Every year as a school we take a look at the data from TNReady as well as STAR Math and Reading to help us set goals that as a school we feel are important. One area we have worked on for many years is our subgroups which are labeled as Students With Disabilities (SWD), Economically Disadvantaged (ED), BHN (Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans), and English Learners (EL). We have worked hard as a faculty to make sure that we are providing the right instruction to meet the exact needs of these students. I am happy to report that in all of those subgroups achievement has increased. This past year our BHN group increased achievement by 4.4% in ELA as well as our SWD increased by 1% in ELA. Our English Learners increased achievement by 11.2% in both ELA and Math. The only area that we saw a dip was in Math with our BHN group. We have put a lot of time and effort in working with our subgroups and we were given Reward School status in 2017 and 2018 for being in the top 5% for performance (academic achievement).
There is another area that as a school we are graded on and that area is called Value-Added or Student Growth. Tennessee uses a value-added model that is designed to follow the progress of individual students over time and estimate whether these students made the average amount of progress observed in the state in the current year for TNReady and the Grade 2 Assessment. TNReady is designed to discriminate proficiency from non-proficiency, as well as designed to have sufficient stretch to measure student performance at a wide range of achievement levels and to measure the growth of both high and low achieving students.
We have for many years shown high growth for most of our students, but this past year we struggled to show growth with our highest achieving students. Our last TCAP test was in 2015 and we did well in all areas except some of our subgroups were not achieving at the level they needed to be at so we put our time and effort into finding ways to do a better job for all of our students.
We offered PD to teachers to help them learn new strategies to use in the classroom, we read books such as Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie, The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros, The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease as well as books on grading and homework. We discussed better strategies we could use with our children and got rid of teaching techniques/strategies that had a low effect size in the classroom. We also decided to start helping our children learn to set goals for themselves and to watch their progress and celebrate.
We reflected, examining our own mindset as we read Carol Dweck's Book called Mindset as well as Mindsets for Parents by Mary Cay Riucci. Both of these books helped us determine if we had a fixed mindset that was keeping our kids from succeeding. We made school a place where kids learned to persevere and to understand that failure is a part of learning and it is okay to fail if we pick ourselves back up and keep trying.
The 2016 test was the first testing year for TNReady and it was a complete disaster! BSE was not able to take the test as were many schools in the state so we did not receive any data for that year. The 2017 TNReady test went better, but there were still issues around the state. The results for this test showed that we were having trouble moving our highest students in growth overall as a school. We still received all 5's and Reward School status for performance, but if you start breaking the data down we were seeing a trend in growth meaning we were not doing as well as we had in the past.
The 2018 TNReady test did go well and I feel that the results that we received from this test were valid. The state is putting out a 2018 report card that is pretty easy to read on the state website. This report card gives each school a number from 0 to 4 with 4 being the highest in four areas; Achievement, Growth, Chronic Absenteeism and English Learners. This year we received a 3.7 for Achievement, 2.0 for Growth, 4.0 for Chronic Absenteeism, and a 4.0 for English Learners. So you can see that our area to work on as a school is growth. You can access all this information at https://reportcard.tnk12.gov.
So we come back to the big question which is, "Why are we struggling with growing our high achieving kids"?
Here are some of my thoughts:
1. The TNReady test is requiring our students to apply their learning more than any test we have taken in the past. No longer can our students just know a little information or use their memorization skills. They need to know how to apply a skill to a problem and work it out which may require many steps.
2. The students are expected to be able to write and to write well. They are being asked to look back into the text they are reading to find evidence and site it in their writing. Writing is in every subject including math. They are explaining more than ever how they got an answer and not just coloring in a circle.
3. We have gone through several standards revisions within the state of Tennessee. With each revision, teachers have had to redo the curriculum they teach so that the skills or objectives they are teaching match the standards from the state for their grade level. This takes time and skill to make sure that we are teaching at the level of the standard and with every change or revision many times we have to start over again.
4. When you have very high achieving students you have to move them past the knowledge of the grade they are currently in. Many of these students can do most of the work that is grade level so as a school we have to provide them much higher level work to do but at the same time, we can only hold them accountable (grades) for the grade level they are in. This means that these students have to want to go higher and learn more than what their peers around them are being held accountable for. They have to have a growth mindset and a teacher that has the ability to help them strive for the next level.
5. The questions on the TNReady test require students to analyze the question and determine exactly what it is asking. Some of our brightest students process the question so quickly that they don't take the time to attend to the specifics of each question. This is a test-taking strategy that requires precision in order to determine the best answer for the question.
