V O L U M E I , I S S U E I V J U L Y 2 7 , 2 0 0 9
SEVEN EDUCATIONAL PROMISES FROM PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
ELA Framework 2
IRA/NCTE National 2
21st Century 3
Seven Educational 4
Travel Back in Time 5
NAEP vs. State 6
Summer Reading 12
Photo credit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president_obama/
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
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.
PRESENT STANDARDS FOR THE
INTERNATIONAL READING ASSOCIATION AND
THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEACHERS OF ENGLISH
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 http://www.ncte.org/standards.
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:
*Apply knowledge to new situations
*Understand new ideas
VOLUME I, ISSUE IV
SEVEN EDUCATIONAL PROMISES
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
*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.
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://
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.”
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NAEP AND THE STATE ASSESSMENTS
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
• Assesses individual state
• 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
• 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
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NAEP AND STATE ASSESSMENTS CONTINUED
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
• 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/
• 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
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 http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/
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
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
For specific information on the frameworks in this unit, see pages 10 and 11, “Elevating to the Mountaintop
Through the Use of the Frameworks.”
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.
Use voice level, phrasing, and intonation to speak clearly and audibly.
Use oral language for different purposes (i.e., to inform, persuade, and entertain).
Tell and retell stories in an informal storytelling format using descriptive language, story elements, and
voice to create interest and mood.
Tell and retell stories in a formal storytelling format using descriptive
language, story elements, and voice to create interest and mood.
VOLUME I, ISSUE IV
Social Studies Framework
Identify people and events observed in national celebrations and
Compare customs of another culture to one’s own.
Discuss historical people of Arkansas.
Identify cultural traits of ethnic groups that live in Arkansas. Chanel Phillips sang with the choir
during the celebration.
Examine historical people and events of Arkansas.
Recognize individuals who contributed to the common good of
society (Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez).
Describe the cultural characteristics of diverse populations in
the United States.
Explain how communities share ideas and information with
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.
Eager Readers 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.
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
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
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produced and distributed electronically to school
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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!