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U-32 Middle & High School

BERLIN | CALAIS | DOTY | EMES | RUMNEY

A school community dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning.


  • PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  January 17, 2017

    Dear U-32 Families,

    Our first semester has ended and report cards will be coming home with your student on Thursday, January 19th.  We continue to implement a proficiency-based graduation system that aligns our grading practices with the standards that students must meet.  Grades are meant to be a clearer indication of what students have learned, not simply a measure of how much work was turned in or how hard students might try in class.  Learning is the indicator of success.  Report cards for grades 7th - 9th will show student scores on each individual standard in that class along with student scores on the Transferable Skills.  There will also be an overall score calculated for each course based on content standards that will show on the report card and transcript.  I will use the transcript view to explain how the scores are calculated.  Transcripts and report cards for students in grades 10-12 will be the same as in previous years.

    This sample from the student transcript below shows only the Literacy Student Learning Outcome and the Graduation Standards associated with it. The full transcript will show all Student Learning Outcomes and Graduation Standards along with any additional courses or programs of study.  In the left column below under the heading “Courses” is the section of the transcript that will show the class name, the overall course score based on content standards that students get in a class, and the year in which it was taken. The scores in this section will be calculated by averaging the content standards assessed in that specific course.  This is the overall course score and it will be reported on the report card as well.  These scores are then used to calculate the Grade Point Average (GPA), which will appear on the transcript.

    trans

    trans 2

    The right hand column, under the heading “Graduation Proficiency” is a student’s progress towards meeting the Graduation Proficiency on each standard.  Teachers will assess student progress towards graduation on each of the individual standards each semester. When students reach “Proficient” on any single standard, they have met the graduation requirement for that standard. Students will have to meet “Proficient” on each of the 37 content and 6 transferable skills standards in order to graduate.  In the first semester of the freshmen year it is unlikely that a student has demonstrated enough to meet “Proficient” on any single standard.

    We continue to align our classroom assessments and grading practices to ensure that the grades that students receive are indicative of how well they have learned and demonstrated their understanding of the standards.  If you or your child has a question about his/her score in a class, please contact the teacher.

    Sincerely,

    Steven Dellinger-Pate 


    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  January 3, 2017

    Good afternoon U-32 parents and guardians,

    Happy New Year.  I hope that everyone was able to enjoy as much of the Holiday Break as possible.

    January will be a busy month and I wanted to give the dates of our upcoming events.

    January 4th – 6 pm, the Board of Education will meet to approve the budget for next year.

    January 6th from 5:30 to 7:30pm - The Visual and Performing Arts at U-32 present 'Arts Spectacular' is this Friday! Join us in celebrating all of our artists at U-32 with visual art on display, live performances by instrumental and choral musicians, actors, and dancers. 

    January 11th – 13th Semester 1 Exams 

    January 16th – In-service (No School for Students)

    January 17th – First Day of Semester 2

    January 18th at 6:30pm in the U-32 Auditorium Eric Thompson from Civil Schools will present, CivilSchools: Helping Your Teen Navigate the Digital World: Moving from Hurtful to Healthful 

    This presentation will address:

    • Does managing your teen’s relationship with technology cause friction in your home?
    • Are you concerned for their emotional and social well being within digital spaces?

    It doesn’t have to be this painful…

    Rather than spending an evening discussing the dangers of social media, which are vast, we are going to equip you with the high leverage skills and interventions that are critical to your adolecscent's well being.

    We have arrived in the digital world without a map or compass, thus putting many parents behind the eight ball. As with many of life’s challenges, they produce some of life’s greatest lessons.

    With a good strategy, the digital world can be a perfect place for your child to develop self-regulation and self-awareness.

    We will focus on the pro-social behaviors that will help your family not only successfully handle cyber-bullying, sexting, and other negative elements of the online world but how to design a plan that prepares them to thrive within it.

    Presented By: Eric Thompson, Co-Founder and Director of Leadership Development at CivilSchools.

    Eric is a Silicon Valley based executive coach, socially conscious parent and entrepreneur.  For the past 10 years Eric has served the business and educational community by teaching advanced leadership and influence techniques that build psychologically safe environments. He and his team at CivilSchools have developed an evidenced-based bullying prevention curriculum that has been used across the United States to increase acts of civility. Eric has a passion for teaching people the critical skills necessary to be able to act as UPstanders rather than bystanders. 

