Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Test Security Guidelines

As we have begun the FCAT examinations, this is a good time to review the testing security guidelines an additional time.

Florida State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.042, FAC, was developed to meet the requirements of the test security statute, Section 1008.24, F.S., and applies to anyone involved in the administration of a statewide assessment test. The rule prohibits activities that may threaten the integrity of the test. See Appendix B of this manual for the Florida Test Security Statute and Rule. Examples of prohibited activities are listed below:

* Reading the passages, test items, or performance tasks
* Revealing the passages, test items, or performance tasks
* Copying the passages, test items, or performance tasks
* Interpreting or reading test items, or passages for students
* Changing or otherwise interfering with student responses to test items
* Causing achievement of schools to be inaccurately measured or reported
* Copying or reading student responses

If any of the above examples are allowable accommodations for exceptional education students with current IEPs, test administrators are permitted to provide the accommodation(s) as described in Appendix A of the FCAT/NRT/SAT manual.

All personnel are prohibited from examining or copying the test items and/or the contents of student test books and answer documents. The security of all test materials must be maintained before, during, and after the test administration. Please remember that after ANY administration, initial OR make-up, materials should be returned immediately to the school coordinator and placed in locked storage. Secure materials may not remain in classrooms or be taken out of the building overnight.

Monday, February 26, 2007

FCAT pressure at its highest

Source: Sun Sentinel

Tests are tougher; teachers' merit raises tied to scores

This year's FCAT may be the most stressful yet. The state's most talked-about measure of how much children are learning in public schools begins today in grades 3 through 11.
And while the bar is higher, so are the stakes: The price of failure comes with a poor school grade from state officials, less funding and greater scrutiny. But the costs and rewards may be the highest for students -- fail and face retention; pass and move on to the next grade. Still, more than just graduation rides on students' success

The Florida Department of Education this year is requiring all school districts to devise a payment plan that ties bonuses to, among other things, how teachers' students perform on the FCAT. Educators will be ranked according to test scores and evaluations, and in the current proposal, the top 25 percent in each district will receive a 5-percent bonus.

STAR - Frequently Asked Questions

The Florida Department of Education has posted a list of of frequently asked questions with corresponding responses about the STAR program. Please click the title bar above to view this information.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Marlins Visit to Ms. Clark's Class

Florida Marlins Pitcher Ricky Nolasco, along with team staff members read the book, "Charlotte's Web" to Ms. Clark and her students.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Disability Resource Fair

If you have someone in your life who has special needs, you may be interested in learning more about the upcoming Disability Resource Fair. Please click the title bar above for more information.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Karen Aronowitz is Re-elected UTD President

Karen Aronowitz was re-elected UTD President
Click title bar above to see full election results.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

STAR Update

According to the Miami Herald, the M-DCPS School Board approved the STAR incentive program 7-0 yesterday, with two members not-present.
While UTD does not support the program in its approved form, the state has stated that they will impose this 19.6 million teacher incentive program regardless of how union members vote on this measure next week. The district had until March 1 to make a decision or risk losing all of the money for their teachers. Details to come.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Five vying to lead Miami-Dade teachers union

Source: Miami Herald

United Teachers of Dade president Karen Aronowitz is up for reelection this week. In the 21 months since taking office, Aronowitz has led efforts opposing changes to the class-size amendment, sued the school district over a controversial performance pay plan and negotiated a guaranteed three-year contract.

But she has been criticized for not taking a hard enough stance against district officials.
Now, W.R. Thomas Middle School history teacher Ron Beasley, Michael Krop Senior High science teacher Shawn Beightol, Ojus Elementary teacher Patrenia Dozier-Washington and retired teacher Harold Mandell are trying to take Aronowitz's place.

''I don't think Karen has her own vision for what the fourth-largest school district in the nation could be,'' Beightol said. Beightol has been one of Aronowitz's most outspoken critics, urging members to take a harder line against the district, circulating a list of district employees making more than $100,000 and printing red T-shirts that say, His actions led the school district to accuse him of misusing his school district e-mail account and remove him from the classroom for 10 days.

Beightol, Beasley and Dozier-Washington are all calling for improved union services, lower union dues and higher salaries for teachers and paraprofessionals.
Mandell has not submitted any campaign materials to UTD and could not be reached for comment Monday.

Beasley, a former Army Ranger who worked in the UTD office as an organizer last year, says his experience will help him reshape UTD. ''I have first-hand knowledge of the minor flaws in [UTD] management taking place,'' he said. ``We've been cutting down on services while increasing salaries.''

Dozier-Washington, a former Tornillo supporter, is floating the idea of creating a teacher's trust that would be used to fund salaries. She also wants to see better professional development offerings from the union.

Voting will take place at each work site Wednesday. Ballots will be counted through that night and winners will likely be announced Thursday.

Loan Forgiveness for Special Ed Teachers

If you teach Special Ed and received a loan while attaining your degree, you may be entitled to as much as $17,500 in loan forgiveness. Please click the title bar above for more information.

