Document Sample
					                           THE BEACON
                           V O L U M E   I ,   I S S U E    I V                                                  J U L Y   2 7 ,   2 0 0 9


ELA Framework         2

IRA/NCTE National     2

21st Century          3

Seven Educational     4

Travel Back in Time   5

NAEP vs. State        6

Rockefeller           8

Summer Reading        12

Calendar              14

                                                 Photo credit:
New Employees         15

                              On January 20, 2008, 1.8 million people watched in Washington, D.C.,
                              and around the world the inauguration of President Barack Hussein
                              Obama, the country’s first black president. This was a historical moment
                              that President Obama also described as a “defining moment.” Although
                              many reporters have seen his inaugural address as a way to unite
                              Americans based on the country’s values, the full impact of this moment
                              for education will be felt in the coming months. President Obama and
                              Senator McCain openly outlined their views on education prior to the
                              campaign. Here are seven educational promises Americans are now
                              waiting for President Obama to address:

                                                                                                Story continues on page 4
     PAGE    2

     English Language Arts Framework Committee Postponed

Dr. T. Kenneth James, the former Arkansas Commissioner of Education and the
president of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), postponed a planned
revision of the English-Language Arts Curriculum Framework to await the outcome of
the common core state standards effort. The National Governors Association (NGA) and
CCSSO met on April 17, 2009, in Chicago to discuss the standards. NGA and CCSSO
have a timeline for standards for high school graduation by the end of summer, and grade-by-grade
academic standards should be in place for math and language arts by the end of the year. President
Barack Obama’s administration and 49 states and territories are supporting mutual standards to
strengthen the education of United States’ students in a global society.

Currently, there are 12 national standards from the International Reading Association and the National
Council of Teachers of English, which include the following :

       1. Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts,
          of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new
           information to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for
            personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic, and contemporary
       2. Students read a wide range of literature from many time periods in many genres to build an
          understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human
       3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
       4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style
          vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences for different purposes.
       5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different process elements
          appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
       6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g. spelling and
          punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss
          print and non-print texts.
       7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions and
          by posing problems.
       8. Students use a variety of technological resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks,
          video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
       9. Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and
           dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.
      10. Students whose first language is not English make use of their first language to develop
           competency in the English language arts and to develop understanding of content across the
      11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety
          of literature communities.
      12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for
          learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

These standards are listed on the Web site for the National Council of Teachers of English.
Web site. For more information, see the site at

VOLUME       I,   ISSUE     IV                                                                                        PAGE      3

 What do 21st century learners need to know and be able to do? Consequently, what do 21st century educators need to know
 and be able to teach? These questions are continuously being pondered, written, and experimented with in several venues.
 Visit any education Web site, and one can find more information about the subject. This current event easily connects to
 the conversations that America had regarding education in the days of Sputnik. In the 1950’s, the United States wanted
 desperately to reach the moon. Americans were concerned about whether or not schools were teaching enough for students
 to be prepared in a fast-changing society. Preparation of students is a timeless goal for educators across the county. Thus,
 21st century learning skills are key components for educators, business people, and skilled workers today.

 The skills required for 21st century learning are designed to increase the knowledge and skills of all American students who
 are entering the workforce. Students with 21st century learning skills can accomplish the following:

                                                   *Think critically
                                           *Apply knowledge to new situations
                                                 *Analyze information
                                                *Understand new ideas
                                               *Communicate effectively
                                                   *Solve problems
                                                   *Make decisions
                                                                                                   PAGE    4


 continued from page 1 . . .

 *No Child Left Behind
 President Obama has said that pieces of the legislation are good,
 but it needs to be “adequately funded and led by high-quality teachers,” and the legislation should be
 a workable document for students.

 *Attracting and Retaining Teachers
 Obama wants to design additional scholarships to draft and to maintain the best educators. “A New
 Career Ladder initiative” will be used to compensate successful classroom teachers.

 *The U. S. Department of Education
 President Obama is supporting the Department of Education.

 *Helping Disadvantaged Students
 President Obama plans to increase programs that “provide, safe, quality, afterschool and summer
 learning programs.”

 *Early Childhood Education
 President Obama may develop more Head Start and early childhood education programs to provide a
 stronger foundation for children to succeed in school.

 *Higher Education
 President Obama said that he would like college to be more affordable for all Americans. He wants
 to increase Pell Grants and allot a $4000 annual credit for community service to replace tuition costs.

 President Obama “believes free, quality, public education is the heart of the American promise. He
 supports public charter schools, but not vouchers.”

