Sunday, May 7, 2017

Highlights of Proposed FY 18 Gorham School Department Budget

Before I get into the details of the Proposed FY 18 School Budget, I wanted to take just a minute to "brag" a bit about the Gorham Schools so that people might gain a better understanding of the quality of service that is purchased with their very valuable tax dollars.

Gorham High School has just been ranked one of the top ten high schools in the entire state of Maine by US News & World Report.  This is an improvement from our #14 ranking of just 1 year ago.  Last year, 96% of our graduating seniors went on to post secondary learning experiences.  We also added 33 new colleges to our "Future Story" wall at GHS this past summer (if you don't know what that is, check out the Maine lobby when you go to a ball game next time. . . its a listing of every college our graduating seniors have attended over the past several years!  Impressive!).  GHS students participate in 45+ exciting co-curricular activities like robotics, musicals, chorus, band, rainbow league, and many more.  Our students have consistently won awards in these areas such as Odyssey of the Mind, robotics, and our music and theater  programs.  Additionally, our students participate in many extra curricular activities successfully with both boys and girls soccer teams being Southern Maine regional champions in class A last fall, and our girls B-ball team winning their second Class AA state championship in a row this past winter as just a few examples of our student's athletic success.

Our students also work hard to support our community by giving blood, by helping to stock the local food pantry, by mentoring younger students, by donating art work to the empty bowls project each year and much more.  Additionally, our students are well supported by our community with 3,000 plus volunteer hours being provided by our community members, by countless internships and job shadowing experiences, and by participation in other large events such as our annual K-5 STEAM nights.  Clearly, we have great students, we have great schools, and we live and serve a great community here in Gorham!

This year's FY 18 budget development process has been a long and challenging one.  We started our work back in November of 2016 by asking staff to identify what they needed to run their programs for the coming year and by discussing priorities with district leadership and School Committee.  In December, building and program level budgets were due to my office and we began to put a first draft budget together.  In January, individual meetings were held with each building principal and program director where each budget line was reviewed and questioned thoroughly. Then in February, a first draft budget was created and shared with the School Committee during its first budget workshop meeting on Feb. 13, 2017.  Then the School Committee continued to meet over the course of 6 more grueling budget workshop meetings where priorities were solidified, and rationale provided for each request.  On April 12, 2017 the School Committee then voted unanimously to support the proposed FY 18 budget and to send it along to the Town Council, which is where we are in the process at this point.

There are just three steps left in the process at this point.  First is a joint meeting between the School Committee and the Town Council scheduled for May 16th, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers.  During this meeting, the School Committee will present the proposed budget to the Town Council and be prepared to answer any questions they may have.  The second is the public hearing and Town Council vote on the Town's budget which is scheduled to take place on June 6th, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.  During this meeting the Town Council will vote on the total town's budget.  The Town Council can increase or decrease the total school's proposed budget, but they cannot dictate how those changes might play out for the school department.  The third step is the public validation referendum that is scheduled for June 13th, 2017.  This is a public referendum vote.  Voters are asked to either approve or deny the overall school's budget.  If the budget is approved and validated, it is good to move forward.  If the budget is approved but not validated, the process must be repeated until it is.

There are four major cost drivers that are impacting the FY 18 proposed budget.  I will first review each of these and then share overall information on the impacts of the proposed budget.  The four major cost drivers are:

1.  Required Staffing Costs
2.  Capital Improvement Plan
3.  K-5 Planning Time
4.  Increasing Student Enrollments

Required Staffing Costs:

Almost 80% of our total school budget costs are in staffing.  This makes sense because we are primarily a people oriented organization.  Each year it costs us more to simply maintain the status quo.  For this coming year, we must honor negotiated salary increases as follows:

-  Teachers - 2%
-  Maintenance, Bus drivers, School Nutrition - 4.75%
-  Ed. Techs and Administrative Assistants - 4%
-  Building & Program Administrators - 2%
-  Other support staff - 3%

These increases total about $750,000.00 in impacts to the proposed FY 18 budget.  Again, this doesn't change our existing staffing, it just maintains it.

In addition to these costs, this year our premiums for health insurance costs went up by 9.18%.  The impact to the proposed budget due to this change (which we can't control) was an increase of $73,000.00

Finally, MPERS (Teacher Retirement) costs are going up from 3.36% to 3.96% (which again we can't control).  The impact to the proposed budget due to this change was an increase of $120,000.00.  The interesting thing to note regarding MPERS costs is that prior to 2014, these costs were never in the local school's budget.  Instead, these costs were paid for entirely by the State of Maine.  A statute was passed in 2014 that moved MPERS costs into the EPS funding formula and began to require that local school systems pay a portion of their costs.  Since 2014 over $1 million has been paid by Gorham property taxpayers over the course of five years that, prior to 2014, were paid for entirely by the State of Maine.  Just one example of the state passing more costs onto local property tax payers.

