3-29-13 Field Memo

Commissioner’s Weekly Field Memo
Friday, March 29, 2013
 

Notes from Commissioner Gist


1.  Governor Chafee, RIDE issue report on Rhode Island school buildings - “Public Schoolhouse Assessment FY 2013”

From the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE)


Assessments:


2.  Spring 2013 testing schedules due by April 26 - Action item!

3.  NECAP Science test-administration workshops announced

 

From the Office of Educator Quality and Certification: 


4.  Teacher and building administrator evaluation end-of-year forms to go live April 12

5.  Rhode Island National Board Certification Subsidy Initiative

6.  State Teacher of the Year applications due April 8

From the Office of Instruction, Assessment and Curriculum: 

 

7.  2013 RI Social Studies Summer Institute – Call for Proposals and Save the Date

From the Office of Multiple Pathways:  


8.  Virtual Learning Math Modules Online Tutoring Budget Available for Schools

From the Office of Statewide Efficiencies

9.  Wireless Classroom Initiative Update

Meetings and training: 


10.  Work session scheduled on IMS curriculum-course linking

School safety:


11.  2013 School Safety Art Contest announced

12.  2013 Active Threat & Workplace Violence Seminar Series

 

 Action Item Calendar

 
April 26: Spring 2013 testing schedules due (see below)
May 3: Distinguished Educator nominations due
  

Notes from Commissioner Gist


1.  Governor Chafee, RIDE issue report on Rhode Island school buildings

 
The “Public Schoolhouse Assessment FY 2013,” the first report in Rhode Island of its kind, includes data and information on each of the 276 public-school buildings in Rhode Island, as well as recommendations on financing, savings, and efficiencies. 
 

Each district is to be commended for their participation in the creation of this report.  

The next phase of this important work is to identify strategies to meet the needs presented in this report as we strive to effectively and efficiently provide safe and supportive learning environments for our students.  RIDE and the Governor’s office have already engaged in this important work.

From RIDE

Assessments:

2.  Spring 2013 testing schedules due by April 26 - Action item!

During the NECAP Science testing window (May 6 - 23), RIDE staff members will once again be visiting a random selection of schools across the state to observe the administration of the NECAP tests. These visits are necessary so that we can continue to improve the NECAP testing program for test coordinators, test administrators, and students and also so that we can monitor whether proper testing procedures and guidelines are being followed in school classrooms.  
 
We ask that all LEA Spring 2013 testing schedules be submitted to RIDE no later than Friday, April 26, so that RIDE staff members will be able to begin planning school visits during the scheduled times of testing. Each LEA is responsible for creating the testing schedule for all its schools so that each of the tested grades (4, 8, and 11) has the same testing schedule (e.g., all 4th graders in the LEA are taking the science test on the same day at roughly the same time). 
 
LEAs should take into consideration religious holidays and local events that may affect students’ ability to participate. While LEAs may opt to schedule around these dates, it is important that ample time is incorporated into scheduling to allow time for make-up test sessions for those students who are absent for any reason (including absences for religious holidays) during regularly scheduled testing dates. Make-up testing may begin immediately following the scheduled administration of a test session. No student should be scheduled for a make-up session prior to the scheduled administration of that test session.
 
Please submit your testing schedules online via eRIDE using the new eRIDE NECAP Schedule Tool.  

A short guidance document for using this tool has been posted to the Assessment Schedule page as well.
 
As in previous years, the “NECAP Monitoring Visits Interview Questions” are available online. We strongly encourage all districts and schools to download and widely distribute these interview protocols so that everyone is aware of the types of questions that will be asked during visits. All three documents are available on the RIDE website.
 

If you have any questions about the NECAP Science testing schedules, please contact Dr. Kevon Tucker-Seeley, by email or phone (222-8494).  


3. NECAP Science test-administration workshops announced

The NECAP Science test window is May 6 to May 23 this year, and all schools with grades 4, 8, or 11 are required to participate. Test materials will be delivered to schools during the week of April 22 and picked up after testing on May 24. The test will include three sessions; the first two are a written component similar to other NECAP tests, and the third is a performance assessment (the Inquiry Task), which is a “hands-on” task at grades 4 and 8 this year and a data-analysis task for grade 11.

