Governor's STEM Scholarship Agreement with RaymondPosted by Tina McCoy on 7/6/2018 2:00:00 PM
The Raymond School District now has a signed agreement pertaining to the Governor's Concurrent and Dual Enrollment STEM Scholarship Program. While that statement may sound like educational jargon, what it means is more opportunity for our students who want to take college courses for credit while they are still in high school. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; important academic areas that can springboard students to good jobs in the future.
The Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) now has on file the Raymond School Board Policy on Dual Enrollment, and students from Raymond are on the teh CCSNH list to receive reimbursements for eligible CCSNH STEM or STEM related concurrent or dual enrollment classes. As indicated by the CCSNH, beginning this fall, for the academic year 2018-19, Juniors or Seniors taking eligible STEM courses will be allowed to registe for up to two STEM or STEM related dual and/or concurrent enrollment courses at no charge.
Security Projects to be Underway at IHGMSPosted by Tina McCoy on 6/29/2018 4:00:00 PM
In the next few months, you will see some work going on at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School. This is because our District has been awarded two grants from the Public School Infrastructure Fund. The grants cover 80% of the cost of two separate but related projects that will improve the security of the school. One will reconfigure the front entry way, and the other will reconfigure the gymnasium entrance (making it possible to close that section of the building off from the remainder of the school). We are very happy to receive $56,554 for the secure (main) entry way project and $35,440 for the secure gymnasium entry project. Thanks to Todd Ledoux and Ron Brickett for submitting the plans and applications to obtain funding for these important projects.
Raymond Teachers Keep LearningPosted by Tina McCoy on 6/22/2018 3:00:00 PM
After school for students ended on June 15th, teachers and paraeducators in the Raymond School District had the unique opportunity to engage in several days of professional learning activities. Thanks to the collaboration of many key educators and the leadership of Curriculum Director, Mike Whaland, a wide range of learning and work activities took place. Vertical alignment of competencies, student intervention team consultation, Section 504 training, rubrics development training and crisis prevention intervention training are a few of the examples of the activities our staff members engaged in. This work was very valuable and will help us get off to an even stonger start to a new school year in late August!
Summer Break!Posted by Tina McCoy on 6/20/2018 4:00:00 PM
I'd like to thank the entire educational community of Raymond - students, parents, employees, Board members and citizens - for a wonderful school year! Your dedication and support make Raymond School District a wonderful place. Have a wonderful summer!
Marjorie Whitmore Hired as New Business AdministratorPosted by Tina McCoy on 6/11/2018 4:00:00 PM
We are very fortunate to have Marjorie Whitmore assume the key position of Business Administrator for the Raymond School District starting on July 1st. Ms. Whitmore has nine years of finance experience in New Hampshire public schools. For the past 5 years, she has been very effectively administering over the financial and business aspects of three school districts, and juggling the demands of three district and four Boards (and budgets) with notable success. Marjorie is described as someone who is thorough, dedicated, and detail-oriented. She prioritizes well, anticipates needs, and presents information in ways that that help her Boards make sound and timely decisions. Ms. Whitmore works well under pressure when needed, and remains calm in stressful or challenging situations. She is meticulous and flexible; personable and capable. She will be an outstanding member of our administrative team. Please join me in welcoming her to our school system.
Community Input for Strategic PlanPosted by Tina McCoy on 6/6/2018 9:00:00 AM
Thanks to everyone who participated in our June 4th Community Conversation on Education! The turnout at IHGMS and on Facebook Live was strong, with a good cross ssection of stakeholders with valuable viewpoints.
Please remember that the Strategic Planning Steering Committee will still be gathering input until the 11th of June. You can still contribute by considering the following questions:
- What are we doing really well as a School District? What excites you and makes you proud of our School District?
- What are some of the challenges facing us that we need to address in the next 3-5 years? What can we do together as a community to begin to make this happen?
Send your thoughts regarding the preceding questions to the committee via email to email@example.com or call our special strategic planning input phone number at (603 200-3038) to leave a voicemail. If you are willing to let us contact you about your responses, please leave a number or an email address.
Thanks for being a part of the Community Conversation on Education in Raymond!
