February 2017

February 16, 2017

Dear Georgetown Community:

Looking out the window onto the Perley parking lot, the snow continues to fall and the maintenance crew continues to clean it up. The weather has simply not cooperated as of late, and students are missing valuable learning time due to cancellations and delays. And, believe it or not, we are preparing for the winter break next week. So much to do and so little time…

When staff members and students return from the break, it will be time to start preparing for MCAS testing. This year marks more changes in the assessment, and a rebranding of MCAS 2.0. Grades 4 and 8 will be taking the test on the computer for the first time. All of these changes only make this an even more stressful challenge for students with disabilities.

There are countless articles written, all containing data that proves the effectiveness of standardized testing, or data determining them to be worthless. We all have established our own opinions on the subject. But regardless of those opinions, school districts operating on public funds in Massachusetts must administer MCAS 2.0 to all students within the testing grades.

The SEPAC was gracious enough to allow me to present on the MCAS assessment, and the accommodations allowed for students with disabilities, during their February 15th meeting in the Penn Brook Library. This presentation sparked several amazing questions and excellent dialogue about how to make this experience a positive one for our kids. Following is the link to my presentation:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1kdYTSTO9yINCZSsoc6vWPJsrudAnUuRpgPjQbB5L8q4/edit#slide=id.p

Of all the information I was able to speak on, I think the most important is that this should not be a miserable experience for our kids. Parents shared horror stories of the negative impact this testing has had on their children. Please, please, please talk with your children to make sure that they know that they will be assessed hundreds of times during this lives. This is just one more of those assessments. It is important to always try your hardest, and if they have done that, nobody can expect anything more.

I want to again thank all of the parents who attended the presentation, and provided such helpful contributions to conversation. I especially want to thank Ms. Katelin Kennedy, for once again giving up her personal time for the families of the Georgetown community. She has been such an asset to our staff!

Please feel free to contact me with any of your questions about MCAS 2.0. Or just stop by the office to say “Hi”. I wish you all a safe and relaxing Winter Break.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

 

Jack Tiano

Director of Student Services