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SCORE Prize Award

Page High Wins Blue Ribbon Award

National Merit Semifinalists

WCS College Fair

Eighth Graders Prepare for EXPLORE Test

Lunch Lessons with Libby

Awards & Accolades

FHS Wind Ensemble Receives Honor

Prom Dress Donations Needed

Teacher Marks 9/11 Anniversary

Students Collect Food for Needy

Parent Volunteers Needed

WCS Surplus Auction

Summit High Showcase

Pastries for Sale

Ravenwood Dance Clinic

District Names TLA Director

Williamson County Band Exhibition

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RUMOR MILL

The purpose of this section is to answer any questions parents, teachers or community members might have regarding the school district and to set the record straight in regards to any rumors that might be circulating.  If you have a question or have heard a rumor that you would like for us to address, simply SEND US your questions and we will respond to them in upcoming issues of IN FOCUS.  Below are some of the questions we received since our last newsletter.

Does the county pay a licensing fee for each of the teachers to have a website?  Many teachers do not make use of this tool (it is often not the best option) and if a fee is being paid this seems like it is a waste of money.

The county does not pay a licensing fee for each teacher to have a website.

Are students allowed to bring their own laptops and computers to school? 

WCS has four pilot schools that are bringing their own laptops and computers to school.  Brentwood, Middle College, Page and Summit high schools are piloting the project to find the best ways for schools to use these tools in school for learning.  For more information, go to http://www.wcs.edu/instructionaltech/byot.htm.

I have four children in Williamson County schools, from elementary to high school, and we have been in Williamson County schools for more than six years.  In the last two years, we have sometimes doubled the amount of material being covered in classes across the board, giving children exposure to material a mile-wide and an inch deep, lots of data and no substance.  I am concerned about a lack of true learning and about a complete emphasis on getting higher T-CAP scores, which only addresses whether Williamson County schools have adequately addressed what some educational bureaucrat decided to put on a test.  Why the emphasis on a core dump of a wide range of material rather than on skill building and deeper learning?

As a district, we are striving to ensure that student learning is rigorous.  Our curriculum standards, as defined in our scope and sequence, compacts and prioritizes standards which allows for our teachers to focus on learning that is deeper and more meaningful to our students.

Educators teach the standards through our scope and sequence while ensuring extension of the learning by building capacity for student achievement and growth.  The challenge for our teachers is to be successful at both; ensuring that students have the required learning or mastery of the standards as well as ensuring academic growth.  Curriculum is spiral by design, and foundational learning is a prerequisite to deeper more meaningful thinking and learning.  However, teaching the standards is the minimum expectation for Williamson County educators.

The ability to take learning deeper while making it meaningful is the emphasis and if our students have the opportunity for this type of learning, assessments of any kind or of any value should not be problematic.

My child goes to Chapman's Retreat Elm. school where third, fourth, and fifth grades have adapted a new program of grading.  Only test scores are kept.  Homework, projects, reports and anything in between are graded but the scores do not count towards their final grades.  Their final grade is based on 5 - 10 test scores (now called assessments) in each area (like English or math).  We were told that this is being implemented in all the WCS by the end of the year or by the start of next year and will be the new policy for third grade through twelfth.  I have yet to hear of any other school in the system doing this.  I am opposed to this program as it doesn't reward the effort and it only benefits students who are good test takers.  It's been proven that students need to be graded in other ways including projects and reports and group assignments.  Can you verify is this, indeed, where WCS is heading and if all schools will be using this new system?  I'd also be interested in a survey of all parents to see if they feel this is a fair assessment of their children's work and effort.

Work on sound grading practices and proper assessments are indeed works in progress for our schools and district.  The goal of a report card is to accurately reflect a student’s academic achievement and to communicate to parents the level of their child’s effort, study skills and work habits; together this information is to grant clear insight into a student's overall performance in terms of the level of academic mastery and personal behaviors in the classroom.

Teachers use formative assessments in their day to day work with students in determining student needs.  These assessments for learning are measures by which a teacher can inform their instruction. 

Teachers also use summative assessments, assessments by which a teacher can determine student mastery of academic expectations.  These assessments of learning are used to reflect a student’s academic achievement in relation to the standards, our scope and sequence and academic expectations.

While a student’s academic grade on the report card is based on summative assessments, these assessments include more than just tests; they include research projects, student reports, inquiry based learning, quizzes, writing assignments, etc.  Additionally, on the report card, parents can check to see if his/her child’s study habits are in good standing.  While study habits, effort or work habits are not part of the academic achievement grade, there is a high correlation between study habits (effort, uses time wisely, turns in homework on time, demonstrates responsibility,  demonstrates respect, etc.) and a student's academic success.

In regards to homework: traditional homework is given for practice of any new learning or skill and may be differentiated to meet individual student needs as determined by the teacher.  Homework should be rigorous, relevant and related to learning goals.  However, the decision on whether or not to grade homework is a school’s site based decision, and  if homework is graded, only a percentage (not to exceed 20%) of homework grades may be used as part of a student’s academic achievement grade.

 

Important Dates

Tuesday, October 11, No school for students due to Parent Teacher Conferences

Wednesday, October 12, End of First Quarter Grading Period

Monday-Tuesday, October 17-18, No school due to Fall Break

Tuesday, October 18, Site Based Staff Development (All Teachers)

Friday, November 18, Half day for students (Teacher Staff Development)

For other dates, check with each individual school

MEETING DATES

WC-TV PROGRAMS

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