Test administration workshops have been scheduled to help prepare district and school test coordinators to administer the test. The workshops are scheduled for the following dates and times (note: both workshops cover the same material, so there is no need to attend both workshops):
 
  • April 22, at the Providence Marriott Downtown, 1 Orms St., 02904 (1 – 3 p.m.)
  • April 23, at the Radisson Hotel, 2081 Post Rd., Warwick 02886 (9 – 11 a.m.)
Registration for workshops can be done online, selecting “New England Common Assessment Program” from the drop-down menu, clicking “Enter” and selecting a workshop, and then following the online directions. On-site, in-person registration will also be available on the day of each workshop 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.
 
Workshop attendance is strongly encouraged, as the latest information on NECAP testing policies and procedures as well as information about test security will be provided. 
 

If you have any questions about these workshops, please contact Dr. Kevon Tucker-Seeley by email or phone (222-8494).


From the Office of Educator Quality and Certification: 

4.  Teacher and building administrator evaluation end-of-year forms to go live April 12

 
The end-of-year evaluation forms, including the Student Learning Objective scoring form, will go live in EPSS on April 12. In addition to the forms going live in EPSS, user guides and versions of the forms in Microsoft Word will also be available on the RIDE website. Annual evaluations are intended to reflect the educator’s performance for the full school year, and the deadline for LEAs to report their evaluation data to RIDE is not until mid-July. We understand other factors impact a school or district’s evaluation timeline, but all LEAs should set local deadlines for closing the evaluation process that allow for the full evaluation cycle to be completed.     


5.  Rhode Island National Board Certification Subsidy Initiative

 
The Office of Educator Quality and Certification is pleased to announce that applications for the Rhode Island National Board Certification Subsidy Initiative for the 2013-2014 school year are now available at the following website. Please note, funding is limited and you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for the subsidy funds. 
 
Since its inception in 1987, National Board has a research-based track record of identifying and supporting the development of accomplished educators. With more than 100,000 National Board Certified teachers nationally and nearly 500 in Rhode Island, these educators are helping to improve learning and teaching for all students. The National Board offers certification in twenty-five areas including Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Grades, Secondary Grades, Art, Music, PE, Health, World Languages, School Counseling, and many others. See the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website, www.nbpts.org, for more details.  
 
Please contact Mary Keenan with any questions. 

6.  State Teacher of the Year applications due April 8

Each 2012-13 District Teacher of the Year has been provided with an application for State Teacher of the Year. Applications should be mailed to Mary Keenan, in our Office of Educator Quality and Certification. If you have additional questions, contact Mary Keenan.  Applications are due by Monday, April 8.  For more information, click on the "Info" tab on the Teacher of the Year page.
 
 



From the Office of Instruction, Assessment and Curriculum: 


7.  2013 RI Social Studies Summer Institute – Call for Proposals and Save the Date

The RI State Panel on Civic Education (SPCE) and RIDE will host the 2013 RI Social Studies Summer Institute on June 1, 2013.  Members of the State Panel include: the RI Social Studies Association, the RI Association for Curriculum Development, the RI Historical Society, the RI Council for the Humanities, and K-12 and higher education educators.  This conference will focus on integrating social studies content with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), instruction and assessment strategies, the newly expanded RI Social Studies GSEs (SS GSEs), and topics in Rhode Island History and civic education.
 
The conference aims to provide teachers with opportunities to hear first-hand from their peers about successful strategies and resources for teaching the SS GSEs and integrating the CCSS, to learn more about resources supporting instruction in Rhode Island history and civic education, and to create partnerships between K-12 institutions and higher education to further student engagement.
 
We are soliciting proposals for workshop sessions from educators until April 29, 2013.  RIDE and members of the SPCE Institute Planning Committee will review the proposals and will notify successful proposals beginning on April 15 on a rolling basis.  
 

