades 3-8 and all schools except Oak and Elm. How is that Oak and Elm got excluded????

Anonymous said...

Prospect is excluded too.

And, of course, this information is buried on the web site. Maybe we need to sign up for twitter.

Anonymous said...

How convenient? All of the sudden the D181 web site is down for maintenance....

Anonymous said...

The website is back online

Anonymous said...

Ok relax people . The GOVERNMENT has issued the PARCC to be assessed in RANDOM schools across the nation. This isn't something your blog or any board can strong arm. The PARCC is being "piloted" like it or not. Our admin didn't ask for this, nor volunteer certain schools for this. It is what it is. Fight through your senators, it has nothing to do with the admin at D181. Take the chip out of your side and realize that a PUBLIC school has mandates they need to follow as issued by the government. If you don't want Common Core, fight against it at the root. I personally hate it as well, but don't ridicule our district for a government issued pilot assessment. If you have complaints, hit the core, not your district.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so opt out of the PARCC testing. Easy! No big deal. Then consider sending you kids to private school. We are dealing with a PUBLIC school district. There's only so much you can ask/expect. There is another option here folks. Take it or leave it, but it is what it is.

Anonymous said...

The PARCC Assessment is replacing the ISATs, so while it's not ideal that certain classes have been chosen and others have not, it will be required for all students next year. Because our state representatives have pushed for this test to be taken at least 2 times a year, on a computer, there are logistical nightmares ahead for the entire state, our district included. The pilot is necessary to see if this is even a viable option (which it likely is not). No one wants to lose more instructional time to test, especially the teachers. If you want to push back on the amount of testing, push back on the tests mandated by the district; challenge the MAP or the new district writing assessments. MAP tests are administered in math and reading, 3 times a year, through the same class (at the middle school) every time (language arts). Because the MAP is also a computer-based test, the laptops throughout the school are tied up for MAP for 9 weeks out of the school year. If you can get a laptop cart for instruction, the bandwidth priority goes to MAP, so other curriculums are left with the spinning wheel on their screens. The Writing Assessments (administered 2-3 times a year) also tie up class time (also administered through Language Arts). Students lose time again when teachers, not administrators or paid, unbiased evaluators, are later pulled out of class to score them using a questionable rubric (not created by teachers) that will likely not show growth (because of a flawed rubric and the fact that students are writing different styles of writing in each assessment). Testing has taken on a life of its own. Teaching has taken second fiddle. The challenge should really be placed on the district to minimize lost instructional time and reassess how valuable the data is.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the poster at 6:04 and he/she is absolutely accurate about the impact all of this testing is having on the students. Some testing is good and can be used to drive instruction and show patterns however, too much is just that. Does anyone know the rationale for the winter MAP?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about all the pretests are kids are taking. We do need to get back to teaching.

Anonymous said...

How ridiculous that some people think that the government can FORCE our children to take a test!!! They are not wards of the state!! The fact that our children go to a PUBLIC school makes it even more obvious. If they were at a private school ( where kids don't have to take ISATS or PARCC, by the way), then, the children could be told to leave for not taking a test. However, in a public school, that is against the law! If you don't want your child to take the PARCC or ISAT, you write a note, and the school HAS to allow your children to go to school, and provide them a place to do something other than test. And if teachers or administrators try to coerce the children, THAT. Is against the law! Contrary to what D181 believes, children in public schools are protected by laws. That's why we send our kids to public schools, too. So parents have legally protected rights to make important decisions for our own chuldren.

Opt out is a completely legal and viable option for all parents

Anonymous said...

Why would I make my kids change schools when all the administrators have to do is start listening to parents and teachers! Our district barely gets funding at all from the state, so we are we pretending like it matters what they say? Poor schools, who are notedting standards rely on funding, so they have to take these tests to 1) prevent from getting shut down, and 2) to ensure state funding. If we don't have this problem, and are children are not benefitting from it, why would we overtest them?
Just because someone tells you to do something ridiculous doesn't mean you HAVE to do it! Parents, stand up for yourselves. Your kids don't get another chance to do 5th grade again.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Wick's previous post - we didn't move here for "good enough." School districts across the country have been talking about these field tests for weeks - OPENLY - and many have decided to not take them. Our district sprung it on parents at the 11th hour. I challenge our BOE and administrators to research this issue and not settle for "good enough." We also need to formulate a testing philosophy for the district.

