Dear Sprague Community—March 8, 2016 I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun we all had at the A-Catemy Awards assembly last Friday! Students cheered for the winning book titles in each category. Students and teachers dressed in red carpet attire. Mr. Craig was the host extraordinaire! Thanks to our Assembly Committee: Sara Bartelloni, Katie Bender, Kenn Craig, Kristan Fiore, Scott Marder, and Jon McManus. They planned, decorated and executed a fabulous assembly. I hope your children came home and told you all about it. Special thanks also to Ellen Mandel, Sammy Gradwohl, and Brian Hagar-McKee for their help. Elaine Marten sent you some fabulous photos and video in the Sprague Pulse on Sunday too!  MCAS news for grades 3-5 This year there will be some changes to the ELA MCAS format.  Students will be asked to participate in three sessions of ELA testing.  For one of these sessions, some PARCC questions will be included as we transfer to a new generation of the MCAS. For example, students will be asked to answer multi-step questions that will focus on using evidence from the text.  There will also be a reading passage that students read and then are asked to craft a narrative writing response.  There will be one timed (60 minute with some exceptions) session.  This timed portion with the written response will be included in all grades 3, 4, and 5. It should be noted that the Dept. of Education is trying out this format this year and this portion of the test will not be scored for accountability purposes and will not be included in each child’s score for his/her proficiency rating. Parents will be notified of their child’s score on this portion, but it will not count towards the total proficiency score. Additionally, there will be no long composition in grade 4.  At Sprague, our test preparation will be integrated into concepts students are already exploring in their classrooms: main ideas, themes, character change over time, etc.  We will also incorporate some practice around specific test-taking skills and debunking test vocabulary.  One of our goals is to help our students handle standardized tests as well as possible.  During the weeks leading up to the MCAS, we will work to teach students strategies that they can use to persevere through testing challenges.   It is our hope that each year students will become more comfortable with the standardized test structure and we can alleviate any stress that goes along with the MCAS. We give students the message that MCAS helps us know how to teach better. We encourage them to try their best, but want them to know we feel our daily work at Sprague prepares them well for the test. Dates to remember: March 10: PTO meeting @ 9 am March 10: Walk to School Day—sorry for the confusion about the date! March 14: School Council at 3:15 PM March 17: Kindergarten Parent Information Night March 18: Open House—8-9 am plus hopefully a video at 9 in the gym March 22: Jessica Minahan parent talk at 7 PM at Sprague—sponsored by Sprague PTO March 25: No school—Good Friday April 7: Gr 5 Basketball Game April 13: Multicultural Night—rescheduled from March 15   Parent Conferences will take place on: March 23, March 30, April 5, and April 6. acat–kdg teachers2.pdf     

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Weekly note from Ms. Snyder–March 8, 2016
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