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Proposed Changes in Assessment, Curriculum, Grading Reflect ‘New View’ for School District

Effort is designed to put Valley View students on track for college, careers.

When James Mitchem took the reins as ’s new superintendent last July, he unveiled  “The New View, A Design for Change,” which called for increased rigor, changes in curriculum, assessment, grading scales and more, in a district-wide effort to put all Valley View students on track for college and careers.

Mitchem introduced the plan to the community through a series of forums over the past year.  

At Monday’s meeting of the board of education, the superintendent reiterated the importance of providing Valley View teachers with the tools they need to maximize their efforts in the classroom.

“If you are riding a mule and running a horse race, it doesn’t matter how good the jockey is,” Mitchem said.  “We are in a triage mode right now.  We can no longer systematically accept credit for high-performing students and not accept responsibility for our lowest-performing students.”

Now, after months of staff review, research and evaluation, portions of the superintendent’s “new vision” are ready for implementation.

On Monday,  teachers and administrators presented the board of education detailed information on several proposed changes in assessment programs, curriculum and the district’s grading scale, including:

According to a report from Venus Smith, PreK-5 assistant superintendent, CPAA would provide a method by which teachers and administrators could collect data to guide reading and math instruction in bilingual K-2 classrooms.  Currently, 800 Valley View students in grades kindergarten through second-grade are taught primarily in Spanish.  

The annual cost for CPAA  would be $15 per student, or $12,000 for 800 students.

  • Benchmark Literacy, a new K-5 program focused on the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to allow the district to “support staff with the implementation of a rigorous curriculum and corresponding materials in order for all students to be on track for college and career readiness.”

The total cost of the Benchmark Literacy program would be approximately $107 per student, or $850,000.

  • MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) assessment for students in grades nine and 10. According to a report by Mitchem and Kelly Gilbert, director of data and assessment, MAP testing would be “used to drive instruction in the classroom as it has been utilized in grades K-8, (to) continually monitor a student’s path towards college and career readiness using one assessment model.”

Tentative costs to implement MAP testing in grades 9 and 10, based on current enrollment, are estimated at $39,575.

  • Mitchem also proposed changes in the district’s grading scale to level the playing field with surrounding school districts, possibly incorporating a plus/minus system to better reflect a student’s content mastery.

 Editor’s note: This story presents an overview of several proposed changes in Valley View’s assessment, curriculum and grading programs, which will be brought before the board of education for consideration at its May 29 meeting.  Patch will further explore the proposals over the coming weeks. In the meantime, view the supporting documents from the school board's May 14 meeting by clicking here.

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