FSA provides information

Director of Instruction Carol-Ann Leidloff clarifies to parents why SD83 supports use of FSA

From October 4 to November 12, 2021, our students in grade 4 and grade 7 will be participating in the Foundation Skills Assessment Test, also known as the “FSA”. This is a provincially mandated standardized test that uses broad metrics to determine whether students are meeting curricular expectations at grade level in literacy and numeracy.

Though it is a standardized test and subject to the same limitations as other standardized tests, we believe it provides important information on individual student learning. We use the FSA assessment results in conjunction with other forms of district and classroom assessments to provide a comprehensive picture as to how each student is doing, and to provide important feedback to school and district staff in regard to instruction. School District No. 83 has often used information from the FSA and Ministry Graduation Assessments in budget conversations to allocate additional staffing for the purpose of better supporting teachers with their instructional practice in our classrooms. 

The FSA assesses student learning up to and including the previous year’s grade.  Placing the assessment in early October allows our teachers to use each student’s results to inform their instruction over the balance of the school year and make sure student learning needs are being met. 

The time spent on the FSA testing cycle amounts to approximately six hours in grade four, and another six hours in grade seven, not including practice (with the secondary assessments adding just another six hours in total). This amounts to just over one-half of one per cent of their instructional time for that school year, with the two test cycles taking up just a tenth of a per cent of instructional time from kindergarten through grade twelve. We think that these assessments provide a tremendous amount of information given the time spent, and that it is an incredibly efficient way to collect that information. In fact, the need for this insight may be even greater, given the interruptions to learning that we have recently experienced. 

We do agree with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) perspective that the results have been misused by the Fraser Institute, and that it is both wrong and misleading to rank schools in this way. We do, however, believe the test is worthwhile is spite of this, and we would be in favour of using it even if it were not mandatory in our province’s schools. It should be noted that this light assessment regimen is a completely different experience than what student endure in some U.S. jurisdictions, who may issue general skill or even more curriculum-specific tests monthly instead of just a few times from Kindergarten through Grade Twelve as we do in British Columbia. 

If you remain unconvinced of the FSA’s importance and wish your grade four or grade seven student to be exempt from this month’s testing process, please ask your school principal for an FSA testing schedule, then keep your child at home during the testing times. While we are not permitted to excuse a student from the FSA because of a parent request, parents always have the right to keep their child at home, and this right will be respected during FSA testing, in the same way it would be in other circumstances. As a courtesy in this regard, please note that I have asked the principals not to have students make up the tests at a later time if they were kept at home by parents for the purpose of test exemption. Students participating in an online program may make arrangements to join an assessment session at their neighbourhood school in a separate setting, or at an alternate site. 

Week at Glance

Please take note of the events/activities below for the next week:
Monday, September 27th: Picture Day (retakes are October 26th); COVID Pop Up Clinic.
Tuesday, Sept. 28th: PAC Meeting at 4 pm (ERS Library)
Wednesday, Sept 29th: Orange Shirt Day
Thursday, Sept 30th: National Truth and Reconciliation Day (no school for students)

**Just a reminder that our daily breakfast program has started along with our Pizza Days (Tues and Friday), HUB Lunches (for Grades 9-12 on Mondays) and the free Rotary Lunch (on Thursday).

Hold and Secure ended

To the Parent(s)/Guardian(s)/Caregiver(s) of SD83:

On behalf of SD83 I wish to thank you for your understanding regarding the “hold and secure” issued on Friday, September 17, 2021. Given the situation that unfolded at several schools in and around Salmon Arm, it was necessary to ensure the safety of all students and staff. Though the term “lockdown” has been reported by some media sources, this is inaccurate. The “hold and secure” we initiated was a means of preventing unauthorized individuals from entering our schools.

After much consultation, we feel confident that the “hold and secure” can be lifted as of tomorrow, September 21, 2021. We have encouraged schools to limit their number of entry points. Most schools will move toward having the main entries locked after the opening bell, the exception may be our Secondary Schools with open campuses. You may gain access to the school by calling the main office. Where possible, additional supervision will be added to playgrounds during recess and noon hours.

Once again, I’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding. The messaging you received on Friday was an attempt to keep you informed and was done in the spirit of transparency. If you have questions or concerns, I would welcome a thoughtful and respectful conversation.

We look forward to moving ahead and focussing our attention on the wonderful achievements of our students.

Sincerely,

Donna Kriger
Superintendent of Schools

‘Pop Up’ COVID Vaccination Clinic

There will be a ‘pop up’ COVID vaccination clinic at Eagle River Secondary on Monday, September 27th.

Please take a moment to review the two letters below – one letter is from the Interior Health and the other letter is from SD83. As both letters express, we encourage all parents to have meaningful conversations at home with their children regarding vaccinations.

Is your child needing homework due to an absence?

Good afternoon everyone,

I would like to clarify our process for getting missed worked for your child if they are absent from school. Any time that your child is away from school, we would appreciate a phone call at 250-836-2831 or email at ers@sd83.bc.ca to know that you know the whereabouts of your child and that you give them permission to not be at school. The same communication applies when a student signs out at the office in order to leave school early for the day (ie. for an appointment….).

In the case of a planned absence (ie. you know that your child will not be at school on Monday and Tuesday because you are on a family hunting trip), students are expected to request homework from their teachers well in advance of the day(s) that they will be missing.  The completion of assigned work will make the transition back to school more seamless.

Here are the steps to acquire missed work:
-parent reports student absence to the office (call/email)
-the office will let parents know that students can expect a TEAMS message from their teachers re: missed work if an absence is more than two days

-students will be able to communicate with TEACHERS through the TEAMS chat option
-students have been trained as to how to log onto their SD83 email and to access TEAMS…here is short explanation of how to access email and TEAMS if parents would like to know the process (https://erssd83.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/microsoft-teams-support-document.pdf)

-if technology access is an issue at home, please contact the school to discuss homework options
-at any point, parents/guardians are welcome to reach out to teachers directly for missed work/updates on their child(ren) (teacher emails can be found at https://erssd83.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/staff-list-general-info.pdf)
-please remember that all visitors/parents must sign in if they enter the school as well as sanitize and wear a mask

Feel free to contact the school at 250-836-2831 if you have any questions regarding the above process.

Regards,

Mark Marino