Dear Falcon Families,
Thank you for all your support, energy, time, and participation in various aspects of our TOPS school community. We just completed hosting Falcon School Tours for potential new families and open enrollment ended Friday, February 24th. We received our projected school enrollment numbers in the beginning of February (projected 493 students) and we receive our projected budget by February 28th.
As an “Option” school, TOPS needs to continue promoting its programs (arts, music, drama, physical education), social justice vision, and the academic growth of our students to our incoming or potential new families as well as to our current 5th grade families considering their middle school options. In addition, the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) results are the only publicized measures of the skills/abilities of our student body and our academic program. It is what potential new Falcon families see when they begin their public school search. What follows is where we need your continued help and student participation.
While the TOPS 2014-15 school report card does not accurately reflect the academic growth of our student population, the 2015-16 shows increases in our scores from the previous year due to a marked increase in student participation. Data represented on our report card is from both the spring 2015 and spring 2016 Smarter Balanced Assessments. This data illustrates growth in TOPS students meeting standards on both the ELA and mathematics assessments in grades 3-8. However, we are still below the district passing rates at several grades.
As a school community the results from these assessments allows TOPS staff, teachers, and families to:
- Identify gaps in family and student access to learning opportunities;
- Address areas of support for our struggling students;
- Advocate for resources and programs to support all our students;
- Address areas to challenge our students achieving at standard or above standard;
- Reflect on our instructional practice and address standards that need additional attention;
- Accurately reflect how our students are growing academically at TOPS;
- Provide 8th grade students a “practice” assessment or a baseline measure before having to take the SBA as a graduation requirement in high school.
How we will continue to support your students during the 3rd year of the SBA:
- We continue to teach the common core state standards.
- We continue to provide time for our students to practice the skills for taking these tests online.
- All testing accommodations are appropriately scheduled for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), 504’s or in the ELL program.
- We will train and retrain all our staff to successfully administer this test.
- We will ensure the test timing is “optimal” for students in April and May.
During the ELA and mathematics Smarter Balance Assessments, TOPS will:
- test students in their classrooms with the laptops (and mice) or the Middle school lab.
- provide separate and smaller testing environments for students with IEP, 504, and ELL accommodations.
- provide students with appropriate breaks and snacks.
- provide mice for all laptops so students do not have to ma
neuver the “track pads” during the assessment.
- provide students with 1-2 trained proctors during each of their assessments.
TOPS is scheduled to take the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) April 3rd - through May 26th. The Assessment Schedule can be viewed by clicking here. Please know that there may be some slight modifications as we begin testing. For more information about the Smarter Balanced tests and to try out a practice test yourself, please visit www.k12.wa.us/smarter. More information about the Common Core may be found at www.k12.wa.us/corestandards. Thank you for continuing to work with us to make sure your child is successful. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to better support your child. We want your child to leave us with a solid foundation of skills and a future full of opportunities.
Amy L. Schwentor, Principal
You can download the complete letter from me by clicking here.