Curriculum and Instruction
MCAS 2.0: DESE Updates for 10th Grade MCAS Changes: Board Sets Implementation Date for 10th Grade Next-Generation MCAS
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted unanimously on October 25, 2016 to implement the 10th grade next-generation MCAS in spring 2019 (for the class of 2021). Members of the class of 2021 are currently eighth graders and will take the eighth grade next-generation MCAS this year, giving them some experience with the next-generation version before encountering it as a graduation requirement. Students in the class of 2020 and prior classes will take the legacy 10th grade tests to meet their high school competency determination.
Thank you team! MERSD WIFI is back on track! As we continue to update our WIFI and server, we ask that parents ensure that students’ computers are running updated antivirus software and malware detection on students’ devices.At home, if you are a Comcast user and don’t have antivirus software installed, download your free Norton Antivirus software from Comcast at: https://customer.xfinity.com/help-and-support/internet/downloading-the-norton-security-suite/ as well as free Malware detection software from Maleware Bytes at: https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/. Thank you for helping us keep our students’ devices virus free!
October Professional Development Series
Reaching All Learners Training
Our K-8 teachers will be learning instructional strategies for students with disabilities during our extended Wednesday professional development series.
Middle School NELMS
The NELMS survey window for teachers, parents, and students closes on Friday October 14th . The NELMS review committee will conduct interviews and classroom observations on Nov 2-4 at the MERSD Middle School. Results and feedback from NELMS regarding the survey, interviews, and observations will be available in early January.
Year-Long Focus on Student-Centered Learning: Refining the Principles of Good Teaching
Departments are focusing on developing the principles of good teaching, expanding student-centered learning opportunities, and developing instructional strategies and authentic assessments. Overall, this month during departmental professional development, teachers will focus on identifying the underlying expectations for students within the content. These trainings allow teachers the opportunity to focus on the big picture and to develop departmental statements of values and principles.
Upcoming trainings will focus on:
Under the supervision of Sue Krause, the middle and high school library will organize a pilot of new EBSCO technology which incorporates all library resources in one searchable database. Ms. Krause will coordinate the pilot of these resources with Social Studies and English department research projects.
District Focus on Assessing and Developing Student Writing
Based on analysis of MCAS, AP, and district-based data, the district will focus on assessing K-12 student writing expectations. Our first meeting in November will focusing on defining norms for Looking at Student Work and assessing the expectations of Massachusetts' grade-level standards for writing.
Kudos to Del Vollink and the MERSD Tech Ninjas!
Ms. Vollink is preparing to announce the launch of the tech team YouTube channel! Students have been working on making tutorials and examples for students and staff members. Teachers and students: if any of these make you laugh, or teach you something new, please tell the kids or leave a comment. Check out our Tech Team commercial or follow the tech team on twitter at: @METechTeam
Essex and Memorial Elementary Schools
Curriculum leaders met this month and discussed the standard curriculum and instructional strategies used at both Memorial and Essex elementary schools. We are developing a process for identifying and coordinating how each school uses and expands upon existing district curriculum. Updates and information regarding grade-level curriculum will be shared between principals, schools, and among teachers as the year progress!
STEAM at MERSD
Kudos to MS. Tamara Burns!
The month of October is the international celebration dedicated to the importance of drawing in solving problems and changing lives! Last year we began participating in The Big Draw and it was quite successful.
This year the theme is STEAM. This is a chance for students to work on the main floor of the high school as a live event. Students will each choose a direction to work in from weekly sketch book assignments. This choice option added greatly to the excitement and passion shown by students.
I will also share The Big Draw info with the faculty(ms/hs)as well as with Claudette Yutkins, newly appointed Art/Music curriculum leader. The community is welcome to come in and see our amazing students work as we participate. I will of course Tweet about this! See the link below for more info and a great logo for publications: http://www.thebigdraw.org/the-big-draw-2016-festival-theme
The arts are a critically important aspect of education! Such an event helps to underscore this!
Welcome to MERSD Curriculum and Instruction!
Congratulations to all of our school staff for a very smooth opening to the school year. This week we held parent open houses and very we will soon begin our district professional development series. Much of our training during 2016-2017 will focus on developing instructional practices to support teaching all learners, student engagement, technology, supporting 'growth mindsets,' and fostering health and wellness in all children. Our elementary schools have been setting routines with children across schools and classrooms-and getting our students very excited for the year ahead!
Establishing Routines: Elementary Routines
Growth Mindset: Carolyn Dweck on Growth Mindsets
The middle school will begin working with the New England League of Middle Schools (NELMS) to further develop a middle school philosophy focusing on teaching young adolescents. Our training on 9/21 will start with learning about Middle School Turning Points and the Keys to Educating Young Adolescents: This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents
And, our entire high school is engaging in developing a new schedule and participating in trainings devoted to student-centered and inquiry-based learning. I experienced high student engagement and inspirational teaching throughout the middle and high school today in many ELA, math, science, social studies, and art classrooms!
Have a great weekend!