LRES and IHGMS Shift to Trimesters Next YearPosted by Tina McCoy on 6/5/2018 8:00:00 AMAt the most recent meeting of the Raymond School Board, teachers and administrators from both Lamprey River Elementary School and Iber Holmes Gove Middle School presented to the Board about the proposed shift to trimesters at both schools. Our professionals did a phenomenal job of explaining to the Board and to the public why the change from quarters to trimesters for students in grades Pre-K to 8 will be advantageous to teaching and learning in Raymond. In short, there will be more time to focus on instruction and more opportunities for students to gain and demonstrate their newly acquired skills and knowledge before grades close.
At both LRES and IHGMS, our newly developed report cards, as well as special education (IEP) progress reports will be issued on a trimester basis beginning with the upcoming school year. Raymond High School will remain on a quarter/semester reporting schedule. We thank the Raymond School Board for supporting this change for Pre-K to grade 8 students.
A Community Conversation on EducationPosted by Tina McCoy on 5/25/2018 3:00:00 PM
Where will the Raymond School District be in five years?
How will we get there?
You can help determine the answers to these questions by participating in our upcoming Community Conversation on Education, on the evening of June 4, 2018 between the hours of 5 and 8 PM at the Library/Media Center at IHGMS. Our Strategic Planning Steering Committee members will hold this forum to gather input from stakeholders who are truly invested in the future of our schools. Parents, students, citizens, business owners, employees.... anyone who wants to influence the direction of the District in the next five years is invited to share their ideas and perspectives. The format of the forum will be relaxed and straightforward, with two main guiding questions:
- What are we doing really well as a school district? (What excites you and makes you proud?)
- What would you like to see improved in the District? (What are some challenges we need to address together in the next three to five years?)
Light refresments will be provided in our cool, air conditioned middle school library! You need not spend your entire evening engaged in the forum (although you are welcome to do so). There will be sessions at 5 PM, 6 PM and 7 PM. Please come and have an enjoyable time talking with others who care about our schools and our community - and influence the future of the Raymond School District!
Please note - If you have a hard time getting there in person, several alternatives are available to allow you to participate:
- Join the Strategic Planning Facebook Group prior to the meeting and engage through Facebook live with our virtual meeting facilitator, Art Wolinsky!
- Send your thoughts regarding strengths and needs of the District to the committee via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Call our special Strategic Planning Input phone number at (603 200-3038) to leave a voicemail sharing your ideas regarding what's working well in our school system and what should be improved. If you are willing to let us contact you about your responses, please leave a number or an email address.
The Committee will be accepting input until June 11, 2018.
The Cheshire Cat in the beloved book, Alice in Wonderland said, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there". Together we can make sure that we do know where we are going, and that our future destination is well in tune with the values and needs of our community stakeholders.
I hope to see you on the evening of June 4th at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School in the library!
Stand Together Against BullyingPosted by Tina McCoy on 5/18/2018 12:00:00 PM
A safe and secure learning enviroment for every student is the highest priority of the Raymond School District. There are many strategies that we employ as we work to promote and maintain school cultures where all students feel accepted, valued and comfortable. One of those strategies is embodied in our Bullying Policy, which is Policy JICDA (Student Safety and Violence Prevention). In accord with this Policy, our employees work hard to to detect possible bullying, address and report misbehavior, and investigate it thoroughly. They take steps necessary to respond appropriately and prevent bullying from reoccurring. When warranted, they also take steps to prevent relatiation for reporting. In short, our entire organization works together to prevent and/or address bullying in our schools.
Every new employee in our District is required to engage in training pertaining to bullying. On an annual basis, each school holds a refresher training on bullying as well. This year, we held compelling and age-appropriate assemblies at each school that were designed to help students understand the implications of bullying and how to stand up against it . Two outstanding parent presentations were also held in the evenings (one for elementary level and one for both middle and high school level) to help parents learn more about bullying and how they support the children and youth of our community.
It's absolutely essential that misbehaviors that may constitute bullying are reported in a timely manner. Reported incidents will be thoroughly investigated, and steps will be taken to properly address reported situations. While not every misbehavior is bullying, it is still very important that potential bullying incidents are reported. Other types of misbehavior that are detected will also be addressed by school administrators. There are many ways to report bullying; one easy mechanism for reporting is our online Bullying/Harassment form. There is a form available for each of our three schools: Lamprey River Elementary School. Iber Holmes Gove Middle School and Raymond High School.