Capital Improvement Plan

The State of Maine Department of Education establishes a recommended reinvestment for annual capital planning of school facilities at 2% of the total estimated replacement costs for each building.  Gorham has never met this mark, and in fact has been very far from it.  Here is a chart showing what we should be investing annually in our schools for capital improvements:

             

In FY 2010 our total CIPS budget was just a little over $200,000.00.  Well below the recommended $1.8 million per year.  The Gorham School Committee, with the recommendation of the Gorham Town Council has been trying to increase our CIPS budget annually to get closer to the recommended amount.  Our goal is to increase the CIPS budget to approximately $1 million annually so that we can try to keep up with the demands of operating and properly maintaining our schools.  In FY 17 we were able to increase our CIPS budget to $605,000.00.  This year we are proposing to increase the CIPS budget to $980,000.00.  This would be an overall increase of $325,000.00.

K-5 Planning Time

In last year's contract negotiations with teachers, the Gorham School Committee approved a plan that would allow elementary teachers to have, on average, 225 minutes per week for planning time.  This time would allow K-5 teachers to have a more equitable amount of time per day to plan for the important work they do with children.

In order to create this planning time, we had to add an additional allied arts rotation for students and bring existing part time allied arts positions (that were at .6) to full time.  Through our work to create this proposed budget, the School Committee has approved adding classroom guidance instruction for grades K-2 and STEM focused technology instruction (such as coding) for students in grades 3-5.  This change would require us to hire 1 more elementary guidance position, 1 Ed. Tech. III and bring existing .6 allied arts positions up to full time.  The projected impact to the proposed budget is estimated at an increase of $217,000.00.

Increasing Student Enrollments

Below is a chart summarizing our total K-12 enrollments since 2001 and giving us a glimpse into our projections through 2020:



As you can see, we reached a high of approximately 2750 students in 2004 and then had a period decreasing enrollments, hitting a "low" of approximately 2625 in 2014.  Since then, however we have been steadily increasing in our overall enrollments, especially at the K-5 level, and we are projected to continue.

These projections are supported by a ten year history of single family home permits that has recently been completed by the Town of Gorham.  That history is seen below:



What this data shows is that permits for single family homes have already grown to 85 in 2016-17, which is more than double what it was in 2007-08.

Our overall enrollment is projected to increase by 400 students across grades K-12 in just ten short years as can be seen below:



The most immediate results of which is currently being felt at the K-5 levels.  These increasing enrollments are also increasing pressures on our K-5 schools that currently feed from 3 attendance zones.



Due to these increasing enrollments, we have had to add four additional teaching positions for the proposed FY 18 budget, as well as an additional 2 regular Ed. Techs for a total increase to the proposed budget of $420,000.00.

Overall Impacts

So now that you have a solid understanding of the four key cost drivers behind this year's proposed FY 18 budget, let's share the overall impacts of the proposed Budget.  The proposed FY 18 budget totals $37,921,593.00 and represents a 4.49% increase over the final approved FY 17 budget of $36,291,178.00.  This budget requires a 8.5% increase in the local appropriation.  Assuming General Purpose Aid is finalized at the proposed level, and the actual FY 17 property tax increases by $10 million in FY 18, the impact of this budget on the mil rate is an increase of 7.72% or $0.85.  In review of the FY 18 budget summary page in the budget booklet (Click Here for a link), you will see an increase in the local appropriation of $1,469,265.00.

If you are interested in learning more about the Proposed FY 18 School Budget, I would invite you to go to our district website to watch a series of budget informational videos that are posted there.  I have inserted that LINK HERE for your convenience.  I would also encourage you to reach out to me with any questions you might have.  You can call my office at 222-1012 or you can email me at heather.perry@gorhamschools.org.

Thank you!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Proficiency Based Learning Update Series #5

Grading and Reporting in Gorham's PBL System

Now, I'm sure by now you have either gotten "lost" and are very frustrated with all my PBL posts, or you have understood all of this proficiency-based "stuff" thoroughly and are now wondering what this means in term of our grading and reporting practices here in Gorham for the coming years.  If you are at the "lost" stage, I would urge you to please pick up the phone and call me (222-1012) or email me any questions you have (heather.perry@gorhamschools.org).  Also, please know I will be setting up public forums later this spring for parents at all grade levels to talk more about what all this means and to give everyone a chance to come and ask questions to better understand.

