Dear RCSD Families & Community Members:
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back for the 2013-2014 school year. I hope your summer was relaxing and enjoyable. The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time. A tremendous amount of energy goes into this beginning on the part of all faculty, staff and administration. We want to make it right to give our students the best possible beginning to a successful, productive and happy year.
On August 7, 2013, the State Education Department released the results of the grades 3-8 assessments that the students took in April 2013. This year, assessments are the first for New York students to measure the Common Core State Standards that were adopted by the Board of Regents in 2010. Commissioner King stated that, as expected, the percentage of student who met proficiency is significantly lower than in 2011-2012. The change in scores is the result of the shift in the assessments to measure the Common Core State Standards which more accurately reflect students’ progress toward college and career readiness. These scores will create a new baseline of student learning.
Under the new Common Core system, the following scale is utilized to score New York students:
- Level 4: Student excels in Common Core Learning Standards for his/her grade level.
- Level 3: Student is proficient in Common Core Learning Standards for his/her grade level.
- Level 2: Student is not proficient in Common Core Learning Standards for his/her grade level.
- Level 1: Student is well below proficient in Common Core Learning Standards for his/her grade level.
What does this mean for Rensselaer City School District? As expected, we experienced a drop in test scores as fewer students achieved a level 3 or 4. District scores for our grade 3-8 students can be viewed on the State Education Website at
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/ela-math/2013/2013ELAandMathemaitcsDistrictandBuildingAggregatesMedia.pdf [see page1443 for RCSD.]
Please be assured that the test results do not reflect the efforts put forth by our students, teachers and administrators. Everyone has invested a great deal of time and effort into making sure that our curriculum and instruction is aligning with the Common Core State Standards.
Moving forward, teachers and administrators will look at the data and student results to personalize instruction so that each student achieves the knowledge and skills to master the Common Core. The district and our teachers will continue to design curriculum, select materials, and use best practice instructional strategies that support students learning. As a district, we will continue to advance the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Through higher learning expectations in alignment with the Common Core State Standards, our students can expect to be motivated learners, critical thinkers, and effective communicators.
In closing, I quote Commissioner King, “We all want the same thing: for all our children to succeed in 21st century college and careers, to be good citizens and to contribute to the community. The changes that we are making now provide us a new opportunity to make sure that every single New York student graduates from high school prepared and able to make choices about his or her own future in a dynamic and competitive economy. Seeing a change in scores can be challenging for any parent, school, community or state, but we know that where we are now only marks a beginning.”
Again, welcome to a new school year at RCSD. We recognize that without your support we will not be able to reach our full potential as a school district.
Sally Ann Shields
Superintendent of Schools