Message from Superintendent Reddick regarding postponement of State testing
By now, many of you have received word about the ALSDE announcement that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved a waiver of standardized testing and related accountability reporting for this school year. This is great news for us, as we have all felt some anxiety throughout the year about the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program (ACAP), especially after the grades we earned on last year’s report card. This of course now allows us to focus on instructional planning instead of test preparation.
This morning, I met via telephone with Mrs. Sharon Maness, Director of Elementary Education, and Mrs. Rhonda Perry, Director of Secondary Education as a follow-up to yesterday’s meeting with Dr. David Asbury, Director of Technology and Human Resources. The two meetings were in response to a statewide survey about options to resuming school, and the effects of a potentially prolonged delay. The results of the survey are not final yet, but we at Gadsden City choose to remain proactive in addressing the needs of our students. I also want to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to the members of our Board of Education for the unprecedented support they showed during yesterday’s emergency meeting.
We have contacted all of our principals regarding a plan to develop and provide continued learning opportunities for our students following Spring Break. Beginning on March 30th and continuing weekly until school resumes, teachers are asked to post suggested assignments for their students on their respective school websites and any other available or accessible media platform(Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Remind 101…), including to check on progress and offer encouragement to parents.
We are asking secondary school principals to assign up to two teachers per grade level to post activities and daily challenges each week to encourage students to stay connected and academically engaged. These posts may not be fully comprehensive across subject lines each day, but should at least allow several options to address specific learning targets. Gadsden City High School is connected to Google Classroom as an option for students, especially seniors who may need to implement certain criteria for graduation. Odysseyware remains an option to support blended learning. We are asking elementary principals to encourage use of the MyOn reading program, IXL, and USA Test Prep. Maybe one teacher per grade level can post a weekly activity.
For clarification, Please note the the term “grades” refers to the accountability report card, not student grades earned in their respective classrooms prior to school closure. It has already been noted that due to the State of Emergency declared by Governor Kay Ivey, students are not “required” to do any school work, and therefore, will not be penalized for not participating in this plan. Neither will they have grades changed for participation or non-participation. So to be clear, current school report card grades will NOT be changed during our time away from school.
Again, we will keep you informed as we receive information about when schools will reopen, and which option has been selected moving forward. We continue to work from our homes, but also from our hearts. Please enjoy your Spring Break in a safe and health conscious way.
Tony Reddick, Superintendent