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Curriculum and Instruction

A Brief Overview

The standards are the same wherever you go. Common standards mean that students in New York are learning the same thing as students across the country. Students moving into or out of state will have a smoother educational transition because learning goals will now be the same across states.

They’re modeled on success. The Common Core are aligned to international standards from the highest achieving countries. This means our students will be well prepared to compete both nationally and internationally.

College and career ready is the name of the game. All students graduating college and career-ready is the goal of the CCSS. These standards are designed to prepare students for success in whatever they choose to do after graduation.

Real life is really important. What students learn in school should be directly related to what they’ll be required to do once they leave. The Common Core places a strong emphasis on reading informational and technical texts to prepare students for the demands of college and the workplace.

College should not begin with remediation. Too many students entering universities and community colleges require remedial classes in English and Math. The CCSS are designed to make that a problem of the past by fully preparing students for college-level coursework.

Increased access to learning resources. Common standards mean that learning resources and teaching and learning materials can be shared across states.

21st century skills for 21st century jobs. These standards will prepare our students for career success in the rapidly changing world of work.

Resources

Our students need to develop their critical thinking, critical reading, critical writing, communication, and problem solving skills. Teachers and parents working together to support students’ growth in these areas will foster success. Here are some resources to support the work we need to accomplish.

You have probably noticed some changes your students have been challenged with in their classrooms this year. The cause driving these changes is the implementation of Common Core Learning Standards. Our students need to develop their critical thinking, critical reading, critical writing, communication, and problem solving skills. Teachers and parents working together to support students’ growth in these areas will foster success. Here are some resources to support the work we need to accomplish.

See internet resources below.

Learnzillion.com
The Learnzillion web site is a valuable resource being updated regularly by educators working with the Common Core Learning Standards. Organized by grade level standards, this site is easy to navigate. You need to sign up for an account but it is free.

Thinking Blocks.com
Need help understanding about the new 'tape measures' being used in your student's math class? This link provides tutorial lessons and practice problems.

Curriki.org
You need to create an account to use this site but it is free. It is a rich and abundant site that is very current in the educational shifts (for both literacy and math) that New York State and the Nation are moving toward. All subject areas are covered.

Edutopia
Timely tips and resources to help students better prepare for college.

Engage New York
EngageNY is an excellent resource for New York Sate residents who wish to know more about the changes that schools are putting into action. This is New York State Education Department’s newly redesigned link. The top row has a link for parents and family. The Common Core Learning Standards can be found here.

Illustrative Mathematics
This site has examples for grade level standards and practices for the CCLS in mathematics.

New York State Education Department Parent website
The New York State Parent website. On this website, you will find more information about what you can do to help your child grow.

NYSED Common Core Standards
New York State Education Department's website that provides details about the change in learning standards and grade level expectations.

NYSED.gov
Link to the NY State Education Department website that provides details about the change in learning standards and grade level expectations.

PTA.org
This is the national PTA web site. There are Parents' Guide to Student Success brochures by grade level toward the bottom of page.

StudySkills.com
This site has helpful suggestions for parents to help reinforce students' study skills and habits.

Assessments Q&A

1.Q - What are the NYS Assessments in grades 3-8?

A – Assessments are given in ELA and math in each grade from grade 3 to grade 8. Assessments are given in science in grades 4 and 8.

2. Q -What were the assessments originally used for?

A – (1) Federal and State regulations require schools to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) based on student performance toward meeting annual measurable objectives (AMO). The AMO target is set by the State for each school district using Federal guidance. Failure to make AYP means a school building or school district can be designated a Focus, Priority or Local Assistance Plan School. (2) Students who did not meet what the State set for a standard were to be given extra assistance.

3. Q - What changed in regard to the assessments?

A - Although the original two reasons for using the assessments remain, about 4 to 5 years ago NY State accepted a high amount of funding from the Federal Government. Attached to the funding was the need to tie our Assessments to teacher evaluations (APPR).

4. Q - Are school districts required to administer the NYS assessments?

A - Yes, school districts are required to administer the assessments.

5. Q - Are school districts required to administer NYS field tests?

A - Yes, they are. The District was notified in late march and in April about the field tests they will have to administer. Please click here to read the HS letter and click here to read the elementary letter the District received in regard to NY State field tests.

6. Q - Are school districts required to administer the PARCC field tests?

A - No, participation in the PARCC field tests is strictly voluntary. The Washingtonville School District has declined to participate in the PARCC tests. Please click here to read the letter about participation in the PARCC tests.

7. Q - Does a student have to take the NYS Assessments to be considered for AIS?

A - No, the basis for inclusion in AIS is a matrix that contains multiple measures. It does not rely on one score on one test. Please click here to go to the AIS Q&A for more information.

8. Q - Does a student have to take the NYS Assessment in Math to be included in the accelerated program in 8th grade?

A - No, inclusion in the accelerated program is based on a matrix that uses multiple measures.