So, what are we doing as a school?
First of all, we have to acknowledge that we are not growing all our students. That is a heavy burden for our teachers and administrators! That means that some of our students who were in our classrooms did not advance to the next level but stayed stagnant. They probably made straight A's on all the curriculum and mastered the skills for their grade level, but when they took the test and it had those questions on it that show if they can take their knowledge to the next level they were not able to do so. Were they given opportunities that would help them go to the next level? Did they want to stretch themselves outside their comfort zone and apply the skills they are learning at a higher level? Did the teacher have the training needed and the understanding of the curriculum to go to the next level with these students?
We have identified several ways to help our school be more successful in growing our students. The first is that we must use our intervention time wisely and make sure to target our highest learners not just gifted but all high achieving students during this time. Secondly, as a school we need to make sure that we are not just teaching to the "middle" but that we are also teaching to the highest level in the classroom. We must also prepare our students for the types of questions they will be asked on the test and give them opportunities to practice answering these type of questions. One way we practice is by administering the CASE21 assessment which mirrors TNReady. Our teachers analyze the results of these assessments to differentiate and grow our students. Lastly, everyone needs to look at the data and really understand what it means and how to use that data to better impact the learning in each classroom.
Our teachers may need more professional development in using data, training in intervention techniques, or be given better ideas for reaching their high-level learners and/or they may need more time with the curriculum to make sure that their planning of lessons matches the needs of the students.
We are working on all the areas discussed above and know that it will make a difference in testing this year, but if we are being truthful it may take more time for our hard work to show we are making a difference!
What can parents do? Parents need to recognize the hard work their child is putting in at school as well as support the teacher that is working with their child. Talking to your child and discussing things they are learning and reading is the first step. Taking an interest in what they are doing and finding other avenues to expand their knowledge helps the child know that what they are doing is important. There will be times when they may be given something to work on at school that might cause them to struggle, but the struggle will lead to growth so encourage the struggle and seek out ways to broaden their knowledge. Last but not least is reading! Yes, the more a child reads about the world and enlarges their vocabulary and their understanding of the world around them, the smarter they become. When they have opportunities to put themselves in another person's shoes and see the world from another viewpoint, that is where ultimate growth comes from. When we enlarge our child's world from the small one that we live in we can change the path of all children whether they are high achieving learners or not.
We want to wish all of our families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please take the time to enjoy the winter break with family and we will see everyone back at school on January 7, 2019!
Cindy Tesreau, Deanna Jones and Miranda Manley
Thank you for entrusting your students with us every day! We love our job and our hope is that we will be and do exactly what each student needs to be successful in life! Teaching is not an easy profession! Over the years I have watched the changes in education both good and bad. I started my teaching career in Houston, Texas in 1983...yes, I said 1983 which is before most of you reading this were born! I taught 8th grade advanced Earth Science and 7th-grade math and went on to teach 7th Grade Life Science as well as ESL Life Science. I student taught in first grade and then was placed in the middle school to teach math and science. It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least, and a scary one too! Every day there were fights and disagreements, disrespectful behavior to adults and students and I learned pretty quickly that these students were acting out in order to hide the fact that they could not do the work...many of them were reading on a first grade level in middle school! Getting control of a class of 35 middle school 8th graders to teach Earth Science and 10 of them reading on a first-grade level was pretty daunting. This is when I knew that our education system was failing our kids.
Over the years people have tried new programs, new teaching methods, scripted lessons, new administrators with new ideas, etc. The problem is there is not a program, a teaching method, or a scripted lesson that is going to make a student learn better it is the TEACHER and what she/he does each day that will make or break the learning for a student. It is teaching children how to have a growth mindset and model it every day as a teacher. Every child comes to school wanting to learn and somehow as parents and teachers we tend to squash that love of learning because we get too fixed on grades, how they measure up to other students, their state test scores, etc. We forget that every child does not learn in the same way or at the same speed as other children. Children are unique little individuals and learn best when given a teacher who makes a relationship with them and finds new ways to help them learn when they are not "getting it" and at the same time reassures them that learning is a process and they will succeed. This is where the job gets even harder! This is where teachers stay up at night trying to find ways to help a student so they can be successful and feel good about themselves, they reflect and look at what they are doing and change if needed, they throw out scripted lessons and teach to the needs of their class which means a lot of work on their part because it is not all packaged and pretty. Teachers deal with parents who want their child to be an A student and who have no idea that an A really means nothing in the big scheme of things! Teachers want parents to focus more on how their child is progressing because growth is much more important than a grade. During my teaching career, some of my highest students in the classroom were afraid to step out and try something that was hard for them because they were afraid of not knowing something and did not want to expose themselves to that type of struggle. They came into the grade level pretty much able to do all the work and they made great grades but as a teacher I wanted to push them to take on the next level of learning and sadly they choose to not move forward but wanted to stay were they were because I believe they were conditioned to focus on grades and not on growing themselves and learning new things.
