School Choice

Back in September, my school was one of several private schools across Illinois that rallied for School Choice.
School choice is once again gaining momentum in Illinois in a critical election year. Parents are pushing for tax credits, scholarships, or other assistance to send their children to their schools of choice.
We participated in a peaceful demonstration outside our school building. Many students, parents, and teachers rallied together downtown.
We have yet to see the fruits of our labor, but we are hopeful.

Check out the Archdiocese of Chicago blog for more information on School Choice. blog

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here with your thoughts!

ELA workshop

Last Friday, my school had a teacher in-service day. I attended a workshop hosted by Catapult Learning on the ELA curriculum in relation to Common Core. We dug deep into two concepts: text-dependent questions and close reading. I also had a discussion with my colleagues in regards to assessments we use. We came to the consensus that it certainly is important that our students understand the content, but, more so, we expect them to be able to take the concepts and explain and apply them in new ways that will better demonstrate their understanding of the material.
So this past weekend, I wrote two tests for my science classes. Each test is only 3-4 questions that require a written paragraph response. I also gave students the rubric that I would use to grade these exams. I think this assessment will give me a better picture of how well the students understand the material.

What are your thoughts? How have assessments changed in your classroom in response to the CCSS?

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here!

Common Core Confusion with a Smile

Take a few minutes to watch the Colbert report on the Common Core compliments of Colbert Nation. Please excuse any ads that come before the funny side of the Common Core is revealed.

New Approach to Common Core

The following article is compliments of –
I like this out of the box approach to Common Core Testing. We need to learn from the results vs. the students and district being disciplined for not doing well.

The board of education in Colorado’s second largest city has voted to opt out most of its 30,000 students from new Common Core standardized testing and will ask the state government for flexibility to carry out its plan. It is the first district in the state and one of the first in the country to do so.

The action by the board of Colorado Springs School District 11 is the latest in a growing “test reform” movement around the country aimed at reducing the number and importance of standardized tests, with educators, students, parents, superintendents, legislators and others saying that high-stakes testing is perverting public education.

In recent weeks legislation has been introduced in Congress to reduce federal testing mandates, school boards have passed resolutions calling for a suspension of high-stakes testing, and more district superintendents have urged an overhaul of testing. One county in Florida, Lee, recently passed a resolution to stop all state-mandated testing — without offering an alternative — but quickly rescinded it after the superintendent warned of repercussions for students.

The Board of Education in Colorado Spring District 11 is taking a different approach than Lee. It voted to opt most students out of Common Core testing and then ask the state government for permission to assess a randomly selected group of students — enough to meet federal requirements. The tests involved the Common Core test created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Colorado Measures of Academic Success.

The resolution that passed unanimously this week also gives permission to parents to opt their own children out of these tests. KOAA-TV quoted Superintendent Nicolas Gledich as saying the district hopes to devise its own assessment system within the next three years.

Rit Instructional Resources

My school has been completing the NWEA Map tests over the past few weeks.
One resource I have found especially useful after viewing the students’ test results is the site On this site, you can use the student’s RIT score to view various instructional activities at the student’s level. These instructional resources match up to the Common Core Standards.
It is worth a look!

Teacher’s Guide to Common Core Testing

Where can I find sample questions for the future tests using Common Core Standards? I found this one to be a site that was easy to use.

Where do I find a guide or reference for Common Core Practice for parents? Here’s one that I found. This site may help students and teachers as well.

Here’s a site that may help with providing information:…;

Testing, 1,2,3

It’s that time of year when testing is the rage! It’s what’s in and needed for accountability of students and school districts. A helpful site to use is PIN INTEREST. Teachers post all types of information on this site to share freely to fellow teachers. I say free!
Try it out and you will find info on testing tips in relation to Common Core.