    Welcome to the New Year!

    Steven Dellinger-Pate


    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  November 21, 2016

    Happy Monday to all U-32 Families,

    I want to take a break from my regular emails about Proficiency-Based Learning and offer a Thanksgiving message instead.  Our recent election has created a general atmosphere of contention and mistrust, yet in our own U-32 community, I have seen a continuation of the kindness and compassion that makes our school great.  For central Vermont, this fall was one of tragedy and loss, but also one of solidarity, love and support. The strength of our school community and the people that are part of it is what I want to be thankful for this holiday.  U-32 is a diverse community; in thoughts, beliefs and backgrounds, and I am thankful for our openness and understanding.

    I want to thank you, our parents, for valuing education for your child(ren).

    I want to thank the students at U-32 for making this learning environment a fun and safe place to learn and work.

    I want to thank the faculty and staff of U-32 for their devotion to our students.

    I want to thank the taxpayers of Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex, and Worcester for their dedication to a quality education for our students in central Vermont.

    These are my thanks and I would ask that you take a moment during this holiday to truly thank or express your gratitude to someone who has helped you.

    Each day I come to work, I remind myself how lucky I am to live and work in a place that values education so highly.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving,

    Steven Dellinger-Pate


    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  November 9, 2016

    Good afternoon,

    I needed to send out my weekly email and I found it hard to focus on anything but our country’s election.  Our nation woke up today with the knowledge that our democracy works and that we can transfer power peacefully.  I also feel the need to reinforce the need to educate all our students, because education is the foundation of a democracy.  Education is not just for the “elite,” education is for all, and we have an obligation to instill the best values of kindness, compassion and caring into every student at U-32.  This strengthens my own belief that we should not only teach content, but also the transferable skills necessary to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.

    This week student have just received their quarterly reports, and these reports are meant to provide information about student progress and to show areas of strength and growth so that students and teachers can make learning and curricular adjustments in order for students to demonstrate proficiency by the end of the semester. At the end of the semester, the expectation is for students to be performing at proficient or advanced on each of the standards.  A final score for each course will be calculated by averaging all the content standards for the course, and this average will be used in the GPA calculation.  GPA for the semester will be calculated by taking the average of all courses for that semester and the overall GPA will be calculated using all courses the student has taken. The Semester report card will have the individual content and transferable skills scores and an overall score for each course.  There will also be an additional score reported on progress towards graduation on each standard.  The overall score and the progress towards graduation will be on the transcript, which will look similar to the sample below.

    pp

    As you can see, the transcript will show both course scores and performance on the individual standards for each Student Learning Outcome.

    Our Honor roll each semester will be based on the semester GPA, while Latin Honor distinctions at graduation will be based on the overall GPA.

    My emails have covered a lot of information about Proficiency-Based Learning and I know that there are still many questions about our implementation.  I will continue to provide regular emails to show you examples of what Proficiency-Based Learning and instruction looks like in the classroom and how you can tell if your student is learning the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the U-32 graduation requirements.

    I will also be holding two forums during the parent/teacher conferences tomorrow, Thursday, at 5:00 PM and again at 7:00 PM in the auditorium. I hope you will join me with questions and concerns so that I can continue to provide you information about Proficiency-Based Learning at U-32.

    Sincerely,

    Steven Dellinger-Pate


    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  November 1, 2016

    Dear U-32 Parents and Guardians,

    We are coming up on the end of the first quarter of the school year and it is time for quarterly reports on grades.  There will be two types of reports for our students this year; a standard report card for students in grades 10-12 and a quarterly update for students in grades 7-9.  The following is a sample of the grade 10-12 report:

     1

    This report shows a student’s grades in each class for Quarter 1 and any teacher comments.

