Schools throughout Washington State are in the process of aligning their curriculum to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards were developed through a combined effort of many states throughout the country. The majority of all states have adopted the standards as the goals of instruction for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The Washington State Legislature has adopted the standards as well with the goal of implementation by the end of the 2014-2015 school year.
With a change of standards there will be new tests to measure student success in attaining the new goals. The new test is called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. This year students and staff at Beacon and Simpson will be piloting the test. The Smarter Balanced Assessment will also be used in states throughout the United States. Testing at Beacon will be done using iPads. We will not be getting scores from the tests, but the process will familiarize students and staff with testing procedures.
With the adoption of new standards, parents and students should be focused on whether they can achieve the goals reflected in the standards. To graduate from high school students must pass a series of tests based upon the standards. It is no longer enough to just get passing grades in classes. Grades are often reflective of class tests, quizzes, homework, projects and participation. A standards based test shows what a student can do independently of specific grading practices and individual school district curriculum. Parents and students need to know if they can meet the standards. More detailed information about the new standards and tests is available on the OSPI website at www.k12.wa.us.
In October students at Beacon completed the annual Great Pumpkin Reading Challenge. The entire school recorded a grand total of 77,476 minutes read. Mrs. Blancas’ third grade class had the highest class total with 10,058 minutes read. Mrs. Hollatz’s third grade class had the second highest total with 7,647 minutes read. Regular reading practice continues to be a significant factor in students developing independent reading skills.
The Veterans Day assembly will be held November 15 at 10:30 a.m. The first grade classes will be singing songs and selected third grade students will be reading essays. There is an early release on November 27 for Thanksgiving break. The first trimester report cards will be sent home on December 13.