Michael J. Allen

Class of 2015 - 2016

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May 16th

 

MCAS Science and the City wide Fifth-grade concert

Hello,

I have a professional duty to inform you of a scheduling dilemma that effects our students.

The Medford Music Department have a scheduled performance for Fifth graders planned for May 18th at various times, including performances beginning as late as 7:00pm on that evening.

May 18th and 19th are the dates for the Fifth grade Science MCAS at the Brooks.

We have been working on Science all year. The results of these and other MCAS tests will be used, not only to inform students and parents, but also the results are used to judge teachers and schools.

Currently the Brooks is considered an under-performing school, according to the administration, on various MCAS parameters.

The Science MCAS is very demanding, the first test of its type the students have ever experienced. Typically, the students will need to answer three open-response questions in the second test session. Each open-response question takes thirty to forty-five minutes for a good student to complete.

After the first test session concludes on Wednesday, the students need a healthy meal, some exercise and a review period of the material that was not covered in the first test session. They need a peaceful evening with the family and an early night. If the students come into school, calm, relaxed, well rested and prepared then they will perform to a good level on the second test.

Taking part in a concert on that Wednesday night is the exact opposite of what is needed to attain good test performance. Concerts are stressful, go on late, are difficult to shake off - people often find it hard to get to sleep after a performance – and lead to tired students in school the next day who are extremely likely to ‘under perform’.

 

I’ve brought this up with Mr. Simon who was going to contact his superiors about the situation. As for me, it is my duty after working assiduously with your children all year aiming to be successful in these tests, as in all their school experience, to make you aware of the situation, explain my perspective and put the choice of how to respond in your hands.

I have no idea why this unfortunate scheduling happened – but, since I am one of the teachers to be judged by these tests, I am writing to offer my opinion: that you do not allow your child to participate in this concert.

I recognize that the students have been working hard on their music material all year and their teachers have been doing their best to lead towards this concert – but why is the concert placed right in the middle of the Science MCAS?

In an ideal world, the concert would be rescheduled for any time after May 24th when the MCAS period ends. With any luck, Mr. Simon will be able to resolve the situation by persuading the Concert organizers to change their schedule. If not, then the choice will be yours, dear parent group!

 

Mike Allen