     

    The following is a sample MS report:

    2

    And this is a sample 9th grade report:

    3

    These reports show the courses and any standard that has been assessed by the time grades were posted on November 2.  Each standard has an in-progress grade listed in the Q2 column for all semester long courses and a final score on each standard in the Q1 column for all quarter long courses (Middle School only).  Over the course of the semester you should see an overall increase in the scores for each standard assuming that students are increasing their knowledge and skills in that particular standard.  You should also expect to see more assignments towards the end of the semester that are of higher difficulty and complexity.  Consistent low scores on any standard should prompt the student, teacher and parent to communicate about necessary interventions to improve student performance.  These quarterly reports are meant to provide information about student progress and to show areas of strength and growth so that students and teachers can make learning and curricular adjustments in order for students to demonstrate proficiency by the end of the semester.  If you have questions about your student’s performance in a class, please contact the teacher.  We will also have parent teacher conferences on November 10th and 11th.  Further information will be sent in another email for parents to sign up for the conferences. We will be distributing quarterly reports on November 8 to students at the end of the day.

    In my next update, I will be showing a sample transcript and describing the way final scores and GPAs will be calculated along with information on how students will make honor rolls.

    Sincerely, Steven Dellinger-Pate


    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  October 24, 2016

    Dear U-32 Parents and Guardians,

    I am returning to our regular weekly emails after a very busy couple of weeks and I want to start by thanking those who are sending questions, information, and support during this time of transition to a proficiency-based system of learning.  In this installment I will begin to explain how we report student progress.  There are several levels of this process.  First, there is the Infinite Campus portal, where you can login and see current assignments and the scores on them.  When you login and choose the grades tab the first screen that you will see is:

    pp 1

    This screen will give you a view of how your son/daughter is doing on individual standards in each class.  The score that is listed for each standard is on the scale of 1-Basic to 4-Advanced as estimated by the power law, or it is blank if no assignments have been scored for that standard.  In most of the 10-12th grade courses, there will only be an in-progress grade for the quarter, but for 7-9th grade, there will be scores in the Q2 column.  To see more detail, you will need to click on the course name at the top of each section.  When you do this you will see a screen like:

    pp 2

    This page has a large amount of information.  Working from the top, this page lists the course standards, including our transferable skills and the student’s scores on each standard.  Then it shows quarter, final exam and final grade.  These items will only have information for 10th-12th grade students right now.   What follows next are the individual standards with the assignments that have been given to students to measure progress on that standard.  You will see the score on that assignment for that standard and any teacher comments about the assignment in this section.  Since one assignment may contain multiple standards, the assignment may be listed multiple times with a different score for each standard. Next, there are the categories for the assignments.  Teachers use the categories to help organize work.  In this example, there are three categories, Formative, Summative and lab.

    Over the course of the semester you should see more assignments for each standard and an overall increase in the scores for each standard assuming that students are increasing their knowledge and skills in that particular standard.  You should also expect to see more assignments towards the end of the semester that are of higher difficulty and complexity.  Consistent low scores on any standard should prompt the student, teacher and parent to communicate about necessary interventions to improve student performance.

    At the end of the semester, the expectation is for students to be performing at proficient or advanced on each of the standards.  A final grade for the course will be calculated by averaging all the content standards for the course.  This average will serve as the GPA for the course.  The report card will have the individual content and transferable skills scores and an overall grade for each course.  There will also be an additional score reported on progress towards graduation on each standard.  In my next email I will be showing a sample report card.

    I want to remind everyone that we will be holding parent/teacher/student conferences on November 10-11th and we will be sending a separate note about how to sign up for meetings.  There will also be an information session prior to the conferences about our proficiency-based system.

    Sincerely, Steven Dellinger-Pate


    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  September 30, 2016

    Dear U-32 Parents and Guardians,

    I was not able to send my update last Friday, so I am sending a Monday message in its place.  In last week’s update, I showed you a couple of examples of the rubrics that will be used to evaluate student progress on the things we want students to know and be able to do.  In this update, I want to provide information on how students will be scored on those rubrics and how we will calculate a score.

    Many of us remember how we were graded in school.  We took quizzes and tests, did some projects and presentations, did homework, and participated in class.  The teacher usually marked our papers on some point system tied to how many things we got correct.  Many homework assignments were given a completed/not completed score.  In each category; homework, test, quiz, participation; the teacher then averaged the scores, and then took a percentage of those scores to get an overall grade of 0-100 that translated into A - E (or F).  That grade was supposed to be an indication of how well you knew a subject, such as Algebra 1 or Senior English (often the score also related to how diligent you were in completing assignments).