Employees, students, parents and community members are all on the same team that works against bullying. Please stand with us, and do all you can to help make sure that our children and youth are protected from bullying and refrain from engaging in it. We must stand together against bullying.
What Will Competency Based Education Look Like in Raymond?Posted by Tina McCoy on 5/6/2018 11:00:00 AM
Every school system should be a unique reflection of the community in which it is situated. Therefore, while there are many interesting and useful trends in the field of Education, it is up to us to decide how we can improve in ways that stay in tune with the values and aspirations of stakeholders in Raymond.
The purpose of competency based education is to better prepare our students for success in future schooling and, most importantly, in life. The purpose of competency based grading is to provide more accurate and meaningful information to parents, more actionable feedback to students, and provide increased personalized learning. In the previous school year, teachers in our District determined what competencies are most important for students in each grade, content areas, and/or course. This year, teachers across our District continue to collaborate to make sure all of the competencies align properly to ensure an appropriate flow (steady scaffolding) of skills, knowledge, and dispositions for students as they move through our school system. Next year, some notable improvements will be underway that will strengthen the educational experiences of all of our students. Highlights are:
- Academic instruction will focus on the knowledge and skills that we have determined to be most essential for our students’ future success (the designated and aligned competencies).
- Students will be graded on their performance and progress toward achieving the stated competencies.
- Important work habits that are key to success in school, post-secondary opportunities and the workplace will be included on report cards. These work study practices are Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Self Direction.
- Students will not receive extra credit toward subject matter grades for actions unrelated to their academic performance; nor will they be graded down for actions unrelated to their academic performance.
- Our schools will emphasize achievement and progress for all by putting in place supports and multiple opportunities for all students to achieve competencies.
- There will be an increased, articulated emphasis on helping students progress past competency to higher depths of knowledge and levels of application, synthesis, analysis and problem solving.
- There will be increased consistency across our schools in relation to expectations for students who meet or exceed academic requirements.
- All students will have a report card that they or their parents can print out.
Given all these improvements, it’s easy to envision drastic changes in our District. However, the shift to competency based education in Raymond has been purposefully planned to be gradual, and some things will not change at all. A few examples are:
- Students at the middle and high school level will still have traditional letter grades; the grade scale will not change.
- Grade point average and class rank will not be affected.
- New practices will be phased in gradually over time at RHS so that, part way through their high school career, our students will experience no abrupt changes in the way they are graded.
The practices and report cards developed at each school have been carefully planned to ensure a developmentally appropriate and consistent flow of curriculum, instruction and assessment as students move through our entire school system. Our schools are all moving in the same direction, but each school has leeway to adjust to the appropriately meet the needs of students at each developmental stage (elementary, middle and high school). To learn more about the specifics of what is planned at each school, please to attend one of our important Parent Forums (also open to interested members of the public). At these forums, Principals will show examples of the new report card format and highlight for parents what will change and what will remain the same in relation to educational and grading practices for the upcoming school year.If you are apprehensive about the changes that are planned for next year, or just want to learn more about our transition to competency based education, please attend one or all of these important forums on our shift toward Competency Based Education and Grading. Change can be challenging, but it is also necessary for our school system to move forward. We need your support to focus on meaningful and sustainable improvements in the Raymond School System.
- All teachers will receive ongoing professional development and support as they use our newly developed and aligned (technology based) report card system. Teachers at RHS will have an additional year of using and testing the system prior to official use.
Requests for School Board Agenda ItemsPosted by Tina McCoy on 5/3/2018 5:00:00 PM
Did you know that a member of the public can request that an issue considered as an agenda item at a School Board meeting in our community? Click here to find Policy BEDB-F, the Request for Inclusion on the Raymond School Board Agenda. This simply form can be completed and submitted to the office of the Superintendent of Schools. Active participation at our School Board meetings is important. Please consider completing the form associated with Policy BEDB-F if you have a topic or issue that you believe should be considered at a formal meeting.