If you are wondering what this means in terms of our grading and reporting practices here in Gorham - well let me give you a brief overview of where we are now with those decisions, again, with the understanding that some small adjustments may still be made.  But first, let's remind ourselves WHY we are making these important changes:


A Reminder about “Why” - Our Mission/Vision and our PBL Work:


The Gorham Schools believe that the creation of a proficiency-based system of learning is a key mechanism through which we can make our mission/vision and core beliefs about learning a true reality for all our students.


Our mission is that all Gorham students are prepared and inspired to take on the complex challenges facing our current and future world.  Gorham students should be actively engaged in learning that is academically rigorous and challenging in meaningful ways.  Their learning should be personalized to meet the needs and to honor the passions of all students.


We are building our proficiency-based system to honor our core beliefs that each student is unique and learns in different ways and at different rates and that learning involves risks, making mistakes, and reflecting on outcomes.


As we continue to build this system, our grading practices will also need to shift. Although this new approach will ask us to look at grading differently, we believe it will help teachers focus on students’ specific skills and knowledge and communicate progress to students and parents in a more targeted and transparent way. As a result, students will be able to take charge of their learning and teachers and students will be able to collaborate to create a more personalized approach to learning.

Now that we are reminded about the "why", let's look at this work by grade level clusters so we can see what work is being done at each level in the area of grading and reporting. Here goes:

Kindergarten - Gr. 5

We have been reporting out on a 1,2,3,4 scale at this grade level for 6+ years.  In this scale, a "3" is considered proficient and that is still the target, although keep in mind as I referred to earlier in my post #4 - as we move into our system, we will say that between a 2-3 is proficient in the first year, between a 2.5 - 3 in the second year, and between a 2.75-3 for all years after this.  We use the 2.75 range because of the decaying average and the knowledge that students may inevitably start with a low score on any given assessment.  It may take them a few times to "get it" so we need to give a range in order for us to take into account the fact that although a student may not have started off "knowing something" our hope is that they certainly will end with knowing it. The scores should reflect this understanding.

For the 2017-18 School Year the biggest change that will occur at these grade levels, is that we will no longer use Infinite Campus to report our quarter grades.  Instead, we will use Jumprope.  Teachers have actually been using Jumprope to track student learning and grades for the past 2 years, but they have then taken those scores and re-entered them into Infinite Campus so that the end user (parents) saw the same basic format you have always seen.  For the coming year, we will simply remove this last "curtain" and now print off reports directly from Jumprope to share with parents.

We will plan to focus a great deal of time in September and October of next year to share with parents what these new reports will look like and how to read them - but rest assured the actual scores will not change.  A "3" is still the proficiency score we are seeking.

Gr. 6-8 & 9-12

Here's where some changes will be a little more visible.  Once again, we will be working with a "step in" approach so that we can better inform and educate students and parents about what this all means as we continue to make changes.  For the first year of our "step in model," we will ask teachers in grade 6 only to report out student learning using a 1-4 scale.  That 1-4 scale will be almost identical to what has been used in K-5 for several years and looks something like this:

1-4 Grading Scale

Score
Description
Proficiency Description


4
Distinguished
The student consistently exceeds the proficiency requirements for the course level.  Performance indicators show that the student grasps, applies, generalizes, and extends key concepts, processes, and skills independently.
3.5
Exceeding Proficiency
The student’s body of work falls consistently between a “3” and a “4” for proficiency requirements for the course level.  


3
Proficient
The student consistently meets the proficiency requirements for the course level.  Performance indicators show that the student, with limited errors, grasps key concepts, processes, and skills for the course level and understands and applies them effectively.
2.5
Approaching Proficiency
The student’s body of work falls consistently between a “2” and a “3” for proficiency requirements for the course level.


2
Developing
The student is progressing toward meeting the proficiency requirements for the course level.  Performance indicators show that the student is beginning to grasp key concepts, processes and skills for the course level, but demonstrates inconsistent understanding and application of concepts


1
Emerging
The student is making some progress toward meeting the competency requirements.  Performance Indicators show that the student is not demonstrating understanding of course-level key concepts, processes and skills and requires additional time and support.
IE
Insufficient Evidence
The student did not turn in enough work to determine his/her level of proficiency.

