LHS plans parent meetings with principal in advance of NECAP retake results

LHS plans parent meetings with principal in advance of NECAP retake results

LINCOLN - While Rhode Island school administrators and 12th-graders anxiously await the release of the New England Common Assessment Program test retake scores - which must show improvement to allow a student to graduate - Lincoln High School Principal Kevin McNamara has already scheduled 50 meetings for students and parents to receive the results together.

Results will be released to school officials on or around Jan. 25, so meetings are scheduled for Jan. 28, McNamara said. Results for seniors will be made public by the end of January, and results for all school levels will be released in mid-February. Students will hear either a "yes" or "not yet," McNamara said at a School Committee meeting on Jan. 13, while they meet with McNamara and their parents, who will be there in person or over the phone.

"It's got to be a personal touch because this is such a big, big deal," he said.

Supt. Georgia Fortunato said this process has been established to ensure information is shared with respect and dignity.

She explained that McNamara has already met with teachers and guidance counselors at the school to prepare them for the support that some students will need following the release of scores.

"Communication has already started," she said. "This is very important. This is high stakes."

Current seniors have taken the NECAP in October 2012, and again in October 2013. The third attempt can be taken in early March 2014.

For those students who previously missed partial proficiency on NECAP and retook the exam without required improvement, the following options are available, Curriculum Director Caroline Frey reported:

* Meet required score on other Rhode Island Department of Education-approved tests: the ACCUPLACER, which is used at Community College of Rhode Island to see if enrolling students are ready for college-level work; or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which has career pieces and reading, writing and math standards.

RIDE also lists COMPASS, ACT, PSAT, SAT, SAT subject tests, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate Diploma Program among alternative tests.

* Meet the criteria for a waiver, which can potentially include meeting proficiency otherwise with good grades, or completing a portfolio.

* Acceptance into a 2- or 4-year non-open enrollment accredited higher education institution, which does not include the open-enrollment CCRI.

* Acceptance into national community service programs AmeriCorps or City Year.

Testing for alternative exams will take place Feb. 4, McNamara said, both for seniors who need to pass one to graduate and for juniors who may be in danger of not passing NECAP by graduation time, "so we have it in the bank," he explained.

Just as he did last year with all juniors who earned a 1, McNamara said he plans to meet personally with every junior who receives a 1 this year.

"I think being proactive is really key," McNamara said. "This is a new wrinkle. We don't know how kids are going to react to that."

School Committee Vice Chairwoman Mary Anne Roll said the waiver if accepted into a two- or four-year college that does not include CCRI "troubles me," because students did not have the information sooner than this December. Perhaps more juniors will apply to college next year, she said, but seniors this year that did not realize an acceptance letter could be a ticket to graduation may be out of luck.

She said she is concerned about kids losing motivation once they near the end of the year and realize they may not graduate.

"I worry about these kids," she said. "Will they drop out in March if they see the writing on the wall?"