Common Themes from the PARCC Summit

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PARCC Summit.001Over 500 educators and school technology professionals attended the Massachusetts PARCC Summit in Burlington on December 4. The event included a keynote from Commissioner Mitchell Chester and sessions designed to help prepare schools for implementing the digital PARCC assessments. Members of the Burlington, Revere, and Boston Public Schools presented about their experiences with the 2014 PARCC Field Tests. Several other sessions were presented by members of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Several common themes were evident throughout the day. These are important factors to consider when planning for the digital PARCC assessments.

– Regardless of your plans for PARCC, districts must commit to making decisions about technology that focus on instructional goals first. This message was highlighted by presenters from Burlington and Revere. Unfortunately, it is clear that many districts are feeling pressure to prepare for online assessments and that pressure is guiding their decisions about technology purchasing. There is no perfect PARCC device. There is no perfect device for instructional use. Schools must consider many factors beyond PARCC when deciding what to purchase.

– PARCC implementation takes a team effort. Members of the Burlington and Revere teams discussed how collaboration and planning was key to the success of their field tests. The planning required significant time and flexibility on the part of IT departments, administrators, and teachers.

– Some school departments that were not involved in MCAS (or other standardized tests) may now be heavily involved in PARCC implementation. This includes student information departments and is most evident for technology teams. Technology staff will need to work collaboratively with educational staff in order to implement the assessments effectively. This again requires a team effort. It is clear that the implementation of PARCC in Burlington and Revere was a direct result of the partnership between technology and educational teams.

– Don’t prepare for PARCC in isolation. Seek the support of other districts. Collaborative efforts between school districts will help create more successful and less stressful implementations. School leaders should try to connect with others who are have already implemented a field test or those who are planning to in 2015. We work in isolation far too often in education. This isolation needs to break down in order to support the instructional growth of our schools and the implementation of PARCC.

Finally and perhaps most importantly – all of these common themes are actually best practices for anything related to creating the best educational environments in our schools. These are actions that should be in place all the time – not just during the implementation of PARCC.

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4 thoughts on “Common Themes from the PARCC Summit

    Maureen LaCroix said:
    December 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    The PARCC Summit was such an exciting event with extraordinary collaboration. Special thanks to both Burlington and Revere for partnering with DESE to offer this learning opportunity. Let’s keep sharing best practices to move forward the digital learning agenda. Kudos to Dennis Villano, a visionary leader who did so much to make this day possible. And special thanks to Superintendent Conti for hosting the event.

    Maureen LaCroix, DESE

      Dennis Villano responded:
      December 5, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      Thank you Maureen. Your comment is greatly appreciated. We enjoyed hosting the event and look forward to collaborating with districts during their PARCC implementation.

      Thanks as well to everyone who attended the PARCC Summit. We hope that the day was beneficial.

    Mary Madden said:
    December 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I felt that yesterday’s workshop was very beneficial. I appreciate Revere, Burlington, and Boston sharing their experiences. I am very happy that I attended. Mary Madden, Plymouth

      Dennis Villano responded:
      December 5, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      That’s great to hear Mary! Thank you for attending the event.

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