Inclusion, new attendance zones, and the new Smarter Balanced test on the horizon this season
Students, staff and parents in the Red Clay Consolidated School District are facing a number of major changes in the coming school year.
Incoming students from third to 10th grade and the teaching staff will face the Smarter Balanced test for the first time this coming spring, while middle school students will start transitioning to their neighborhood schools when and if the district’s inclusion plan is in place.
Meanwhile, the entire district will be affected by the attendance zone committee’s recommendations if ratified by the school board this fall, with school choice selection scheduled to begin in November.
Below, find a brief outline of the issues and how they are being put into action.
What is Inclusion?
Inclusion gives families the chance to send children with special learning or language needs to their neighborhood schools instead of separate, special buildings
A districtwide goal that all schools should have the capacity “to deliver a full continuum of services to students with disabilities and English language learners.”
It is also every students’ legal right to choose what school they attend.
The district’s proposed inclusion plan, if voted into effect, would be done in two phases:
Phase I (2014-15) – Central School middle school students would be transitioned to their attendance zone schools
Phase II (2015-16) – Richardson Park Learning Center elementary ELL students and pre-k students with disabilities would transition to their attendance zone schools; the Meadowood Program would expand to include a second elementary site with enrollment open to a broader population of students with disabilities.
What are Attendance Zones:
The new Attendance Zones are being created in order for the district to comply with the Neighborhood Schools Act by assigning elementary students to schools near their neighborhood.
The district’s goals include trying to accommodate a family's choice to stay in their existing school throughout the grade configuration.
The opening of Cooke Elementary School requires that attendance zones at the elementary level be adjusted.
As a result of new elementary attendance zones, middle school attendance zones may be adjusted.
The school board will vote on the committee’s recommendations at the Oct. 15 board meeting.
If accepted, the Choice Period begins in November 2014
Two public info sessions (middle schools Sept. 4, 6-8 p.m.; elementary schools, Sept. 11, 6-8 p.m.) to be held at all affected back to school meetings.
What is Smarter Balanced?
The “Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium” is a state-led consortium working to develop next-generation assessments that “accurately measure student progress toward college- and career-readiness”
Smarter Balanced is one of two multistate consortia awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by the 2014-15 school year
It replaces the Delaware Comprehensive System Assessment, which has been in place for the last four years
CCSS was first mandated in Delaware in 2012
The Red Clay district (and others) administration has spent the past 18 months preparing and aligning their curricula to match the CCSS requirements
Students from grades 3-10 are expected to take the Smarter Balanced test in the spring of 2015
Students will take one comprehensive test instead of three separate tests throughout the year, as with DCAS