Teachers will use our standards-based grading and reporting software called "Jumprope" to track and report student learning.  Jumprope does have a parent portal so parents will enjoy the same access to their children's learning as they have with Infinite Campus, although it will require a little "getting used to" to learn how to navigate it - but we will take care of that by offering up training videos, and parent nights to assist parents in this learing in the fall of next year.

Teachers in grades 7-12 will NOT initially use this 1-4 scale (other than those who have already been piloting Jumprope in grades 7 & 8).  Instead, teachers at these grade levels will continue to use Infinite Campus to report out student learning on a 100 point scale using what we are calling a "blended scale" approach.  By using this approach, we hope to accomplish several things:

1.  Allow 7-12 teachers to learn how to better utilize our standards-based learning and reporting software (Jumprope or something similar) so that our reporting is clear to students and parents before making it public.

2.  Allow parents and students to better understand the need to eventually shift to a 1-4 grading scale before we actually do it and how that will work once we do.

3.  Allow 7-12 teachers and others time to make the "mental shift" required to successfully implement a PBL system of learning and align our grading and reporting practices to it.

The "blended grading scale" that will be utilized by teachers in grades 7-12 beginning in the 2017-18 School year will look like this:

Blended Grading Scale

Proficiency Score
A,B,C Score
100-Pt. Score
Proficiency Description


4
A+
98-100
Distinguished - The student consistently exceeds the proficiency requirements for the course level.  Performance indicators show that the student grasps, applies, generalizes, and extends key concepts, processes, and skills independently.
A
96-97
A-
93-95
3.75
B+
90-92
Proficient - The student consistently meets the proficiency requirements for the course level.  Performance indicators show that the student, with limited errors, grasps key concepts, processes, and skills for the course/grade level and understands and applies them.
3.5
B
88-89
3
B-
85-87
2.75
C+
83-84
Developing - The student is progressing toward the proficiency requirements for the course/grade level.  Performance indicators show that the student is beginning to grasp key concepts, processes, and skills for the course/grade level, but demonstrates inconsistent understanding and application of concepts.
2.5
C
81-82
2
C-
77-80


1
D+
75-76
Emerging - The student is making some progress toward meeting the competency requirements.  Performance indicators show that the student is not demonstrating understanding of course-level concepts, processes and skills and requires additional time and support.
D
73-75
D-
70-72
F
60-69
IE
Insufficient Evidence
The student did not turn in enough work to determine his/her level of proficiency.
* Note:  Scores lower than a 60 will not be given to students using this grading scale.

Teachers utilizing this blended scale will track student learning using the 1-4 scale on the far left, but report out that learning to parents using the 100 point system on the right. Students themselves will likely see both scores so that we can assist them in more clearly understanding where they are in their learning and what they need to do to be successful in that learning. For parents, you will likely see very little difference in report cards because teachers will be making the translation for students and for reporting purposes while still reporting out using Infinite Campus using the 100 point scale.

Additionally, teachers in grades 6-12 will report Skills for Life separately from academic knowledge and skills. This will help to create a grade report that can communicate a clearer picture of each student's learning. 

Remember, this is a "step in" approach as well - so for the 2017-18 School Year, 6th-grade teachers will use the "1-4 scale" listed above, while teachers in grades 7-12 will use the "blended scale" listed above. Then in the 2018-19 School year, 6th and 7th-grade teachers will use the 1-4 scale listed above, while teachers in grades 8-12 will use the blended scale. Then in the 2019-20 School year, 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade teachers will use the 1-4 scale listed above, while teachers in grades 9-12 use the blended scale and then finally in the 2020-2021 School year, all teachers K-12 will utilize the 1-4 scale.

WOW! That's a lot of information and once again, I apologize for overloading folks. Please know that we are well aware of the implications of these changes to things like report cards and college transcripts, and school profiles, etc. but I think I have likely exhausted everyone at this time with information so I will save more on that for my next PBL series post.

In that next post, I will focus on talking about how high school credits will be earned, and how we will determine graduation requirements. Additionally, I will talk about how we plan to change our school profile and student transcripts in such a manner as to make sure that our students can continue to get into the colleges and universities of their choice!