What is Competency and Proficiency Based Learning?Posted by Tina McCoy on 4/20/2018 4:00:00 PM
By guest blogger Mike Whaland, Curriculum Coordinator for the Raymond School District:Competency Based Learning is a system of instruction, assessment, grading, and academic reporting and school culture, that is based on students demonstrating that they have learned the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn as they progress through their education. In public schools, competency-based systems use state learning standards to determine academic expectations and define “competency” or “proficiency” in a given course, subject area, or grade level (although other sets of standards may also be used, including standards developed by districts and schools or by subject-area organizations). The general goal of competency-based learning is to ensure that students are acquiring the knowledge and skills that are deemed to be essential to success in school, higher education, careers, and adult life.
Transitioning to Competency Based EducationRaymond has begun the thoughtful process of moving towards a culture of ongoing learning. A culture that allows for ongoing learning and multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery in a given competency. Our educators have been working diligently to develop, align, identify, and in some cases create competencies that represent the hallmarks of knowledge and skill in a given course or content area.In practice, competency-based learning can take a wide variety of forms from state to state or school to school—there is no single model, prescription, or universally used approach. While schools often create their own competency-based systems, they may also use systems, models, or strategies created by state education agencies or outside educational organizations. We will work to continue to build our capacity, structures, and systems to transition to a competency based education model that works uniquely for the Raymond School District.
Why Competency Based EducationCompetency Based Education allows for personalized learning through improved individualized learning outcomes for all students. Student agency can be utilized demonstrate learning through extended learning opportunities, problem statements utilizing critical skills to solve real world problems and performance assessments. Competency Based Learning can improve the accuracy and integrity of our grading and reporting systems. Students will receive information of their progression towards mastery in all competencies within a given content area. This information will be vital in providing specific interventions and enrichment opportunities for students so they can reach their full potential in an ever changing world.
'Do-Over' Presentation for ParentsPosted by Tina McCoy on 4/13/2018 4:00:00 PM
On Tuesday the 10th of April an outstanding parent presentation took place in the media center at Raymond High School. Mr. John Halligan shared with Raymond parents, 'If I Could Have a Do-Over'. Mr. Halligan spoke from the heart about his son, Ryan, who committed suicide at the age of 13. He provided relevant and useful lessons and tips for adults with the purpose of increasing awareness and giving strategies to address depression, bullying (and cybercullying) and suicidal tendancies in youth. More information and many resources can be be found on his son's website - Ryan's Story. Please review this information to gain insight into the challenges that some of our children may face and what you can do to help.
New Special Education Director SelectedPosted by Tina McCoy on 4/5/2018 1:00:00 PM
I am very pleased to announce that a Scott Riddell has been selected to serve as our Director of Special Education starting on July 1, 2018. Scott has over 23 years of experience in the field of Special Education, and has served as a Special Education Administrator for the past 12 of those years. He is an exceptionally well rounded professional who is knowledgeable, consistent, enthusiastic and articulate. His myriad of experiences and qualifications make him an excellent choice for this key leadership role in Raymond. Please join me in congratulating Scott for being chosen to serve as our Special Education Director!
Competency Based Education and WHYPosted by Tina McCoy on 3/30/2018 4:00:00 PM
From Guest Blogger Steve Woodward - Principal of Raymond High School!
Competency Based Education & Why?
New Hampshire is one of a small handful of states that have been leading the competency based education (CBE) initiative, but the question remains, why? I believe that ultimately, it is about providing the student and parents will more detailed information about a student is learning.
Some of the key characteristics that distinguishes classes in a CBE program from traditional classes is that students can progress at their own pace. Understandably, some of us learn quickly, while some of us need more time comprehend material In CBE, students make progress toward class objectives based on demonstrating that they are competent and possess all the skills necessary to proceed to the next step. Some students will demonstrate mastery and accelerate their progress as other students might take more time and practice to advance.
Mr. Bickford, principal of IHGMS, compared in the Green Gazette a couple of CBE with a pilot and I am going to build off that analogy. Think about what would happen if we graded pilots using the same traditional grading system. During the pilots final exam he/she scored an 80 on the exam. Maybe the instructor divided the exam into four parts and the student received the following grades on each section:
· Preflight check 95
· Takeoff 85
· Navigation 90
· Landing 50
In the traditional school setting, we would all agree that the pilot passed. The problem is, none of us will get on the plane with this pilot and this is the issue that CBE addresses. We want all of our students to be competent and proficient in several areas as opposed to focus on the final score.
