2015-2016 Initiatives: PD, Blended Learning, PARCC & the Long Range ED Plan

We believe 2015-2016 will be a great year for the Curriculum office. This is the first year we will not be managing a new mandate from Trenton. Therefore we will be able to focus on our new initiatives and enhancing former programs and older mandates like the PARCC assessments.

Our first program we will be launching is the district's revamped Professional Development Committee. This committee (the DEAC) meets monthly and will manage district-wide professional development days (September 1st and June 23rd). Offerings will definitely include Google in-serves, especially as our district goes "GAFE."

This year our teachers and students will be ready for the revised PARCC tests that replaced the NJ ASK & HSPA tests last year. These online tests in Language Arts and Math are aligned to the Common Core Curriculum Standards. We are very happy that the PARCC tests will only happen once this year and will not take away vital days of instruction from our program of study. Results from last year's test will not be released until December of 2015 but keep checking below for updates and information on how to analyze your child's results. (Link to audio-enhanced PARCC 2015 Results presentation.)

Thanks to our MLHS Principal's vision, we adopted a new Learning Management System called Canvas for the high school. There was so much interest in the product that the initial MLHS pilot doubled and one has emerged in Briarcliff. We will be using Canvas to offer our teachers PD as well. Finally, Canvas has allowed us to offer our first online requirement at the high school: Online Economics.

2015-2016 Initiatives:

Blended Learning: Online Economics

As part of our LREP goal of balancing the tradition of educational excellence along with innovation to make the most engaging and relevant learning environment possible for our students, several teachers at MLHS piloted blended learning experiences last year. Dr. Mucci and myself offered a new online elective, Law & Courts, in which students accessed the curriculum via Canvas, a virtual learning platform. The greatest benefit to having a blended learning experience is the ability for students to access course content whenever, wherever, and “why-ever” as often as they want, enabling them to customize their personal learning experience.

This year we launched Online Economics, a required course for MLHS students (unless they take AP Economics or Discrete Math) to meet their financial literacy state requirment. This semester it is taught by the Social Studies supervisor. All assignments will be completed online and we hope to continue offering even more options, including a plannned Campaign 2016 class next semester!

LREP: Homework

This year's LREP continues with our topics from last year: (1) Balance Tradition with Innovation, (2) Promote "Grit" Among our Students, (3) Foster a Safe Learning Environment, and (4) Manage Unfunded Mandates. In our commitment to the third goal, we will work in concert with our building principals to engage faculty and community members in a discussion regarding the value of meaningful homework assignments and the non-academic effects of homework on our students. To achieve this goal, we will be launching a "Big Read" among all building faculty as part of our Canvas/PD initiative. This is an important LREP goal and it will be a focus in Wildwood with a parent committee being formed, and it will also be a topic at Dr. Mucci's Superintendent Brown Bag Lunches.

PARCC 2.0

Based on concerns from students, parents, teachers and school administrators, the NJ Department of Education announced that PARRC will be revamped this year, and we will only have 1 testing window in May rather than 2 testing windows like last year. The link below comes from the NJ DOE concerning updates on PARCC. We will also post information on Mountain Lakes results once we receive them. At this point, the NJ DOE has announced that we can expect our district's scores in late November. Of course, we will send inPidual student scores home like we did with NJ ASK, and we will also make a district presentation at a future BOE meeting (again, once we receive the scores).