Principal’s Weekly Update—Week of April 4, 2022
This week’s photos show students hard at work during our first gardening session for this spring. Raspberries were being trimmed and measurements taken for a plan for rain collection on our shed. Also, 4th graders were designing dams to prevent towns from flooding (and they were successful!). And, there is also a photo from art class—such fabulous artists!
Every spring, Massachusetts public schools are required to administer the standardized tests that are part of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) to students in grades 3 through 10. Each year, some members of our school community ask about this process.
Let me begin by saying it is always our goal to minimize the disruption to learning routines caused by the assessment so that we can continue to provide high-quality learning experiences to our students. We are required by state and federal law to provide these assessments and we are not permitted to issue diplomas to students who have not demonstrated certain levels of competency either through their scores on the 10th grade test or a combination of those scores and other demonstrations of mastery.
Furthermore, we use the information obtained from the MCAS to distribute district resources. For example, significant resources have been directed to specific Northampton schools and specific programs within schools based, in part, on assessment results suggesting students in these schools needed additional support to meet the state learning expectations for their grade level.
Finally, we are committed to preventing the information obtained from the MCAS from being misused. The results provide a single observation of student achievement at a point in time. While they provide educators and caregivers with a transparent, though imperfect, appraisal of student performance relative to grade level standards on the day(s) of the test, they do not provide a complete picture of any student’s achievements over the course of the year. A full picture can only be obtained by combining the results of state standardized testing with local assessments and the educators’ ongoing student progress monitoring.
In conclusion, we make every effort to make MCAS as unobtrusive and useful while maintaining a proper perspective on what a single measure can add to the work our educators do everyday to monitor student progress. We know the incredible work that goes into teaching and learning could never be adequately measured by a single assessment, but we do use the information to make decisions about resources, to better understand student needs, and to continue improving our district. Thank you for your continued partnership and support of our students.
Another Caregiver Survey!
Thank you to all of you who completed the recent survey regarding Family Engagement.
It is here in case you missed it!
We have a new survey, and we would love to get caregiver feedback. This one is about equity. Thank you for taking the time to fill out these surveys! I am always hopeful to get as many Ryan Road voices as we can!
Amelia Durbin, an 8th grader at JFK Middle School, is coordinating a clothing drive! This spring, she is planning to do a kids clothing drive for Northampton, in partnership with Project 351 and Cradles 2 Crayons. Help if you can! Thank you!
Snacks at school
I always have snacks available in the office for students who need one. Our hope is that families who are able are providing snacks for your children. Please check in with your children to see if they are getting snacks in the office that you might be unaware of. My supply has been depleting quickly recently. I am more than happy to provide snacks to anyone who needs them.
Gardening with Ms. Hope
Gardening with Ms Hope began last week and will continue throughout the spring on Wednesdays. All classes will participate in four gardening sessions before the end of the school year.
MCAS Testing 2022 Dates for Ryan Road School
Grade 3 (ELA) – April 6 & April 13
Grade 4 (ELA) – April 5 & April 12
Grade 5 (ELA) – April 7 & April 14
Grade 3 (Math) – May 4 & May 13
Grade 4 (Math) – May 3 & May 10
Grade 5 (Math) – May 5 & May 12
Grade 5 (Science) – May 17 and May 19
Important Upcoming Dates
April 14: Last Liftoff Learning for Grades 4 and 5
April 18-22: Spring Vacation
May 11: Early Dismissal (11:30) Teacher Work Day
May 30: No School—Memorial Day
June 8: Early Dismissal (11:30) Teacher Work Day
June 20: No School–Juneteenth
June 24: 5th Grade Celebration 12:30
June 27: Last day of School (11:30 dismissal)
June 10: Field Day! Yea! Contact Ms. Minton if you want to help.
Stay up to date with all of our school calendar on our School Website’s Calendar!
I hope that all families and caregivers feel welcome, comfortable, and valued at our school. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I am happy to meet with any of you or we can talk on the phone anytime.
Sarah Madden, Principal