I think as parents and teachers we want to help our students WANT to be a part of their learning and to spread the message that it is okay to struggle or grapple with learning, that through hard work and perseverance you will get better and succeed! This is the best life lesson we can give them. Those students with a growth mindset will many times surpass their straight A peers because they have learned to love the process of learning which involves struggling and not always knowing the answers! Our job force of the future will be looking for people who are able to think, be creative, are tech-savvy, and are open to a lifelong approach to learning! NOTHING is off limits if you have embraced learning and have a growth mindset! It is the secret that at some point everyone who has a say in education will figure out and will begin looking at kids as individuals and not as statistics on a test.
Please check out my principal blog at bseprincipal.blogspot.com and follow if you would like!
Please call on me if you need anything!
My email is email@example.com and the school number is 901-853-6380.
In the August/September Bailey Bear News I shared my feelings and thoughts about grading in my BSE Principal blog. I received great feedback on this blog topic and just found a Ted Talk Video that does a great job discussing why grading does not really predict a student's success!
Why perfect grades don't matter: https://ed.ted.com/featured/ltryN5j7
Grandparents' Day was a big hit!
BEAR FAIR - What an awesome night of fun!
Thank you to everyone who supported our Bear Fair! We are now ready to start building our new playground because of your generosity!
We have now collected $77,651.38 as of 9.21.18. The money has come from the following fundraisers:
Playground Donations since August 2016: $7,948.67
PTA Donations from 2017 and 2018: $35,299.57
2016 Bear Fair: $6,592.36
2017 Bear Fair: $12,345.75
2018 Bear Fair: 15, 465.03 (money is still coming in from Auction)
Total = $77,652.48
The playground quote from Play Power through Mid-South Recreation is $77,937.00. We are in the process of updating this quote but I feel quite certain that we are able to go ahead and get started once the quote is accepted by Collierville Schools. We were $285.62 short of our goal of $15 750.65 to be 100% funded but with the money that is still coming in I feel confident that we will have all the money that is needed!
I have heard some negative discussions on Facebook about how long this process has taken, that their child/children will not get to play on it if we don't build it soon, etc. Last year I sent out a letter to all parents explaining the process of getting a playground and answered all the questions that had been given to me. In that letter, I said that there will always be some students that will not get to use this playground because they have gone on to middle school. We cannot do anything about that because we had to raise the money first and we actually have raised the money in a very short amount of time but not in time for every student that contributed to this playground to enjoy. It is a legacy that those students and parents have left for other students to enjoy. I am grateful for those that understand this process and have not tried to make this process something that it is not and spread negativity about a great school. We started raising money in September of 2016 with our first ever Bear Fair. That is two years ago which is quite a short amount of time for the large amount of money that was needed to be raised! Thank you to everyone who has made this possible and given your time, your money and your enthusiasm for our new playground. Stay tuned for more updates!
We are excited to start this new year with over 800 students in Preschool through fifth grade! The year has gotten off to a great start thanks to all the hard work of our teachers, our students, our PTA, and parents. Our students are embracing our school rules which are; Be Ready, Be Respectful, and Be Responsible. I hope that you have found Bailey Station to be responsive to your needs as it pertains to your child and that you will continue to foster the relationship with your teacher as well as our school. One of the most important things we do as a school is to build relationships with our students. We need to know their unique and incredible stories in order to make sure that we are meeting their academic and social needs. The second most important thing for a happy school year is to communicate with your teacher and likewise, the teacher will be communicating with you! I know that when we communicate and build relationships with each other our children are the winners! You will find at Bailey Station Elementary that our children always come first in school decisions because their success is why we are here!
Our keywords for this year are "teach. engage. challenge. inspire." We are using the book, "The Wild Card" by Hope and Wade King to help challenge and empower our teachers to create lessons that engage, inspire and challenge our students. Teachers are urged to tap into their unique passions and to reach their true potential as a teacher so that every child can achieve success.
Please call on me if you need anything! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and the school number is 901-853-6380.
To a great school year!
Update on funding for the Playground
I want to take a moment to update you on where we stand money wise for our playground.