    In a Proficiency-Based system, teachers will be scoring assignments based on student performance on specific learning standards.  Students will receive feedback on specific content or skills letting them know where they are meeting requirements and where additional growth is needed.  Grades are not determined by averaging the scores on assignments, instead a student’s grade is meant to be an indication of the student’s demonstration of a skill or knowledge at a specific time.  Our proficiency-based system will use a calculation called the ‘power law formula’, which is a statistical calculation that predicts what the student’s next score will be based on scores already present.  It essentially answers the question, “If the student were assessed right now on a skill, what level would the student likely perform?”

    In order to understand how this will work, I want to show you some sample scores and calculations to help explain.  The following student scores of 1-4 are arranged in a different order, but would all average to the same score of “2.”  With a power law calculation, there is more weight on the most recent assignments.

     

     

    Assessment #1

    Assessment #2

    Assessment #3

    Assessment #4

    Power Law Score

    Interpretation of the Power Law Score

    Student #1

    1

    2

    3

    4

    4

    The scores show continuous improvement.  The student will likely demonstrate mastery on the next assessment.

    Student #2

    1

    3

    2

    4

    3

    The scores show irregular improvement. The student will likely demonstrate high but not advanced on the next assessment.

    Student #3

    2

    4

    1

    3

    2

    The scores show very uneven performance. The student will likely demonstrate a mid-level of achievement on the next assignment.

    Student #4

    4

    3

    2

    1

    1

    The scores show continuous decline. The student will likely demonstrate a low level of achievement on the next assessment.

    In proficiency-based scoring, we want to report the level of performance that a student achieves, not the average of his/her learning.  The power law formula is a calculation that takes into consideration when a student starts learning something new, he/she may not get the best scores.  In fact, the power law formula models the learning curve, so as a student learns more he/she can demonstrate a higher level of performance and that level of performance is what we report as their achievement level.

    There is also another thing to consider when looking at a student’s score on an assignment.  When students begin to learn new content or skills, the teacher may create assessments or assignments that check for their understanding at a beginning, or developing, level of performance.  This type of assignment could be a vocabulary quiz or listing parts on a diagram.  These assessments are important checks of understanding, but do not necessarily ask students to demonstrate a proficient or advanced level of performance on that standard.  A good, recent example was in our middle school social studies class.  Students were asked to identify the 50 States on a map.  The goal in the unit is for students to propose solutions to local and world issues by using geographic tools to analyze data and examine cultural information.  Being able to identify the 50 states is a developing part of being able to meet the overall goal, and, therefore would only get a 2 on the overall rubric for that goal.  This kind of assignment comes early in the unit, while students are beginning to learn.  Later assignments will ask more complex questions and will assess students more thoroughly on the goal.  On these assignments, students will be able to score proficient (3) or advanced (4).  The power law will give more weight to these later assignments.

    There are two major points to remember about the power law. First, it does not penalize students for not knowing something at the beginning of the learning process.  Second, the power law is more accurate when students perform consistently on a variety of assignments and assessments.

    In my next update, I will be reviewing how we will report student progress on the standards, for students, families, and to other schools and colleges.

    Sincerely,  Steven Dellinger-Pate


     

    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  September 23, 2016

    Dear U-32 Parents and Guardians,

    Now that we have gotten through the first weeks of school, we are starting to fall into more of a routine.  Students start their day in TA, where many of them gather in a community building circle that gives students opportunities to get to know each other and establish positive connections, including agreements about how they ought to treat each other.  I have noticed that some students arrive late and end up missing this important start to the day.  I encourage everyone to make sure that students are on time for school.

    Teachers are starting to put more assignments and scores in the grade book which motivated me to discuss scoring in this week’s Proficiency-Based learning update.  Student scores will look different than what many of us have traditionally seen.  Scores play many functions — communicating performance, providing motivation and feedback to students, criteria for guidance, and input for instructional planning and administration - although not as effectively as we would always like.  

