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February Byrd Notes

PARCC Questions and Answers

The New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) has published a list of frequently asked questions and answers about the upcoming PARCC Assessment. This month, I have chosen to post the most pertinent questions for your review.
Many of you are aware that I consider the results of any standardized testing as a ‘snapshot’ of a student’s abilities on any given day at any given time. Results of standardized testing should be used as only one of many indicators of student performance. Formative and summative assessments hold more credence, in my opinion, than a single score or set of scores from standardized testing. That being said, I am reiterating what I said at a recent Home and School Association Meeting. Right now there are many opinions, some stronger than others, but nothing is based on fact because we haven’t administered PARCC other than the pilot version that Byrd was involved in last year. Let the facts speak after we have real data on the assessment. Let your opinions be driven by facts; rather than emotion.
New Jersey School Boards Association FAQs:
Students and PARCC: Frequently Asked Questions
In March 2015, New Jersey school districts will begin administering a new standardized test, called PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), developed by a multi-state consortium that includes New Jersey. The computer-based exam is the state’s new testing program and will measure student progress toward goals in language arts and mathematics.

NJSBAs legal, policy and field services staff members are receiving a growing number of inquiries concerning administration of the exam, including the requirement for student participation. As a service to local school districts, New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) offers the following responses to frequently asked questions about the school boards responsibility as it relates to the administration of PARCC.

Are school districts required to administer the PARCC assessment?

  • New Jersey statute authorizes the State Board of Education and the Commissioner of Education to establish academic standards.
  • Regulation adopted by the New Jersey State Board of Education provides that the Commissioner of Education will implement a testing program to measure student progress toward the standards.
  • That same regulation requires that local boards of education administer the state testing program.

The State Board of Education has identified the PARCC assessment as the state’s testing program, beginning in 2014-2015. PARCC is replacing New Jerseys previous standardized tests, the NJASK in grades 3 through 8 and the HSPA in high school.

Must students participate in the PARCC assessment?

  • State regulation contains the following provision: “…all students at grade levels 3 through 12…shall take appropriate Statewide assessments as scheduled.”
  • In an memo to school administrators, the Commissioner of Education cited law and regulation related to the state’s testing program and wrote, …State law and regulations require all students to take State assessments.

Do statutes, regulations or court decisions permit students to opt out of the state testing program?

No. New Jersey law and regulation require students to participate in the state testing program and do not include opt-out provisions. In addition, NJSBA is not aware of any court decisions that specifically address the ability or inability of general education students in public schools to opt out of state testing programs.

Although statute allows students not to participate in certain school programs (for example, animal dissection in biology class, certain student surveys, or family life education), these exceptions apply only to the specific activities and do not involve testing.

What action should a school district take if a student refuses to participate in PARCC?

In his October 30 memo to school administrators, the Commissioner of Education cites statute and regulation and states the following: schools are not required to provide an alternative educational program for students who do not participate in the statewide assessment.”

Local districts, therefore, have discretion on how they will address situations in which students attend school on test day but refuse to participate in the exam. (Glen Rock has determined that there will be no alternative activities for students who do not participate in PARCC. All available teachers will be involved in the test administration and all available instructional spaces will be used.)

What is the impact on the school district if students do not participate in PARCC?

The level of student participation in PARCC can affect federal funding for K-12 education in New Jersey, state aid to school districts, state monitoring (NJQSAC) results, the new teacher evaluation process, and the school district’s ability to design curriculum to meet student academic needs.
  • The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires that 95% of all students and 95% of students in subgroups (e.g., English language learners, economically disadvantaged, etc.) take state-required assessments.

February is going to be a busy month at Byrd. Here is a list of some of what will be coming up:
February 2nd the 1st grade students will work with a visiting artist
February 6th 4th and 5th grade parents are invited to have a 2nd Cup of Coffee with me in the Learning Center from 8:45- 9:15
February 9th Kindergarten parents will be able to view their child’s first public school report card on the Parent Portal in Genesis. If you need log in information, please contact the Guidance Department at ext. 8918
February 10th the 3rd grade will be celebrating Chinese New Year doing activities planned by Mrs. Sattler, Mrs. Jakobsen, Mrs. Cipolli and Mr. Parsons.
February 13th we will celebrate Valentine’s Day with parties in the classrooms at 2:45
February 20th we will have Pennies for Patients, a whole school assembly, in which we will learn about this very important program that raises coins to help children with cancer.
February 25th is our Health Fair. In the morning, children will cycle through different activities related to health and well-being. Jump for Jill will be here in the afternoon for an energetic assembly on how important exercise and eating the right foods is for maintaining good health.
February 26th the 4th grade students will participate in the National Assessment of Elementary School Programs testing. Testing will be conducted in the morning in both fourth grades.
And, finally….February 27th is PAJAMA DAY!!! Pajamas are welcome….slippers and long robes aren’t.

Just a note about lunch….there have been times recently that children have forgotten to bring their lunch to school. When this occurs, the teacher in charge in the office always has the child call their parent to have a lunch brought to school. Of late, some parents response has been, “Tell them to just feed you.” I want to make it clear that we do not have a lunch program at Byrd. All lunches that have been ordered are delivered daily and often times there are no extras. Please understand that we would be more than happy to provide your child with lunch, if we have it, but there are times that our ‘cupboards are bare,’ and we do not have anything.

School Security Drills
NJ State Law requires schools to conduct school security drills of some variety once per month.  This is in addition to the fire drills, we have been practicing each month for a number of years now. A school security drill is defined as an exercise to practice procedures that respond to an emergency situation including, but not limited to, a non-fire evacuation, lockdown, or shelter situation. We will holding school security drills monthly throughout the school year.  If you observe these drills taking place, please do not be alarmed.  In the event of an actual emergency, we will notify you through our Honeywell, reverse 911 system.
Thanks for your anticipated cooperation.
Managing Behavior
Click here for an excellent article on "Strategies for Managing Your Child's Resistant Behavior" by John W. Maag.
 2014 NJ ASK Scores
Aggregated scores for Grades 3-5
 Bullying Information
Power Point presentations on Bullying
 Empowerment Tools
This folder contains strategies that you can help your child adopt when dealing with others who aren't nice to them.
 Executive Functioning
Excellent article sent by the Community School in Paramus
 HIB Reporting Forms
Use these forms to report an alleged incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying
 New Jersey Common Core Standards
Article for parents on the NJ CCS
Information about the PARCC
 Parent and Student Handbooks
Please take the time to read both handbooks.
 Talking to your Child About Bullying
A brief article from Allan L. Beane, Ph.D. that might be of interest to you.
 Teaching online safety
For parents and teachers
 Olweus Bully doc0001.pdf
Similarities and Differences between Rough-and-Tumble Play, Real Fighting, and Bullying
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