Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 11-07-2019

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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2 THE VALLEY NOVEMBER 7-13, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION Though schools across northern Rhode Island showed vastly differ- ent results on the 2019 Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System test scores released two week ago, administrators had a common mes- sage for those who hold the purse strings: fund support staff, stick to a plan and you'll see results. In North Smithfield, where scores placed the district among the top 10 in the state, Assistant Supt. Clare Arnold said many of the gains can be traced to specific topics addressed in previous years. In English Language Arts, students showed growth in text-based essay writing, which was part of the action plan developed from last year's scores. In math, students showed growth she attributed to the hiring of a math interventionist to work with grades 3-6. "We saw a 6 percent gain in math, and I think that it really is a direct result of the intervention that we're able to provide students that we weren't able to provide in the past," she said. In 2019, 50.3 percent of North Smithfield students were considered proficient in math, compared with 44.5 percent in 2018, and 61.7 per- cent were considered proficient in ELA, compared with 60 percent in 2018. Students scored 500 in math and 507 in ELA, compared with 497 in math and 505 in ELA last year. This year, the dis- trict hired another math interventionist to work with grades 7-8, a position Arnold hopes might help increase scores in the future. Historically, she said, the district has hired read- ing specialists to work with students struggling in reading but has not always provided math specialists, leading to slightly stronger scores in ELA. "By building this support and sys- tem and structure, we will be able to provide the interventions as needed ongoing and really be able to build a system that will increase student achievement in a sustainable way," she said. "We've seen increases every year since we've been building this system of support, and we hope to continue to see improvements." In Woonsocket, a city that con- tinues to struggle with standardized test scores, administrators drew similar connections between support staff and academic improvement. With the district currently facing the possibility of a new K–8 public charter school opening next year, Supt. Patrick McGee warned School Committee members that the result- ing $1.5 million funding loss could lead to staff cuts for the district, most likely among social workers and reading specialists. "You look at these RICAS scores here, and you say OK, we're in the teens. We need support," he said during a meeting last Wednesday, Oct. 30. In 2019, Woonsocket students scored an average of 479 on the ELA assessment and 476 on the math assessment, compared with 478 and 476 in 2018. Though the proficiency rates represented a very small increase from last year's results, they remain among the low- est in the state, with 14.1 percent of city students proficient in ELA and just 11.9 percent proficient in math. Prior to the scores coming out, he said, the district had already scheduled a meeting with Education Commissioner Angelica Infante- Green for Nov. 21. It will be the first time that district leadership will sit down with Infante-Green for a com- prehensive discussion of education issues facing the city. Among the topics of discussion, said McGee, are an improvement plan based on the RICAS results and the current char- ter school situation. School Committee members last week continued to slam the state over its handling of char- ter schools, even as RISE Prep Mayoral Academy posted some of the top RICAS scores in the state. In response to claims the scores demonstrated a stronger educational model, Chairman Paul Bourget argued the two types of schools weren't comparable due to differing student populations. "They have very low class sizes. They do not have the ELL (English language learner) challenges that we have. They certainly do not address the special education needs of their students," he said. McGee also highlighted some of the positive notes to come out of this year's RICAS scores. Harris Elementary School, which last year ranked among the lowest 5 percent of schools statewide, showed an 8 percent improvement in math and a 6 percent improvement in ELA, the most of any city school. Other schools, including Hamlet Middle School and Kevin K. Coleman Elementary School, also showed growth from last year. McGee said he plans to reach out to school officials in Pawtucket, which had the highest scores of any of the state's urban core communi- ties, and has also reached out to Cumberland for input as the city develops its improvement plan. On RICAS, districts highlight staffing, call for proper funding By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer MCGEE New Autumnfest Button number drawn WOONSOCKET – A new win- ning Autumnfest Button was drawn on Nov. 4. The unclaimed winning number for the 2nd prize of $200 is button 4543. If you have the remaining winning button number, call WNRI Radio at 401-769-6925 to claim your prize. If the prize is not claimed within one week, then a new button number will be drawn on Monday afternoons until the last prize is claimed or until the end of the year. Family Music Night at Harris Public Library WOONSOCKET – Anne Marie Forer, of Tunes and Tales for Tots, is back for more Family Music Night at the Woonsocket Harris Public Library, 303 Clinton St., for two per- formances, Thursday, Nov. 7 and 14. Filled with music, stories, finger- plays, motion and music shakers this program is perfect for ages 7 and under with an adult caregiver. Walk-is are welcome so long as there is space in the room. To reserve a spot in this free program call 401- 769-9044, ext. 2. See the Fancie Senior Follies this Sunday BURRILLVILLE – The Fancie Senior Follies will be held at Burrillville High School, 425 East Ave., on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For reserved seating, call 401-475-4777. WHS Class of 1989 will reunite Nov. 30 WOONSOCKET – Woonsocket High School Class of 1989 will hold its 30-year reunion on Saturday, Nov. 30, 6 p.m., at The Last Resort, 325 Farnum Pike, Smithfield. The cost is $20 per person; guests are welcome. Mail payment to Shelly Bernardini, 1441 Pulaski Blvd, Bellingham, MA 02019 or Paypal . GREAT VALUE QUALITY SERVICE 36 BLACKSTONE STREET WOONSOCKET 401-766-3270 WWW.TERRYAUTOLTD.COM Gil & Meika 2008 TOYOTA RAV 4 FWD, Loaded 80K miles ............................... $ 8,295 Now Offering On-Site Bank Financing Westlake Financial WE BUY CARS 2009 CHEVY SILVERADO Extra cab, 4x4, automatic ....................... $ 10,999 2008 FORD EDGE 2003 BUICK LE SABRE Loaded, 153K miles ........................... $ 4,495 97K miles, loaded ........................................... $ 3,295

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