We have collected $62,186.35 as of 8.30.18. The money has come from the following fundraisers:
Playground Donations since August 2016: $7,948.67
PTA Donations from 2017 and 2018: $35,299.57
2016 Bear Fair: $6,592.36
2017 Bear Fair: $12,345.75
Total = $62,186.35
The playground quote from Play Power through Mid-South Recreation is $77,937.00.
Total needed to fund playground is: $15,750.65
We are very hopeful that this year's Bear Fair will provide the remaining money needed so that we can get started! Hope to see you at our Bear Fair on Sept. 13th.
Can giving grades and assessing mastery go together?
In August of 2016, I wrote in my blog about my take on grading and mastery. Even though I wrote this two years ago I still feel this problem is pertinent to all of us today. I believe that Collierville Schools has been proactive in looking at grading and providing principals with professional development on the practices that will best benefit our children. Even so, I feel it is still an area that we will continue to work on and remember to hold ourselves accountable for doing right by our students. The article is LONG....sorry!...I had a lot to say!
Can giving grades and assessing mastery go together?
Our school for the last two years has talked about grading and how to work an archaic system of grading into a standards-based world of mastery. We have found that it is very difficult. Not only is it difficult to put a grade on a summative that may not really show the true picture of a student’s ability, but it is also difficult to communicate with parents that an A on the report card does not necessarily mean their child has mastered the work given.
I have been reading the book, “Rethinking Grading” by Cathy Vatterott and I feel that she has really been able to put into words what the true problem is with grading. One point that she makes as she starts out her book is that our “grading systems often reward on-time task completion and punish disorganization and bad behavior.” That is so true! My faculty and I have been discussing grading and our beliefs about it based on our past experiences in school. We had been taught by our universities and our mentor teachers how to grade. We found that many times when we were grading papers, we would give extra points if the paper was turned in on time, or if a child had their name on the paper. We also found that many times we deducted points for late work, no name, etc. We noticed that we also were just trying to get through the curriculum….it was more about time and less about learning. We were told to cover the material and if the student was not able to cover it in the time that we were given then they just did not get it and were given a permanent grade, and we moved on. Oh my, bless our students’ hearts! We were like a cattle farm herding them through the gates and never looking back to see if they were really learning or if they were able to apply this knowledge to new learning!
There were two events that happened to my daughter when she was in high school that really made an impact on my thoughts about grading. My daughter hated reading and writing but persevered on an assignment given by her 11th grade English teacher with some assurance from me that I would help. The assignment was to write a paper on a certain topic, which also required her to read a book. My daughter read the book, wrote the paper with some help from me of course, but in all honesty, it was her thoughts! She turned the paper in on time, was excited that she had actually done something that was hard for her and when she received her paperback from the teacher it had a zero on it. Yes, I said it had a zero! She came home, showed me the paper through her tears and anger, which of course made me angry and I asked why? “What did the teacher say you did wrong?” The teacher said that her “margins” on the paper were incorrect and since she did not follow all the directions, she received a zero. I was furious! “What do correct margins have to do with the actual assignment or the work that my daughter had completed on the topic?” Why give a zero? I talked with the teacher with no luck and then called the principal and after much discussion, the zero was removed, but the damage was done! My daughter went to one of the best high schools in our city and if she had teachers who were more interested in following the rules and not so interested in the learning, then how many other children were going through this? To even make it more laughable, the teacher in one of her classes said that if she brought in some Kleenex boxes she could get five extra points on her test! Really! Kleenex boxes can raise a grade, but hard work and following through didn't seem to count! I found out that this was normal grading behavior for high school. Due to this assignment and others throughout her high school years where she was marked down for not doing something that had absolutely nothing to do with the learning objective, I knew that grading was a contributing factor to why our children were graduating high school but were not able to stay in college. They were dropping out after the first year of college or had to take remedial courses because they were not prepared. Our present state of grading, giving an A, B, C, D or F is more about student compliance with a system of rules than about learning.
The United States system of education has been in trouble for some time. The government brought in NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and even though there were problems with NCLB, one truth that came from this endeavor is that educators had to look at student learning and whether our students were actually proficient and not how well they obeyed the rules of the system. What we found was that grades given to students in class and proficiency on a standardized test were not the same. Yes, we all know that standardized tests are just one data source and it can be flawed, but it does give us some idea of how our students are learning. At the school level I would have students who were at the 95th percentile in Math, but were receiving a D in the classroom or the opposite, a student who had straight A’s in all subjects, but was below proficient in all areas of the standardized test. This is the moment that as a principal I knew we had a problem with grading! This is what started the discussions at the school level to look at our practices and to be sure we were grading only summative work that students had been given opportunities for feedback and opportunities to redo areas of concern in order for them to move to mastery. This is very hard to do if you still have to assign a grade of A, B, C, D, or F on a report card.
