Coffee and Convo

    No subject is off limits -- well, maybe the superintendent's age and ....  ;-)

    Tuesday, January 7, 2020 from 3:30pm to 4:30pm (date change from 1/8/20)
    Wednesday, February 12, 2020 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm (ADDED)
    Thursday, March 19, 2020 from 9:00am to 10:00am
    Tuesday, May 26, 2020 from 3:15pm to 4:15pm (on the playground)



    Soar higher together


    Dear Wilbur and McMahon School Community,

    Welcome to the 2019/20 school year. It is an honor to be a part of educating and nurturing Little Compton's most precious resource — our children, as they grow and develop into their best and highest selves.

    Our first week went smoothly on the school side, but transporation glitches (apologies to all who were affected) tested everyone's patience; yesterday, I met with First Student's Location Manager for over an hour. Staff changes and tweaks to some of the bus routes threw off bus-stop times and wreaked havoc with our families. The bus yard, drivers and monitors did get a handle on the majority of issues by the end of school today. I thank First Student for their ongoing commitment to safety and reliability, and I thank each of you for your forbearance. Let's all look forward to a better week on those buses! 

    As your school superintendent, I am committed to building on and advancing the academic rigor, curriculum relevance, and healthy relationships that Wilbur McMahon is known for. This work requires the participation of the entire school community as we live our shared commitment to educational excellence. What does educational excellence look like? Well, as always, I see it as a three-ingredient mix consisting of school Safety, student Engagement, and student Achievement. As Little Compton is a town surrounded by the sea, I have come to call our shared mission to further advance Wilbur McMahon School our shared SEA of objectives. Please take a peek (below) at some of the innovations added to our school during the last school year (2018/19), and join me -- along with district and school staff, as we kick-start another spectacular year of learning and growth. Please note: my door is always open, my contact information is below, and stay tuned for the dates/times/locations of the monthly gatherings that I will be hosting "Coffee and Conversation with the Superintendent."  I will have tea, too, if you are so inclined!  




    Choose Love Training, all staff - grades 7 and 8

    Open Circle,  training for specialists and support staff

    Additional Walkie Talkies and Centralized Charging Station

    Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training for Support Staff

    Upgrade of Fire Stop Materials throughout the school facility

    Upfront Funding for Renovations/Safety Upgrades to the building  (40% reimbursement)

    Water System Consultant - Completion of an Operations and Maintenance Plan (EPA funded)

    Youth Mental Health First Aid Course (8 hours)  offered to staff and community members (Bradley Hospital)

    BOKS Pilot (Building on Kids Success)

    $50,000 Grant Long-Range Capital Improvement Plan

    Upgraded Dismissal Procedures (safety protocols in place)

    Logistics Module activated and populated in ASPEN

    Locked Doors at All Times (all entrances and classrooms)

    Main Office Reconfiguration for ease of access /improved work-flow

    Building-Wide Emergency Communication System put into place

    Blackout Shades/All Interior Glazing

    AED Signs Throughout School

    All Staff CPR/First Aid/AED Certified, including many substitute teachers and assistants

    Restorative Practices Training for Counselor/Social Worker

    Investigation Training for WMS Admin Team

    Title IX Training/Certification HR Director

    Chains/stanchions added across WMS exterior access points on east and west side

    Active-shooter training continuation (ALICE) with LCPD and LCFD

    Choking protocols signage added to cafeteria

    Blackboard Connect Texting Feature for real-time communicaion with stakeholders


    Principal's Weekly Update for Families

    Updated Website (Curriculum CentralScoop.it)

    One School, One Book for all staff: The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton

    Island Moving Company Partnership: Nutcracker performance

    Island Moving Company Partnership: Text into Movement

    Island Moving Company Partnership: Math into Movement

    Master Gardener Course at URI - Two WMS Staff members/Oasis Committee members completed the course

    CORE Partnership: Who Am I

    CORE Partnership: Art Courses

    Superintendent's Monthly Coffee & Conversation gatherings for stakeholders

    Newport Gulls Partnership (health/wellness program and camp scholarships for students)

    Principal's Daily Update for Staff

    WMS PST Incorporated on state level

    BoardDocs implementation

    School Garden Mentor (URI Master Gardener)


    National Geographic Geo Bee and Scripps Spelling Bee participation

    Professional Development for teachers across the content areas

    Numerous guest speakers/trips in the field for students in all grade levels

    ZAP - Zeros Aren't Permitted implemented in our middle school 

    Food Service Dashboard (Expedited Eligibility); good nutrition means better learning

    Addition of Sonic Steamer to food services program (grant funds and local funds) 

    International Baccalaureate Research Phase - three site visits (parents, staff, administrators, School Committee)

    Approval for WMS Leadership Team:

      (Coaches/Coordinators in ELA, Social Studies, Math, Science)

    ASPEN Scheduling Module activated and populated (automated scheduling of students/staff)

    High School Transition for 8th Graders, College/Career Counselor

    Participation in Lion's Club Educator Recognition Program

    Chromebooks for All Support Staff (and training)

    Staff serving as Senior Project Judges at Portsmouth HS, Class of 2019

    REAP Grant (Chromebook cart for WMS Library)

    FUSE RI Partner District - Cohort 5 (Our teachers are loving the FUSE framework!)

