Message From The Principal
Dear MCS Community,
Since returning from the December break, some teachers and families have begun to wonder more about student progress. It seems that we have settled into the realities of the many COVID precautions and protocols and now have more energy to think about student growth. That is great! I am going to do a quick review for you of the three major types of plans we have in place to support students at MCS.
Sometimes students struggle because of a documented disability. Any type of disability has the potential to be a barrier for a student accessing their education. A student with a documented disability, which has an adverse effect on learning, and who is in need of specialized instruction qualifies for an Individualized Education Plan or IEP. To be eligible, the student will be performing in the bottom 15th percentile of their grade level peers nationwide. Students who have IEP plans have a team that includes parents, teachers, special educators, and administrators who meet yearly, at a minimum, and plan an individualized instructional plan. An IEP has a focus on specialized instruction or instruction that looks different than the regular classroom instruction.
Sometimes a student has a disability that impacts a major life skill such as concentrating or learning, but that disability does not require specialized instruction. For students for whom this is the case, we look at 504 plans. Mr. Bagnato is our 504 plan coordinator at MCS. These plans include accommodations that allow students with documented disabilities to access a public school education. Students with 504 plans have a team, usually consisting of parents, teachers, and Mr. Baganato who meets yearly to review accommodations, make certain that the plan is working, and discuss continued eligibility.
There are times when a student does not have a disability, but is struggling to be successful in school. This might be a struggle with behavior, academics, or social emotional growth. For students in this category, we have an Educational Support Team or EST plan. The primary purpose of the EST is to assist classroom teachers and staff in developing a plan that will support a child in the educational program. The secondary purpose of EST is to document strategies that are working for students so that teachers in following years can benefit and have a jump start in understanding what works. The team is made up of school staff members. EST is a process for teachers to work collaboratively to increase learning for all students. Each week teams of MCS educators will meet to talk about student progress. We address these questions as a team:
EST plans are reviewed on average every 6 weeks to measure progress and consider continuation or changes necessary. To qualify for an EST plan, a child need only to be identified by staff as needing support.
As you think about your own child and wonder if they might benefit from one of the plans mentioned above, feel free to reach out to your classroom teacher, Mr. Bagnato, Katie, or myself for more information.
In other news, you will notice fencing being put up near the ice rink on the Norwich Green. Last week we spotted brown spots pushing up under the ice. The SAU Office and Buildings and Grounds have been contacted. There will be testing to determine the type of substance. For the time being, we will fence off the location and check daily for any new occurrences. Please be sure to stay outside the fenced area if you visit the Norwich Green.
Message From Student Services
This week students at Marion Cross School completed their winter Track My Progress test. This assessment is used to get a snapshot of how a student, a class, or an entire grade is doing in either math or reading. The students completed their fall test in September. More about this test and student performance will be shared at the school board meeting next Wednesday.
In case you are unaware, we are a PBiS school and track behavioral data. We do this in order to make informed decision making. For example if a student is acting out and we think it is to get adult attention, we might create an intervention in which that adult attention is given as soon as the student has expected behaviors.
This year we have seen about a 500% decrease in referral forms. I think this may be because the adults are even more focussed on building a supportive classroom community. I also think that while all of our covid-procedures may make us move less within the building, the students have a clearer understanding of what they can and can’t do. If you have any thoughts about other reasons please let me know.
Welcome to the Principal's Corner. My name is Shawn Gonyaw, Principal of Marion Cross School. Each week I post a message here to keep you updated on important topics that are happening at our school.
My weekly posts can also be found in the weekly Cross Words newsletter which I highly encourage you to view. I hope you find all this information helpful, informative and fun.