My hope is that through discussions with teachers, our community, and the district office that we can change the way grading is done in our community. We will look at our students as individuals who learn at different rates and in different ways and our job as their teacher is to give them many opportunities for feedback that will lead to success. Can we work within the grading system we have and still stay true to learning? I think we can especially in the middle and high schools. I think our elementary schools would best be served by using a standards-based report card that is about mastery. Elementary school is the foundational years that will forever "color" how well our students do in middle and high school. I think we can and should be transparent and authentic about student progress with our parents. We want to create students who are prepared for this new workplace and world. The job skills that are needed today will require workers who can solve problems without someone standing over them telling them what to do, workers who can think critically and make decisions, workers who will be able to communicate in many different ways with all kinds of people, and to know how to collaborate and be a team player. It is time to make a change in how we grade success for all of us, especially for our children!
Growth Mindset In The Classroom
Last year we worked very hard on helping students and teachers have a growth mindset. Students who have a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed through hard work, using great thinking strategies, persevering through hard challenges, etc. These students tend to see school as a place to develop their abilities and they are excited about challenges because they see them as opportunities to grow. Students with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is fixed at birth and that it really does not change or might just a little if they practice. These students tend to see school as a place where their abilities are evaluated and they primarily focus on "looking smart" over learning and if they make mistakes it is a sign that they are not talented in that area. The students with a growth mindset worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning.
We put a lot of time into this area last year and offered coffee chats for parents on this topic as well as information and videos for parents that you access through the Bailey Bear News. The newsletters from last year will be on our school web page soon so that if you wish to refresh your memory on this area or if you are new and want to know more about growth mindset you can read about what it is and why it is very important to us as a school!
If you would like to know more about our school management program called "Choices" please read below!
If you are a new parent this might be of interest to you!
There are many new parents at BSE and I thought I would take a moment to explain the philosophy of our school wide classroom management program called "Choices." Many years ago when I was a third-grade teacher I went to a third-grade conference in St. Louis, MO and attended a seminar entitled, "Helping Your Third Graders Make Better Choices". At the time I was searching for a better way to help my students manage behaviors that were not appropriate in the classroom. The punitive check marks, putting their names on the board, sitting in the corner were just not something that I felt was appropriate and it was not making a difference. Children in a punitive environment will mind for the moment so as not to get in trouble but they will continue the behavior over and over and never internalize better habits. Children need to be given opportunities to learn about and practice better strategies for dealing with anger, not belonging, jealousy, anxiety, and a host of other things that get in the way of learning in the classroom. Punitive actions from a teacher is a temporary fix. So, coming back from this seminar I started to overhaul the way I responded to negative behavior in the classroom and shared what was working in my classroom with other teachers. We adopted the strategies at BSE when it started in 2005 and we called our program, "Choices" An Interactive Discipline System". It follows in many respects the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) that has started to show up in many schools around the country and in Collierville.
Here are a few of the tenets of this system of discipline:
1. Discipline is teaching, not punishment.
2. Different behaviors merit different responses.
3. Goals are to remove negative emotion from interactions, focus on the issue, not the student, move toward responsibility and away from obedience, don't dwell on what happened "this time", and help students develop strategies for dealing with the situation "next time."
4. William Glasser states that students have five basic needs which are to be loved, have fun, be safe, and have some power and freedom in the classroom. When a teacher meets these five basic needs it promotes involvement, increases achievement, and reduces the negative climate of the classroom.
Get to know your Principal and Assistant Principals!
At curriculum night each classroom played a video that introduced the admin team to parents. Our hope is that this video helped you understand better what we do as administrators and what the school can do for you and your child. We hope that we were able to get across our message to you that you are welcome at BSE and we are here to help you!
If you were not able to see the video and would like to view it go to our school webpage it should be up soon! Our web page address is baileystationes.colliervilleschools.org.
In the October/November Bailey Bear News I will cover our TN Ready testing data and our goals as a school. You will receive your child's TNReady report September 12th. This report will let you know how they did on the test, areas of strength and areas to work on. We will discuss testing more in-depth in the next Bailey Bear News!
