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Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

MAY, 2013

Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction

NEWSLETTER A Message from Heidi...

2012 ~2013

Dear Staff, Finally, the warm weather is coming and we are in the final stretch of the school year. However, there is still a month left and we need every day of instruction. Please be sure to continue with your high expectations for teaching and learning.

Common Core

2, 3

Spotlight on ELA


Learning Options/ESL


I also ask that you encourage our students and parents to take advantage of our academic summer opportunities.



Summer Programs


Have a great finish to the 2012-2013 school year!

K-5 Math Update


Adult Ed. Academic Service Learning


GED Testing


Attachments 1—10

Heidi Kast Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

offered the conference FREE, to all educators and parents with children birth through five throughout the county. This all day conference began with a kick off presentation and Early Childhood has just been successfully reviewed in the areas of Early Head Start

then invited parents to attend three “Breakout Sessions.”

Along with the parent education

and the Head Start Program.

sessions and tables, the attendees received

Enrollment is currently taking place for the

by the Lake Orion Community Schools’ Food

2013-2014 school year.

Service Department.

Great Start Parent Conference

breakfast treats and lunch which was provided Child care was provided

by the Early Childhood Department for parents attending the conference.

Over 400

On Saturday, April 27, the Lake Orion Com-

parents and children attended the event this

munity Schools Early Childhood Department


hosted the 7th Annual Great Start parent conference and Resource Fair at the CERC building.

Lake Orion Community Schools

along with the Michigan Department of Education Great Parents—Great Start, the Great Start Collaborative and Oakland Schools

Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Page 2

Common Core standards are commonsense By Nancy Kaffer There has been a lot or talk and questions regarding common core. In reality, there has been a steady, consistent, “buzz” surrounding education including everything from expectations to teacher evaluation. This “buzz” is not likely to go away anytime soon. It is important for us to stay focused. We have done a lot of work regarding common core and will continue to move forward. While the transition to common core involves a lot of change and work, most educators agree this is where education needs to go and the idea behind this initiative makes total sense. The attached article clearly reveals what is happening with the common core controversy. It is not about a student’s education. It is about the politics. Do not let this controversy derail you from the common core transition. Lake Orion, as well as the rest of the state, is continuing to move forward in the best interest of our students. (Heidi Kast) The Common Core educational standards shouldn’t be controversial. For most folks, the grade-by-grade expectations detailed in the core standards would be things you learned back in school, and that you’d assume students today are still learning. So why has the Michigan House of Representatives voted to approve a budget that doesn’t include the funding necessary to implement these standards? Ideology, not education. The U.S. educational system is a zig-zag of methodology and expectations. The federal No Child Left Behind Act required students to become proficient in math, reading and other skills, but allowed states to create their own assessments. Making a tough test wasn’t rewarded; an easy-pass test wasn’t punished. So many states created tests that weren’t reliable gauges of either a student’s educational attainment or the educational system itself. Compare the results of National Assessment of Educational Progress with state-level tests like the

Michigan Educational Achievement Program; the national test paints a much less rosy picture of educational achievement. That’s why, in 2011, Michigan adjusted the “cut scores” (the cut-off at which students are deemed to have passed) for the MEAP test. When Michigan made it more difficult to meet MEAP standards of proficiency, student scores plummeted. The upshot of all of this is that a high school diploma means something different in Maryland or Massachusetts than it does in Mississippi or South Dakota, which puts American students at a disadvantage when competing for everything from jobs to slots at a university. It also makes it incredibly difficult to gauge whether the states’ educational systems are competitive globally — but all signs indicate that we’re being outperformed, internationally. The Common Core Standards Initiative was an effort to change that. Developed at the state level by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the core standards are an effort to create clear, rational expectations for student performance. There’s a bit of a shift in assessment priorities — the core standards speak to a common criticism of American curricula, that too much material is covered in too little depth. So far, so good, right? The common core is an attempt to create rigorous, consistent standards for an American education. How could anyone have a problem with that? Well, President Barack Obama has endorsed it. At the same time, the power of right-wing interests in Michigan seems to be waning. Because the federal government has incentivized adoption of the core standards with grant money, through its Race to the Top program and waivers from some provisions of No Child Left Behind, right-wing ideologues claim Common Core is a federal “takeover” of education, that the federal government is dictating educa(Continued on Page 3)

