Monthly Archives: February 2011
Posted on Feb 13, 2011
Posted on Feb 13, 2011
February 10, 2011For a number of years, Gillispie has used an annual standardized test to gather one measure of progress of its Grades 2-6 students–the Comprehensive Testing Program 4 exam (CTP4) of the Educational Records Bureau (ERB). Mr. Bunyak’s visit to the ERB annual conference in November and subsequent study and conversations (including a January visit by ERB President David Clune) are leading us to fine-tune our use of ERB testing. The changes to come include: –Moving from spring to fall testing: the change from summative testing (at the end of the year) to formative testing (in October) will allow Gillispie faculty to assess each student’s level of content mastery by mid-October of each year; teachers can then pursue broad curricular planning and individualized strategies that will best meet the immediate needs of their classroom children. To be clear, Grades 2-5 students will not take the CTP4 this June; instead, returning Grades 3-6 students will take the CTP Online exam this fall (see the next point). –Moving from paper testing to online testing: this will give the School instantaenous access to scoring reports, some of which have been designed to highlight trends for teachers. In addition, the online testing is adaptive, which means students’ strengths and areas for growth will be more completely investigated during the exams. Grade 6 students will help us pilot online testing this June by taking the CTP Online exam. –Moving Grade 2 from one kind of testing to another: Grade 2 children will take a new test next October–the Children’s Progress Academic Assessment. This exam is much shorter than the CTP4, is adaptive, and can be given more than once during a year to assess students’ progress. To facilitate these changes, Gillispie is working closely with our regional ERB consultant, Lois Eha. Ms. Eha will be at Gillispie on Wednesday, April 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. to hold a parent workshop about what parents can expect and how the changes will benefit instruction at Gillispie. In the meantime, please contact Mr. Bunyak with any questions about Gillispie’s use of ERB testing. Alison Fleming Head of School Steve Bunyak Assistant Head of School P.S. Some of you have been asking for more details about possible plans for late-start or early-release days during the next school year. Gillispie may have up to four early-release days next year (2:00 p.m. dismissal) to allow teachers to meet beginning at 2:30 p.m. If needed, children could remain on campus for an outdoor camp offering of sorts until 3-3:30 pick-up time.
Posted on Feb 07, 2011
Posted on Feb 06, 2011
February 3, 2011 In late January, I attended a physical education teacher’s workshop in Los Angeles. The workshop was organized by the California Association of Independent Schools and over 60 P.E. teachers from across the state took part. Keynote presenter Mary Hirt is a former state and national Teacher of the Year recipient and currently teaches middle school P.E. at a Santa Monica public school–she is a recognized guru in the field. The workshop emphasized concepts and activities that maximize two key components of a physical education program: participation and the development of character and cooperation among students. Ms. Hirt also shared classroom management techniques as well as several warm-ups and sport skill lead-up games. A vivid highlight was our discussion of ways to avoid the physical education “Hall of Shame,” which includes allowing children to be “picked” last for teams, using fitness as punishment, not having enough equipment to share around, and focusing on star athletes. Teachers also learned how to help students become successful team members–a key life skill. I was excited to gather many new “tools” for our P.E. toolbox and have already been using some of the fun activities with our elementary school students. Physical education teachers are in a special position because the nature of play allows young participants to reveal their character–this provides us with a wonderful opportunity to teach and nurture values that last a lifetime. Ed Whelan P.E. Teacher