The state is getting ready to send out the TNReady scores for both achievement and growth and later in this newsletter I give you some explanations of both, but before we move into all the mechanics of the information that you will see coming home hopefully sometime this month, I thought it might useful for you to know where I stand on testing. I found a great article from George Couros that really sums up my feelings about testing and data and its importance. I understand why we test our students. The state and the government want to know if we are doing our job as a school or a system since we are funded by taxpayers who want to know. But, I feel that students are more than one test given during a year of learning that involved lots of curiosity about information they were learning, many mistakes were made and students learned from them as well as "aha" moments that made all the hard work for the teacher, the parents and the student worth every tear that was shed. These moments are not caught by that one test. The information below really states much better than I can write how I feel about testing and children. I will always run my school by putting my children first and then testing becomes just another part of what we do at the end of the school year. I do not instruct my teachers to teach to the test but I do ask them to prepare students for what they will have to do on the test, make sure they are familiar with the mechanics of taking a test and then the rest of the time we just TEACH and LEARN!
BSE RECEIVED ALL 5'S IN GROWTH WHICH IS EXCELLENT AND A TESTAMENT TO THE GREAT TEACHERS, PARENTS, AND STUDENTS AT BSE.
CHILD-DRIVEN AND DATA-DRIVEN; CAN YOU BE BOTH?
September 22, 2017, by George Couros
The short answer to the title of the post is “no”, you can’t be both “Child-Driven” and “Data-Driven”. Here is the long answer.
When you have two focuses on what you are driven by, there will be times where one situation comes into conflict with the other. For example, when we “teach to the test” and not “to the child”, they might get the number we want, but if the learning doesn’t stick, did it hurt, harm, or do nothing for the child, and everything for the “number” we were looking for in the first place because of the data that we were “driven” by?
Dean Shareski tweeted this:
I used to do that, and I am ashamed to admit it. Not only did I not honor the strengths and passion of the students, I often made them hate coming to school. Here is something that is true; a kid won’t learn anything at school if they don’t show up in the first place.
Yes, sometimes we have to do things we hate, and that is okay. But when we do things to validate the adults that hurt kids, our focus is on the wrong place.
Let me make this clear…Data is not a horrible thing. Being “data-driven” is my concern.
I prefer the term “child-driven, evidence-informed”. The term “evidence” is much more encompassing, not necessarily by definition, but in how we use the words in education. Evidence is that amazing concert, the interaction we see in the hallways, the conversations we have with one another, that can’t be boiled down to a letter or number. Using that to inform what we do to serve the child is crucial to the growth of the individual, the educator, and the system as a whole.
Bill Ferriter, in his post, “Meaningful Ain’t Always Measurable“, states the following:
I’m trying to call out a system that simultaneously encourages us to pursue lofty goals like teaching students to critically think or to build consensus or to be creative while asking us to fit every goal that we pursue into some kind of measurable format.
The truth is that the things that are the MOST meaningful are also the hardest to measure.
If you want kids to wrestle with meaningful objectives, you are going to have to back off your demands that everything be measurable in some way, shape or form. If measurement is what you want, simple outcomes is what you need to settle for. If one day, before you became a teacher, you thought to yourself, “Do you know what I would like to do one day? Test kids.”, There might be something wrong. But the system of education in North America has seemingly gone this way where the test (and the number) is the thing, not the students we serve. If people don’t call it out, it is not going to change.
TNREADY ACHIEVEMENT AND GROWTH - WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
It is that time of year again when our testing results from last years TNReady is starting to be available. We are provided with two types of information; one is growth and the other is achievement. The state of Tennessee uses TVAAS to measure student growth. There are many misconceptions about growth vs. achievement and the information below is helpful in understanding how our state measures student growth.
TVAAS measures student growth, not whether the student is proficient on the state assessment. For example, a student who is behind academically may show significant academic growth but not be proficient on the end of the year test. Another student may also not be proficient on the end of the year test, but not show any growth. The teacher added a lot of a lot of value to the first student's academic development and increased the likelihood that they will be proficient in the next grade level and little value to the other student's academic development. TVAAS allows educators to consider their students' achievement (their score on the end of year assessment, as well as their growth (the progress students make year to year).
Low-achieving students can grow and their teachers can earn strong TVAAS scores. When students grow more than expected, that growth is reflected in a teacher's TVAAS score - regardless of whether the student earned below basic, basic, proficient or advanced on the state assessment. An example is Treadwell Middle School in Memphis had low entering achievement in middle school math (students performed in the 33rd percentile compared to their peers across the state), yet they were among the top 20% of schools in the state on growth in 7th and 8th-grade math in 2013-2014.
High-achieving students can grow and their teachers can earn strong TVAAS scores. Just as children grow in height each year, they also grow in academic ability. If a second grader is tall in relation to her peers, she will need to continue to grow each year to be tall relative to her peers in fifth grade. A tall second grader who does not continue to grow will soon be a short fifth grader. Likewise, our highest performing students still have room to grow academically and their teachers can still earn high TVAAS scores. Even students who consistently earn advanced scores can demonstrate growth.