9. Q - Will the State assessment be used to determine if my child is promoted to the next grade?

A - No, academic decisions are based on multiple measures.

10. Q - Will teachers be eliminated if parents refuse to have their child(ren) refuse to take the NYS Assessments?

A - No, teaching positions are not based on student attendance for State exams. The 2015-16 school budget, if passed by voters in May, has in it the same number of teaching positions as there are in the current year, although assignments may be different due to student needs.

AIS & ESL

An Informational Guide for Parents of AIS Students

AIS stands for Academic Intervention Services. These services are designed to help students achieve learning standards in grades K-12. New York State mandates that the School District offer services to any student that fails to reach the NYS Standards on NYS Assessments in English language arts, math, science, and social studies and/or the NYS Regents Exams. AIS provides these students with a supplemental instructional program that offers additional support in order to bridge the gap in achieving the State Standards.

AIS Documents

AIS Q&A

District ESL

Elementary AIS

Middle School ELA AIS Resources

High School ELA AIS Resources

Middle School Math AIS

High School Math AIS

AIS Q&A

Please read the questions and answers below to learn about AIS program. For any further information, please contact the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, at 497-4000, ext. 27021, or use the email contact form.

1) What is AIS?

AIS stands for Academic Intervention Services. These services are designed to help students achieve learning standards in grades K-12. Instructional services in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, social studies, and/or science are provided in addition to the instruction provided in the regular classroom. The services of the AIS program are aligned with the New York State Standards and are congruent with those of the regular classroom. In addition, student support services are also provided as needed in order to address barriers to improved academic success.

2) What is the purpose of AIS?

AIS is a program that provides services to students who are at risk of not achieving the State Standards in ELA, mathematics, social studies, and/or science, or that have been identified, through one or more New York State Assessments, as not having achieved the State Standards. The program provides these students with a supplemental instructional program that offers additional student support in order to bridge the gap in achieving the State Standards.

3) Does a student have to take the NYS Assessment to be considered for AIS?

No, the basis for inclusion in AIS is a matrix that contains multiple measures. It does not rely on one score on one test.

4) What determines a student’s need for AIS services?

The District must use multiple measures in determining eligibility for AIS services. These measures must be applied to all students within a specified grade level. In Grades K-2, these measures include the report card grades for the specific subject (either ELA or math), a teacher rating, and an end of year screening. In grades 3-8, these measures include the report card grade, the teacher rating, and the results of the NYS Assessments in ELA or math. In grades 9 and above, inclusion is based upon whether a student has met the minimum requirement for math which is the Algebra Regents or whether a student who has been in AIS has passed ninth grade English. Any student who does not pass the required Regents in ELA, social studies or science is also given AIS.

The Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction gathers all of the information for every student and puts it into a matrix form. Students who have not taken the NYS Assessments will not have a score for that category in the matrix. This does not preclude them from services. The number of scores a student has is totaled and divided by the number of scores. An average is obtained. For example: 

Student Teacher Rating Report Card Score NYS Assessments Total Points Average
 Sam 3 3 2 8 2.75
Bill 2 2 N/A 4 2

The students are then rank ordered by the average score. The cut off score is obtained when all available spaces have been assigned.

5) Can there be additional measures added to the criteria listed above?

Yes, the AIS Committee will consider adding new measures when it meets in the spring to review the AIS plan. One such measure may be adding a writing score to the criteria for grades 3-6. 

6) What is AIS Reading?

AIS Reading, at the elementary level, is instruction geared toward reading readiness skills, such as phonics, phonemic awareness, alphabet, fluency, and sight words. AIS Reading, at the secondary level, is instruction designed to work on a student’s weaknesses in the language arts classroom. A variety of diagnostic tests are administered by the AIS teacher in order to identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Students practice reading and writing skills based on their varying needs. This includes skills which students need to be successful in their English/ELA classes. A typical day includes silent reading, a mini lesson, and practicing different reading skills and writing activities individually and/or in group work.

7) What is AIS Mathematics?

AIS Mathematics is instruction designed to work on a student’s weaknesses in the mathematics classroom. The goals of the AIS mathematics teacher are to identify and strengthen the student’s weakness in mathematics and to help the student be successful in their regular mathematics classroom. The teacher also helps to prepare the student for the New York State Assessment given each year. The AIS teacher uses manipulatives and/or games to reinforce basic skills and concepts, and computer software to introduce and practice skills. In addition students also review and practice problem solving strategies and use real life situations that require the use of math skills, such as calculating sales tax, tip, interest, etc.

8) What is AIS Social Studies?

AIS social studies is a service to help students who have not passed the required Regents exams needed for graduation. A certified social studies teacher teaches the class. The students receive additional help in Global Studies or American History until they are able to pass the Regents. Students in grades 5-10 do not receive a pull out service. They are monitored by their classroom teacher. Students are encouraged to take advantage of after school help given by their teacher, homework club or tutoring offered in each school.

9) What is AIS Science?