    Although designed with best intentions to motivate students and communicate student achievement, both past and potential, our A–E grading scheme can undermine the very core purpose of our education system: learning.  In the past, before a student receives one of those five powerful letters at the end of the semester, a number of steps occur.  Schools and districts set some overarching policies; however, it is up to teachers to create their own grading policies. They do this by mixing and matching how they design the grade scale; distributing points for scoring assignments and exams; adding points for extra credit and deducting points for late homework, missing work, and classroom behavior; and then determine the final grade.

    In a proficiency-based system “grades,” often referred to as scores, look quite different. In our system, scores are connected to our Student Learning Outcomes and the standards that are aligned to each of the outcomes, not based on test and assignment scores that are averaged together. Students will receive feedback that provides information about how they are progressing toward meeting the standards in each course. Criteria used to determine what “meeting a standard” means will be defined in a rubric and teachers will evaluate learning progress and academic achievement in relation to that criteria. For example, students in a social studies course may be scored in the History standard with regard to the cause and effect of an event which is measured with a rubric (which may be more specific) that may look like this:

    5) History: Students use historical inquiry to gather information about the past that will help them make sense of the present and decisions about the future.

    Performance Indicator

    1: Beginning

    2: Developing

    3: Proficient

    4: Advanced

    Analyze cause and effect for specific historical events

    I can …

    Define cause and effect

    Identify cause and effect for a specific historical event

    I can…

    Explain the cause and effect for specific historical events

    I can…

    Analyze cause and effect for specific historical events

    I can…

    Evaluate and analyze the specific economic, political and social causes and effects of specific historical events

    In a proficiency-based system, scores for the Transferable Skills - e.g., getting to class on time, following rules, treating other students respectfully, turning in work on time, participating in class, putting effort into assignments—are also reported.  However, they are reported separately from academic scores, so that teachers and parents can make distinctions between learning achievement and behavioral growth.  An example of a transferrable skill is Creative and Practical Problem Solving, the rubric might look something like this:

    Overall, our goal is to provide accurate, consistent, and meaningful feedback that supports student’s learning.  Some of you have seen the portal in Infinite Campus and it is not yet clear how students are performing.  As teachers enter more scores and we refine the way you can view student progress, it will become easier to see the performance.  Next week, I will focus on how we will report student progress and performance, and how parents and guardians can know if their child is on-track for graduation.

    Information in this letter was adapted from the paper Sturgis, C. Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education, International Association for K-12 Online Learning, 2014, and: Edglossary.org/standards-based

    Steven Dellinger-Pate, Principal

     

    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  September 23, 2016

    Dear U-32 Parents and Guardians,

    Now that we have gotten through the first weeks of school, we are starting to fall into more of a routine.  Students start their day in TA, where many of them gather in a community building circle that gives students opportunities to get to know each other and establish positive connections, including agreements about how they ought to treat each other.  I have noticed that some students arrive late and end up missing this important start to the day.  I encourage everyone to make sure that students are on time for school.

    Teachers are starting to put more assignments and scores in the grade book which motivated me to discuss scoring in this week’s Proficiency-Based learning update.  Student scores will look different than what many of us have traditionally seen.  Scores play many functions — communicating performance, providing motivation and feedback to students, criteria for guidance, and input for instructional planning and administration - although not as effectively as we would always like.  

    Although designed with best intentions to motivate students and communicate student achievement, both past and potential, our A–E grading scheme can undermine the very core purpose of our education system: learning.  In the past, before a student receives one of those five powerful letters at the end of the semester, a number of steps occur.  Schools and districts set some overarching policies; however, it is up to teachers to create their own grading policies. They do this by mixing and matching how they design the grade scale; distributing points for scoring assignments and exams; adding points for extra credit and deducting points for late homework, missing work, and classroom behavior; and then determine the final grade.

    In a proficiency-based system “grades,” often referred to as scores, look quite different. In our system, scores are connected to our Student Learning Outcomes and the standards that are aligned to each of the outcomes, not based on test and assignment scores that are averaged together. Students will receive feedback that provides information about how they are progressing toward meeting the standards in each course. Criteria used to determine what “meeting a standard” means will be defined in a rubric and teachers will evaluate learning progress and academic achievement in relation to that criteria. For example, students in a social studies course may be scored in the History standard with regard to the cause and effect of an event which is measured with a rubric (which may be more specific) that may look like this:

     

    5) History: Students use historical inquiry to gather information about the past that will help them make sense of the present and decisions about the future.

