Every week, EPIC Superintendent Bart Banfield explores topics related to education, learning, leadership and more. Be sure to check back each week for the latest.
New Year, New Growth
Welcome to 2020, everyone!
As we enter the New Year and new decade, I want to draw attention to an important period in the EPIC academic calendar – winter benchmarking. It’s that time of year (through Feb. 14) that we assess our Pre-K through 8th grade students to determine where they are academically in math, English and science (5th and 8th grade only). High school students are also benchmarked in preparation for the ACT.
The winter benchmarking window is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it helps teachers and parents understand proficiency levels prior to state-mandated testing that begins in the spring. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly), it tells us if a student is in need of additional help in these core areas.
As part of EPIC’s ongoing initiative to bring the best instructional tools and talent to our students, we are adding something new for this year’s winter benchmarking session – MasteryConnect, a grade-level specific tool that, together with the Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) we’re already using, creates a more complete picture of the current skill level of our pre-high school students, as we make more concentrated academic preparations for the required state testing, later this spring.
On the surface, it might appear that MasteryConnect is a “teaching to the test” tool, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While state tests are important, the fact is, we are teaching to the standards, in which there are real-world value.
For example, when a student is old enough to vote, it’s important that they are able to understand the difference between fact and opinion when researching candidates (English skills). When planning a household budget, being able to plan what percentage of a paycheck will be left after taxes is something every adult should know how to do (math skills).
EPIC Charter Schools is a standards mastery school. We focus on the individual child and setting attainable goals to meet grade level standards by personalizing a growth and success plan for every student.
For questions about your child’s winter benchmarks please reach out to your EPIC teacher.
Understanding your student’s mastery of skills is the best way to help them grow academically and personally.