On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees we welcome back our wonderful children and parent community. The 2015-16 school year will be filled with exciting new programs for our children and we look forward to building new joint activities with our tremendously supportive parent groups.
In an effort to provide you with an overview regarding your child's performance on last year's new Common Core assessments, I have included the article written by Ms. Sarah Tully that will provide you with valuable background information regarding our new assessments that our children will be given in grades 3rd-8th grade. I plan to provide additional information regarding our student test results during the month of October.
Standardized Testing Information
A few words on the new testing from EdSource by Sarah Tully.
The vocabulary has changed, and so have the numbers and the format. The two-page report that parents will receive later this year describing their children's results on the new Smarter Balanced tests on the Common Core State Standards will be very different from what they've seen in the past.
That's intentional. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the State Board of Education are using multiple cues to send a uniform message: Parents shouldn't compare the new results with scores on past state standardized tests; this year's English language arts and math tests are, they say, more difficult, and are based on a different set of academic standards. They mark a break from the past.
The new report doesn't use the terms that designated five levels of achievement on the California Standards Tests: far below basic, below basic, basic, proficient and advanced. Instead, Smarter Balanced uses four achievement levels, which state officials have designated: standard not met, standard nearly met, standard met, standard exceeded. The levels will designate the degree of "progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for success in future coursework." For 11th-graders, they measure the degree to which students are on track to be ready for college or a career after graduating from high school.
For math and English language arts, students will receive a separate composite score between 2,000 and 3,000 points that falls within one of the achievement levels. One complaint about the old state system, known as STAR, was that it emphasized a student's level of achievement, such as basic. With Smarter Balanced, state officials want to emphasize the growth in a student's score from year to year. It includes a margin of error line, which shows how a score might have changed if the student had taken the test again.
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Registration for the 2015-16 School Year
Begins March 2, 2015
(Applies to all families who live in the Soquel School District Attendance Area)
All new students can begin registering at their home school on Monday, March 2, 2015. (For all students entering kindergarten, your child must be five on or before 9/1/15.)
If you have a child that turns five between 9/2/15 - 12/2/15, you may be interested in our Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program. All registrations for TK will be done at Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary School. If you need further information on the TK program, please call Janet at (831) 464-5639 for further details.
Read the article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, published on March 2, 2014.
The Engineering Club, run by students from Cabrillo College's Engineering Department, is a popular after school activity at NBMS. The middle school students have been enjoying the challenge of the club which takes place after school, on Fridays, in Room 37. Whether designing windmills and testing the amount of power they produce, or experimenting with building the strongest bridges they can, the students are relishing the challenge of building, testing and refining their designs. As well as testing their design skills, students are also developing their cooperative skills, collectively working in teams of three, using science, technology, engineering and math to solve the engineering challenge of the week. Stop by room 37 at 1:30 PM on Fridays to witness our young engineers in action!
During weekly after-school Math Club meetings at Main Street School, 25 fourth and fifth grade students work in cooperative groups to develop their mathematical thinking. Students play math games (such as Krypto and Set), solve complex problems, and discuss and present solution strategies. In addition, fifth grade participants will have an opportunity to compete both individually and as a team in the countywide math competition in May. Students love the club so much that one student, Cathryn Perry, exclaimed, "I wish Math Club was every day!" Others have expressed dismay when time is up, wanting to keep working on math problems. Are you ready to test your math skills? Here are two problems students are solving. 1. Christine has homing pigeons and seeing-eye dogs. Together these have 36 heads and 80 feet. She needs 2 pounds of birdseed for every 4 birds, and 10 pounds of dog food for every 2 dogs. How many pounds of each type of food does she need? 2. How many squares are there on a chess board? (Hint: there is 1 large square, 81 small squares, and many more squares in between sizes such as 2 by 2, 3 by 3 squares, etc.) Are YOU smarter than a fifth grader?