Monday, February 19, 2007

FCAT/NRT/SAT Testing Schedule

Please click the title bar bove to see the FCAT/NRT/SAT Testing Schedule.

FCAT/NRT/SAT Master Schedule

As we begin the FCAT Writing + in fourth grade this week, the FCAT SSS & NRT begin three weeks from now (February 26 - March 9). Please click the title bar above and then click the top left tabs of the document for the adjusted class schedules on our testing days for Art, Music and P.E.

As you will see, our testing days are on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during both weeks.The FCAT Science Test for fifth grade is the only assessment that will occur on the second Monday (3/05). This exam does NOT affect the master schedule and we will merely remind you that we need to have a quiet building during that morning. FOLLOW YOUR NORMAL LUNCH SCHEDULE UNLESS DIRECTED OTHERWISE!!!!!.Please see me if you have any scheduling conflicts. Your flexibility during the most critical days of our school year is greatly appreciated.

FCAT/SAT Training Schedule

Please click the title bar above to view the "FCAT/SAT Training Schedule."

FCAT/SAT Test Administrator and Proctor List

Please click the title bar above to view this year's "FCAT/SAT Test Administrator and Proctor List."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Copy Request Form

Please click the title bar above to access the new copy request form and discard any forms previously used. In addition, you may access this attachment in the "Forms" section of the blog.

Roadrunner Cafeteria Program

Beginning on Monday, we will be implementing the "Roadrunner Cafeteria Program." When your students exhibit appropriate behavior, one of the cafeteria monitors will issue a colorful, laminated Roadrunner Card to your class. After twenty cards are earned, your class will receive a special prize and other acknowledgements.

Save those cards and good luck!!!!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Marlins Visit to Ms. Hidalgo's Class

Florida Marlins Pitcher, Ricky Nolasco participates in a lesson with Ms. Hidalgo's Class.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Greetings to Ms. Smith and her class.

Billy the Marlin and Florida Marlins Manager, Fredi Gonzalez greet Ms. Smith and her students.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Construction Update

Our field is expected to be covered back by Friday. Details to come

Monday, February 12, 2007

FCAT Video from the Miami Heat

Click the title bar above to see a motivational video for the FCAT that was done by the Miami Heat.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Interim Reports

Interim Reports are to be submitted to the students on Monday, February 12.

Cafeteria Behavior Program

We will be starting the Roadrunner Cafeteria Program as an intervention to manage student behavior during lunchtime. This will not require any additional effort by the homeroom teachers other than to encourage your students to behave properly.
While more information is forthcoming, please continue to assist in providing your students with assigned seats during lunch and consider lining the students in a boy-girl pattern., particulary in the lower grades.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

FCAT/NRT Training Meetings

As a heads up, we will be holding training sessions for the FCAT and NRT on Tuesday, February 20. More information related to this and SAT trainings is forthcoming.

Accident Reports

All staff members have been very diligent in submitting accident reports when needed. Please remember to fill in the explanation of what happened on the form. In this litigious society, it is vital that we have a clear written understanding of how an accident or injury happened to a particular student.

Thank you

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

State will update FCAT

State will update FCAT, may give it new name

To meet new standards, Florida education officials will rewrite the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test over the next four or five years.

TALLAHASSEE - (AP) -- As students began taking this year's Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, state education officials on Tuesday outlined plans to rewrite the test over the next four or five years to conform to new standards.

The FCAT will be revamped to match pending updates in the Sunshine State Standards for math and changes for reading and language arts approved last month by the State Board of Education. The Department of Education said the test should focus on its original purpose -- diagnosing individual student learning needs instead of being an all-purpose measuring stick.

So far, though, Crist has advocated no major adjustments. He has suggested only that principals get a greater say in which teachers qualify for merit pay under a new state program based mainly on student improvement on the FCAT and other standardized tests.

One possible change lawmakers will consider is delaying the FCAT, now administered in February and March, until near the end of the school year.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Recess Supervision

As a reminder, please be mindful that YOU are required to supervise your students at ALL times during recess. This is NOT planning time. Poor supervision leads to an increased likelihood of student injuries and other sorts of incidents.
If you have any questions, please see. Dr. K.

STAR Program Update

Source: Miami Herald

Talks over a controversial performance pay plan for teachers broke down Monday with Miami-Dade school officials declaring an impasse with the United Teachers of Dade after a 90-minute bargaining session. The Miami-Dade district stands to receive $19.6 million from the state for the Special Teachers Are Rewarded, or STAR, program.

A magistrate will hear Miami-Dade's case Feb. 15, and a special School Board meeting is being scheduled to approve the plan, Byrne said. The district must have a plan approved by March 1 or risk losing the funds.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Student Thesaurus Books

We have several student thesaurus books for our upper grade students in our book room. Please see me if you would like to utilize these resource learning tools with your students.

Friday, February 02, 2007

FCAT Writing Rubric

In response to the teachers who have requested a copy of the scoring ruric for FCAT writing, please click the title bar above.