Schools are expected to:
- Differentiate instruction for the learners based on readiness, interest, etc. to prevent learning gaps
- Teach to the appropriate depths of knowledge to prepare students for higher order thinking;
- Study a concept of backwards planning, based on the principles of Understanding by Design.
Elementary schools are encouraged to implement a balanced literacy approach to teaching reading and content areas. Where appropriate, science, social studies, and math are integrated into the reading curriculum for building background knowledge and making connections across the disciplines. Developmental Reading Assessments are used to differentiate the levels of the learners for appropriate instruction in small guided reading groups. Hands-on mathematics and problem-solving are a daily part of the elementary classrooms in order to develop confident critical thinkers.
Beliefs Regarding Differentiated Instruction (D.I.)
- Purpose should be for student growth for LIFE
- Must begin where students are – based on data
- Requires careful planning
- Looks different in every classroom/for every teacher
- Can be in content, process, and product
- Must begin with small steps
- Must always be student-centered
- Assessment should be a constant drive for instruction
Differentiated Instruction in MCS K-5 Schools looks like…
Teacher Observations/Assessments Lead to Adjustment in Instruction (Teachers are consistently checking for understanding and adjusting the teaching to lead to higher levels of learning)
- Flexible Groups – Guided Reading/Literature Circles NON-NEGOTIABLE… Small Math Groups Encouraged
- Classroom Arrangement Lends Itself to Grouping/Movement
- Variety of Instructional Materials – going beyond textbooks
- Smooth Transitions
- Centers/Stations – Active learning based on student needs/levels (not same activity for all students managed through rotation)
- Workshop Approach (Mini-Lesson + Student Activity with Teacher Guidance /Conferencing)
Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2
In these primary grades students will receive report cards at the end of each nine-week grading period. In these grades MCS utilizes a standards based report card, numerical grades are not issued.
Grades 3, 4, and 5
Report cards for students in grades 3, 4, 5 will be sent home the week following each nine week’s grading period. Number and letter grades are used to convey progress in areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, and Reading. Number and letter grades are used to report progress in Science and Social Studies at grades 4 and 5.
- A 90-100
- B 80-89
- C 70-79
- D 65-69
- F 64 and below 70 (Very Poor / Failure)
- I Incomplete
- To report progress in Handwriting for grades 3, 4, and 5 and to report progress for Science and Social Studies at grade 3, an S= Satisfactory, N= Needs Improvement, and U= Unsatisfactory. A will be used to indicate work habits marked need improvement.
A number will be used to communicate the independent reading levels of students as measured by the Developmental Reading Assessments. Students are expected to master skills and read on level in order to advance to the next grade.
All report cards should be signed by a parent and returned to school the following day.
3-Tier Intervention Process
Madison County Schools has implemented an instructional model designed to meet the needs of every student. The model consists of three tiers of instruction.
- Tier 1 Quality classroom instruction based on MS Curriculum Frameworks
- Tier 2 Focused supplemental instruction
- Tier 3 Intensive interventions (both academic and/or behavioral) specifically designed to meet the individual needs of students.
Universal screeners and progress monitoring will be utilized to (a) determine if students are making adequate progress, (b) identify students as soon as they begin to fall behind, and (c) modify instruction early enough to ensure each and every student gains essential skills. Monitoring of student progress is an ongoing process that may be measured through informal classroom assessment, benchmark assessment instruments and large scale assessments.
If strategies at Tiers 1 & 2 are unsuccessful, students must be referred to the their school’s Teacher Support Team (TST). The TST is a problem-solving unit responsible for interventions developed at Tier 3. Interventions will be:
- Designed to address the deficit areas:
- Research based;
- Implemented as designed by the TST; supported by data regarding the effectiveness of interventions.
After a referral is made, the TST will develop and begin implementation of an intervention(s) within two weeks. No later than four weeks after implementation of the intervention(s) the TST will conduct a documented review of the intervention(s) to determine success of the intervention(s). A second review will be conducted no later than 8 weeks after the implementation of the intervention(s) to determine whether the intervention is successful. No later than 12 weeks after the implementation of the intervention(s) a third review will be conducted. If the intervention(s) is determined to be unsuccessful, then the student will be referred to the school’s Local Survey Committee to determine the need for a comprehensive assessment for special education services.
In addition to failure to make adequate progress following Tiers 1 & 2, students will be referred to the TST for interventions if any of the following events occur:
- Grades 1-3: A student has failed one (1) grade;
- Grades 4-12: A student has failed two (2) grades;
- A students failed either of the preceding two grades and has been suspended or expelled for more than twenty (20) days in the current school year: or
- A student scores at the Minimal level on any part of the Grade 3 or Grade 7 Mississippi Curriculum Test
- Referrals to the TST must be made within the first twenty (20) school days of a school year if the student meets any of the criteria A-D above.
Promotion / Retention
Kindergarten – In accordance with Section 37-13-91, students who attain the age of five (5) years on or before September 1 of the calendar year may attend kindergarten in Madison County School System. When academic skills have been successfully met, the student will advance to grade one. If the student has not successfully met the criteria to advance to grade one, the student will be placed in kindergarten for an additional year. Students must be reading on or above Independent DRA Level 3 and master 70% of Language Arts and Mathematics skills* to be promoted to the next grade.
Transfer 5-year-old students or 6-year-old students who have not attended an accredited public/private school will be assessed and appropriate educational placement will be assigned on an individual basis. “Section 37-15-33, which governs the testing and assignment of transfer students, states each child is to be assigned to the grade and class that is in the best interest of the child.
Madison County School System will consider the educational needs and welfare of each individual child. Considerations will include but will not be limited to:
- Academic level
- Welfare of the child involved
- Welfare and best interest of all pupils attending the school(s) involved
- Health factors
Process for retention of a kindergarten student will be:
- Review of student’s yearly progress and growth
- Documentation of parent notification
- Kindergarten assessment
- Recommendation of retention to school principal
- Review and concur/deny of retention by teacher and school principal
Membership of the Kindergarten Promotion/Retention Board will be the child’s teacher, a peer teacher, principal and parent and the Curriculum Coordinator who will serve as facilitator. The Board will concur or disagree. A report will be forwarded to the child’s teacher, parent/guardian and principal.
The Madison County school Board has the authority to retain a student in kindergarten for an additional year if the district deems that placement of the student in the first grade would not be the most appropriate educational placement.
Grades 1 & 2 – Students should be reading on or above grade level and master 80% of Language Arts and Mathematics skills* to be promoted to the next grade.
Grades 3, 4, 5 – Students should be reading on or above grade level. All students (grades 3, 4, 5) MUST master essential skills in Reading, Language Arts, and Mathematics and maintain a class average of 65 or better*.
*All skills are defined as those detailed by Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards.
Exemption from retention
The district may exempt a student from retention provided:
- there is an abundance of evidence that the student’s test scores do not reflect his usual performance; or
- complying with all facets of this policy would have an adverse impact on the student’s educational program;
- or other unusual or compelling circumstances exist.
If a student is exempted from retention, possible educational repercussions are discussed with parents/guardians, specifically including a detailed explanation of the graduation requirement of passing the subject area tests. Parental consent is given.