We have been so focused on learning for all, that we are behind the eight ball on common core. Again, this is not "good enough."

Jill Quinones said...

Part 1

Dear Parents

You can use this (2 parts) as a stand alone and put other Common Core Comments here:

PARCC Field Test

I will be piloting this with some of my 6th grade special education students next week. Here is some more info for you all:

Pearson, PARCC”s Field Testing Contractors sent letters to District’s on member states notifying them if school’s in their District had been selected for the Field Test. The final list of participating schools was compiled in December 2013, so yes; D181 could have been a little more forthcoming. Schools were selected to participate in a specific grade, content (math and/or reading) and mode (online/paper-pencil) and are not allowed to change that selection. Specific classrooms were selected by a minimum of 2 District representatives to make sure the selection was random. There were some other guidelines about this as well:

Every pilot classroom for the online version will do a practice component that lasts 60-90 minutes. There is A LOT of technology involved with this test, the majority of which is available to all students:

The actual testing sessions are 90-120 minutes ELA and 75-90 minutes Math. If they are taking the PBA test there are 3 sections of ELA and 2 of math. If they are doing the end of year later in May ELA and Math are both 2 sections.

Here’s the link to try the sample question that were released:

If you want the whole Field Test overview:

Jill Quinones said...

Part 2

PARCC Field Test

Teachers should not be looking over shoulders as Pearson and PARCC over the top on the security on this one. Teachers are not allowed to be on their computers, phones, or eve grading papers while students are taking this test. They must be circulating around the room the entire testing period. All teachers administering the test sign off on a lengthy security agreement agreeing to such and more. Any reported violation could potentially void the test results once this is being given “for real.”

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this Field-testing. It seems outrageous that it is happening right after ISAT and there will not be any scores associated with it – it is just research for PARCC and Pearson to make sure everything works and trouble shoot for when it rolls out next year. On the other hand, perhaps they will realize it doesn’t work! Also, those students involved in the Field Test will have a slight advantage over those that were not in that they will have been exposed and have had practice. Not sure if this is good or bad. This is a major headache for teachers as well, as we keep getting updates and changes thrown at us. Whatever your thoughts about the PARCC in general – those are issues with ISBE, not D181.

That said, I do know many Districts are, in fact, scaling back their other assessments because this test going forward will be given several times a year. For example, in my District MAP will be given Fall only to grades 3-8 and we will use Fall to Fall growth norms.

Given that D181 has done away with pull-out gifted programming and any parent/teacher can opt their kids in to accelerated programs I don’t know why we need to waste instructional time and $ in D181 with the Inview and some of the other testing we are still giving. Our Dept. of Learning should take a look at all the assessments that are being given and when.

For a funny yet sad commentary, see:

Anonymous said...

Ok, so we take MAP 3 times a year, ISAT (next year PARCC several times a year in lieu of this test), field testing, writing assessments several times a year, inview, middle schools placement tests, pre and post tests in math - wow! No wonder we cannot get through the Everyday Math textbook. Funny thing is we don't really analyze any of this data.

Anonymous said...

I saw this on a post from another blog. It is the responsibility of parents to challenge the validity of what "governments" decide. Not too long ago, black people were not allowed to even go to school. Did you support that, too, JUST because the GOVERNEMENT said it was the law?

Adolph Hitler:
"How fortunate for governments that the people they govern don’t think.,"

Socrates, 470 - 399BCE: "People in a democracy may not get what they want, but they will surely get what they deserve."

Anonymous said...

Next year the PARCC is going to be given in D181 in March and May. Does this make sense to anyone.