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5-12-15 Parent/Guardian Smarter-Balanced and Intervention Memo

posted May 13, 2015, 4:00 AM by Massabesic highschool
Principal’s Memo
To: Parents & Guardians of Juniors
From: Christian M. Elkington
Re: Smarter-Balanced Testing & Redo & Retake Support
Date: 5-12-15
I am sure that many of you have heard there is a controversy that has sprung up around
our State in regards to juniors and other grade levels, who are taking the State-mandated
Smarter-Balanced Assessments. Some parents & guardians are opting their sons or
daughters out of taking these assessments. This has become somewhat of a tidal wave
across our State with many of our juniors, like in other districts, having their
parents/guardians opting them out. With today’s mail, we are presently at about 45% of
our juniors who have been opted-out.
Why is this controversy happening? Well, there are several reasons. From the assessment
changing this year from the SAT to misinformation on many levels. Please review the 2nd
attachment in my email if you would like to read the concerns and/or questions that have
come up and our answers to them.
I understand parents & guardians have the right to make decisions for their son or
daughter and respect that. Because of the controversy we now find ourselves involved in,
I have decided to make some adjustments to the original schedule we created to reduce
the concerns that many were feeling around the Smarter-Balanced Assessment for
Juniors. Our new plan will use one regular school day, Wednesday, May 27 along with an
Early Release Day, the next day, Thursday, May 28 to administer this assessment. All
juniors including SRTC Students will test during this time (unless they have opted-out),
with SRTC students missing some class time.
We have been discussing the idea of using some time earlier in the trimester for our Redo
& Retake days instead of the last two days in the trimester. We feel this is both a better
way to support our students in difficulty before they get too deeply behind as well as a
way to recognize those students excelling during the trimester, not at the end. What this
means is that we will be combining Third Trimester Redo & Retake Days with our new
testing plan. Redo & Retake Days will now be on May 27 and 28 for freshmen,
sophomores, juniors (those opting out) and seniors. The last day of our school year,
which is an Early Release day, will also be used as a Redo & Retake day so the time used
this trimester, two full days for intervention, will be the same as our first two trimesters.
Progress Reports will now be handed out on June 3rd to take advantage of the work
completed by students during the Redo & Retake Days.
I hate to change our schedule and plan, but too much negativity has gone on with
Smarter-Balanced and so some adjustments had to be made. I am hoping to work out
some of these problems so that more of our students will take the Smarter-Balanced
Assessments and opt back in. I believe that combining it with the earlier support for
students who are behind with their studies makes the most sense at this time.
Please know that we would not be asking your sons and daughters, our students, to take
these tests unless we thought that the experience and results would be beneficial to them
and our school.
Thanks for your understanding.