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Instructional Corner


Agile Mind
Agile Mind is an online textbook/resource in our middle schools that engages students in authentic applications of mathematics. To access the DCPS Agile Mind website go to: Every child has an individual login that they should know. If not, please contact the Instructional Mathematics Coach at your child’s middle school.

Agile Mind’s mathematics programs for grade 6, 7, and 8 provide powerful foundations in ratios, proportionality, and algebraic and geometric thinking. Students using graphing technology, manipulatives, and other mathematics tools to develop conceptual understanding as they tackle and solve interesting problems. Students will:
• Strengthen their understanding of key mathematical operations and use equivalent fractions as a basis for understanding ratios and proportional reasoning
• Begin formal work with expressions and equations as they use variables to represent relationships and solve problems
• Develop their understanding of variables from two perspectives—as placeholders for specific values and as sets of values represented in algebraic relationships •
Gain fluency with geometric concepts, such as area, surface area, and volume

PARCC Practice Tests
PARCC has provided sample practice tests for grades 3 – 8, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II on the following website: In addition to practicing sample questions, this website allows students to practice with specific tools that will be available to them for the assessment. These tools include rulers (inch and centimeter), protractors, and an eliminator (allows students to strike through answers that may be incorrect).

Khan Academy
Khan Academy offers practice exercises and instructional videos to help learners study outside of the classroom. For more information, you can access their website at


 Reading English Language Arts

Encourage students to read with a purpose by asking them one or more questions before they read for information. This focus will allow them to know what main ideas and supporting details are critical to know to understand the text and to learn something new. For example, when a student is reading an article, ask them a question before reading: Who?, What?, When?, and/or Where? Include a question about one or more new vocabulary terms during reading. After reading, ask the student a Why? or a How? question so they can demonstrate what they learned!

Writing is a central skill to student success in every content area. Keep the Purdue University O.W.L. website handy for tips and guidance to improve your writing skills.

RELA strategy:
How can you assist your child to ‘ACE’ writing? The Answer, Cite, and Explain strategy (ACE) can be used to assist students to organize their ideas and to include enough evidence and explanation to support their answer. On PARCC assessments, students complete three writing tasks and this one strategy allows students to follow a predictable pattern to clearly show what they know!
RELA image 2

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.



Discovery Education Science Techbook™ The foundational science textbook for our elementary and middle school students is the Discovery Education Science Techbook™. The Science Techbook™ is a digital textbook allowing students to access real-world science phenomena, which serves as the foundation of their learning in the science classroom. The Discovery Education Science Techbook™ coincides with the type of instruction needed to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This digital resource is also a valuable tool to guide teachers in creating lessons that coincide with the expectations of the NGSS. All Dorchester County elementary and middle school students can access the Science Techbook™ from any digital device. The link to our Dorchester County specific Discovery Education portal is below.
Discovery Education Science Techbook

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.

The 2018 Dorchester County Public Schools Middle School STEM Festival is scheduled to be held on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at South Dorchester School. Please plan to join us at 6:00 pm to participate in fun STEM activities prior to the announcement of winners at 6:45 pm.
STEM Flyer

 Social Studies

Reading Primary Source Documents-Image Analysis

As students are reading primary source documents, there are several steps they should consider:
1. Silent Look-Take a moment to look at the image as if you were a detective, making note of as many details as possible.
2. Describe-In this step of the process, you are only making statements of fact. What do you see? Who do you see?
3. Analyze & Interpret/Infer-This is the point where you consider the “what and why” of it all. Based on your descriptive facts, what can you interpret?
4. Reflect-What does this image mean to you? How does it make you feel? What have you learned by looking at this image?

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

Throughout their academic career, all students will take standardized tests, including an annual state test to measure how well they are progressing in the skills and content at each grade level.

Tests can open doors to many great opportunities in life, including college, scholarships and professional careers. For many students, however, standardized tests can bring a lot of stress and anxiety.

Here are some resources to help you better understand what your child is learning and some simple things you can do at home to help him or her feel less anxious and more prepared for the PARCC test.

FIND OUT THE FACTS. To start, students will take the test sometime between March 7 and June 10(check with your child’s school for exact dates) and it will be broken down into three to four units in each subject. Students will typically take one or two units on any given day. Depending on the grade level and subject, students will have up to 110 minutes to complete each unit, though many will finish in much less time. In 2014, students took a field test to determine how much time was needed to finish each section. Once that time was determined, additional time was added to ensure all students had ample time. For more information about the PARCC test, visit and talk to your child’s principal and teachers.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE PRACTICE TEST. This will help you better understand how the test is aligned to classroom work and see the types of reading, math and writing questions your child will be answering. You may want to walk through the test with your child to help familiarize him or her with the test format and features and answer any questions. To see a practice test, visit You can also see questions from last year’s PARCC test at

KNOW WHAT YOUR CHILD SHOULD BE LEARNING IN ENGLISH AND MATH. To find out the learning expectations of your child’s grade level in both subjects, take a look at the PTA Parents’ Guide to Success at which gives descriptions of the skills and knowledge your child is expected to gain every year. You can also see samples of what your child’s writing should look like in every grade at

USE YOUR CHILD’S TEST RESULTS FROM LAST YEAR TO IDENTIFY AREAS WHERE HE OR SHE MIGHT NEED ADDITIONAL SUPPORT. Talk with your child’s teachers to see what types of supplemental activities you can do at home. Find activities that match your child’s performance in both subjects in the Be a Learning Hero Skill Builder at

PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! Homework is a great way to reinforce the skills and content your child learns everyday in the classroom and that the test measures. In addition to the state test, it is another measure you can use to see how well your child is progressing throughout the year. To get homework help in both subjects, visit For sample problems and questions along with solutions and answers, visit


 Fine Arts

Practice Tip:
Perfect practice makes perfect. Many students prepare for music auditions by preparing at home and at school. The week before an audition:
• Practice everything for your audition EVERYDAY
• Don’t over practice
• Memorize ALL 6 scales being asked (percussion- flams, paradiddles, and long roll; played slow-fast-slow)
• RECORD YOURSELF playing the solo. Listen to your recording as you follow along in the music. Do this at least once a day.
• DYNAMICS and ARTICULATIONS can be the difference between making it and not (less than half of students auditioning on each instrument will be chosen)
• Practice sight reading using any old or unplayed music you have at home.
• Relax! You have worked really hard and already became a better musician. Keep striving to be your best and be proud of yourself.

Fine Arts Vision Statement 2017-2018
Dorchester County Public Schools will provide Fine Arts instructional programs that appropriately challenge ALL students to become well-rounded consumers, producers, and advocates for the arts.