Friday, March 31, 2017

One-to-One Technology Initiative

The Liverpool Central School District has embarked upon a one-to-one technology initiative that creates an educational environment providing our students with access to a personalized Chromebook beginning in grades 4th and 7th.  In grades 2 and 3, students will have access to classroom-assigned Chromebook carts to be utilized as determined by the teacher and curriculum needs.

After returning back from Spring break in late April [2017], we will begin the distribution to students in grades 4 and 7.  Each year following [Fall], we will continue this deployment process in grades 4, 7, and 10 until completed.  By end of the 2018-19 school year, the deployment plan will ensure all students in grades 2nd – 12th will have access to portable computing. Students in grades kindergarten and 1st will have access to an iPad device, when appropriate and necessary – given the curricular expectations.  The key tenet’s in our Liverpool Central School District Strategic Plan supports the resources necessary to focus on student achievement, communication, future-ready skills and professional learning communities by utilizing innovative technology - engage students leading to transformed learning. This initiative supports our overarching plan for student success.

The planning process for our one-to-one initiative began about two years ago when we initiated the goals and strategic intents included in our district roadmap for success.  For several years, the district has provided every teacher with a laptop computer. As our staff became more comfortable with this technology device, we decided to introduce our students to portable technology in almost every grade throughout our fourteen school buildings. Seeing not only great success but high levels of excitement with our students and teachers, we determined that the time was right to commitment the district to a Google platform.  We also determined that by linking our commitment to Google, we would naturally ascend into a one-to-one Chromebook initiative.  While evaluating the needs of our students and staff, it was vital to address the infrastructure needs district-wide.   We have created a standardized classroom foundation and have created a vibrant, interactive wireless learning environment throughout our entire school setting.

As research suggests, continuous access to a computing device for every student leads to increased academic achievement and a more engaged educational setting.  We believe that we can leverage technology to increase student engagement and provide opportunities for students supporting the 21st Century Skills including:  creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. As our teachers learn to work with technology, we see the possibility for more personalized learning opportunities hosted within each classroom setting; additionally, technology fosters learning at a faster pace as well as opportunities to fill in gaps for students experiencing deficiencies in their learning - both critical for future success.

As a public school district, we feel incredibly fortunate to belong to a community that values education and recognizes the critical role technology plays in providing a first-class education, and look forward to utilizing our resources to positively impact student achievement.

Friday, March 24, 2017

March 24, 2017:

The 2017 Grades 3-8 New York State Assessments:

What Parents Need to Know

*The following information was copied from EngageNY:   "As you know, every spring the student in Grades 3-8 are administered English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests throughout New York State. These tests are designed to measure how well students are mastering the learning standards that guide classroom instruction and help to ensure that students are on track to graduate from high school with the critical thinking, problem solving, and reasoning skills needed for success in college and the modern workplace. The tests also show how schools and districts are progressing with the learning standards. 

Untimed Testing: The 2017 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests will be untimed so students who need more time to demonstrate what they know and can do will be able to work at their own pace. This means that as long as students are working productively, they will have as much time as they need to complete their tests, within the confines of the regular school day.

Fewer Test Questions: The number of test questions on the 2017 tests will be the same as the 2016 tests.  Each of the 2016 Grades 3-8 ELA Tests had one less reading passage and fewer questions than tests from previous years. The 2016 Math Tests also had fewer questions.

Greater Teacher Involvement: Hundreds of New York State educators were involved in creating and reviewing the 2017 assessments.  Beginning in Fall 2015 and going forward, a greater number of New York State teachers has been—and will continue to be—involved in the review of all test questions and construction of test forms.  For the first time ever, New York State teachers will write the test questions for the Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests. These questions will first be used on the 2018 tests.

Computer-Based Testing: This spring, some districts will administer the 2017 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests on the computer. The computer-based test (CBT) will have the same questions as the paper version but students will take the test on a computer, tablet, or Chromebook."

Why Participating in Testing is Important?

As we move closer to the testing schedule in March, April and May, we begin thinking more about the administration of the NYS Assessments for ELA and Mathematics in grades 3-8.  The decision (and cooperation) to participate provides the Liverpool Central School District with an opportunity to focus on constant improvement for teaching, learning and academic growth.

The opportunity to participate accomplishes several things:

a) Allowing your child to demonstrate what they know and are able to do as compared with the expectations set forth by the NY State Standards;

b)   Supporting the hard work of our staff members as they analyze the results to continuously improve the opportunities provided to our students;

c)   No evaluative impact on students or teachers as a result of sitting for the assessments;

d)   Preparing our kids for current and future standards-based instruction and assessments such as Regents Exams, SATs, and ACTs.  

e)   Providing the district with critical information about our students, our own professional learning, and the investments that we make in our programs.  The opportunity for students to participate provides us more objective information when making necessary decisions;

f)   Ensuring that the district remains in good standing with the New York State and Federal Education Departments with our student participation rates  (95% is required over a two-year period) and our student progress.

An important outcome from the past 2 years of reflections:  previously, the number of assessment questions were reduced/shortened; and, the actual assessments are no longer timed. The tests are designed to fairly evaluate student knowledge – but in a format where students don't have difficulty finishing the assessment.

Participating in the assessment program helps the district see how our students are meeting expectations, understand areas where students are meeting with success, identifying areas where our students may be struggling, and focusing our efforts to prepare students for success – both now and into the future.