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Side by Side is a regional public charter school located in the heart of downtown South Norwalk. As specified in our charter, our integrated student population reflects the diversity of our surrounding community. The 235 students of Side by Side, grades Pre-K through 8th, represent several surrounding Connecticut towns and cities.

Like all charter schools, Side by Side functions independently from any local or traditional public school system. At Side by Side, our innovative approaches toward education allow us to actively and equally involve parents, teachers, and students in our day-to-day operations.

March 3, 2014

Dear SBS Families,

Beginning this spring, standardized testing for children in CT and across the country will look very different than in recent years. 2014 will be a pilot year for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortiums (SBAC). The SBAC is an assessment that is aligned with the newly adopted Common Core Standards that will be administered to all students in grades 3-8. In addition, Side By Side students in grades 5 and 8 will also be taking the Science CMT just as they have in previous years.

The SBAC field test, like the CMT, will have a multiple choice and short answer component, but will also consist of a multi-step performance task that includes a teacher led activity and the creation of a “real world” product. It is important to note however, that the spring 2014 testing is a pilot test, since the common core curriculum does not fully go into effect until next year. This just means that the creators of the assessment are testing the system to ensure successful implementation for future test administrations, beginning in spring 2015. Thus, we can think of the spring assessments as a practice run, in order to give teachers and students a chance to become familiar with the new testing format, and allow our school leadership to create schedules and systems that will ensure that testing will go smoothly. Although it is a pilot and will not “count” on your child’s transcript, it is important that we help our students take these new assessments seriously in order to fully benefit from the opportunities given in a practice year.

On Thursday, April 10th, Side by Side will be hosting another evening parent forum to explain in greater detail the new assessments and how they will be impacting teaching and learning at Side by Side. We hope to see you there!

Sincerely,



Mr. Nittoly