Pawt. lost new grad requirement

Posted in: NAP- Neighborhood Alliance of Pawtucket, but it just does not seem to be in place at Shea and Tolman...
BRISTOL ?— In his first stop on a series of visits to high schools around the state, Governor Carcieri emphasized to students at Mt. Hope High School Tuesday the importance of a new system of standards-based graduation requirements.

?“I feel so strongly about this,?” he said, ?“because I believe it?’s the future of our state.?”

Carcieri spoke to a group of 15 students representing each of the four high school grade levels about standardized testing and the new diploma system, which requires graduating students to demonstrate proficiency through either a senior project, a multiyear portfolio of their work or end-of-course exams.

He told them about the importance of his own education, which led to a brief stint as a teacher before becoming a successful businessman and politician, and said that education reforms in Rhode Island are aimed at better preparing students for life after graduation.

?“What do we need to do to give our youngsters the skills to be successful??” he said.

Carcieri met with the students for about an hour in the school library after sitting down with teachers earlier in the morning. He plans to visit six high schools around the state to talk about the new system and listen to comments from faculty and pupils about the changes. His next stop is Westerly High School today.

Many of the students selected by school administrators to meet with Carcieri Tuesday told him the portfolios that all Mt. Hope teenagers are required to create is a useful and accurate tool to gauge performance.

?“We can really see what we need to do and how we?’ve grown,?” said senior Robert Cotta.

The digital portfolio system was started at Mt. Hope four years ago. It?’s put together on a computer over a student?’s entire tenure in school and, when completed, can include more than one hundred assignments, along with awards and even video clips.

In May, before a student graduates, he or she must give a panel of teachers, administrators and community members a ?“tour?” of the highlights of their portfolio to demonstrate proficiency. The portfolio must be judged proficient for the student to receive a diploma.

Sophomore Jonathan Silva showed the room his portfolio, which is still in the works and consists of 24 pieces of work, including a history paper, a play critique and a lab report from the school science fair.

?“It almost sums up everything I?’ve done the entire year,?” he said.

Freshman Jordan Moshkwoski, however, said that with the focus on proficiency, the portfolio doesn?’t accurately reflect if a student is taking accelerated or honors courses.

?“I think that?’s kind of a flaw that should be improved on,?” she said.

State Department of Education Commissioner Peter McWalters, who was also present, said that could be something officials take a second look at.

In an interview after the meeting, Edward P. Mara, superintendent of the Bristol Warren Regional School District, said the new diploma system is the result of an overall change in philosophy.

?“Before, you did your work, received your grades, and you just left high school,?” he said. ?“These kids now get constant feedback. They know what they?’re doing well, so it gives them the opportunity to get better.?”

Earlier, senior Jason Moniz told the governor about recent positive changes at Mt. Hope, which has seen steady improvement in standardized test scores over the past five years and in 2005 was named a Regents?’ commended school. Moniz?’s older brother graduated from the school several years ago and remarked on the gains.

?“He says my diploma?’s worth a lot more than his,?” Moniz said.

?“That?’s what we?’re trying to do,?” Carcieri responded. ?“We?’re trying to do that at every school in the state.?”

By Father
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Portfolio system at Shea

As a father of two Shea high school students, I do know the portfolio system is in place. My oldest son, a senior, will be sweating out his late January 2008 portfolio evaluation. My youngest son, a sophomore, is gathering his portfolio pieces together for his 2010 graduation.

What the Rhode Island State Department of Education and many parents do not realize is the portfolio system at Shea was hurt by Pawtucket school department budget cuts in 2006 and 2007 as dozens of teachers were transferred from Shea to other schools in the district. Thus, portfolio items were lost or misplaced. Some seniors are left in confusion as to how many items they have in their portfolios.

Nevertheless, what should be bothersome to Pawtucket parents who have seniors at Shea, Tolman, ALP, and Jackie Walsh, should be how the trimester system has delayed spring college entry for seniors. We, as parents, have reacted too slowly in registering our grievances to the proper sources who created this inconvenient system. Hopefully, Shea, Tolman and other schools can return to the bloc schedule in 2008-2009, where more portfolio items and learning could be gathered and accomplished.

To Father, thank you for your concern. I am eating Rolaids quite frequently over the portfolio evaluation.
Rolaids? Can my senior Graduate?

Seems like my kid is not the only one who has been affected and they too may be chewing rolaids or will they just be giving up and not graduating?
The word is that no one has a handle on it and the kids are lost in the shuffle and we all will pay dearly for this tragedy....besides extra rolaids.

By Father

Why do I have to pay by chasing teachers for my portfolio? No one seems to have a clue or even care about us.

By Student Trying
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