May, 2013

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continued tional standards to local school districts. This is patently untrue. The Common Core Standards Initiative created a set of expectations, not a curriculum. Its adoption is entirely voluntary; states that don’t adopt the core standards won’t be punished. (It’s worth noting that this is same kind of tactic Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has used to incentivize costsaving behavior in municipal governments and school districts, through his Economic Vitality Incentive Program, which requires local governments to compete for revenue-sharing dollars.) Michigan adopted the core standards in 2010; the state is set to begin implementation in 2014. A bill introduced by Republican Rep. Tom McMillin of Rochester Hills — of the ongoing state-level effort to bar cities from adopting human rights ordinances — would make the core standards verboten. McMillin and others who oppose common core say the standards take control of education out of local hands. (I guess McMillin is for local control when it comes to schools, but against it when it comes to local communities’ ability to pass ordinances?) Keep in mind that in my home state, Alabama — not notably more progressive than Michigan — lawmakers rejected an effort to boot the common core. And the American Legislative Exchange Council, the right-wing, anti-tax, anti-regulatory legislation mill, voted against making common-core-exit model legislation available to its members.

But ideologically diverse groups and individuals like Business Leaders for Michigan, a group representing CEOs, support the core standards. The head of that group, Doug Rothwell, wrote to the chairmen of the state House and Senate appropriations committees to urge acceptance of the common core. So does John Austin, president of the state Board of Education. And so does Education Trust-Midwest, a Royal Oak-based education advocacy group. And so did Snyder, when the core standards were first introduced. His spokespeople didn’t respond to requests for an update on Snyder’s position. Having performed poorly in the last election, the right wing of the state Republican Party is eager to make Common Core a litmus test for their political power, Austin says, and the more mainstream members of the party are concerned about placating those extreme members. All of which could have tragic consequences for Michigan students. Will implementation of the core standards fix all that ails public education in Michigan, or the U.S.? Of course not. But if you can’t define the playing field, you’ve got no hope of competing. Speaking of competing,  email Heidi Kast by 8:00 p.m. Thursday to be entered in the CIA Newsletter drawing.

COMMON CORE RESOURCE Check out the website below. It has Common Core “checklists” that can be used to aid in keeping track of standards being taught. It includes activities and tracking sheets for various subject areas. “I can” checklists for students can be found under the “Management” tab.

Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Page 4


The Learning Options

Drew Towlerton was appointed

program will be moving from

to oversee the Learning Op-

the high school to CERC begin-

tions Program at CERC.

ning this fall. This move will

has been in the district for 7

allow more space at the high

years and has served as the

school while giving the district

Learning Options department

an opportunity to slightly ex-


pand Learning Options.



The Lake Orion Community Schools’ ESL program hosted an International Evening on April 25th. The evening was a huge success in celebrating traditions and cultures from many of the countries represented in our school district. There were games, student made posters, food and dancing, representing the heritage of all!

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ELA Department Kate DiMeo, ELA consultant and Curriculum Coach is recommending the website below as a resource. Literacy for Life / Fisher and Frey is highly recommended, covering areas including reading comprehension, collaborative learning, 21st Century Literacy, tools for teachers, helpful hints for classrooms and Common Core, and offering workshops and resources. Frey and Fisher are both PH.Ds and profes-


2013 LOCS Literacy Institute registration

sors of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University.

They have both published numerous arti-

cles on improving student achievement and books including Text-Complexity: Raising Rigor in Reading, Checking for Understanding and Common Core English Language Arts in a PLC at Work.


