Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018:

As I shared previously, the Liverpool Central School District has recently embarked upon a one-to-one technology initiative that creates an educational environment providing our students with access to a personalized Chromebook beginning in grade 4 and continuing through grade 12.  Students in 2nd and 3rd grade have access to classroom-assigned Chromebooks and utilize them as determined by the teacher and curriculum needs.  Students in grades kindergarten and 1st have access to an iPad device, when deemed appropriate and necessary – given the curricular expectations. 

As our staff has become highly proficient with their instructional technology tools, we introduced our students to this portable technology in every grade throughout our fourteen school buildings.  As such, we have created a standardized classroom foundation and have developed a vibrant, interactive wireless learning environment throughout all of our entire school organization.

But, as you may (or may not know), our reason for introducing, acclimating and utilizing technology [on a daily basis] is not limited to our own (district) priorities for “Preparing our Student for Tomorrow” . . . the New York State Education Department has introduced a program entitled:  Computer Based Testing to all students in Grades 3rd – 8th in English-Language Arts and Mathematics – beginning in the 2019-2020 School Year.  As such, we have developed an implementation plan preparing our students for this transition:


2017-18 Grades 3-8 New York State ELA, Math, & Science Testing:

The New York State Education Department continues to transition to computer-based testing (CBT) as part of its commitment to both meeting the needs of 21st century learners and improving test delivery, test integrity, scoring validity, and turn-around time on testing results.

This spring 2018, the Liverpool CSD will be administrating the New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics operational tests via computer.  Students will be using district provided Chromebooks for both tests.  Students and teachers have been preparing for CBT by practicing sample test questions on their Chromebooks.  The ELA administration will take place Wednesday, April 11th and Thursday, April 12th with make-up tests until Friday, April 20th.  The Mathematics administration will take place on Wednesday, May 2nd and Thursday, May 3rd with make-up tests until Wednesday, May 9th.

Grade 4 and 8 Science Performance and Written Tests will remain the same as in years past, as paper based operational tests.  The Performance Test for both grade 4 and 8 will take place on Wednesday, May 23rd and the Written Test will be on Monday, June 4th.

Below you will find a summary of the changes made to the 2018 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics Tests.


Testing:

·    Students who are still working on their exams will be allowed to continue to work, within the confines of the regular school day, beyond the recommended testing times.  By removing time limits, students will be able to work at their own pace and not have to worry about the clock while taking the 2018 tests.

·    Fewer days of testing.  The number of days and questions on the 2018 tests will be less than the 2017 tests.  The English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, and science tests will each be two days in length.

·    The tests have been thoroughly reviewed and constructed by New York State educators to ensure they measure what students are learning in their classrooms.


Teacher and Principal Evaluation/APPR:

·    Student performance on the 2018 Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics Tests will have no employment-related consequences for teacher and principal evaluations.

Parents and educators know that performance on a single assessment does not tell the whole story about what a student knows and can do.  It is simply one way to determine the overall progress of our schools and our students.

Some students become anxious when tackling standardized tests.  While it is important to acknowledge the value of a test, it is equally important to remind them that a test is simply one measure of performance.  The more relaxed and prepared a student is about an exam, the more likely they are to perform their best and truly demonstrate their best learning.

Here are a few things your child can do to positively affect the outcome on testing days:
·    Prepare all needed materials the night before
·    Get a good night’s sleep
·    Eat a well-balance breakfast
·    Visualize a positive outcome


If you have any questions about other ways you can assist your child at home or questions about the testing, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher, principal or reach out directly to our staff at the District Office.  Thank you for your continued support.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

School Safety:  What Needs to Change?


As you hear, feel and face the television, computer, social media and other outlets providing various reports from the tragedy in Florida, I fully understand and appreciate your thoughts, concerns and inquiries regarding those events . . . and how this highlights and fore-shadows our own security efforts in Liverpool.

            As many of you probably know, we have made modifications to our policy and practices [over the past few years] for visitors entering all of our educational buildings.  Each building is in a lock-in condition - once all of the students have arrived.   Visitors must present their license and have it scanned through our "Raptor" system, which identifies any issues or concerns related to prior arrests, etc.  Additionally, the only area a visitor can enter the building is through the main office.  Obviously, the best security is consistent and meaningful practices . . . meaning keeping all of the doors and windows locked and secured (and not allowing anyone to enter through other doors), understanding how to respond in various situations, being vigilant with staff  wearing identification badges (and confronting others who are unfamiliar), and having a viable security/safety plan . . . is what will keep our students, staff and visitors safe and secure.

            We recently conducted training for all of our staff (November 7th) - outlining our safety and security expectations.  We also identified our expectations to expand the training for all staff next November and into the future.  I also required all staff members to conduct and participate in a reflection meeting following the training.   In addition, each of the school buildings (as a mandate) must conduct 12 practice drills each year . . . 8 being evacuation drills (for both fire and for off-site evacuation in the event of building threats) and 4 Lock-Down situations when the building is in a full security situation.  It is absolutely vital that everyone (including staff and students) treat each of these situations with the utmost level of seriousness in an effort to be prepared for the unthinkable.

At various times, folks (staff, parents, and students) have inquired about situations similar to Sandy Hook and now Florida.  The most important facet or aspect resulting from the mass shooting event(s) continues to be awareness.  Our students and staff members (and families) need to share anything that becomes an awareness or apparent from conversations.  I have focused my efforts with our staff on creating and establishing relationships with our kids, their parents, and all of our community partners.  We have to be able to rely, trust and share knowledge.  Our kids often know more things that are going on between and among each other. Our security team is out in the high school buildings among our students. Our facilities are a safe haven for our students and staff . . . our efforts now focus on how to respond when (potentially) our safe places - the instructional classrooms could become compromised.

We, as an organization, will continue to be diligent and proactive . . . keeping our eyes (and ears) on any necessary trainings, practices, and systems that will allow us to improve with responding to emergencies quicker and more consistently. 

            I hope this is helpful and reassuring that your children's safety is our number one priority.