DeSoto County Schools
ELA Title I Specialist
ELA teachers in grades 3-5 recently attended the PARCC Parties held throughout the month of June at the District Office. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the consortium from which our state assessment will be developed, offers many helpful resources to ensure students are prepared for success. The PARCC Parties provided teachers with a more intensive look at the guidelines for Mississippi’s new assessment, the MCT3, and a chance to collaborate with teachers from across DeSoto County.
Participants spent the morning looking over the specifications of the PARCC assessment and after lunch, worked in teams to create sample items for use in their classrooms. At the close of the day, teachers were excited to have met new colleagues and to have had the opportunity to share resources with schools throughout the county.
After diving into the MCT3 at the PARCC Parties, teachers were invited back to the District Office for the opportunity to take a closer look at best instructional practices. The focus of this professional development opportunity, “Providing an Understanding of Resources that meet Grade-level Expectations” (PURGE), was to provide a deeper look at the standards to maximize teaching time in the classroom. Teachers worked collaboratively to examine the standards for their specific grade level and shared successes from their own classrooms.
When the ELA thematic units were originally developed, the goal was to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) while still focusing on the Mississippi Language Arts Framework and the MCT2 assessment. Now that our state has fully transitioned to the CCSS, necessary changes needed to be made to our units. In an effort to prepare for student success on the MCT3, participants at the PURGE Party collaborated with others to reevaluate unit materials to help them make the best use of instructional time. The essential question posed for the day was, “Does the resource support teaching the reader or just the reading, does it teach the writer or just the writing?”