By Jodee Riordan
Board of Education President
March is here, and with it comes the one-year mark of the global pandemic shutdown. We have all grown very weary of COVID-19, but unfortunately that does not mean the crisis is over. All aspects of our lives remain affected while vaccination and other mitigation efforts progress.
At Lewiston-Porter, we remain cautiously optimistic and continue to do all we can to educate our 2,000-plus students.
Late last week, it was reported the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and New York State Education Department (NYSED) are reviewing some key elements of public health policy directly affecting school operations, specifically the mandatory 6 feet of distance rule in schools. At press time, no updates have been issued. As we have witnessed since last March, things can change quickly, and when changes in the guidance occur, we will be prepared to open up to greater in-person learning. We all want nothing more than to return all students to campus five days per week, and Lewiston-Porter will be ready to do so when the state allows.
At our last meeting, the Board of Education received good news on student progress at midyear by Dr. Heather Lyon, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and technology. Data derived from in-district, individual student assessment (via AimswebPlus) shows students in both the hybrid and remote models demonstrated positive growth. This progress is consistent across the district.
This positive news is not being seen in all districts, and is a credit to the hard work and dedication of Lewiston-Porter teachers, administrators and especially of its families. Please check out the presentation, “Winter AimswebPlus Results” (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xvk_guhwhq_fualtcn3jw_rcfmnvd/view), posted at www.lew-port.com on the curriculum webpage, under Board of Ed presentations.
This is very good news. While the current models are not ideal, Lew-Port students are demonstrating progress and growth. This testing is nationally normed (meaning results compare our students to those from all across the country), and not recalibrated for the current circumstances (meaning no alterations were made to the scoring based on the pandemic).
Currently, AimswebPlus assessments are administered in the fall, winter and spring: The test gets harder each time, meaning a student needs to grow in order to maintain the same score on the winter assessment that she/he earned in the fall.
Overall, Lew-Port students did better in the winter than in the fall. As Superintendent Paul Casseri pointed out, “This shows that, despite the challenges we have faced this year, our students are growing! Thank you to our families for their support of the work we’re doing because student outcomes are a result of the work the district and families do together.”
AimswebPlus is a web-based solution for universal screening, progress monitoring and data management for grades K-12. AimswebPlus provides guidance to administrators and teachers based on accurate, continuous and direct student assessment.
At the foundation of AimswebPlus is general outcome measurement, a form of curriculum-based measurement (CBM) used for universal screening and progress monitoring. This form of brief assessment measures overall performance of key foundational skills at each grade level and draws upon over 30 years of scientific research that demonstrates both its versatility to provide accurate prediction of reading and math achievement as well as its sensitivity to growth.
Check out Dr. Lyon’s November 2020 “Assessments, Interventions & Data” presentation, also posted on the curriculum webpage.
Communication and transparency remain vital, and as Lewiston-Porter has done throughout the pandemic the district is again surveying its families. The purpose of this survey is to evaluate the overall student and family learning experience from September through the 25th week of the school year. We are also looking for feedback on the possibility of a more open learning experience (up to all students, five days per week) should the state of New York move in that direction.
A survey is now posted online to help Lewiston-Porter improve its educational processes and your feedback, input and suggestions are welcome. We encourage all families to take the Learning Model Feedback Survey (https://docs.google.com.forms/d/e/1faipqlsddeiqgqowv0zo8gsh2xvfusdzzby--ll3jrjxzh3e1i64nmq/viewform), and suggest you complete the survey in collaboration with your child. Please complete one survey for each child by Monday, March 15.
The Board of Education will meet this coming Tuesday for a busy work session. Representatives from the superintendent’s student advisory council (SSAC) will present to the board on areas of concern to Lew-Port students. The SSAC is a group of student leaders (grades 7-12) that meet three times per year to share concerns with Superintendent Casseri and help guide district decision-making. Their presentation is a highlight of our year, and the BOE looks forward to an engaging presentation.
Following the student presentation, representatives from Liberty Solar will present on the proposed district solar project. The Board of Education will then continue budget development.
Please join us if you can: A link to the Zoom webinar is on the district homepage (passcode: Lancers).
Celebrate the success of the fifth annual “One District, One Book” initiative on Friday, March 12, with “Fenway and Hattie”-themed virtual activities for the whole family. See details on Seesaw or visit the “One District, One Book” 2020-21 page on the Lew-Port website, under the community tab for full information, special guest chapter readers, weekly trivia and other fun stuff.
Also check out the “ODOB” community business partners page (www.lew-port.com/page/12790) for the full list of special promotions offered to celebrate throughout Lewiston and Porter.