 
Questions about the Institute may be directed to Kamlyn Keith
 

From the Office of Multiple Pathways:  

8.  Virtual Learning Math Modules Online Tutoring Budget Available for Schools

RIDE is pleased to see the increased number of students enrolled and engaged in the Virtual Learning Math Modules (VLMM).  As a result, we have budgeted online tutor sessions for each school based on the number of eleventh grade students who performed Substantially Below Proficient (SBP) on the math NECAP.  Each school has an initial budget of two tutoring sessions for each SBP student.  This allocation is for the spring 2013 semester and accounts for the immediate need for students in the class of 2014.  Additional tutor sessions will be available for VLMM activities for the summer 2013 and the 2013-14 school year.
 
Students are enrolled in the VLMM and assigned tutoring sessions through each school’s Site Coordinator.  It is the responsibility of LEAs/schools to assign students to tutoring sessions based on priority of need.  However, tutor sessions may be used at the LEA/school’s discretion and is not restricted to eleventh grade students.  Requests for additional tutor sessions will be reviewed by RIDE and may be available based on demonstrated need.  Requests for additional tutor sessions must be accompanied by evidence of student need and explanation of implementation strategy.   For additional information, please contact Holly Walsh
 

From the Office of Statewide Efficiencies

9.  Wireless Classroom Initiative Update

Progress on RIDE’s Wireless Classroom Initiative (WCI) continues.  The Division of Purchases has informed us that MPA #482 which is the Qualified Vendor List will be posted on or about April 2, 2013.   With the posting of the MPA, the Vendor Instructions will also be posted, a copy of which will be available on our website for your review.   In addition to Vendor Instructions, we have also provided LEA Instructions that will outline a step by step approach for engaging the vendors, as well as the information you will need to have available at the time of the site visit.    

 
We have also continued our outreach to districts to schedule interviews with district IT managers.  If your district does not have an appointment scheduled, please contact us to do so.  To facilitate communications about the Wireless classroom Initiative, RIDE is in the process of redesigning our WCI web page, as well as creating a new SharePoint site.  When complete, LEA leaders will be able to download WCI documents, see the process of the WCI program, be alerted to announcements, and use an evolving list of features designed to help us work together to bring wireless access to all RI public school students.   You will receive notification as soon as the site is completed.   In the interim, if you have specific questions or concerns regarding the project, please contact Cindy Brown, Director of Statewide Efficiencies, at 222-4257.


Meetings and training: 


10.  Work session scheduled on IMS curriculum-course linking 

 

We invite you to join us for an Instructional Management System (IMS) work session on Thursday, April 25, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the North Providence High School Library, 1828 Mineral Spring Ave. This is not a training but a work session, during which LEA program and technical staff can complete tasks, such as curriculum-course linking, with access to RIDE and Global Scholar staff. The session will be held in a computer lab, so participants will not need to bring laptops. However, participants should bring the information they’ll need to link courses to the corresponding curriculum in the IMS. For elementary schools, this may be a list of courses and information on the curriculum for each grade. For secondary schools, this might include a course catalog or its equivalent. Attendance is limited to 20, so please register through e-RIDE. For more information on this session, contact Laura Kacewicz

School safety:


11.  2013 School Safety Art Contest announced

 
RIDE, in collaboration with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency and the School Safety Steering Committee, is pleased to announce the second annual school-safety art contest. To increase awareness of the importance of school safety, we encourage all schools to participate in the 2013 School Safety Art Contest. Students are encouraged to use art as a means to share their vision, experiences, and talents to demonstrate “what school safety means to me,” portraying, a non-denominational, positive message. 
 
 
Please e-mail Joseph da Silva if you have any questions about this contest. 
 

12.  2013 Active Threat & Workplace Violence Seminar Series

The 2013 Active Threat & Workplace Violence Seminar Series will begin with a full-day conference in which attendees will hear from local subject-matter experts on a variety of topics, including: Active Shooter: Are you Prepared, The Physiological Implications of Trauma Exposure, and Emergency Planning. This event will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 801 Greenwich Ave., Warwick, on May 1, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Register

Please email Joseph da Silva with any questions about this conference.