    Performance Indicator

    1: Beginning

    2: Developing

    3: Proficient

    4: Advanced

    Analyze cause and effect for specific historical events

    I can …

     

    Define cause and effect

     

    Identify cause and effect for a specific historical event

    I can…

     

    Explain the cause and effect for specific historical events

    I can…

     

    Analyze cause and effect for specific historical events

    I can…

     

    Evaluate and analyze the specific economic, political and social causes and effects of specific historical events

    In a proficiency-based system, scores for the Transferable Skills - e.g., getting to class on time, following rules, treating other students respectfully, turning in work on time, participating in class, putting effort into assignments—are also reported.  However, they are reported separately from academic scores, so that teachers and parents can make distinctions between learning achievement and behavioral growth.  An example of a transferrable skill is Creative and Practical Problem Solving, the rubric might look something like this:

    Overall, our goal is to provide accurate, consistent, and meaningful feedback that supports student’s learning.  Some of you have seen the portal in Infinite Campus and it is not yet clear how students are performing.  As teachers enter more scores and we refine the way you can view student progress, it will become easier to see the performance.  Next week, I will focus on how we will report student progress and performance, and how parents and guardians can know if their child is on-track for graduation.

     

    Information in this letter was adapted from the paper Sturgis, C. Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education, International Association for K-12 Online Learning, 2014, and: Edglossary.org/standards-based

    Steven Dellinger-Pate, Principal


     

    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  September 16, 2016

    Dear U-32 Parents and Guardians,

    We are celebrating Homecoming this weekend at U-32 and we kicked things off with a spirit week and a pep-rally today.  It has been wonderful to see so many students demonstrating their pride in U-32.  Check out our calendar on the website for game times and activities.  It should be a great weekend, come on out and enjoy the festivities.

    This week I want to highlight the Student Learning Outcomes.  The full Board of Directors for Washington Central Supervisory Union adopted a set of core knowledge and transferable skills that they believe every student should know and be able to do in order to graduate from U-32.  These skills and content areas will build from Pre-K through graduation and all our students will demonstrate proficiency prior to graduation in all these areas.  Core knowledge is the content that all students should know and the transferable skills refer to the work habits and character traits that our communities deem as important in today’s society and workforce.

    The WCSU Student Learning Outcomes:

    Core knowledge of essential academic subjects, including:

    • Literacy
    • Mathematical Content and Practices
    • Scientific Inquiry and Content Knowledge
    • Global Citizenship
    • Physical Education and Health
    • Artistic Expression
    • Financial Literacy

    Transferable skills and behaviors that prepare them for lifelong learning and success, including:

    • Creative and Practical Problem Solving
    • Effective and Expressive Communication
    • Engaged Citizenship
    • Working Independently and Collaboratively
    • Informed, Integrated and Critical Thinking
    • Self-Awareness and Self-Direction

    The Student Learning Outcomes provide a focus for us to cultivating passionate, creative and empowered learners.  In the following weeks, I will be highlighting one of the content areas and transferable skills with examples from the classroom.

    Have a great weekend,

    Steven Dellinger-Pate, Principal


     

    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  September 9, 2016

    Dear U-32 Parents and Guardians,

    I enjoyed seeing many of you at the Open House last night.  I really enjoy seeing the support that our families have for education at U-32.  I also know that many of you couldn't make it, so I am including the Powerpoint presentation from last night about Proficiency Based Learning at U-32.  During the Q&A portion of the presentation, I was asked, "What will this look like in the classroom? What will the teacher's do differently?"  I would like to answer that question in this week's update.

    How will Proficiency-Based Learning effect instruction?

    At U-32 and in all of the Washington Central Supervisory Union, we are working on three areas of improving the instruction in our classrooms.