 For more information on what was promised, see President Obama’s Web site at http://
           PAGE    5

             Travel Back in Time with
         Mrs. Billie Handly’s History Class
What do Eleanor Roosevelt, Langston Hughes, Marion Anderson, Louis Henry
Sullivan, and "Dizzy" Dean have in common? They are all characters that can be found
in Mrs. Billie Handly’s U.S. history classes. Handly is a U.S. history teacher at Star
City High School and was a 2008 Gilder Lehrman History Teacher of the Year Award recipient for Arkansas.
Handly believes “the love of history is like an acquired taste for food such as turnip greens. You develop a
taste for it, and after a while, you feel deprived if you don’t have it.” To help her students develop this
acquired taste for history, Handly has her students cheer “I love U.S. History!” Handly says, “When you say
things out loud, your brain hears it, and it becomes a part of you.”

Handly had an appreciation for history through reading for many years before choosing to become a teacher.
After working for a number of years, she decided to go back to school after meeting a 16-year-old from New
Orleans who was in the foster care system and had never met his biological parents. She was impressed that
even though this young man didn’t know his personal history, he had “angels on this earth” as foster parents.
He was confident in himself and able to communicate about his past, present, and future.

When Handly first applied for teaching jobs, she was told she would never be hired to teach history since she
was a female and didn’t have a coaching endorsement. To date, Handly has been teaching history for over 20
years. The message Handly wants to send to her students is “Goals are attainable if you do not give up on the
dreams. Make up your mind, and do it!” This type of inspiration is exactly what Handly wants to instill in her
classroom today, which makes Handly an exceptional educator and role model.

One idea that helps inspire students to connect to history is a “Back in Time” project that Handly assigns her
history classes each spring. Students draw names from a pool of 200 historical persons. Each student must
research the person selected and write a short biography. Students are asked to focus on who the person was,
why they were significant, and the individual’s contributions. Students also give a presentation to the class.
The culminating activity occurs during parent-teacher conferences. Students assume the role of the characters
who were researched, relay interesting information about that person, and answer questions about the
character. Parents attend parent-teacher conferences on this special day in class, and students are responsible
for answering any questions that parents may have. Not only does this project help students connect with
characters in history, but it has the positive effect of improved parent participation in parent-teacher

This project helps students take ownership and embrace another person’s story. Handly believes this project is
important because it causes students to connect to a historical figure who then becomes real to the students.
The project helps students think about peoples’ everyday lives and how major events affected individuals.
According to Handly, “it is important for students to learn to love their country, warts and all. People need to
appreciate history even though they don’t have to embrace all of it. The ugly side of history needs to be
discussed in order to understand and learn from it.”
    PAGE     6


                                NAEP                               STATE ASSESSMENTS
                      •   Measures student performance         •   Measures progress of schools, 
                          nationally and reports changes           districts, and the state toward 
                          over time                                adequate yearly progress   
                      •   Provides results for the nation,         (AYP) goals as required by 
                          states, and some urban                   NCLB
                          districts                            •   Provides state, district, school, 
     Purpose          •   Allows comparisons between               and individual student data
                          states and the nation                •   Tracks progress toward state 
                                                                   education goals
                                                               •   Assesses individual state           
                                                                   content standards

                      •   The National Assessment              •   Set and defined by the state
                          Governing Board develops a           •   Includes involvement of a        
                          content  framework that                  diverse group of stakeholders, 
                          specifies what students should           including policymakers and 
                          know and be able to do at a              educators
                          given grade level                     
   Frameworks         •   Not aligned to particular      
                          content standards
                      •   Reflects the knowledge and   
                          experience of subject‐area    
                          experts, school administrators, 
                          policy makers, teachers,         
                          parents, and others
                      •   The National Assessment              •   Set and defined by the state
   Achievement            Governing Board sets the             •   Proficient is defined as “at 
      Levels              NAEP achievement levels —                grade level” performance
 (also referred to        Basic, Proficient, and Advanced
 as “Performance      •   Proficient is defined as 
   Standards”)            “competency over challenging 
                          subject matter”

                                       NAEP                                              STATE ASSESSMENTS

                         •   Includes multiple‐choice, short                        •   Consists of a variety of formats,   
                             constructed response, extended                             including multiple‐choice,           
                             response, and computer‐based                               constructed‐response, portfolios, 
                             questions                                                  and alternative assessments
                         •   Assesses students with disabilities                    •   Assesses students with disabilities 
   About the                 and English language learners based                        and English language learners    
  Assessment                 on NAEP allowable accommodations                           according to the state                    
                         •   Administered by NAEP field staff                           accommodation policy
                             during regular school hours                            •   Administered by school and         
                                                                                        district personnel during regular 
                                                                                        school hours

