Dear Parents and Guardians of Elementary Students:

February 29, 2012

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is being administered to all fourth grade students in the Commonwealth on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. Newton’s dismissal time on Tuesday is normally 12:30 p.m. In order to administer the test at the same time as all of the other schools in Massachusetts, we must extend school hours to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 for all students in grades K through 5. On Wednesday, March 21 school will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. Newton after-school programs have been informed of this change. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this change in the length of school days may cause your family. The Food Service Department will take responsibility for adjusting student lunch choices based on this schedule change. Please note: kindergarten students who are in group A and usually stay in school until 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday will stay until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. On Wednesday, March 21, they will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m.

Students across the Commonwealth are required to take the English Language Arts Long Composition test that must be administered in two sections on Tuesday, March 20. It is recommended by the Department of Education (DOE) that students have 45 minutes to complete each section. However, due to the “untimed” nature of the MCAS tests, the DOE states that students may take up to two additional hours for each test section. Extending the school day on March 20 will give our students the same opportunity as other Massachusetts students to take the test in a reasonable timeframe.

Please contact your building principal if you have questions. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Joseph Russo
Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education

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