AIS science is offered in the high school when a student has not met the requirement of passing one science Regents. Students in grades 5-9 who have not passed the NYS Science Assessment given in grades 4 and 8 are monitored by their classroom teacher. Students are encouraged to take advantage of after school help given by their teacher, the homework club, or tutoring offered in each school.

10) As a parent, how will I be notified of my child's involvement in the AIS program?

As part of the AIS program, parents receive letters and reports that keep them informed about their child’s involvement in the AIS program. Parents are informed about a child’s entrance or exit from an AIS program through the use of a letter that indicates to the parents what the student’s status is. Parents of students who are in program will receive a quarterly report from the AIS teacher that outlines the student’s progress for that quarter, as well as indicating what skill areas the child has worked on.

In addition parents also have the right to meet with the AIS teacher for conferences at a mutually agreed time. Parents are given the opportunity to meet the teachers and learn about the program through the open houses held at each building in the fall, and at the district-wide AIS meeting held once a year in the spring.

11) How does a student receive AIS services?

If it is determined that a student needs AIS services, they will be provided to the student during the regular school day. The least amount of interruption to the student’s regular classroom instruction is considered when services are being scheduled. The AIS program provides its services using a pull-out method of instruction.

At the Middle School and the High School AIS is also offered as part of the Evening Academy for students who cannot fit the service into their regular day program. It is completely voluntary. It is a computer assisted program with a teacher overseeing the students' work. The students report to the high school computer lab after school and work until it is time to catch the 4 o'clock bus. Once the student's program is set up, the student works through the lessons at his/her own pace.

12) How does the pull-out program work at the elementary level?

At the elementary level, students are seen by AIS teachers as part of the regular school day. The students are scheduled in small groups and are taken from the classroom at their scheduled time. The classroom environment and the activities for which a student is not present are taken into consideration when creating schedules and when determining when to take a child for AIS services. A student is never scheduled during lunch, physical education, or recess.

13) How does the AIS program work at the secondary level?

At the secondary level, students are seen by AIS teachers as part of the regular school day. The students are seen in small groups, and the AIS services are scheduled as one or more of their periods of instruction for the day. Students are not pulled from a regular content class in order to receive AIS instruction. A student is never scheduled for services during lunch, music, art, or recess.

14) What are the qualifications of an AIS teacher?

All of the AIS teachers who work with ELA students are certified reading teachers. At the elementary level, AIS teachers working with students in AIS math, science or social studies are certified elementary teachers or certified reading teachers. At the secondary level, AIS teachers working with students in AIS math, science or social studies are certified in the area they service. Each of these teachers is trained in administering tests in their service areas which assist them in determining the individual needs of each student.

These teachers work closely with classroom teachers in order to assist students with class related materials and projects and to keep the communication between the students, teachers, and themselves open and effective.

ESL FAQs

Please read the questions and answers below to learn about the ESL program. For any further information, please contact the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, at 497-4000, ext. 27021, or use the email contact form.

1) What is ESL?

ESL stands for English as a Second Language. ESL is a service provided to students in K-12 whose first language is not English and who are not able to meet the standards because of their lack of English and its applications. Instructional services in English language arts, and its basis in mathematics, social studies, and science are provided in addition to the instruction provided in the regular classroom. The services of the ESL program are aligned with the New York State Standards and are congruent with those of the regular classroom. In addition, student support services are also provided as needed in order to address barriers to improved academic success.

2) What is the purpose of ESL?

ESL is a program that provides English Language Arts services, as well as reinforcement of curriculum content, to students that are at risk of not achieving the State Standards in ELA, mathematics, social studies, and/or science, because of their lack of English language skills. ESL allows the students to work in a regular classroom setting, while also having the opportunity for reinforcement in the ESL classroom. The program provides these students with a supplemental instructional program that offers additional student support in order to bridge the gap in achieving the State Standards.

3) What determines a student's need for ESL services?

Students entering the District for the first time are required to complete a home language questionnaire, which indicates which language(s) are spoken at home. If the information on this questionnaire indicates that the student speaks any other language at home other than English, the student is then tested using the Language Assessment Battery-Revised (LAB-R). The results of the LAB-R indicate whether or not the student needs ESL services, and if so, how much service time is required as outlined by New York State.

All ESL students are required to take the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in the spring of each school year. The results of the NYSESLAT determine if a student continues to need services, or if a student’s service time needs to be adjusted.

4) What are the qualifications of an ESL teacher?

All teachers working with ESL students are New York State certified in English as a Second Language. The teachers working in this field are trained in modifying materials, as well as curriculum content in order to appropriately meet the needs of ESL students. ESL certified teachers are trained in administering the LAB-R and the NYSESLAT, which are given to all ESL students. In addition, these teachers are trained in working with students from various cultures and backgrounds.

These teachers work closely with classroom teachers in order to assist students with class related materials and projects and to keep the communication between the students, teachers, and themselves open and effective.

Elementary Links

Secondary Links