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JUNIORS: If you took the PSAT on Saturday, October 16 at HHS, your scores will become available online through the College Board on December 6th.

 

 To access your scores, follow these directions:

 

        1. Create a College Board Student Account Go to studentscores.collegeboard.org and click Sign Up. 

                a. Use the full legal name that matches what your school has on file. Be ready to give basic information, including your gender, date of birth, email address (a permanent email address is recommended), high school name, expected high school graduation date, and zip code. 

                 b. Include a parent or guardian email address and check the box to ensure that a parent or guardian will be cc'd on important emails from College Board. 

 

         2. View Scores in the College Board Reporting Portal To view your scores, go to studentscores.collegeboard.org and sign in. If your scores aren't shown, follow instructions on the Student Reporting Portal page after you have logged in. 

 

Call the College Board’s Student PSAT-related assessment helpline at 866-433-7728 if you need additional help viewing your scores. 

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  • District News

During a recent visit to the Marathon Elementary School, accompanied by principal Lauren Dubeau, I popped into an English learner “EL” classroom. In a small and cozy space, designed for pull-out English-for-Speakers-of-Other Languages or “ESOL” instruction, an English learner educator sat with four Marathon first-grade students. These four children all speak different languages. There are 127 ELs enrolled in kindergarten and grade one at Marathon. 

People perhaps wonder why it is that very young children who are learning phonics need English learner instruction when they are getting incredible literacy instruction in their regular classroom. Consider this: Phonics asks children to turn letters into sounds and then make meaning of the words constructed from those sounds. Native speakers of English typically know the words they’re “sounding out”: BAT, MAT, CHAT... But, consider what happens when children are not native speakers and we ask them to sound out words. They are pronouncing words without meaning. (When Urdu, for example, is your primary language, what the heck is a “bat” or a “mat” or a “chat,” right?) Teaching students to read words they don’t know only reinforces the idea that reading is simply pronouncing sounds, as opposed to turning sounds into words and then words into meaning.

What I encountered last week might help people understand what English learner educators do. This particular teacher had the children cutting strips of colored paper and gluing those strips onto a paper plate. These backgrounds made a blank-face monster-like character, on which the children would create a face. The faces they were making needed to express some emotion. The emotion could be anything: happy or grumpy or excited or...you name it. 

Certainly, a lot of skills were being built in this classroom. First, teaching children about their emotions helps them to grow emotionally strong. Children need to be able to identify, understand, and describe their emotions so that they can confidently articulate their feelings when they need to do so, and let’s acknowledge that all people need to do that throughout their lives. Consider how many times young children are afraid or unable to share what they’re feeling. That’s not OK. Consider how many adults don’t articulate their feelings well.  Hmmm. That’s another blog entirely. ;-)

Second, these kids were using scissors and glue sticks. The use of these tools helps support the development of fine motor skills. One little girl had to ask her peer to help her take the cover off the glue stick, thus using language that supports the building of social skills. Then, kids had to wait to use the glue stick, as they were required to share, thereby practicing turn-taking. 

Most importantly, however, in this safe space specifically devoted to English learners, these children could practice using social and academic language, and expressive and interpretive language in a small group, where in a regular, larger classroom they might not have the same opportunity or the same safe space to “try on” language. They were learning to name and describe emotions as well as colors: red, orange, green, blue; to ask for the scissors or to ask for help; to engage in polite discourse--”please” and “thank you.” This kind of small-setting instruction accelerates English language development by helping English learners make the connection between what they know in their first language--colors, emotions, polite language--and what they need to know as first-grade students at the Marathon Elementary School.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education anticipates that students will stay in English learner education (ELE) programs no longer than six years. Most Hopkinton students average two to four years in our ELE program. Why? Because our curriculum, instruction, and commitment to Hopkinton’s ELs is second to none. Marathon’s commitment to English language instruction is the foundation for our students that allows them to test out of our ELE program and thereby access the curriculum in English without support as they advance through our schools.

