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Instructional Corner


XtraMath® is a Seattle 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to math achievement for all. Their goal is to develop effective, efficient, adaptive, and intrinsically rewarding supplemental math activities. This program offers students an opportunity to work on their math facts to increase fluency.This free resource can be accessed at 


 Reading English Language Arts

Middle School: PARCC Preparation
1. The PARCC ELA-Literacy assessment is for students in grades 6, 7 and 8. The assessments takes place over three days. Students will complete one Narrative Task, one Literary Analysis Task, and one Research Simulation Task. Students will read a range of texts, including stories, poems, and nonfiction text.
2. The tasks include multiple resources to read, but there is a balance in difficulty. Students will read two or more texts for each section. Typically, if there is a particularly challenging piece, it will connect with a shorter selection. PARCC designers also attempt to balance the length of the readings.
3. Questions include multiple choice items that are in a Part A and Part B format. After reading, students answer a reading comprehension or vocabulary question in Part A and select the best evidence from the text to support their choice in Part B.
4. Each task includes one essay prompt. This is called a Prose Constructed Response, or PCR. Students must type at least three paragraphs and include an answer to the question and evidence to support their answer. The essay should include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. That’s three paragraphs!
5. Assist your student to build reading stamina and to improve their writing by asking them how long they read today and how many paragraphs they wrote. A middle school student should respond: I read (5 or more) pages today and I wrote (at least three) paragraphs in response to this question (ask them to share with you the question).

English 9-12:
Annotation helps students understand material that they read. As students read more complex texts over the years it is increasingly important for them to rely on skills such as annotation to make meaning from the texts they encounter. Please read this blog post for a concise explanation of how we use annotation in the classroom. Ask your child how he/she annotates texts and encourage them to use this method to help comprehend material.

2017-2018 Middle School RELA Vision Statement: 
Students will develop reading, writing, and speaking and listening habits and independently apply strategies they have learned in each of these domains to the PARCC ELA-Literacy assessment as well as to a variety of critical thinking tasks in English and in other middle school subjects.

2017-2018 High School RELA Vision Statement: 
All students will receive a high quality education in English, adjusted to their individual needs, in order to be productive members of society.



One important aspect of ensuring our students are prepared for STEM careers is to take advantage of exciting summer learning opportunities. Please consider having your child experience one of the summer opportunities below:
The Girls Innovation Academy at Salisbury University;
The Naval Academy 2018 SUMMER Seminar for rising seniors (current grade 11 students); or
The United States Naval Academy 2018 SUMMER STEM PROGRAM for rising 9th,, 10th, and 11th graders (current 8th, 9th, and 10th graders)

Elementary Science Vision Statement:
The vision for elementary science in the Dorchester County Public School system is to incorporate sufficient science instructional time into the elementary schedule to ensure all elementary students acquire the science and engineering skills to excel in STEM learning.

Secondary Science Vision Statement:
The vision for secondary science in the Dorchester County Public School system is to design learning opportunities where students are constantly using the Science and Engineering Practices to figure out why or how to ensure all students are prepared to excel in STEM careers. .

 Social Studies


Map Analysis

Map Analysis is used to reinforce basic map reading skills. Students can practice using the questions below with various types of maps located in their Social Studies textbooks/resources. Explanation: There are many types of maps:
●Political Maps-show the location/boundaries of governmental units.
●Physical Maps-show landforms and other important physical features of the earth.
●Population Maps-show where people live and how they live in each area
●Economic Maps-show products or economic activities
●Climate Maps-show average temperature and rainfall Maps can contain a variety of elements such as: Title, compass rose, date, legend/key symbols, map scale, source.

*Model for Analysis:
1. What type of map is this?
2. What does the title mean?
3. Explain which map elements are most important for understanding this map. Explain why?
4. What conclusions can you make about the information on this map?
5. How were you able to interpret the map?

DCPS Social Studies Vision 2017-18
“We will know we have achieved our vision when all DCPS students can evaluate varied historical resources to understand multiple perspectives, effectively communicate and collaborate in diverse communities through various means and think critically in order to analyze the past, engage in the present and transform the future.”


 Test Taking Tip

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
On December 10, 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama. This reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind, provides a long-term, stable federal policy that gives states additional flexibility and encourages states, local school systems, and schools to innovate while at the same time holding all accountable for results. The Maryland State Department of Education worked with the ESSA Stakeholder Committee to participate in the review of the new law and development of Maryland's ESSA Plan.
Maryland Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan Final:
Dorchester 2017 Maryland State Report Card:


 Fine Arts

Practice Tip:
Fine Arts are literacy partners, too!
Students are also learning skills in Fine Arts that will assist them to be successful on PARCC ELA-Literacy assessments in elementary, middle, and high school:
In elementary school: Fine arts students analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
In middle school: Fine arts students analyze how artworks are organized and structured. They show how ideas are developed and refined in individual components or sections such as scenes, acts, movements, or distinct visual passages within a larger whole, so that each part contributes to the unity and understanding of the entire piece.
In high school: Fine Arts students evaluate how individual components such as scenes, acts, movements, or distinct visual passages within a larger whole effectively communicate the artist’s idea and contribute to a unified piece that is convincing and engaging.