Mount Greylock Regional High School preps for PARCC


WILLIAMSTOWN -- Mount Greylock Regional High School ninth- and 11th-graders will pilot a new standardized test in the coming academic year.

Mount Greylock Regional School District members voted last week to administer the English Language Arts portion of the PARCC test to both grades in the spring of 2015.

Grades 7, 8 and 10 will continue to take the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).

School districts in Massachusetts have until Oct. 1 to sign onto the PARCC field test, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The multi-state initiative, meant to develop a set of assessments that measure students' preparedness for college and careers, is aligned with new Common Core curriculum standards.

Superintendent Rose Ellis said her administration was against giving seventh- and eighth-graders the PARCC test, but had no strong feelings about using the test for ninth- and 11th-graders. The MCAS is not required in either grade.

The motion passed 4-2, with members Christopher Dodig and Colleen Taylor voting against.

Taylor said she was concerned about the test putting more stress on students. She said students look forward to having an "off year" during which they aren't required to take the MCAS.

"I'd be mad if you were going to subject [my daughter] to a test she wouldn't otherwise be taking just to be a guinea pig," Dodig said. "I think we might have some feelings about this from parents."

But other committee members said teachers could benefit from seeing the test now and noted the PARCC format could ultimately be chosen to replace the MCAS.

Grades 3 through 6 in both Lanesborough and Williamstown elementary schools also will continue to take the MCAS, reflecting the votes of the respective school committees.

In other business, the committee approved a resolution to an Open Meeting Law complaint.

Lanesborough resident Richard Cohen filed the complaint over an April 11, 2013, email that member Robert Ericson sent to three members of his committee and the Lanesborough School Committee. The email was a request of Chairwoman Carrie Green to add an item to an upcoming meeting agenda.

A letter drafted by the district's legal counsel, Attorney Fred Dupere, states Ericson "did not intend to violate any provision of the Open Meeting Law," did not intend to email a quorum of the committee, and failed to count himself as the sender.

Reflecting conversations between Dupere and Cohen, Ericson has promised to not use electronic communication for requesting agenda items, meeting times or meeting dates

Dupere said the complaint will be concluded if Cohen agrees to the terms of the letter.

To reach Edward Damon:
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On Twitter: @BE_EDamon


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