                         •      A representative sample of students                 •      All students in grades 3 through 8 
                                in grades 4 and 8 from each state                          are assessed every year in reading,   
                                participate in reading and                                 writing, and mathematics
                                mathematics every other year                        • Students in grades 5 and 7 are   
                         • National and state samples of                                    assessed in science
                                fourth, eighth, and twelfth graders                 • High school assessments include 
                                are periodically assessed in other                         Grade 11 Literacy and End‐of‐
 Assessment                     subject areas such as science,                             Course for Algebra I and Biology
Participation                   writing, U.S. history, and civics                   • Offer alternative or modified  
                         • Student participation is voluntary                               assessment, when necessary,             
                                but highly encouraged                                       to students with disabilities
                         • Students with disabilities and                           • Participation is required for all 
                                English language learners who                              schools
                                require test accommodations other 
                                than those allowed by NAEP can be 
                         • Used by the President, Congress,                         •   Used by governors, state               
                                and state leaders to develop ways to                    legislatures, state leaders, and state    
                                improve education in America                            educators for setting education 
                         • Makes comparisons between states                             policy and examining school and 
                                and the nation                                          group performance
                         • Makes trend comparisons over time                        •   Used by teachers, parents, and 
                         • Does not report performance for                              other school staff to examine      
                                individual schools, students, or most                   individual student performance
                                school districts                                    •   Aid in making local decisions about 
 Assessment                                                                             curriculum and instruction
   Results                                                                          •   May be used for promotion/
                                                                                        retention decisions
                                                                                    •   In 2009‐2010, Algebra 1 (EOC) will 
                                                                                        have a Pass Score, which is           
                                                                                        different than a proficient score. 
                                                                                        The  Algebra 1 course is mandatory 
                                                                                        for graduation; therefore, this test 
                                                                                        becomes a  de facto graduation 
                                                                                    •   May be used to inform state        
                                                                                        accreditation decisions
NAEP is a congressionally mandated project of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute
of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.
For more information, visit
               PAGE      8

                           ELEVATING TO THE MOUNTAINTOP
                              TO PROMOTE LEARNING AT
                          ROCKEFELLER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

                                                                                                  Aleya Kennedy performed a
                                                                                                  flawless praise dance during the
                                                                                                  Black History month celebration at

                                                “Trouble is a mountain higher than the sky.
                                                         You can climb if you try.
                                                            If you try, if you try,
                                                            If you try, if you try.
                                                       You can climb it if you try.”

           Students at Rockefeller Elementary School in Little Rock celebrated Black History Month by singing these lyrics in a

 musical celebration entitled, “Mountains: From Africa to America” on February 19, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. “Mountains” are

 symbolic of obstacles students have to face in life. Students sang, danced, played, and read prose based on this theme to keep

 striving in spite of the obstacles. The songs were in the African language and included, “Che Che Koolay,” a greeting song;

 “Abiyoyo,” an African Lullaby; “Salaam Alaikum,” a Ghanian Folksong; and the instrumental song, “Kassa,” which included

 West African drumming and dancing. Students represented kindergarten through fifth grade. The final performance talked

 about Daisy Bates, the civil rights leader, who was responsible for helping “The Little Rock Nine” integrate Central High


           Tania Royster, a fourth grader who played Daisy Bates, was clearly interested in history as a result of participation

 in the program. To prepare, Tania practiced her pronunciation skills for a week using a tape recorder at school and at home.

 She said that she was encouraged by the literacy coach, Mrs. Vickie Coby, to use this technique. Coby said that Tania was

 highly motivated and wanted to assume the character of Daisy Bates. Tania told Mrs. Coby, “ I don’t want to sound like I am

 reading.” At the end of her performance, Tania was proud of her efforts. Of her portrayal of the role, she said, “It is an honor

 to me, and I feel that I was good at it, and I did my best.”

           Her mother, Trikina Anderson, said, “It’s good for students to know their heritage outside of the history books.”

                                                                                                 Story continues on page 9

         VOLUME          I,   ISSUE     IV
                                                                                                                                PAGE       9

         Teresa Brown, the parent of Kenneth Brown, who played the bongos during the

celebration, said this experience shows her child can continue to participate in an extended

learning activity that is positive. She said assemblies like this are essential because they teach

children about their heritage. She said, “Kenneth was excited about Black History.” She also said

that she would like to see other schools celebrate Black History Month in a similar manner.