In the meantime, I also want to let parents know that I will be hosting a PBL forum for parents of students who will be in grades 9-12 on April 27, 2017 starting at 7:00 p.m. at GHS. At this forum, Principal Brian Jandreau and I will present on the importance of making this shift to PBL, and we will roll out our grading and reporting plan. Additionally, we will spend time collecting parent feedback, questions, and comments and then finally, we will have special guests from Bates College, Colby College, Thomas College, and USM admissions offices present information about how they conduct their admissions processes to help parents better understand how this works. I also have a series of four "dunk and discuss" breakfast meetings planned for interested parents who have questions. Those will be held from 7:30- 8:30 a.m. at Aroma Joe's on the following dates:


  • Tuesday, May 2nd
  • Monday, May 8th
  • Thursday, May 18th and
  • Monday, May 22nd

As always, please feel free to follow up with me on any questions you might have. It is only by working together, with clear and honest communication that we can ensure the best possible system of learning for all our students here in Gorham; one that allows us to make our mission and vision a reality for our students!

Thank you!















Sunday, February 26, 2017

Proficiency Based Learning Update Series #4

How Will We Define Proficiency in Gorham 

In my last PBL series post (#3), I talked at length about how our system is structured.  I reviewed that our new system is built upon large standards known as "Cross-Cutting Graduation Standards", which are then made up of smaller skill standards called "Performance Indicators" which are then further defined as to what a "1,2,3, or 4" looks like through things called "Scoring Guides".  If you need a "refresher" on these terms please feel free to go back and review as you'll be hearing them more in this post as we dig even deeper into our new system.

In this post, I wanted to spend some time helping students and parents to better understand how we define what it means to be proficient on specific skills here in Gorham.  Please understand that even as I am sharing this post, these definitions are still not "finalized" and must be approved by the district's Proficiency Based Steering Committee and reviewed by the Gorham School Committee.  Therefore, there may be some small changes to what I'm about to review, however I do not foresee any substantive changes - so I wanted to get this information out to folks as quickly as possible since this school year seems to be going by way too fast! :)

Here is our definition of proficiency:

Gorham School Department Definition of Proficiency
~ February, 2017 DRAFT ~

As Gorham students pursue proficiency in all Graduation Standards, students will have multiple opportunities to demonstrate proficiency for each Performance Indicator under each Graduation Standard. All Gorham students will be assessed and scored according to the use of a common set of scoring criteria with a minimum of 2 summative assessments determined by each classroom teacher for each Performance Indicator. For students in grades K-5, one of these summative assessments must be a common summative assessment.  If a student's’ score is below a 2 after this minimal number of assessments, then the teacher will provide additional instruction and will work together with the student to design additional assessment opportunities.

Gorham students will demonstrate proficiency for a given Performance Indicator by achieving a score between 2 and 3 after the use of a decaying average for our first year of implementation (2017-18).  For the second year of implementation (2018-19) students will demonstrate proficiency for each Performance Indicator by achieving a score between 2.5 and 3 and for the third year of implementation (2019-20) and beyond students will demonstrate proficiency for each Performance Indicator by achieving a score between 2.75 and 3.  (Note:  for the 2017-18 school year, students in grades 7-12 will use a “blended” grading scale where a 2.0 is roughly equivalent to an 77 on a 100 point scale)

Gorham students will demonstrate proficiency for each Graduation Standard by demonstrating proficiency on more than half of the Performance Indicators under each Graduation Standard during the first two years of implementation (2017-18 & 2018-19).  For the third year of implementation and beyond, students will need to demonstrate proficiency for each Graduation Standard by demonstrating proficiency on ALL  Performance Indicators associated with each Graduation Standard.

Those three little paragraphs are actually jammed packed full of lots of information that I think is essential for students, staff, and parents to understand fully. .. so let's take a minute to dissect this together.

First, some clarification on terms that you see above (Please refer to post #3 for understandings of what Graduation Standards, Performance Indicators, and Scoring Criteria are):

*  Assessments - This is an important term to understand so I'll take more time here.  Assessment is any tool used by teachers to understand what students know and are able to do.  Assessments can be either "formative" or "summative" in nature.  Formative assessments are used ONLY to inform instruction by teachers.  Summative assessments are used to determine whether or not a student has mastered a particular skill or not and if so - at what levels.  Assessments can be observations, discussions, written tests, research papers, projects and the like.  It is how the information is used by the teacher that determines whether it is "formative" or "summative" in nature.
*  Common Summative Assessments - are assessments that are common across grades or content areas.  These types of assessments allow us to build consistency and continuity into our system so that all students at a particular grade level, or within a particular content area are given the same assessments.  
*  Decaying Average This calculation type is similar to a traditional average of scores for multiple assessments, however instead of a straight average, this average assigns progressively decreasing weights to older assessments.  Working backwards, each assessment is worth 66.667% of the teacher-assigned weight, compounded exponentially.  In effect, newer assessments automatically "count more" in the overall score.  This type of an averaging system is used because we know that with additional and new instruction students will perform better on assessments, so we want them to "weigh" more heavily than previous assessments.  Teacher weights still apply.

