Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 10-31-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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28 CUMBERLAND / LINCOLN OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 6, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION math scores and in the top-five schools for math and ELA. Officials in both Cumberland and Lincoln declined to discuss their counterparts and chose to focus on their own schools' performances. "I think we have made some really good choices on a number of things," said Cumberland Supt. Robert Mitchell. Lincoln scored slightly above the statewide averages on RICAS. Lincoln Supt. Larry Filippelli said Lincoln school officials are "pleased overall with the improvements in many areas of the RICAS assess- ments. While there is more work to do on the continuum of student success, there is no question that our district's continued focus on high-quality curriculum and instruc- tion will continue to play a part in increasing scores." How has Cumberland done it? Mitchell said Cumberland has maintained a focus on defining what students need to know and be able to do. He said success means being good on curriculum and deciding "what we teach and how we teach." Assistant Supt. Tony DiManna and his team "really lead the charge" in those areas, he said, focusing on providing staff with the professional development they need to move students forward. "We talk all the time, if we want students to get better, then we have a responsibility to grow in our practice as educators," he said. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, he said. Successful professional develop- ment, which research shows needs to reach 40 hours to bring meaning- ful change, is difficult to achieve with scheduling but necessary to make sure attention is focused on impacting student performance through teaching practice, he said. Woonsocket and East Providence are the two districts to have admin- istrators reach out to Cumberland for more information on what's happening here, said Mitchell. Cumberland has nurtured teach- er-leaders, he said, with more and more educators becoming experts in their field and "leading the charge academically in the district." They're becoming like coaches of other teachers, he said, and that's a really good thing. Mitchell said it's important to commend the staff and students for their growth. "Everyone is working hard here," he said, adding that none of this happens by accident. DiManna said the "central ner- vous system" of what Cumberland does is the tremendous amount of time spent studying standards and translating what the standards mean at each grade level and school. How the standards translate to classroom teaching is incredibly important and extremely complex, he said. The "nucleus of our opera- tion" is having teachers know the standards and be locked in on get- ting students to proficiency and above, he said. Cumberland's shining stars Mitchell said several "shin- ing stars" deserve extra credit in Cumberland. Those include: • B.F. Norton Elementary School, which saw "unbelievable" improve- ments of 14 percent in ELA and 13 percent in math; • Ashton Elementary, which "remarkably" shot up 16 percent in ELA and 7 percent in math; • And North Cumberland Middle School, which jumped 12 percent in ELA and 11 percent in math. "Those increases are impres- sive," he said. "It's really something administrators, students and staff should be proud of, because the teaching and learning have really paid off." Lincoln in top tier, has bright spots Lincoln scored in the top 10 dis- tricts for average scaled score in math, ranking ninth statewide with an average scaled score of 499. Last year, the average score was 495 in math. The statewide average for math was 488. In English, Lincoln ranked 14th as a district, with an average scaled score of 498 compared to the state- wide average of 493. Last year's average score in Lincoln for ELA was 493. Filippelli noted a number of "bright spots" in the data for the Lincoln district, including a nearly 13-point improvement in ELA at Northern Lincoln Elementary School over last year's results. Similarly, Lincoln Central Elementary improved its ELA per- formance by eight points. Filippelli also noted that Lonsdale's grade 5 math scores improved 17 points from last year's performance in grade 4. The Saylesville grade 5 math scores improved 13 points. Filippelli and Assistant Supt. Kevin McNamara also pointed out improvement at Lincoln Middle School, though it was Lincoln's lowest performing school, where 14 percent of stu- dents do not meet expectations and 47 percent only partially meet expectations. The overall math ranking improved over last year for LMS. Filippelli said the RICAS data is important to the district, but that there are "other data points on dis- trict culture and climate that make us proud as well." For example, "the middle school has not only done well on state testing, but the new leadership team at LMS also reduced the out-of- school suspension rate by 76 percent," he said. "This was accomplished by implementing behavioral and academic student support programs based on data analysis of student needs. Certainly, the changes made to special edu- cation programming over the last year-and-a-half will begin to bear fruit over the long term at all levels which is also a major factor when assessing student growth." Officials will continue to work to close achievement gaps at all levels, he said, not only for consistently underperforming groups but for high-achievers, ensuring they show "high growth" on the assessment as determined by the Rhode Island Department of Education. "We believe that we have high- quality teachers, strong students and supportive parents. Those are the three main ingredients for stu- dent success," he said. "Each school has a team of educators, including the principal, assembled to lead this work." Extra juice behind Cumberland's numbers None of what Cumberland has accomplished would be possible without its dedicated staff, said Mitchell. They realize that the effort they're putting is paying off, and that the most profound impact on a student is to have a great teacher in front of them. Cumberland has "lit- erally skyrocketed" from the middle of the pack six years ago to top-five district in math and ELA, he said, fulfilling goals set back then to be in the top tier by 2020. Of the top-performing districts, Cumberland has by far the most students tested at 2,072, said Mitchell, and is far above other dis- tricts of similar size. Barrington, in first place, tested 1,570 students in grades 3-8, while Glocester, in third but only testing the elementary grades, tested 281, and Jamestown, in fourth, tested 312 students. Districts don't have a choice in who is tested, said DiManna, but must administer tests to "whatever that population is." He and his team will make an in-depth pre- sentation on the RICAS numbers at the Nov. 14 School Committee meeting. At that meeting he'll break down numbers to show how Cumberland compared to other districts with similar numbers of students tested. Work to do Cumberland officials also see areas of needed improvement. NCMS has a lot to be proud about, said Mitchell, and while demographics are different and there are certain challenges at McCourt Middle School, it would be shameful for the district to not be concerned about closing the gap between the two schools. DiManna noted that Cumberland has contin- ued to shift resources around to add supports at McCourt. Impact on housing It's long been said that a great school system can have a profound impact on the local real estate market, said Mitchell, and there's no doubt that's happening now. Cumberland is where families want to go, he said, and school officials keep hearing that this fast-growing community is seeing such strong interest because of its schools. RICAS From Page One MITCHELL MCNAMARA DIMANNA FILIPPELLI Beautiful Siding, Amazing Windows! Let Us Enhance Your Curb Appeal! FREE ESTIMATES FULLY INSURED 401-723-4548 PAWTUCKET, RI R.I. Lic. #1576 MA. Lic. #40850 Since 1972 STATESIDE STATESIDE Vinyl Siding Vinyl Siding 20% OFF Select Vinyl Sidings Exp. 11/7/19 SAVE MONEY on Harvey Insulated Windows Call for details. Exp. 11/7/2019 Glow Oil heat your home for less 401-475-9955 Check Our Website for Today's Low Heating Oil Price

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