New Business Administrator NominatedPosted by Tina McCoy on 3/23/2018
I am very pleased to announce that a new Business Administrator for the Raymond School District has been hired to replace retiring Ron Brickett. The nomination of Bonnie Sandstrom was accepted by the Raymond School Board on Wednesday. Bonnie has over 16 years of experience in school finance and has served as a Business Administrator in New Hampshire schools for over 8 years. She is an active member of the New Hampshire Association of School Business Officials, and is described as responsive, thorough, conservative, collaborative and trustworthy with an incredible work ethic. We are so very fortunate to have Bonnie come on board this summer after Ron retires. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Sandstrom to our community.
RHS Student-Led Activities on March 14, 2018Posted by Tina McCoy on 3/16/2018 4:00:00 PM
The student-led activities that took place on the morning of March 14th at Raymond High School created a stir in some respects. At the school, the event went beautifully and was, in my opinion, a touching reminder of how articulate and caring our students are; they are compassionate citizens who are doing what they can to influence the world. On Social Media, there were many comments in relation to this event. Some of them revealed some misunderstandings which I'd like to clarify:
- The brief assembly, followed by the 17 minutes of tribute to the victims of the 2/14/18 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was student organized and led.
- The students who planned that activity made a concerted effort to make sure that it was apolitical.
- The activities were voluntary for students; no student was required to participate.
- Approximately one-third of the student body chose to participate and the otherstudents in attendance chose not to participate. One caveat was that students inside the school during the 17 minutes did hear the names of those who died in Parkland, Florida spoken over the intercom.
- The activities were respectful and conducted in a manner that expressed unity and caring.
- Gun control was not discussed (either for or against) during the activities.
- The activities were originally planned to take place during RAM time (study hall); however, due to the delayed opening the schedule was atypical that day and the students did miss about 30 minutes of class time.
I am very proud of all of the students at RHS; those who chose to participate and those who chose not to participate in these activities. Every student was respectful and made the choice he or she believed was right.
VOTE - MARCH 13th!Posted by Tina McCoy on 3/9/2018 4:00:00 PM
PLEASE VOTE in the Town and School District Election on March 13th from 7 AM to 7 PM at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School in the gymnasium!
While you are there consider buying a snack or a candy bar to help our students raise funds for upcoming field trips. The 5th grade will be going to Nature's Classroom and the 8th grade will be going to Washington DC.
Important Summary of School District WarrantsPosted by Tina McCoy on 3/2/2018 12:00:00 PM
Raymond School District Warrant Articles for 2018 Voters’ Consideration
Schools should reflect the values of the community in which they are located. Therefore, it is essential that the citizens of Raymond be activity involved in the process of making School District decisions through civic engagement, deliberation and voting. Please be sure to vote in our Town Election on March 13th from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School.
I would like to provide a brief explanation of each of the warrant articles that will be considered in order to inform those who will be voting on these important issues.
Article 1 pertains to the election of School District Officers. Two School Board Members will be chosen along with a School District Moderator, a School District Clerk, and a School District Treasurer.
Article 2 concerns the Raymond School District Operating Budget. This is the money raised annually to pay for our school system to operate: employee salaries, benefits, supplies, equipment and everything from books to snow plowing, and band instruments to heating oil.
The operating budget for the 2018-2019 school year as approved by the Raymond School Board and the Budget Committee is $24,283,331. This is a net increase of $303,961 or 1.27% as compared to the current fiscal year. Some highlights of the proposed budget are:
- At Lamprey River Elementary School (LRES) a first and a second grade teacher were eliminated
- At Iber Holmes Gove Middle School (IHGMS) an eighth grade teacher and a guidance counselor were removed from the budget
- At Raymond High School one high school English teacher was reduced
- One special education administrator position was eliminated in the District
- Two licensed nurse assistant positions in the District were reduced while a licensed practicing nurse was added
- Salaries and benefits accounts were adjusted downward to align with estimated (anticipated) turnover and corresponding lower wages for less experienced new hires
- One math interventionist position was added to teach students at LRES and IHGMS
- Course materials for expanded earth science offerings were included
- Salary adjustments for Assistant Principals were incorporated
- Special education expenditures for tuition and contracted services went up
- Some increases in equipment, software and other instructional materials were also deemed necessary
This proposed budget is the product of substantial collaboration and compromise. It was carefully constructed to be fiscally conservative while providing adequate funding for quality education and the continuous improvement of teaching and learning within our school system. It was vetted and refined repeatedly by District administrators, the School Board and the Budget Committee before being presented to the voters of Raymond. If the proposed budget is not passed by the voters, the default budget will be $24,425,410.
