Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.... Mansfield 36, Foxboro 0

I hope you and your family have had a happy Thanksgiving!! There is much for all of us to be thankful for...

The Mansfield Hornets beat their Thanksgiving rival, Foxboro HS, 36-0 at Ahern Middle School. Leading the way in his final game was senior Sean Doherty (pictured at the left) who scored an amazing five (count 'em, 5) touchdowns. Sean earned his second straight Don Currivan MVP Award by amassing 136 yards on the ground and 51 yards in the air by catching four Nik Busharis passes. Sean finishes his career as the all-time Hornet rusher, and one of the all-time greats to ever wear the MHS uniform. Great job!

The 9-2 Hornets finished second in the Hockomock. Congrats on yet another successful season!

State Champs Again!!

Pictured above, l to r: Ryan Petrella, Patrick McGowan, Shayne Collins, Brendan Boyle, Jeff Boyle, and Matt Hernon; front: Matt Cioe

Once again, the MHS Boys Cross Country team is the State Division I champions! On Saturday, November 21 the team traveled to western Massachusetts to the hilly Northfield Mountain course. The team edged out Methuen 133 points to 137 points. Leading the way was senior Pat McGowan, who was the individual state champion, with the winning time of 16:5.4 on the challenging 5K course. Also in the top ten were senior Brendan Boyle (8th place) and junior Shayne Collins (9th place) with great times of 16:25.6 and 16:29.3, respectively. Rounding out Mansfield's top five were junior Matt Cioe (69th place) and senior Matt Hernon (105th place).
The MHS harriers were also the state champs in 2008. Congratulations to these outstanding athletes and their fine head coach Julie Collins!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Something New: Student Growth Percentiles

Recently the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a new set of data to all of the Commonwealth's districts and schools. This data, known as Student Growth Percentiles (SGP), serve to quantify how much each student has grown each year as measured by his/her performance on the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) test each spring. One could simply look at a student's performance and score from year to year, but that wouldn't necessarily be a valid judgment, as the relative difficulty of each grade's tests and accompanying cut scores have some variability. Thus, some scale that could judge a student's performance relative to his/her peers is needed. That's exactly what the DOE has created.

It works this way: Say a student scored 240 (Proficient) in the fifth grade on math MCAS test. He takes the math MCAS in the sixth grade, and that performance is compared to all of his peers in the same grade who also scored 240 in the fifth grade. He scores a 242 as a sixth grader (also Proficient), but his SGP is 70, which means he scored in the 70th percentile of his peers (he scored the same/better than 70% of his peers, and 30% of his peers did better than him). Thus, the SGP is a statistical feature that quantifies growth on a 1-100 scale, comparing each student to his/her peers based upon how they did in the previous year.

This is another nice piece of the data collection that schools now possess to ascertain how well students are learning. The DOE has also released median SGP values for individual districts and schools for the MCAS tests in ELA and math in grades 4-8 and 10. Typical growth has a SGP value of 40-60 while high growth is 70 or higher. These values could show that a school with high proficiency rates (achieiving AYP, or adequately yearly progress) is not growing, a low-performing school is showing growth, or something in between. When the DOE announced the new SGP data, they highlighted the schools that showed significant growth from 2008 to 2009. Many of these schools are in urban settings.

For more information on SGP data, click here. For the Mansfield SGP data, click here. If you will note, the median SGP for the Mansfield High School grade 10 ELA is 60 and grade 10 math is 63. These percentiles show the growth that last year's sophomores (the class of 2011) have made since they took the test as 8th graders in 2007. As a school community, we are pleased that we have demonstrated some growth while maintaining high proficiency rates (94% in ELA, 89% in math, and 86% in science).

SGP data for individual students has been released to schools but not to parents. Parent reports will include SGP data starting with the spring 2010 administration.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Bulldog Challenge

On November 14, 2009, two teams of four students went to Bryant University in Smithfield, RI for the day to compete in the Bull Dog Challenge. This business education event, hosted by Bryant University, gives students interested in business the opportunity to compete against other high schools. There were ten high school teams from MA, RI and CT in the competition. The event started at 8:30 am with a briefing from one of the professors at Bryant. Teams were then taken into rooms where they were presented with the Harvard Review case study. Students and their Bryant University student adviser (the adviser and MHS business teacher Judy Foley were only there to facilitate) worked through a grueling analysis of the case for four hours. During this time, students had to develop a strategy and a PowerPoint of their strategic recommendation of what the company should do. Students then had to present their recommendations to Bryant professors and alumni.

One of our teams won the event. This team consisted of four juniors from Mansfield High School, pictured above (l to r), Amanda Eardley, Josh Marohn, Megan Cavanaugh and James Parsons. This was an amazing experience for these fine students, as they had the opportunity to visit the campus, meet professors, work with Bryant University students and faculty. It was an outstanding event for all students who participated. Thanks to Mrs. Foley and congratulations to these students for their great work!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Annual Leaf Raking Project

Once again, many Mansfield students stepped up and gave back to the community by participating in the annual Leaf Raking Project this past Veteran's Day, 11/11. Over 225 students from MHS and QMS cleaned the yards of 31 households, mostly those of elderly residents. Many thanks to the Mansfield Police and the Mansfield Council on Aging who partnered with us to make this worthwhile event once be successful. Also, thank you to local landscapers Kevin Guerrini, Sean Flynn, Shawn McGuire, Herb Prew, Pete Presentato, and Aaron Fine for assisting with the cleanup and leaf disposal. A special thanks to MHS Nurse Extraordinaire Donna Harrington for organizing this day once again... Great job, Donna!