Suffield Public Schools

Curriculum Newsletter

January 2014

350 Mountain Road | Suffield, CT 06078 | 860-668-3800 |


Curriculum and Instruction

Dr. James Collin
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum &
Special Services

Ms. Sophia Gintoff
Supervisor of
English language arts
PreK - 12

Ms. Kimberly Loveland
Supervisor of
Mathematics PreK - 12

Dr. Matthew Wlodarczyk
Supervisor of
Science PreK - 12



District Calendar

LMS Parent Login

Virtual Backpacks


CCSS Implementation

The CT State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in May of 2010.  Work in Suffield, to translate the CCSS into curriculum, was initiated during the 2011-2012 school year.  We have made significant progress to fully develop the curriculum with a focus on English language arts and mathematics.  When we refer to a curriculum as fully developed we mean that the standards are organized in to units of study and that those units include a series of lessons plan that guide teachers through the delivery of each lesson.  In addition, the units include a series of assessments that are designed to guide instruction as well as measure a student’s progress toward meeting or exceeding grade level expectations.  This work has materialized in classroom experiences for students as increased reading of nonfiction material, an emphasis on close reading of passages, and requiring students to utilize evidence to support a written argument.  In addition, we have been working with students to ensure that they can apply what they are learning to real life scenarios.  You may hear students talk about the performance based assessments that are administered in English language arts classes or the problem solving requirements and required explanation of their work in mathematics.  If not, ask your child about these experiences and feel free to contact your child’s teacher to learn more.

As you may know, the Suffield Public Schools has three PreK- 12 curriculum supervisors who are instrumental in the design of curriculum and in the support of the instructional shift that are both an integral part of the CCSS.  Please feel free to reach out to them with your questions related to any aspect of your child’s learning experience.  I also invite you to contact me directly.


Instruction Shifts Related to the Desired Learning Outcomes of the
Common Core State Standards


English Language Arts



  • Read texts ranging in text complexity
    • Recall and analyze key ideas and details from a text
    • Evaluate and identify the choices an author makes in a text
    • Understand and appreciate other perspectives and cultures
  • Produce clear and coherent writing and respond effectively to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline
    • Build strong content knowledge through research and study
    • Collaborate with peers
    • Present information using technology and media
    • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English
  • Less whole class, teacher –directed instruction
  • Less student passivity
  • Less one-way transmission of information
  • More active learning
  • More cooperative collaborative activity
  • More discussion of solving strategies among groups and individuals
  • More critical evaluation of the work of others
  • More individualized instruction
  It is important to note that the instructional shifts described above create a new emphasis for students.  The ability to apply knowledge of content and skills to a variety of performance tasks or problem solving scenarios is essential.  These skills are aligned with college and career readiness and success in the 21st century.  

Standards Based Curriculum as the Key to Challenging All Learners


Work is underway in the district to develop the use of standards based reporting as part of the traditional report card students receive.  The standards based addition to the report cards gives parents an improved level of awareness relative to the exact skills and concepts students are working to achieve and their progress to date towards those goals. 


The Status of Standards Based Reporting


A. Ward Spaulding School will be piloting the use of a standards based report this spring.  The intent is to get feedback from parents and incorporate that feedback into a full standards based report card at the start of the 2014-2015 school year.  In addition, grade six is using a standards based reporting tool in English language arts and mathematics this year.  This tool is a supplement to the traditional report card.  The district intends to expand the use of this tool across grade levels and to transition to standards based report cards for grades 3-5 in pilot form during the 2014-2015 school year.


The Transition from CMT/CAPT to the SBAC Field Test


There will be no Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) or Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) assessment this year in English language arts or mathematics.  CMT/CAPT assessments will only be administered in Science in grades 5, 8 & 10.  This is a significant change and the 2014 test administration will include a new assessment for students.

As you may know, the transition to the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has appropriately brought with it a newly developed assessment system.  This assessment system has been developed by a consortium of “28” states and is known as the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or (SBAC).  Beginning in March of 2014 all students in grades 3-8 and 11 will take the Smarter Balanced Field Test (SB-FT).  This test is in its final stages of development, and therefore, assessment data will not be available on an individual student level.

While we would prefer to have individual student data to share, it is not appropriate for SB-FT to share that data at this time due to the need for further refinement of the assessment Factoring out these variances across an entire grade level is possible and therefore the assessment data will be shared in that grade level form.

The SB-FT will be administered through an on-line platform.  This is also quite different from the CMT/CAPT and will require students to process information in an entirely different manner than the paper and pencil method required by CMT/CAPT.  In order to prepare students for this experience, the district is implementing the steps described below.


SB-FT Practice Experiences


In addition to the experiences student have on a day-to-day basis as the CCSS are implemented, the district will be orienting students to the SB-FT digital assessment environment and the tools that they will be using to process the assessment items. 

In grades 3-5, teachers will be providing students with a guided experience through practice problems. Teachers will explain how to input answers as equations and fractions and how to manipulate the different tools used to answer problems such as graphs, plotting points, and dragging correct answers into appropriate boxes.  Students will also have the opportunity to work independently with these tools and on sample problems during these sessions and receive help and feedback from teachers.

In mathematics, students in grades 6 through 11 will practice the Performance Task in collaborative groups and input their answers independently on the practice test using the technology platform.  They will also have a guided experience with practice problems requiring manipulation of graphs, usage of the SBAC provided calculator, and input of fraction, mixed number, and variable answers.

In English language arts in grades 6-11, students will have multiple opportunities to participate in a performance based assessment. This assessment provides students with authentic sources. Students must demonstrate their ability to comprehend and apply those sources to a writing prompt. Additionally, students will have guided experiences on the practice smarter balanced test. This will allow for students to gain greater capacity in how to use and interface with the SBAC platform. Students will learn how to use features of the test like highlight, notepad, selecting more than one response, navigating through responses, and replaying audio and visual components.

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the practice test as well. You can log on as many times as you like. There are different grades (3-8, and 11) and tests to choose from.


Next Curriculum Newsletter

  Please look for our next Curriculum Newsletter in early February, where we will highlight specific example of exciting teaching and learning experiences currently underway across the district.  

Suffield Public Schools
350 Mountain Road, Suffield, CT 06078
Phone: 860-668-3800



Forward this eNotice to a friend.
Unsubscribe from this eNotice.