(Recommended by the School Board: Yes - 4; No - 0)
(Recommended by the Budget Committee: Yes - 5; No - 1)
Article 3 pertains to the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Raymond School Board and the Raymond Education Association (REA), our teachers’ union. Proposed is a three-year agreement, which calls for collective increases in wages and benefits for REA members. The total estimated cost of the agreement is $408,424 in year one, $390,650 in year two, and $403,531 in the third year. The proposed agreement was collaboratively developed through the negotiation process. Highlights of the agreement are:
- Teachers may elect to serve as substitutes during their preparation periods at a rate of $18.75
- The District contribution percentage for insurance premiums for the SchoolCare Yellow without Choice Health Plan (a high deductible plan) will go down over three years (93% to 92% to 91%)
- A second high deductible Health Plan, (SchoolCare Orange) is available to REA members; this plan has lower premiums for the District and the members, but deductibles are higher. Although the District will pay 100% of the premium, this plan is the less expensive of the two health plan options
- The agreement requires REA members to pay for half of any potential excise tax that may be incurred under the Affordable Care Act in 2020 (if applicable)
- The contract language regarding the maximum amount of unpaid Child Rearing Leave for members is clarified
- Each member advances one step at the beginning of the school year
- The number of steps in the REA pay scale is decreased from 17 to 15 by the third year of the contract
The proposed agreement was deemed both fair and appropriate by the Raymond School Board and the Raymond Education Association. One important overarching aim of the agreement is to encourage experienced and effective educators to remain in our District.
(Recommended by the School Board: Yes - 3; No - 0)
(Recommended by the Budget Committee: Yes - 5 ; No - 1)
Article 4 asks the voters to consider authorizing the governing body of the School District to call one special meeting, at its discretion, to address article 3 cost items in the event that article 3 is defeated.
Article 5, if approved, will authorize the District to add $235,400 to the Capital Reserve Funds in order to implement the School District’s 2018-19 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Proposed additions to the CIP include $202,544 for the Raymond School District Equipment, Facilities Maintenance and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund as well as $13,142 for the Technology Capital Reserve Fund and $19,714 for the Food Service Equipment Capital Reserve Fund. The Capital Reserve Funds help the District take strategic steps to maintain our facilities or equipment while minimizing corresponding spikes in the tax rate.
(Recommended by the School Board: Yes - 5; No - 0)
(Recommended by the Budget Committee: Yes - 6 ; No - 0)
Article 6 asks the voters to authorize the District to place up to $50,000 from an undesignated fund balance, if it is available on July 1st, into the Equipment, Maintenance, and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund. The purpose of this article is to allow the District to set aside available funds for future use on necessary maintenance projects costing over $10,000.
(Recommended by the School Board: Yes - 5; No - 0)
(Recommended by the Budget Committee: Yes - 5; No -1)
Voting on the preceding warrant articles will take place on Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 at the Iber Holmes Gove Middle Middle School Gymnasium from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
I’d like to thank the entire Town of Raymond for its ongoing support of public education and its willingness to engage in the decision-making process through active civic engagement and voting. Every perspective helps us make sound decisions for our children and our community.
Tina H. McCoy, Ed.D. – Superintendent of Schools
Be Informed and Vote on March 13thPosted by Tina McCoy on 2/23/2018 12:00:00 PM
March 13th is an important date for our community; it is the day of our town vote. Voting will take place at IHGMS from 7 AM to 7 PM. It's essential that as citizens as possible come out to express their opinions on March 13th. This will ensure that the District (and the Town) move forward in a way that is in accord with the values of our community.
There are many ways for voters to prepare for voting day by becoming knowledgeable about the issues under consideration.
For example, you will find a Voter Information Page on the District website. Here you will find copies of the warrant articles and much more! https://www.sau33.com/Page/42
You can also access our Green Gazette Special Edition newsletter, which describes and explains each warrent article. This can be found at https://us16.campaign-archive.com/?u=25f17452e448deea35c28bfcc&id=ad491b8724
Finally, if you prefer to access information through brief videos that describe and clarify the warrant articles under consideration, you can go to RCTV to watch those: https://raymondtv.viebit.co
Your informed vote matters! Please be sure to come out to vote on March 13th and remind your friends, family members and neighnors to do that same!
