Friday, March 25, 2016

MCAS information for families

Dear Wachusett Families:

As you may know, the Wachusett Regional School District will be continuing with MCAS this spring.  There are several important items that we would like to share with you concerning the 2016 spring MCAS, and we have detailed these below.

According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the state is currently in the process of upgrading the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) to better measure the critical thinking skills students need for success in the 21st century. This new test, informally called "MCAS 2.0" by the DESE, will build upon MCAS assessments developed over the past two decades and will include innovative items developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) as well as new items specifically created to assess the Massachusetts learning standards.
As a result of this, we want to make you aware of the following changes to the MCAS that are in effect this year:

  • 2016 MCAS will contain PARCC item type questions on the grades 3-8 ELA and Math tests.  
  • Grades 4 and 7 will not have the long composition portion of MCAS as in previous years.
  • Writing will be assessed at every grade level through the use of a new timed section, called “Session 2B.”  Sessions 1 and 2A will remain “untimed”
  • The required time allotted for the completion of Session 2B is 60 minutes,(with the exception for students with disabilities and ELL students).  
    • According to the DESE, “Students with disabilities and ELL students may receive extra time up to an entire school day to complete Session 2B.”
  • In addition to a narrative writing task, Session 2B will also contain Evidence Based Selected Response (EBSR) questions that ask students to show evidence from a text that led them to their answer, which is new and contains items developed by PARCC.
  • DESE is anticipating that PARCC sections of the MCAS will be reported to parents/guardians and educators in the MCAS reports in the fall.  
    • A PARCC “reporting category” score will be included in the Parent/Guardian Reports and School /District Profiles
    • An estimate of whether the students are scoring at the PARCC “Meets Expectations” level will be included in the MCAS reports.

Additional information may be found:

If you have further questions, please contact your child’s school.  Thank you and have a good weekend.  

Darryll McCall, Ed.D.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mountview from above!

Principal Erik Githmark braved the cold weather this week and took a great photo of the new school from the roof of Mountview.  As you can see from this panorama, the outside of the building, including landscaping, is almost 100% complete.  On the left side of the building roof you will note solar panels that will be used to generate electricity for the new building. That side of the building will house the cafeteria (with the bowed windows), the gymnasium, and the music wing.  The center of the building, without the brick, will house office suites on all three floors.  The right side of the building will house the 6 classroom wings which are divided by floor, grade level, and team.  This is an exciting time for everyone involved in this great educational project.