    Dr. Laurie Dias-Mitchell
    Superintendent of Schools
    Little Compton School Department
    28 Commons
    Little Compton, RI  02837
    Email: ldias-mitchell@lcsd.k12.ri.us
    Office: 401-592-0363
    Cell: 401-542-1116

    ARCHIVED CONTENT from 2019 School Year
    RICAS bits and bytes (Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System) 
    Dear WMS Families,

    The news is in regarding RICAS 2018, and Rhode Island has a lot of work to do.  At WMS, each grade level achieved above the state average in ELA and Math -- and that puts us in a rock-solid position for future growth. WMS is ranked in the top 25% (aggregated data) of all public schools in the state. This is a good start -- in spite of the fact that RICAS is the third summative assessment in Rhode Island in just four years (NECAP 2014; PARCC 2015, 2016, 2017; RICAS 2018). This constant change is confusing for educators and students and is surely counter-productive. Massachusetts has taught and tested to the same summative assessment for 20 years  (MCAS), and this consistency has paid off.  Below are some questions and answers (from the Rhode Island Department of Education) to guide your review of your student’s Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (or RICAS) score report.

    Why does this score look different from years past?

    The test your child took in the 2017-2018 school year – the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) – is different from the test used in prior years. Last year was the first year of the RICAS, which will now give our state a direct comparison with student performance in Massachusetts. Rhode Island learning standards remained the same, but the expectations are higher on the RICAS, so you may see changes from how your child has performed in the past.

    Why did Rhode Island change tests?

    Massachusetts is considered not only a national leader, but also a global leader in education, and we want to position Rhode Island to have the same kind of long-term, consistent strategy around public education. To do that well, we need to be able to directly compare student performance. Testing time for RICAS is also a little shorter than our previous test, which is good news for students and teachers.

    What is a growth score?

    When you transition to a different test, and especially a more challenging test, a direct year-over-year comparison becomes impossible. The growth score can help you make sense of how your child performed. Basically, it shows how your child performed on RICAS compared to his or her peers who scored similarly on the PARCC in previous years. A Student Growth Percentile (SGP) describes your child’s learning over time compared with his or her peers, that is, other students who had similar scores on previous state tests. An SGP is a number between 1 (least growth) and 99 (most growth). If, for example, your child has an SGP of 80, we can say your child showed more growth than 80 percent of his or her academic peers.

    What will my child’s school do with this information?

    Test scores are only one measure of student performance, but teachers can learn more about your child’s academic needs with these results. RICAS provides objective feedback on your child’s progress through elementary and secondary school grades. When students are

    What can I do with this information?

    Reach out and talk to your child’s teachers about the results. Set up a meeting, so you can discuss how you and your child’s school team can support his or her academic goals. At home, talk to your child about his or her day at school to reinforce the material being learned. Make school attendance a priority every day, establish daily reading routines in your home, and stay connected to your child’s school. Children whose families stress the value of education are more likely to find it important, as well.

    Warmest regards,

    Water test results

    Dear WMS Community,

    Below, please find the notice that we are required, by law,  to provide the school community regarding water-test results.  For further information, feel  free to contact me and/or contact the Rhode Island Department of Health at 401-592-0363.  For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit the EPA's web site at www.epa.gov/lead, or call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or contact your health provider.


    Winter bits and bytes 
    Dear Little Compton Families,

    The winter season is upon us. Snowy conditions are a welcome treat for those who love winter sports, but they can wreak havoc when it comes to work and school routines.  I am aware that my decision to open or close our school in bad weather affects the entire school community, and I also understand that our students are better served -- both academically and socially -- by being in school. However, as always, the top priority is the safety of our students and staff. 

    The decision to cancel school or enact a delayed start will happen by 5:30am and will be based on the following information:  weather factors (road conditions, amount of snow and ice accumulated, ongoing precipitation); building conditions (such as whether we have electricity and heat); campus conditions (bus drop-off area, sidewalks); weather predictions (it is preferable to avoid making a decision based on weather predictions --which are not always accurate, but sometimes this is unavoidable).

    Another point of consideration is the actions of neighboring school districts. Throughout the evening, I communicate regularly with the other East Bay superintendents, in particular Portsmouth, as that is where our Little Compton high school students matriculate. I am also in constant contact with our Head Custodian, who works closely with the Little Compton Public Works Department and the Little Compton Police and Fire Departments.

    When it comes to our children and staff, a safe commute to and from school takes priority over all other decisions. This means, bus runs may run late at times due to changing conditions or delays on specific roads. In addition, there are times when an early release of school is required due to an emerging storm that could impact the safety of students and staff. We will make sure we communicate with you throughout the process. Any delay, cancellation, or early release will be on our web page and also communicated through our emergency notification system, Blackboard Connect. These will also be broadcast on most media sites through the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association Closing Network.

    Although I will do my absolute best in this process, I know that often no perfect decision exists.
    I hope this explanation brings some clarity to how weather-related decisions are made. 

    Warmest regards during these wintry months,