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Friday Focus 031315

posted Mar 13, 2015, 10:57 AM by Michael Lepene


Frances C. Richmond Middle School Friday Focus
Friday, March 13 2015

March Recess

RMS students enjoy a recent sunny day at lunch recess.

+Principal’s Corner

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Good afternoon. By now, most of you have heard about the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) that students across SAU 70 will be participating in this year. The SBAC largely replaces our NECAP testing and is intended to be a standardized measurement of progress in English Language Arts and Mathematics. At RMS, students tested include those in grades 6-8. 

Here are some resources to learn more about the SBAC:

-NH Department of Education SBAC Resource Page

-Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Parent Resources

Richmond Middle School will administer the SBAC tests during the week of May 4th. We have constructed a testing schedule that will provide a testing block at the start of each day and then follow with shortened classes. Our hope is that by scheduling the test in this way we might minimize the disruption to our ongoing instruction and daily program.

The SBAC test consists of multiple formats across both the Math and English Language Arts content areas. The test is divided into three parts:

-CBT: Adaptive computer-based assessments.

-Classroom Activities: Mini lessons designed to prepare students for a performance task.

-Performance Tasks: Designed to measure student's ability to integrate knowledge and skills across content areas.

In preparation for these assessments our staff has been training and practicing with the assessment tools. In addition, we have spent some time giving students experience with the format and types of questions that will be asked.

While participating in the SBAC is not optional, we do strive to strike the right balance between meeting our obligation and not having test preparation and participation completely overtake our program and priorities. To that end, we are making the most of the opportunities presented in training and test prep to further develop skills associated with the test. An example would be examining our use of adaptive technology and tools for differentiation in preparation for the test and then considering how these same tools might benefit all students in the regular classroom environment. Also utilizing a standardized measure to gauge progress at both the student and school level should be part of our overall collection of evidence and discussions about school improvement and student learning.

With this being the first year of the SBAC we will be learning with respect to the preparation, the process, the use of the results and future opportunities. At the same time, we will remain cautious with respect to opportunity costs associated with this testing program. I am mindful that as I write this piece about testing our students are outside enjoying recess, celebrating mathematics school-wide for Pi Day, creating sketches in art class, diving into a novel in English, and building and testing prototypes in science. As we look for new opportunities available through the testing process we should not compromise these components of a complete education. We hope to strike that balance and we welcome your feedback along the way.

We'll have more to share as we close in on our testing dates.

Michael Lepene 

+All School News and Events (RMS web site has GoogleCal with events and dates/times)

Saturday, March 14: Last day to complete the annual RMS Parent/Guardian Survey. Thank you!

Monday, March 16: Teacher Inservice Day (no school for students).

Tuesday, March 17Wednesday, March 18: 6th Grade Math Placement Testing 

Thursday, March 19: 8th Grade Class Night Discussion with Interested Parents. Hosted by Carla Balch. 800-830a RMS Office Conference Rm.

Thursday, March 19: RMS Band Concert, 530p, RMS Auditorium.

+RMS Notes and Information

-Thank you to all of the students and parents who came to the first annual RMS Camp Fair. It was definitely a success! If you were not able to come to the camp fair, but would like some help finding a good camp for your child, please feel free to contact the RMS counselors for information. Thanks again to everyone who came! Liz Powers and John LaCrosse

-Come one, come all to next week's Pop Concert presented by the RMS concert and jazz bands grades 6-8.  The concert is on Thursday, March 19 and starts at 5:30 PM

All performers must arrive at 5:00 dressed in the following:
Boys: Black pants and SOLID colored shirts. Even a t-shirt is ok.  No patterns or logos please.
Girls:  Black pants or skirts (please try to avoid very short skirts) and a solid colored shirt. No patterns, logos or exposed shoulders.

-ISO Working Old Bicycle or Stationary BicycleIt does not need to be street-worthy, just able to pedal so the wheels can turn; middle school or adult -- sized. 7th Grade team looking to convert the bike into a source of energy to power a blender as part of an upcoming unit. Questions or leads please

+Community Calendar and Activities 

-Registration for the 2015 season of Hanover Youth Baseball is now open to children in the third through seventh grades (12 or younger on April 30).  Registrations and payments are due by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 29, 2015.

Please go to and click on the Registration link to get started.

-Free Junior Squash Clinic for 7-16 year olds at the Dartmouth Squash Courts on Monday March 30 or Wednesday April 1 from 6-7.30pm

Please e-mail if you would like to register your child/children.

-Family Dance with Cuckoo's Nest and caller Andy Davis

Saturday, March 28
5:00-6:30 pm
Tracy Hall, Main Street, Norwich, VT
Please bring a clean change of shoes.
Children should be accompanied for this event.
Admission: Adults $5, kids Free!  All ages welcome.
after this dance...
Potluck supper at 6:45 pm.
Contradance at 8:00 pm (better-suited to middle-school aged kids and up)

 April 13-17 (Monday-Friday)
 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Ages: 10-15 years
Cost: $350 (includes all activities, healthy snack, lunch on Tuesday, and materials)
Camp Leaders:  Miriah Wall and Chelsea Furlong 

Registration: By check or online
Young people will have the opportunity to engage in movement, exploration, and hands-on activities, while discovering for themselves the meaning of mindfulness and the art of living well. Daily activities and discussion encourage them to connect with their own bodies and minds, and to understand how they can have an impact on their community and environment in playful, creative, and thoughtful ways. Guest teachers and field trips included.