SOUTH KINGSTOWN - On Tuesday, the South Kingstown School Committee met with educators and members of the public to analyze the new high-leverage policy that was passed in June. The committee members divided into four groups and, along with educators from the district, discussed how each group interprets the new policy, how progress can be measured, and what limitations students might face in achieving specific learning outcomes.
“We want all stakeholders to have input at different points of development as well as implementation,” said Pauline Lisi, assistant superintendent. “What we do tonight will help us understand what we want our children to do.”
The arts and culture table included Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow, committee member Stephen Mueller, and visual arts, drama, world language and music teachers. This group faced specific issues in regards to measuring progress.
“If a student can’t sing on pitch, we don’t say, ‘sorry, but you can not move on to the third grade’,” said one of the district music teachers. “It is very important that we do not turn into that”.
After much discussion, the group decided that when it comes to arts and culture classes, the students’ participation and involvement is the only way to measure progress.
“If our achievement policy were fully realized, students would have access to world language, dance, (visual arts), and theater pre-k to 12(th grade),” said Stringfellow, reporting out for the group. “It came more easily to us that there were ways to demonstrate proficiency. They are not demonstrating proficiency...age three to high school should have exposure and experience.”
Other educators in subjects such as math, science, and literacy decided that the best ways to measure student progress are through more quantitative markers such as test scores, graduation rates, senior portfolio presentations and content, and survey answers. Only the group of educators at the literacy table cited standardized test scores as a viable marker of progress.