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First Steps Lead to Powerful Instructional Shift for Lyme Consolidated Schools (CT)
Educators in Lyme, Connecticut took baby steps when it first came to integrating Smarter Balanced tools. That, along with dedicated instructional technology support, has led to successful integration of interim assessments, which give teachers actionable information about each student’s learning. As a result, educators feel they are better able to move students toward the ultimate goal of preparing them for college and a career.
Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools
Location: New London County
School: Lyme Consolidated School
Motto: A private school experience in a public school setting
Interview Date: May 2018
“We’ve been able to really take that (interim) assessment and integrate it as part of our curriculum and help it to drive instruction”Michelle Dean, Director of Curriculum ad Professional Development, Regional School District 18
Spotlight on Strategy
Lyme Consolidated School District worked with educators on Smarter Balanced integration, implementing a system of assessments and instructional supports over the past two years. Here are some of the ways they made implementation successful, starting with Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs):
- Emphasize that Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs) are very short, brief assessments that can be used quickly to yield large amounts of data to help inform instruction.
- Directly involve teachers in the administration of the interim assessment because ownership is really important in this process. It allows teachers to understand and conceptualize how they might be able to bring this language or the models back into the classroom and share the experience with their students.
- Integrate model questions into the curriculum so that interims aren’t administered in isolation but are part of instruction throughout the school year.
Interview Day: Behind the Scenes
- Smarter Balanced integration taught teachers Bruce Hrozenchik and Mercedes Alger that you should start with baby steps. As you become more familiar with interim assessments, the easier they will be to use and more naturally they will inform instruction.
- Michelle Dean, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development says one of the advantages of using IABs has been how much information about student learning is available through the reporting features.
- Jenn Whelan, Instructional Technology Specialist, says her goal through Smarter Balanced integration is to make every sure every teacher is comfortable using technology independently.