What is TNReady?
TNReady is a part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) and is designed to assess true student understanding, not just basic memorization and test-taking skills. It is a way to assess what our students know and what we can do to help them succeed in the future.
There are two sites below that you can go to in order to learn more about TNReady and TVAAS.
TNReady - TN.Gov
COMMISSIONER CANDICE MCQUEEN EXPLAINS THE NEW TNREADY RESULTS
NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced TNReady results for students in grades 3-8 today, following an extended scoring and review process led by Tennessee educators. With these results, elementary and middle school students have set a new baseline for future growth, now aligned with our high school reset last year, based on the Tennessee academic standards that will better ensure all students are on track for the next step in their education journey.
TNReady results help teachers, students, and parents learn about students' strengths and areas for growth, and it provides specific feedback that can help parents understand how they can best support their child. TNReady replaces the old TCAP and is better aligned to Tennessee's academic standards, which were developed and set based on a comprehensive review process. It looks for what students know and are able to do in each grade, with a particular focus on students' problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills.
"TNReady allows us to see how Tennessee students are mastering our state's academic standards as we transition to higher expectations at all grade levels," McQueen said. "Students have now set a new baseline for future growth that reflects the higher bar we are holding for all of our students. This is a key moment for our state, as we are now transitioning to the point where we have a true understanding of where students are from elementary through high school, and we can use that information to better support their growth."
Overall, students' performance on TNReady reflects the readiness they show on national tests like the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which is known as the Nation's Report Card and is a gold standard for assessments. In previous years, Tennessee's TCAP results did not match what exams like NAEP and the ACT showed, which earned the state an "F" from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2007 for "Truth in Advertising" about students' true readiness. The 2017 TNReady results reflect a similar level of performance to what Tennessee sees on national exams, and we know more students are now going on to be successful in college and the workplace.
TNReady scores fall into one of four achievement levels: mastered, on track, approaching, and below grade-level expectations. The new categories aim to help teachers and parents more easily identify which students may need additional support and which students are ready to excel—which is the goal of state assessments. Along with the new achievement levels, families and teachers will receive new score reports to help them support each student's individual needs.
This was the first year of TNReady for grades 3-8, and achievement results for English and math cannot be compared to prior TCAP scores. Instead, they set a new baseline for future growth.
GROWTH MINDSETS - WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
Many parents struggle with the nature/nurture debate and can attribute a child's success or lack of success to genetics. Oliver James (2008) stated, "Simply holding the belief that genes largely or wholly determine you or your children can be toxic". Mr. James also made the analogy to mental illness, writing, "If you suffer a mental illness, believing it's down to genes means you are less likely to recover, probably because you believe there's nothing you can do about it". Parents, teachers, coaches, scout leaders, and any other role models should never blame genetics for perceived capabilities. If any adult in a child's life communicates low expectations either verbally or nonverbally, the achievement can suffer.
Helping parents understand that the brain is malleable and that growth in intelligence can grow for any child presents a secondary outcome is that those adults with growth-oriented mindsets are also more likely to engage in more challenging tasks, to persevere and to bounce back from adversity. Developing an "I can do this" attitude is necessary for children to survive in this world. We must learn to build resilience in our children. Parents often overlook opportunities to helping children learn to adjust to situations when they are faced with adversity or lack of success. Parents may say to a child, "No wonder you did not do well on that test, you are always playing video games" or "You shouldn't have tried out for that team in the first place, you knew it would be a long shot" do not contribute to building resilience. Children who hear this type of mindset will eventually try to avoid anything where they are not very sure that they will be successful rather than view the situation as a challenge to rise to. Here are some suggestions for building resilience in our children:
Use growth mindset praise. Always praise a child's willingness to try, effort, patience, and practice. Do not attribute success to "being smart" or "being the best" but to hard work and perseverance.
Model flexibility. Being able to switch gears and change plans is important when building resilience in our children. One of the best things that we can do is to communicate that change is part of living life. Parents can model this for their children by taking a flexible mentality when things do not go their way. For example, if a parent plans a trip to a museum, only to find its actually closed on Mondays, then he or she could immediately model flexibility by selecting an alternate activity. Taking this attitude in everyday life is important as well for parents, especially by not letting a frustrating situation get the best of them.