Student Work-Study Practices EssentialPosted by Tina McCoy on 2/16/2018 12:00:00 PM
Communication, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking/problem solving, literacy and self direction:These 'student work-study practices and 21st century expectations' are the cross cutting skills that all of our students must acquire in order to be flexible, lifelong learners who can adapt successfully to changing circumstances. Given the rapid changes that now (regularly) take place in our society, it's never been more important for us to directly teach these skills across the curriculum and throughout the school day.One important hallmark of competency based grading is that academic competencies and work-study practices are reported on separately. The purpose is to provide parents and students with a clearer, more accurate picture of how the student is performing at that moment in time (at the 'snapshot' time that grades or progress reports come out).At the teacher in-service day in March educators will have a unique opportunity to collaborate and deliberate expectations and practices for explicitly teaching work-study practices and 21st century expectations in developmentally appropriate ways from preschool through grade 12. An opportunity to 'tap into' the expertise of all of our educators at once will be amazing. I can't wait to see what our professionals will learn from each other on March 13th.
School District Deliberative Session 2/10/18!Posted by Tina McCoy on 2/8/2018 4:35:00 PM
Raymond Voters to Consider Several School District Warrant Article
The annual School District Deliberative Session for Raymond will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday the 10th of February at Raymond High School. Members of the public will then have the opportunity to consider and debate warrant articles that will be voted on in the Town Election on March 13th at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School. In addition to selecting School District Officers, the citizens of Raymond will be asked to weigh in regarding:
- A proposed operating budget for the fiscal year 2019. This budget includes the funds raised annually to pay for the school system to operate; everything from salaries and benefits, to books and band instruments, to snow plowing and heating oil. The total District budget that will be presented on February 10th is $24,283,331, a 1.27% increase over the current year’s budget. The calculated default budget of $24,425,410 will go into effect if the proposed operating budget does not pass in March.
- A new agreement between the Raymond School Board and the Raymond Education Association (REA). Proposed is a three-year agreement which calls for increases in wages and benefits for the union members. The total estimated cost of the agreement is $408,424 (year 1), $390,650 (year 2), and $403,531 (year 3). Some highlights of the new agreement are a gradual reduction of the District’s insurance premium payments for one health plan offered, the addition of another health plan choice with lower premiums, the option for teachers to substitute during their planning periods (compensation - $18.75), and clarification of the maximum amount of unpaid child care leave available to a union member.
- Whether or not to authorize the School Board to call one special meeting, at its discretion, to address cost items related to the proposed teachers’ union contract if the new agreement between the District and the REA agreement does not pass in March.
- The addition of $235,400 to the Capital Reserve Funds in order to implement the School District’s 2018-19 Capital Improvement Plan.
- Authorization for the District to place up to $50,000 from an undesignated fund balance, if it is available on July 1st, into the existing Equipment, Maintenance, and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund.
All members of the Raymond community are encouraged to attend the Deliberative Session in February and to vote in March so that they can be a part of this important decision-making process.
More on Competency Based EducationPosted by Tina McCoy on 2/2/2018 12:00:00 PM
Wonderful things are happening in our schools! Above and beyond that, educators are working hard to find ways to continually improve teaching and learning for all of our students. Guest blogger Bob Bickford, Principal of Iber Holmes Gove Middle School, wrote this article on Competency Based Education, a model we are shifting toward. I hope you read on and enjoy learning more about this important topic!
What is Competency Based Education?
In the most basic terms competencies are what we want students to know and be able to do at the end of a course; what knowledge and skills we want them to master. There are some distinct differences between competency based education and what most of us consider as traditional teaching and learning.
Traditionally when we think of a course that we took in school everything we did in that class was given a grade and those grades were averaged together to come up with a course grade. As long as that averaged grade was not a failing grade, then we would “pass” that course. Traditionally those classes met for about 120 hours over a school year, that is what has been referred to as a Carnegie Unit for about 100 years.