Prior to our leaving the English learner classroom at Marathon last week, Mrs. Dubeau wrestled with a glue stick while I asked a little guy, “Why did you choose a happy face?” He told me, “This is a silly face.” OK then. Pardon me. Thanking the teacher and the kids for their hard work, I put on my sheepish face, gave Mrs. Dubeau the “Are-we-ready-to-go?” look, and left the very capable and wonderfully engaged children and their teacher to their work.

  • Superintendent
Superintendent's Post | Disciplinary Literacy Blog 11-8-21
  • District News

Hopkinton High School is beginning to explore infusing more disciplinary literacy instruction for our grade 9 students. What this means is that our content area instruction will emphasize the specialized knowledge and abilities possessed by those who create, communicate, and use knowledge within each of the disciplines--science, social studies, and English language arts. Essentially, kids are taught to think like a scientist, read like a historian, write essays that analyze works of fiction, and lots more. Why is this important? The language we find when we’re reading literature or reading about literature itself is vastly different from the language one would encounter if reading a Scientific American article, a plea for funding for an environmental project, or a laboratory report. Kids must be explicitly taught the language and communication styles of each discipline.

 

I’m bringing this up now not because I think that high school parents are going to be overly excited about disciplinary literacy (although I am pretty jazzed about it myself…), but because I was very excited when a Hopkinton High School science teacher showed the document that she uses to teach accountable talk phrases. Accountable talk phrases are the way we teach kids to communicate with each other respectfully in any classroom. We teach them the language to use when they want to disagree, when they want to build on someone else’s point, when they need clarification, and more. It’s kind of polite discourse and instruction, and it lends to the incorporation of more voices in a classroom. Our young adults gain confidence as they learn how to communicate with each other in a learning environment, to be actively involved in understanding the perspectives of others, and to exhibit patience and kindness as they become independent learners.

 

It’s kind of a funny thing. I think in education we used to believe that speaking and listening, because they are the primary discourses, didn't have to be explicitly taught. When kids come to school they are typically good speakers and listeners. What we used to think was that we had to teach explicitly reading and writing, those being the secondary discourses. That thinking has changed. Teaching students speaking and listening teaches them to become active and interdependent thinkers who are part of a community of learners who are not afraid to take risks or to push their own boundaries.

 

So if you’re still with me--and I acknowledge there has been a lot of reading so far!--I can share with you a cool thing about our science teacher’s accountable talk phrase document. It intersects beautifully with what our Social Emotional Learning Director has been hired to do, which is to integrate SEL into academics and the learning environment. What our Social Emotional Learning Director, Carla Burley, will say is that kids need to feel part of a classroom community; these accountable talk phrases are not only good for literacy (or speaking) instruction, but they are also exceptional in the way of social emotional learning.

 

The Social Emotional Learning Director also extols something called “optimistic closure.” In an effort to ensure “optimistic closure,” all educators district wide have participated in professional development centered on Three SEL Signature Practices that support the learning environment. At the end of the class, students get to think about what they’ve learned and what kinds of things they’re going to do to sort of “seal the deal” on their own learning. This “optimism” helps them to believe they can tackle challenging learning standards.When kids have the tools of accountable talk phrases alongside an opportunity for “optimistic closure,” every student’s voice can be heard with authority, creating a greater community in the classroom--all while promoting increased learning in the disciplines.

 

These are really exciting times. We’re not only building on our high school students’ literacy skills within the disciplines alongside their content knowledge, but also their social emotional learning. Perhaps never in the history of public education have these goals been more lofty. Our kids have received irregular schooling for a long time. Our kids have lost a lot of social learning. And so I am celebrating the work that is happening at Hopkinton High School that underscores the importance of this trinity: content, literacy skills, and social emotional skills. Many thanks to the incredible faculty and staff at HHS. 

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