Furthermore, she said, “It is important that all history be represented.”

         The program was coordinated by Mrs. Sandra Young, Music Specialist. Young said,

“The parents are always encouraging with their comments. I have been pleased that the
                                                                                                     Kenneth Brown stands proudly with
                                                                                                     his mother, Teresa Brown, after his
students continue to speak highly of their accomplishments and successes as a group.”
                                                                                                     performance. Mrs. Brown said that it
                                                                                                     is nice to see her child participate “in
Young has worked with this program for the past seven years, and she feels that it should
                                                                                                     an extended learning activity.”

         “The school setting is an ideal forum for students and parents to get a deeper understanding of the contributions of

Black Americans. Unfortunately, the school is the only cultural connective resource that many of our students are afforded.

Therefore, the schools have to remain the voice that cultivates awareness and pride in one’s heritage,” Young said.

         Young added that she enjoys participating in this program. “I am afforded the opportunity to collaborate in a manner

that addresses all learning styles, leaving the children with a great sense of accomplishment and self-worth.”

         The annual celebration is an interdisciplinary unit as well. Mrs. Young worked with a team of teachers including

Mrs. Sharon Boyd-Struthers, art teacher; Mrs. LaRonda Murry, science teacher; Mrs. Teffine Craig, paraprofessional; and

Mrs. Vickie Coby, literacy specialist. Teachers are able to combine several Student Learning Expectations from their

content areas.

         For specific information on the frameworks in this unit, see pages 10 and 11, “Elevating to the Mountaintop

Through the Use of the Frameworks.”
          PAGE       10

                        Elevating to the Mountaintop
                     Through the Use of the Frameworks
The program at Rockefeller is one example of how teachers can use the frameworks and teach as an

interdisciplinary team. It also illustrates an example of teaching several Student Learning Expectations (SLEs)

simultaneously. For example, the work that Tania did in order to prepare for the role of Bates is a direct

example of the Oral and Visual Communications Strand from the Arkansas Frameworks, which states the

student “Accepts contributions of teacher or group to establish goals to improve speaking performance.”

Therefore, the interdisciplinary approach gives teachers the opportunity to help students meet several SLEs. A

few of the SLEs that teachers at Rockefeller used are listed below. The SLEs come from the English Language

Arts and Social Studies Curriculum Frameworks. There are more SLEs that can be included from the Fine Arts

framework as well.

        English Language Arts

        Kindergarten – Grade 4
        OV.1.K.2 - OV.1.4.3
        Focus on audience.

        Grade 1
        Use voice level, phrasing, and intonation to speak clearly and audibly.

        Grade 2
        Use oral language for different purposes (i.e., to inform, persuade, and entertain).

        Grade 3
        Tell and retell stories in an informal storytelling format using descriptive language, story elements, and
        voice to create interest and mood.

        Grade 4
        Tell and retell stories in a formal storytelling format using descriptive
        language, story elements, and voice to create interest and mood.

                 THE      BEACON
        VOLUME        I,   ISSUE    IV
                                                                                                           PAGE       11

        Social Studies Framework

        Grade 1
        Identify people and events observed in national celebrations and

        Grade 2
        Compare customs of another culture to one’s own.

        Discuss historical people of Arkansas.

        Grade 3
        Identify cultural traits of ethnic groups that live in Arkansas.        Chanel Phillips sang with the choir
                                                                                during the celebration.
        H. 6.3.2
        Examine historical people and events of Arkansas.

        Recognize individuals who contributed to the common good of
        society (Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez).

        Grade 4
        Describe the cultural characteristics of diverse populations in
        the United States.

        Explain how communities share ideas and information with
        each other.

        Again, these are just a few of the SLEs that teachers used. There are

many others that can be combined as teachers collaborate together to enhance    Natkia Grayson played with precision
                                                                                along with the other musicians.
student learning.
Eager Readers Report:

Circulation Report

Shows What Students Enjoy Reading
        What books are secondary students reading? Each May, Arkansas school library media
specialists do circulation reports, then post results on their listserv. Here are 10 of the top circulating
books from this year’s reports.

       The vampire genre tops the charts at most schools. Twilight, the first book in Stephanie Meyer’s
vampire/werewolf romance series, gained more popularity as the movie of the same name became a
box office success. This series uniquely appeals to both boys and girls.

