School Committee Preps for Future;Votes for PARCC

By Kate Anslinger

After much deliberation, the School Committee has come to an agreement that PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing will be the most beneficial for Winthrop students.

While there was some concern that students were being unnecessarily rushed into the computer-based testing that makes PARCC unique, it was concluded that it’s best to prepare the students for the inevitable future of technology.

“The type of testing situations kids have to face will drive the way instructors teach,” Frank Woods, curriculum director, said when concern of rushing the students was brought to the table.

The goal is to have teachers implement more technology in the classroom to prepare the students for what is to come. Superintendent John Macero agreed that the push for PARCC testing is a good opportunity, as it will only better prepare students for the technology-infused future.

After this year the test will be a hybrid model consisting of both MCAS and PARCC, so it will only benefit the district by starting this sooner than later.

“By taking on PARCC testing, we’d have two years to be able to give kids access to experience and preparation,” said Laura Callis, new School Committee member. The features of the new test allow students to graph, drag and drop and use rulers to assist with answering questions.

Another benefit to the new testing is that it is completed in 60-minute sessions instead of it being broken down in several small increments throughout the year like MCAS was conducted in the past.

“Personally I’m excited about moving away from paper,” said Ryan Heraty, principal of the Cummings School.

While the wifi bandwidth in the schools will need to be tested, the PARCC exam will ultimately offer a better use of time and space for students as well as teachers. For those teachers who are still inclined to use the paper/pen format, that is still an option, as the same test will be issued, just in a hardcopy format.

The only major difference is that the computer testing has randomly generated queries, but overall the questions are the same. The new high school/middle school will offer infrastructure that allows for better technology, thus allowing students to have the access they need to complete the testing. While there is still a need for more Chrome books, currently there are enough computers to go through the cycle of testing.

Matt Crombie, principal of the high school, is confident that the students will be well equipped to take on the new exam style. The ultimate goal is to have every single student supplied with technology.

In other business:

Approval was given for the Winthrop High School softball team to compete in a tournament in Falmouth April 1-3, 2016

High School cheerleaders will be hosting a Paint Nite fundraiser at Rustic Table on January 15th 7pm-11pm.

The 2016-2017 school year calendar has been solidified. The only thing left to iron out is the start and end times of the school day. The committee wants to make sure timing doesn’t cause extreme backed up traffic. Bus routes will be taken into account as well as a meeting with the police chief to ensure traffic is in sync.

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