    1. Setting clear learning outcomes - The purpose of having clear learning outcomes is for students to know what they need to learn and why they need to learn it, and the instructional outcomes should be clear, balanced and suitable for diverse learners.  Outcomes represent significant learning in the discipline reflecting the standards of the Student Learning Outcomes. Outcomes must refer to what students will learn, not what they will do. Outcomes should reflect different types of learning, such as knowledge, conceptual understanding, and transferable skills while being appropriate for all students in the class.  The teacher should be providing clear expectations for learning, clear directions for activities and the use of vivid language and imaginative analogies and metaphors to explain content.
    2. Assessment – Teachers will assess students in a variety of ways so that students can demonstrate their proficiency on the learning outcomes.  Students won’t be compared to each other, but will be evaluated against common learning standards and performance expectations that are consistently applied to all students.  On-going checks for understanding will occur during instruction and that information will be used by students and teacher to know what needs to be learned next in the class.  The on-going checks will also help identify students who need additional support or enrichment.  Summative assessments will be used to evaluate a student’s level of proficiency at a specific point in time. These types of assessments will allow students to show both a depth and breadth of knowledge and skills.
    3. Questioning and Discussion - We want to use questioning and discussion techniques to deepen student understanding rather than serve as recitation, or a verbal "quiz."  Good instruction has open-ended questions that invite students to formulate hypotheses, make connections or challenge previously held views.  Overall, questions should promote student thinking and class discussions should be lively and engaging.  At the highest level of performance, students are asking questions of one another and building on the responses of their peers.  Teachers will develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills through good questioning and discussion.

    Overall, in a Proficiency-Based Learning environment, the classroom should be a place where students gain content skills and knowledge, while also exploring areas of interest.  Students engage in the content in ways that are meaningful to them.  The classroom will also be a place where teachers facilitate discussions, critical thinking and problem solving. 

    While many of the things listed above have been a part of instruction, Proficiency-Based Learning requires us to go deeper, expect more and challenge ourselves to think in new ways.  At U-32 we are committed to cultivating passionate, creative and empowered learners and I look forward to showing you examples of what is happening in our school in the weeks and months to come.

    Sincerely,  Steven Dellinger-Pate


    PRINCIPAL'S PAGE  |  September 2, 2016

    Good afternoon U-32 Families,

    The first week of school has been fantastic.  Our teachers worked hard this summer and their enthusiasm for the start of this year has been contagious.  Students are settling into their schedules and there has been a real excitement about the start of school.  I know that it is such a joy for me to see everyone return.  I hope that each of your families has had a great start to the school year as well.  .

    In a effort to communicate more openly, I want to start providing you with a weekly update on some of the big things happening at U-32.  One of the biggest changes this year will be implementation of Proficiency-Based Learning.  We will be phasing in Proficiency-Based learning over the next several years, beginning this year with our 7th -9th grade students and expanding up a grade level each year.

    The Vermont State Board of Education recently adopted a new set of Education Quality Standards for graduationÍž these standards are designed to better prepare our students for college and career.  In response to the Education Quality Standards, the Full Board of WCSU has adopted a set of Student Learning Outcomes for all students in the Supervisory Union.  U-32 has a vision to provide students with multiple pathways to meet the learning outcomes and earn a diploma.

    Proficiency-based Learning is a key component to this system, and it requires students to advance based on demonstration of skills and knowledge, rather than on time spent in the classroom.  Proficiency-based learning calls for a clear identification of what students should know and be able to do. Increased clarity in terms of student learning goals quite naturally calls for increased accuracy in terms of assessment, grading and record keeping.

    Over the next several weeks I will be providing you with more information about Proficiency-Based Learning at U-32, as well as, directing you to additional resources on our website. I will be providing information about:

    • The Student Learning Outcomes - What are they?
    • Graduation requirements for the 9th grade class and all subsequent classes. (Requirements remain the same for all current 10th -12th grade students)
    • How do students get graded in a Proficiency-Based system?  How will the grades be reported?
    • How will colleges view proficiency-based learning?  What will the transcript look like?
    • Instruction - How do teachers design lessons to help student reach proficiency?
    • How can student demonstrate proficiency in order to graduate?

    I look forward to sharing more information in the coming weeks about the great work that is happening at U-32.

    Have a great Labor Day weekend,

    Steven Dellinger-Pate, Principal


     

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