 Tears of a Tiger, by Sharon Draper, is the story of a young black man who was the drunk driver in
 an accident that killed his best friend.

 Crank, by Ellen Hopkins, is a page-turner about a “perfect” teenager whose life drastically changes
 after she becomes addicted to crank (crystal meth). Based on the author’s experiences with her own
 daughter, this book terrifies parents as well as teens.

 Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, tells what happens when a high school boy receives a box of
 audiotapes, narrated by a girl he liked, after her suicide.
                                                             See Eager Readers on the next page

 VOLUME      I,   ISSUE   IV                                                                      PAGE    12
Eager Readers Continued . . .

 Ta Ta for Now (ttfn), by Lauren Myracle, is told entirely in instant messages. This sequel
 to the hugely popular ttyl follows Maddie, Zoe, and Angela through the events of eleventh

 Bluford High, a series of 15 books by Anne Schraff and others, features black students as
 the main characters in stories of mystery, romance, action, and a touch of the supernatural.

 Soldier’s Heart, by Gary Paulsen, is about Charley Goddard, a 15-year-old from Minnesota
 who lies about his age and ends up participating in the horrors of combat in the Civil War.

 In The Red Necklace, by Sally Gardner, a Gypsy boy and an heiress fight for survival dur-
 ing the French Revolution.

 Boy in the Striped Pajamas (Movie Tie-in), by John Boyne, is set in Nazi Germany. After
 moving to Auschwitz, Bruno meets a boy "on the other side of the fence", who is the same

 A Child Called "It”, by Dave Pelzer, is an autobiographical account of horrible torment and
 abuse of a young boy by his alcoholic mother.

                                                                                     PAGE       13
  VOLUME      I,   ISSUE   IV                                                                  PAGE      14

                           DATES FOR THE CALENDAR
The ACTAAP testing calendar for 2009-2010 is posted on the Web site under Commissioner’s
Memos. The following are dates that apply to the Arkansas Compre-
hensive Testing, Assessment, and Accountability Program

August 10, 2009 - September 18, 2009 — Window for Kindergarten
                                            Screener (QUALLS)
January 13, 2010 — Mid-Year Algebra II Exam (Wednesday)
January 19-20, 2010 — Mid-Year End-of-Course Algebra I Exam
January 21-22, 2010 — Mid-Year End-of-Course Geometry Exam (Thursday-Friday)
January 26-27, 2010 — Mid-Year End-of-Course Biology Exam
March 9-10, 2010 — Grade 11 Literacy Exam (Tuesday-Wednesday)
March 19, 2010 — Alternate Portfolios due date (Friday)
March 29-May 7, 2010 — Window — English Language Development Assessment
                                                                               “We must use time as a tool,
                         (ELDA) for LEP students K-12
                                                                               not as a crutch.”
April 5-16, 2010 — Window for SAT10 Grades 1, 2, 9; MAT8 for K — NRT Testing     John F. Kennedy
April 12-16, 2010 — Augmented Benchmark Exams in Grades 3-8 (Monday-Friday)           (1917-1963)

April 20-21, 2010 — End-of-Course Geometry Exam (Tuesday-Wednesday)
April 22-23, 2010 — End-of-Course Algebra I Exam (Thursday-Friday)
April 27-28, 2010 — End-of-Course Biology Exam (Tuesday-Wednesday)
May 5, 2010 — Algebra II (Wednesday)
VOLUME     I,   ISSUE      IV                                                                 PAGE   15

                                             The Beacon is a publication of the Curriculum,
                                             Assessment, and Research section. It will be
                                             produced and distributed electronically to school
                                             districts across Arkansas. Information provided in
                                             The Beacon is for administrators and teachers. If
     Curriculum, Assessment, and Research
                                             you have additional comments or items that you
     Four Capitol Mall
     Little Rock, AR 72201-1071
                                             would like to see included in The Beacon that relate
     Phone: 501-682-4475
                                             to our department, please e-mail one of us at the
     Fax: 501-682-4886                       following addresses:
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                                NEW EMPLOYEES

           Pictured left to right: Jennifer Wenger, Shirley Fetherolf, and Kevin Beaumont
                                      Not shown: Taniesa Moore

 The Curriculum, Assessment, and Research Section is proud to welcome four new employees.
 These employees include the following:

                Kevin Beaumont                              Science Specialist
                Shirley Fetherolf                           Library Media Specialist
                Taniesa Moore                               Social Studies Specialist
                Jennifer Wenger                             Secretary

         Congratulations to these new personnel on their recent appointments!

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