Adaptive Testing with i-Ready
With recent updates of computer labs and acquisition of 18,500 Chromebooks, the Bakersfield City School District has introduced i-Ready, a new adaptive assessment and accompanying instructional software program aligned to the new Common Core State Standards which helps teachers provide unique instructional solutions for each student. Adaptive assessments are administered on a computer and differ from standard testing in that a computer program adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the test. For example, a student who correctly answers a question will receive a more challenging follow-up item, while an incorrect answer will generate a less challenging question. By adapting to the student’s skill level, each child receives individually tailored results, helping teachers quickly identify which Math and Reading Language Arts skills students have mastered and which skills require more time to learn.
Additionally, i-Ready provides instructional lessons and resources for teachers that can be used to narrow students’ learning gaps such as on-line practice lessons as well as teacher lessons that can be used to differentiate learning for students in small group intervention. The quick turnaround in student results provides teachers with the information they need in real time throughout the school day.
Mark Luque, Director of Curriculum and Standards, stressed the importance of tailoring an education for every student. He said, “If we are truly going to meet the needs of every child, we need a tool that allows us to monitor student growth over time and determine interventions that are appropriate for each student. i-Ready, in conjunction with our Professional Learning Communities, will create the conditions for academic success. We’re working smarter by helping teachers make better use of the hours in their day.”
Although i-Ready is key to supporting our students’ learning, it will never replace the most significant factor in our classrooms, the teacher. Regardless of the resources that are provided, teachers are the most important factor affecting the quality of education our students receive. Teachers are and will remain students’ primary resource for learning. Thank you to all our teachers for the difference they make every minute, every day, for every child.
Building a culture of literacy in our schools is a major focus across Bakersfield City School District (BCSD). Educational research consistently shows a strong correlation between reading proficiency and overall academic success at all ages. From elementary school through the university level, students who are avid readers are more likely to have a well-developed vocabulary, stronger writing skills, and improved analytical thinking than are non-avid readers. To help cultivate the love of reading in all students, BCSD has implemented Accelerated Reader (AR) across the District, a reading incentive program that motivates students to engage in reading as early as first grade.
Accelerated Reader is a computer program that allows teachers and students to manage and monitor independent reading. Students select and read a book at their reading level from the AR list then take a short quiz designed to measure students’ comprehension of literature and informational text. The program provides immediate feedback to both teachers and students and recommends the next reading selection based on reading preference and quiz results.
According to Pamela Fisher, BCSD’s Coordinator of Library Media Services, “Reading proficiency is the foundation of academic success. Research shows us that children who read at least 35 minutes a day see the greatest gains. AR is effective because students enjoy reading books at their interest level, and are motivated when they see their progress. In addition, teachers are able to monitor student comprehension and independent reading efforts.”
Accelerated Reader was utilized at Owens Intermediate during the 2013-14 school year. One student, Ryan Khu, read hundreds of books from both the school and county libraries. Ryan set a new school record by accumulating 2,253 Accelerated Reader points, and reached his goal of achieving 85% correct or better on each AR quiz. When Ryan flew to Taiwan this summer and wanted to take books to continue reading, he was able to take a Kindle Fire instead of a rolling suitcase full of books.
You can encourage your children to become better readers by reading with them. Start a home library or visit your local library. Let your children see you reading and ask questions about what they are reading. You can also use www.arbookfind.com to help your children find an appropriate book at their reading level.
An Organizational Partnership
Developing school and community partnerships is a critical factor in enhancing the work we do with children. A successful partnership brings results that are unattainable otherwise. Recently, the Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) and Kern High School District (KHSD) decided to create a more collaborative partnership between the largest elementary and high school districts in the State of California.
Through a series of meetings, the two districts are coordinating efforts to work together to ensure high levels of learning for all students and provide a continuum of support from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
Currently, the teams are reviewing their respective district goals, research on organizational partnerships, and will be determining specific, measurable and attainable goals for the partnership going forward.
Kern High School District Superintendent, Dr. Bryon Schaefer commented, “It is exciting to partner with our largest feeder district to enhance our efforts to provide a seamless transition for our students.”
Williams Celebrates 100 Years!
On Tuesday, September 8, 2014, Williams Elementary School principal David Tapia and his staff invited local governmental dignitaries, district administrators, parents and former students to join the school in celebrating their 100 year anniversary. Honorary guests included Assembly Member, Rudy Salas, BCSD Board Members, Andrae Gonzales, Pam Baugher, Bill McDougle (a former Williams student), and Dr. Fred Haynes. Several other former students were also in attendance, including Jacqueline Lopez who is now employed as a teacher at Williams and spoke at the celebration.
At the ceremony, Mr. Tapia spoke about the history and tradition of Williams School. He told the students what they accomplish today will be part of Williams’ history in years to come. Assembly member, Rudy Salas spoke about the important work that has taken place at Williams over the last 100 years pointing out that even an earthquake couldn’t stop the school’s commitment to providing the best education for children. There were also performances by the East Bakersfield High School Marching Band and Williams’ cheer squad.
It was an entertaining and inspirational morning that gave proper recognition to a long tradition of education and the countless hours of dedicated service provided by those who have called Williams Elementary School their home.
The original Williams Elementary School was constructed in 1913 with students first attending in 1914. After being destroyed in the earthquakes of 1952, the school was rebuilt at its current location and welcomed students back in November of 1954. Thirty years ago, in 1984, the school held its 70th year celebration under the direction of Principal Peggy Lewis, which was attended by Senator Walter Stiern, a Williams alumnus from 1927.
Thank you, Williams Elementary School, for an enjoyable morning and congratulations!