October 25th Principal's Message

posted Oct 25, 2015, 10:31 AM by Eric Klein

Dear Parents,

With the end of the first quarter two weeks away, I’d like to share information with you regarding the cornerstone assessments that have become a foundational aspect of our students’ learning and assessment.  Last year, Mr. Hall sent a letter which provided an overview of these assessments.  I’ve included this information, as it is especially important for our 9th grade students and parents:  

“For many years, our teachers have worked collaboratively so that students who take the same course with different teachers are taught the same material and assessed using common assessments that are tied directly to the standards of the course.  We identified the concept of cornerstone assessments as a way of knowing that students have demonstrated their understanding and application of learning expectations.   

Cornerstones are assessments designed by Yarmouth High School teachers that connect directly to the learning area expectations and the school-wide expectations. Every full-year course at Yarmouth High School will have between three to five cornerstones. Semester classes will have between one to three cornerstones.  Students will need to pass all of the cornerstones in a course with a grade of 80 or above in order to pass the course.   Students who do not reach that grade on the first try will have multiple opportunities to meet the required score.”

This summer, we spent a great deal of time reflecting upon best practices and revising assessments in order to improve student learning.  Based on our review of cornerstone assessments, one thing was clear: students who demonstrated the greatest success and learning were those who took the opportunity to promptly retake or redo their cornerstone assessments.  

New Change:  As the end of the first quarter draws near, we will be implementing an additional expectation to cornerstone assessments.  Students who do not successfully complete their cornerstone assessments with the benchmark score of 80 will receive an incomplete for the quarter.   As soon as students have retaken their assessment and successfully demonstrated proficiency with a score of 80 or above, the incomplete marker will be removed from their grade report.  

This mark of an incomplete will provide feedback to students and parents that the cornerstone needs to be completed within a reasonable and prompt timeframe of two weeks.  Our goal is to help students be successful and  prevent situations where students are scrambling to complete cornerstone assessments in May that were not successfully finished in September.  It is also important to note that this will not change our eligibility policy.  

During the next two weeks, it is important for your child to take care of all their academic responsibilities, and I would encourage you to review PowerSchool to review your student’s progress.  Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Monday November 9th and Tuesday November 10th.  If your son or daughter's last name begins with A-K, conferences will be held from 3:30-6:30 pm on Monday, November 9.  Those with last names starting with L-Z will have conferences on Tuesday, November 10 from 3:30-6:30 pm.  These conferences provide quick updates (about 5 minutes) with the teachers.  Most teachers will be in the gym or the cafeteria, with a few in their classrooms.  As always, our student ambassadors will be there to help you find your way.  Please feel free to contact me with questions and concerns.