Adopt a "glass half full" mentality in the home. Even during hardship, we need to find positivity. A child with "hope" believes there can be a positive side to most situations. Parents also need to model a positive attitude, both verbally and nonverbally, when faced with their own setbacks.
Help children find their own niche. A successful child is a confident child. Sometimes it means trying lots of different things before a child finds an area where she can thrive. This does not mean signing your child up for every lesson, sport, and club that comes along. It means providing opportunities for kids to experience a variety of things...
I would love for you to come and attend one of our coffee chats coming up in October and November as we discuss how to have a growth mindset!
PARENT COFFEE CHAT OPPORTUNITIES ON "MINDSETS FOR PARENTS - STRATEGIES TO ENCOURAGE GROWTH MINDSETS IN KIDS"
We will hold two coffee chats in the month of October for Part I of this study. We hope if you are interested you can attend one of the two offered in October to receive the information from Part I of our study. In order to best serve our parents, we are offering a coffee chat in the morning on one date and the afternoon on another date so that you can pick the time and date that best works for your schedule. The coffee chats will be held on Tuesday, October 17th from 4:45 - 5:45 in the library and Thursday, October 26th from 9:15 - 10:15 in Room 200 on the Blue hallway. We do not have childcare for either of these dates so please find alternate activities for your young children and if school age please do the same for the Tuesday evening meeting. If you would like to purchase the book Mindsets for Parents-Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in Kids, please do so. I will not cover the whole book in our two studies but it is a great resource for parents in helping your children increase their effort, hard work, and perseverance to tackle difficult tasks/subjects. I look forward to working with you!
Our Part II coffee chats on Mindsets will be on Wednesday, November 15th from 9:15 - 10:15 in Room 200 on the Blue hallway and on November 28th from 4:45 - 5:45 in the library.
In order to have an idea of who will be attending the coffee chats so that I am prepared with enough material, I am asking that you sign up on the excel form that is linked below. You only need to sign up for one coffee chat in October for Part I and one coffee chat in November for Part II.
Sign Up for Coffee Chats
Cindy Tesreau, Principal
We are so excited for you to be a part of our Bear Fair on Sept. 28th from 5:00 - 7:00. This is a fun time for our students to interact with their teachers and play games, throw balls to dunk a few of our teachers, attend a cake walk and auction, play on 6 inflatables and the list continues! More information about this fun night is below! I hope to see you there!
Collierville Schools will be opening a 6th elementary school in the Fall of 2018. We are growing in Collierville and many of our elementary schools are getting crowded. The new elementary school will be at the site of Schilling Farms Middle. Schilling Farms Middle will move to the old high school building and the high school will, of course, move into its new building in the Fall of 2018. This is an exciting time for Collierville schools but with it brings changes that can be difficult. There will be two rezoning meetings held in the Collierville High School Auditorium for parents to find out what areas will be impacted by the rezoning, and meet the principal of the new elementary school Georgette Cleaves (many of you may already know her as she has been one of the assistant principals at Schilling Farms Middle). The first meeting is Sept. 28th at 6:00 and yes it is the same night as our Bailey Fair, but Mr. A. said that would be fine, because there is another date that parents can come or you can come to the fair and then go to the meeting! The second meeting is on October 5th at 6:00 at the same location. Collierville Schools will present the rezoning plans, will take parent questions, and after hearing from parents the Collierville School Board will make the decisions surrounding rezoning.
Our Grandparent's Day was Sept. 8th and was a huge success! Thank you to Robyne McBride for heading up this day and all the PTA and parent volunteers who helped make this day happen. It takes a team to do everything that is needed to serve over 400 grandparents and I so appreciate all of our parents who help make this day happen. I received so many compliments about our school, teachers and staff and our PTA! We have a great school and we love hearing that we are doing things right at BSE. Thank you again for all your help because without your participation days like this would not happen!
Please call on me if you need anything! My email is email@example.com and the school number is 901-853-6380.
Our new PTA website can be found at www.baileystationpta.com
To a great school year!
We are so excited to start this new school year! One of my goals as your principal is to keep you informed about our school and what we are doing to help your child have a great school and learning experience. I feel it is important that you have information about what we value as a school and what we are learning about as a faculty to help us become better teachers for our students.
My way of communicating with you is going to be a school newsletter called, “Bailey Bear News”. The link for the August newsletter is https://www.smore.com/cd8fj. I hope you enjoy the newsletter and that it helps connect you to what we value as a school! The newsletter will also be linked to our Bailey Station webpage at http://baileystationes.colliervilleschools.org.
In the next edition, I will add a calendar section! I forgot to put one in this edition, but will include one in September edition!
To a Great School Year!