With the summer behind us, the school year is now in full swing.
During our first few weeks of school, teachers in all departments, worked diligently to better understand our students’ learning “next steps.” As you may well know, this process involves reviewing student performance on assessments from last year, including previous grades, performance on standardized assessments, a review of cumulative folders, and feedback from teachers and administrators who worked with the students last year. The process also involves administering in-class assessments. We are mindful of the need to limit assessments for our students and for several years now, endeavored to only use assessments that help us learn more about our students. Toward that end, we have created a Pre-k12 assessment calendar that clearly outlines our assessments at each grade level. The Portland Assessment calendar is a working document and annually we make changes to those assessments we do administer as we learn more about what is both practical and beneficial for instructional planning. As a matter of fact, this year, we are implementing a new screening tool for all students in grades K-8 called the aimswebPlus. This new assessment screens and monitors the reading skills of K-8 student and is administered to our older students via chrome books. To learn more about aimswebPlus, please click – aimswebPlus or reach out to your child’s building principal. The results from all of our baseline assessment will help us plan class instruction and adjust our curriculum to better meet the learning needs of each student.
In addition to our baseline assessments, we have also received reports for each student in grades 4-9 from the Connecticut State Department of Education. The reports provide feedback to students and parents on each student’s performance on the Smarter Balanced assessment that was administered in grades 3-8. Parents and students will begin receiving these reports this week. Our high school students in grades 9-11 took the PSAT last year. Those reports and personalized learning inventories aligned to the reports are available online from the College Board and Kahn Academy. Our seniors can also view their performance on the SAT in Naviance, and through the College Board. Parents or students of high school and middle school students who would like assistance interpreting the results from the Smarter Balanced assessment, the PSAT, or the SAT are welcome to contact the counselors at Portland High School and Portland Middle School. Parents and students at Gildersleeve Elementary School and Browntone Intermediate School who would like assistance interpreting the results of the Smarter Balanced assessment are welcome to contact teachers or the building principals.
Recently, the Portland Board of Education adopted the 2019-20 Portland District Teaching and Learning Priorities. Please see these on my main page. 2019-2020 Teaching and Learning Priorities
Over the coming weeks and months, parents and community stakeholders will be invited to participate in the process of selecting the next Superintendent of the Portland Public Schools, and in the development of a PreK-12 Vision of the Graduate. Please keep an eye out for notices from me regarding opportunities to contribute your ideas, suggestions, and insights into this important long range planning process.
This week, Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Tuesday evening and continues through the day on Wednesday. This is the holiest of days in the Jewish religion and is a time of solemn repentance. To all those recognizing this day, I extend my warmest wishes for an easy fast. Good Yuntif.
Philip O’Reilly, Ed.D
Superintendent, Portland Public Schools