Below is a visual of the definition shared above for folks to view that might help you to better understand the overall picture (I know I like visuals so I'm sharing).  


As you can see from the definition of proficiency and associated visual above, the Gorham Schools has tried to create a "minimal" interpretation of proficiency by stating we want to be sure that all students demonstrate proficiency on a specific performance indicator a minimum of 2 times before being able to move on.  However, we do not define a maximum.  We don't define a maximum because we want to make sure that students are given the opportunity, with additional instruction and support from teachers to demonstrate proficiency.

We have also created a bit of a "step in" approach in terms of defining a minimum score for proficiency at the Performance Indicator level.  We do this because we do not want to disadvantage students while we move to create this new system of instruction and work out the "kinks" as we go.  We are purposefully starting our definition of proficiency "low" at between a score of 2-3 for the first year and then ramping it up for year 2 by requiring a score between 2.5 - 3 and then settling in where we want to be in the third year by requiring a score of between 2.75 and 3 for students to be considered proficient on any given performance indicator.    It is important to understand that all students will be given instruction that will allow them to achieve a score of 4 on any given performance indicator so going "above" proficient is always possible and in fact will be encouraged for all students in our new system.

In addition to our "step in" approach for defining a minimum score for proficiency at the Performance Indicator level we have also created a "step in" approach for defining a minimum number of Performance Indicators students must be proficient in before being proficient at the Graduation Standard level.

If you remember from post #3, each Graduation Standard is made up of between 3-13 Performance Indicators.  Students must demonstrate proficiency at the Graduation Standard level in order to eventually graduate from Gorham High School.  At the Graduation Standard level, we are starting our definition of proficiency out to say that students must meet a majority of performance indicators for the first two years of implementation and then in the third year, we will expect students to demonstrate proficiency for ALL performance indicators found within a given graduation standard.  This is being done for two major reasons:

1.  We understand that in our first attempt to build this system, we have likely created too many performance indicators and need some time to either "weed" out those that are not necessary or to designate some performance indicators as "high priority" while others are "lower priority" in order to make sure we are creating a system that is viable for our students to complete in the 13 years we have them.

2.  Once again, we do not wish to disadvantage students while we implement this new system and are working out the "kinks" as any new system will inevitably have.

So what does all this look like for my child is likely the question at hand.  Let's see if I can share an example of one fictional student's experiences to help solidify this definition for everyone.


Let's say that I am a 4th grade student at Village Elementary School.  I am working on my Math graduation standards, working specifically on demonstrating proficiency within the following graduation standard:


-  "Reason Algebraically using expressions, equations, and functions".


I have three performance indicators I need to demonstrate proficiency on within that graduation standard - those are:


1.  Use the four operations (+,-,*,/)with whole numbers to solve problems.

2.  Gain familiarity with factors and multiples, and
3.  Generate and analyze patterns.

Now, let's say that over the course of a few months of work in Math I am able to take several summative assessments and I get the following scores:


PI#1:  2.0, 2.5 and 3.5 (decaying average = 2.8)

PI #2:  3.0, 2.5, 2.5, 3.5, and 3.5  (decaying average = 3.1)
PI #3:  3.5, 3.0, and 3.5 (decaying average = 3.3)

Based upon the definition of proficiency above, I would meet proficiency at the Performance Indicator level  because I would have had at least 2 summative assessments for each Performance Indicator and scored between a 2.75 - 3.0 (I'm using the third year step in definition here so you can see our ultimate goal demonstrated).  I also would have met proficiency at the Graduation standard level because I would have met proficiency in each of the performance indicators associated with the graduation standard for that grade level.


Now this is a pretty basic example, but I hope it gives you an indication of how the definition above works for students.  Please know that the instruction required to get students to a point where summative assessments would be given would be plentiful and if students did not meet proficiency, the teacher would simply work to provide additional instruction and supports and then provide additional assessments as needed.


Well, I think that is enough information for now to help you to better understand how we will be defining Proficiency in our new PBL system beginning in the 2017-18 School Year.  Please stay tuned for my next post where, now that you understand how proficiency is defined, I will then describe how we plan on grading and reporting in our new system.


As always, if you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me anytime.  My email is the best way to get ahold of me:  heather.perry@gorhamschools.org.


THANK YOU!