Saturday, February 14, 2015

More from the state on snow and school calendars

A few things of note from yesterday's Commissioner's weekly update (which now not only comes via email on Friday; it gets posted then, too! Thanks, Jackie Reis!):
  • they're rescheduling state testing: 
In response to the recent snowstorms that have caused an unprecedented number of school closures this month and to allow schools more instructional time prior to assessment, ESE plans to offer flexibility for scheduling the statewide testing windows for MCAS, MCAS Alternate Assessment, and PARCC. This flexibility will include extensions to the testing windows as well as alternate dates for the MCAS Grade 10 English Language Arts, Mathematics, and June Science and Technology/Engineering tests, and the grades 4, 7, and 10 MCAS ELA Composition and Composition Make-Up tests. More details will be emailed to superintendents and principals next week once we are able to determine all related logistics. There will be a short turnaround time for superintendents to request an alternative schedule, as we will need confirmation of decisions by the end of February.

  • they're pushing a) earlier year starts, b) March vacations, and c)" innovative calendars" for future years
  • they're not fans of "blizzard bags" and the like: "In many cases, this work appears to be very similar to normal homework assignments; there is educational value, but it does not necessarily meet the standard for structured learning time. For this approach to count toward the student learning time requirements, school districts must ensure that such work is structured learning time, is substantial, and has appropriate oversight and teacher involvement."
On everything else? Cancel those vacation and professional development days. 

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