In competency based education we know that there are distinct concepts and skills that are part of each course. In order for our students to be successful as they progress through their education they need to master those concepts and skills before moving on to the next level.
For example, in English class we want students to be able read and comprehend both literature and informational texts. We want students to be able to write complete sentences, paragraphs, and essays. We want them to be able to write for various purposes. In English class we also want students to be able to speak and listen effectively. These are all competencies in English Language Arts.
Each competency is important and we need to students to master each one before moving on to the next level of a subject. Traditionally we would have averaged all the assignments together for all those different concepts and skills to determine if a student was ready to move on. In that traditional process a student might be able demonstrate that they can read, speak and listen well but have significant struggles in writing; passed reading, speaking and listening and failed writing. I think we all agree that being able to write effectively is a skill everyone needs to be successful at. If a student failed a course, traditionally they would need to take the whole class over, even the areas that they did well at.
In competency based education if a student is struggling in one or more areas there are opportunities to relearn those concepts and skills and additional opportunities to demonstrate mastery before moving on. All competencies for a course are equally important and all need to be mastered before moving on to the next level of that subject. There no longer is averaging together different knowledge and skill sets.
Think of a pilot and all that they need to learn. They need to learn about how a plane flies, the science behind it, and they need to understand all the different systems of the plane. They need to be able to check the plane to ensure that it is safe to fly. A pilot needs to be able taxi, take off, navigate, make the necessary maneuvers to get where they are going and then they need to land. In order for a pilot to obtain their license they need to demonstrate their mastery of all these concepts and skills, competencies, plus more. You can bet that their scores for each are not averaged together. Would you want to fly with a pilot who mastered everything except landing?
As we transition to competency based education you will be hearing more about the different elements of competency based education. The list from Competencyworks.org includes:
- Students advance upon demonstrated mastery.
- Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students.
- Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.
- Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
- Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.
Raymond Voters to Consider Several School District IssuesPosted by Tina McCoy on 1/26/2018 4:00:00 PM
Raymond citizens will soon have the opportunity to weigh in on important decisions related to their schools. An operating budget of $24,283,331 will be proposed (an increase of 1.27% over this year) along with a new agreement between the Raymond School Board and the Raymond Education Association. The estimated cost for the updated teachers’ union contract will be $408,424 during the first year ($390,650 and $403,531 in years 2 and 3 respectively). Also under consideration will be the potential allocation of $235,400 to pre-established Capital Reserve Funds, and the proposed authorization for the District to place up to $50,000 from an undesignated fund balance (if available on July 1st) into the existing Equipment, Maintenance, and Replacement Capital Reserve Fund. The warrant articles under consideration in Raymond this year are the products of substantial collaboration and compromise. That being said, the decision-making process will continue at the Annual School District Deliberative Session (2/10/18 at Raymond High School) and the March Vote (3/13/18 at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School). All community members are highly encouraged to participate in this important process.
Administrative Book Read!Posted by Tina McCoy on 1/19/2018 3:00:00 PM
The administrative team is planning a 'book read' which may ultimately be expanded to all educators in our District. The book is very relevant to our impending shift to competency based grading; it's called Grading Exceptional and Struggling Learners.
Under a traditional grading model, many educators have never felt 100% comfortable about how to effectively and fairly grade students who are struggling for documented reasons (educational disabilities or limited English proficiency). This book tackes the issue in the context of standards based or competency based grading. Now is the perfect time for us all to think deeply about the logistics of competency based grading and the implications for all students including those who struggle.
Grading Exceptional and Struggling Learners, by Lee Ann Jung and Thomas Guskey, is a 'quick read' that offers specific guidance to educators who want grades to be both meaningful and encouraging - even for those really 'tough to grade' students. Building off of their substantial work on standards-based (another name for competency based) grading, the authors outline practices that allow teachers to use grades to communicate the performance of students in relation to three types of goals: product, process and progress. Multiple examples, using students with different types of learning characteristics and needs, are cited.
If you are already familiar with standards-based grading, this book may be a little redundant for you. However, its' review of basic concepts and readability make it an excellent choice for a group or whole staff to read and discuss collaboratively.
One word of caution: If you are looking for tips on grading exceptional or struggling learners outside the context of standards-based grading, this is not the book for you. The practices (reforms, actually) described in this book must be implemented as part of our systemic transition to standards-based grading practices.