Teaching and Learning
The Falmouth Public Schools works tirelessly to develop meaningful, engaging, and relevant opportunities for student learning. As such, our coordination of learning experiences and requisite pedagogy remains a focus of sustained professional learning. Our teacher leadership network, known as Grade Level Leaders, meet monthly and serve as liaisons between the Office of Teaching and Learning and their grade level colleagues at their schools. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requires public schools throughout the state to design curricula in alignment with curriculum frameworks, which articulate learning objectives for students at each grade. While the standards help districts determine what students will know and be able to do by the end of the school year, the district retains the autonomy to determine how these learning objectives are met.
Some students receive additional instruction based on specific needs. This would include students diagnosed with a learning or physical disability, English learners, and students in need of academic intervention. These services are provided by specialists certified to instruct these specific and individualized areas.
The calendar of district events can be found on our website www.falmouth.k12.ma.us. The school year runs 185 days including an additional five (5) days in case of school closings for weather or other emergencies. Any of the five (5) days not necessary to cover emergencies will be dropped from the calendar at the end of the school year.
The year is divided into three (3) marking periods with report cards issued at the end of each. A marking period consists of approximately sixty (60) days. Morse Pond School runs on a six-day rotation. A cycle might start on Wednesday and run Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The next six-day cycle would start on Thursday and run through the next Thursday. The purpose of the six-day cycle is to create a rotation relative to the days of the week so that, for instance, Monday holidays don’t interfere with the same classes. Students and teachers will be reminded each day that it is Day A, B, C, D, E, or F. Early release days are not counted as letter days.
Academic Support Services
Morse Pond School has a wealth of services available to students. We also have volunteers (VIPS) available for a myriad of supports. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the assistant principal’s office at (508 548-7300 ext. 403). You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Human Sexuality Curriculum
The Health Teacher will send a notice home with students prior to the start of this unit. Materials will be made available for parents/guardians to review.
Report Cards and Parent/Guardian Conferences
Progress reports are issued when needed. Report cards are issued three (3) times per year in grades five and six. Special Education progress reports are also issued with regular report cards during the year. These reports are provided to inform both you and your child about progress being made. They serve as a formal record of progress and help facilitate communication between the home and the school.
Report cards are not a substitute for parent/guardian conferences. Conferences may be scheduled at any time of the year when a parent/guardian or teacher believes it would be in the best interest of the student. Formal conferences with parents/guardians will be scheduled at least once a year. Conferences provide two-way reporting: parent/guardian-to-teacher and teacher-to-parent/guardian. Please refer to your child’s school calendar for scheduled parent/guardian conference dates.
Teaching About Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, and Vaping
In accordance with state and federal law, the District shall provide age-appropriate, developmentally appropriate, evidence-based alcohol, tobacco, nicotine products, and drug prevention education programs in grades K-12. The alcohol, tobacco, and drug prevention program shall address the legal, social, and health consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, with emphasis on nonuse by school-age children. The program also shall include information about effective techniques and skill development for delaying and abstaining from using, as well as skills for addressing peer pressure to use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. The objectives of this program, as stated below, are rooted in the Committee’s belief that prevention requires education, and that the most important aspect of the policies and guidelines of the District should be the education of children and youth on healthy decision making:
- To prevent, delay, and/or reduce alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, and drug use among children and young adults.
- To increase students’ understanding of the legal, social, and health consequences of alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, drug use and vaping.
- To teach students self-management skills, social skills, negotiation skills, and refusal skills that will help them to make healthy decisions and avoid alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, drug use and vaping.
The curriculum, instructional materials, and outcomes used in this program shall be recommended by the Superintendent with support from the School Committee. This policy shall be posted on the district’s website and notice shall be provided to all students and parents/guardians in accordance with state law.
The Falmouth Public Schools’ Office of Teaching and Learning coordinates the district’s assessment efforts. Among the assessments it administers are both formative, benchmark check ins to look at progress and provide meaningful feedback and summative measures to assess student growth and achievement across the curriculum. On occasion, some assessments are used to determine if learning difficulties are present. The Falmouth Public Schools benchmark assessments measure students’ reading and mathematics skills three times per year: fall, winter, and spring. Our assessment system, Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST), provides valuable information to help determine students’ areas of strength and areas for growth.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) also requires annual testing. The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is the annual test administered to students in grades 5 and 6. Students are assessed in the areas of English/Language Arts & Literacy and Mathematics. Testing schedules will be shared with parents/guardians once they are established. DESE does not allow for students and/or their parents/guardians to opt out of state testing. In accordance with guidance from DESE, students who refuse to take an MCAS test may remain in the testing room as long as they are sitting quietly and are not interfering with other students. Part of the school’s annual accountability rating is tied to students’ participation rate in as well as performance on the MCAS series at each grade level. Parents/guardians should contact their child’s teacher or principal if they have additional questions regarding state testing.