The elementary summer school program is an en-


richment program targeted for our students who are struggling in reading and math.

It is a free 6 week

program that will run from July 9th through August 15th. The students will attend Tuesdays through Thursdays for 3 hours each day.

Transportation is

provided to students who need it.

Also, there is a

shortened 3 week program for Carpenter students. For middle school students summer school will run from July 8th through July 26th at Scripps Middle School. Classes being offered include ELA, math, math Enrichment, Science, and Social Studies. See

ATTACHMENT 3 for additional information. Students entering 9th grade are being offered Algebra Readiness in July, a Ceramics Studio class is being offered to both students and adults.


Math, Science, Social Studies, Modern Language and

See ATTACHMENTS 3—10 for additional Summer School Program information.

various electives are being offered, 9-12, as well. Another summer offering is the LOHS Virtual Learning Courses. See ATTACHMENTS 4—10.

Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Page 6

2 1 KH T A M


Elementary pilot teachers are getting ready to be trained to implement their third pilot in the fall.

This year they piloted Investiga-

tions and Every Day Math.

In the fall, they

will pilot Math Expressions.

A decision is

expected around January as to what program will be purchased for K—5. Middle School piloted Big Ideas this year. They are currently training to implement their second pilot, CMP3, in the fall. A decision is expected around December as to what program will be purchased for 6—8. For Geometry, Honors Geometry, Algebra and Algebra 2, 3 and Honors Advanced Algebra, the High School Piloted

For Calculus:


McGraw Hill


Brooks/Cole Cengage


Pearson while McGraw Hill

Piloted for AP Calculus:


two Brooks/Cole Cengage products

The Discovery Series was chosen for Algebra, Algebra 2, 3, Honors Advanced Algebra, Geometry and Honors Geometry. Pearson was chosen for Precalculus and McGraw Hill was chosen for Calculus and AP Calculus. The math department will receive train-


The Discovery Series



support provided all of next year.



Many teachers have committed a lot of

For Pre-calculus:


two Pearson products


Brooks/Cole Cengage

ing prior to the end of the year with

time to pilot and be a part of this important decision for our district.


efforts, time and dedication are greatly appreciated.



Heidi Kast……...Asst. Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment


Marysue Schwartzmiller….Administrative Assistant 248-693-5409 or Ext. 3908

The graduation ceremony


for Adult Education and

Linda Glowaz….Assessment Coordinator...Ext. 6410

Learning Options will be

District Department Chairs…………..Listed on LOnet

held at 7:30 p.m. on

District School Improvement Chairs………..Listed on LOnet

Monday, June 10th in the Lake Orion High School Auditorium.

May, 2013

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ACADEMIC SERVICE LEARNING 2012-2013 Below are some of the really great projects happening this school year within our district being funded through United Way designation funds: $400 Sharing Memories with Elders Project ~ Pine Tree Elementary $150 Grid Murals ~ Lake Orion High School $400 Veterans’ Visit ~ Oakview Middle School $400 Literacy Day ~Oakview Middle School $400 Land Use Decision Effect on Water Quality ~ Scripps Middle School $400 Clinton River Stream Monitoring ~ Waldon Middle School $400 Sharing with Elders/Assembly Line ~ Stadium Drive Elementary There are still funds available

for your end of year project.

LOCS is now an authorized testing

ble through December, 2013. The

site for Pearson Vue, a secure test-

next scheduled testing dates are

ing site offering GED testing.

June 6th and 7th.

Adults wanting to take the test electronically can go to the website: to sign up. Our computer testing site is currently open for testing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9 a.m.—3 p.m. and 5 p.m.—9 p.m. The written GED test will be availa-

GED PREPARATION Our GED preparation program prepares our students well to successfully pass the GED.

Our GED testing

site had an 84% successful passing rate on the GED exam for 2012. The state average rate is 70%.

Curriculum Newsletter - April 2013  

Newsletter of the Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment Department

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