Welcome To Northport Public School!
WELCOME TO 2015!!!
I hope that you are enjoying the winter weather and had time to enjoy your students while they were home over the break.
Here at school, the move into January accelerates an already rapid pace. I’ve written in the past about the work we have been undertaking to improve teaching and learning here at NPS. This month, I want to talk to you about how we measure whether or not we are “moving the needle” in the right direction. It is critically important for us to measure the impact of our instruction and to review that information on a frequent basis so that we may make changes that benefit students as soon as possible. Within this month our K-6 students will take benchmark assessments in AIMSweb. Our 2-12 graders will benchmark with NWEA, and we have semester exams from January 20-22. I will also be meeting with each individual teacher during this month to talk about their professional growth plans and how they are progressing toward the goals they set for themselves earlier in the school year.
The traditional model of assessment in schools, certainly the way it was when I went to school, was centered around an annual evaluation cycle. Students would take the MEAP in the fall, to measure what they learned the previous year. Results would then be returned to school districts in February or March and were sometimes embargoed even after that, meaning that it could be a full year before feedback was received by a school district about how a student was functioning. That data was useful in looking at building or district wide trends, but did little to tell us about the progress and needs of individual learners. The lag in the cycle time that it took to get information back to schools also created issues of its own, in terms of being able to make necessary instructional changes in real time and providing timely interventions to keep students from falling behind and decrease the achievement gap. In order to meet the needs of today’s student population, this model needed to be changed to provide our teachers with more updated, actionable information specific to each and every learner.
The student assessments that we use now provide us with critical information about how we are doing relative to their unique, individual learning needs. The goal for us is to speed up the feedback loops so that we know which students are progressing as we would expect and which need some additional assistance or intervention. Students are “benchmarked” three times per year in AIMSweb and NWEA. They will also take the new State test, the M-STEP this spring. In addition to these normed and standardized measures, we also take into account qualitative measures such as student work, teacher observation, and classroom / teacher designed assessments. Once we have identified needs, we will deliver the appropriate intervention, monitor the student progress closely (formally on an every other week schedule, but daily in class work and teacher observations) and will meet as a team to discuss student data every thirty school days. It is through this process that we will continue to work to ensure that every Northport student receives the highest quality education that prepares them for postsecondary success and lifelong learning.
Wishing you a safe and fulfilling 2015,
Chris Parker, Superintendent