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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

- Authored by: Joan Reissman

MCAS Science, Biology is not so different after all

by Joan Reissman

Biology is not so different after all

In three weeks, Massachusetts students will be taking the new Next Generation MCAS 2.0 science tests for the first time. The last administration of the old Legacy MCAS Biology test was in February. That was the last test based on the old standards of 2006 and 2016. From now on, Biology and Introductory Physics will be Next-Generation 2.0 tests and will only be given online (unless the school makes a special request for a paper-based test as an accommodation).

There are four different MCAS science tests: Biology, Introductory Physics, Chemistry, and Technology/Engineering. Most students choose Biology (76% in 2019 and 75% in 2021) with Physics a distant second (21% in 2019 and 24% in 2021). Beginning in 2024, the Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests will be eliminated because of low participation rates (3% in 2019, less than 1% in 2021). Only Biology and Introductory Physics will be offered to the class of 2026 and beyond. The last chance to take all four tests will be in June 2023. That will be the last administration of Chemistry and Technology/Engineering. Both tests will be paper-based with 2006 standards.

MCAS Maven’s math hints. Free MCAS Review from JFYNetWorks 24 Critical Standards

by Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

Free MCAS Review from JFYNetWorks

24 Critical Standards

The 10th grade math MCAS begins May 17, just 3 weeks away. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that it’s not too late to review the necessary material to be well prepared. JFYNetWorks has online curriculum that covers the 24 repeated standards and the 32 one-time standards on the Next-Generation MCAS tests. We can provide that curriculum to schools, and train teachers in how to use it, at no cost. We can also pay stipends to teachers for instructional time above and beyond contract hours. If you are interested, send an inquiry to

MCAS Maven’s MCAS Math prep

by Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

Free MCAS Review from JFYNetWorks

The 10th grade math MCAS begins May 17, just 4 ½ weeks away. And one of those weeks is April vacation. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that it’s not too late to review the necessary material to be well prepared. JFYNetWorks has online curriculum and teacher support to help students refresh 9th and 10thgrade math skills. Please read on.

MCAS Returns , New Standards, Old Formats , JFY strategies help students succeed

by Joan Reissman

New Standards, Old Formats

JFY strategies help students succeed

MCAS is back and the 10th grade math test will be here before we know it.

JFYNetWorks has been helping prepare students for MCAS tests for two decades. Working on the curriculum standards throughout the year is the best preparation for MCAS, but we have a few homestretch strategies to help students do their very best on the math MCAS May 17.

The lonely path of innovation–Thinking Differently, Overcoming Obstacles

by Joan Reissman

This is Women’s History Month—a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout history. Women have faced an uphill battle to establish themselves in many careers, especially in the field of science. Even today, women struggle to gain an equal foothold with their male counterparts. Science labs depend on grants, and obtaining grants is highly competitive. Despite the obstacles, many women have made significant contributions in science. Here are some examples.

Celebrating Black Scientists

Bright stars among a vast constellation

by Joan Reissman

Black History Month is a time to contemplate the complex history of Black people in America and Canada. It is a time to celebrate successes and contributions, but it is also a time to acknowledge the obstacles many Black people have had to overcome. This month JFYNetWorks highlights Black scientists. Many people have become aware of Black scientists’ contributions from the movie Hidden Figures and Neal deGrasse Tyson’s books and TV show. The fame of George Washington Carver is long-established. However, there are many Black contributions to science that are hardly known. It would be impossible to cover them all, but I will profile a few breakthroughs and inventions that have become essential parts of modern life.

Cynthia Laroche

Cynthia Laroche, Part II

by Joan Reissman

When you’ve been working with students for a long time, you meet many different personalities. Once in a while, a student stands out. Cynthia Laroche is one of those students.

I first met Cynthia in 2013 when she was a student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Cynthia had only been in America since 2011. When she came here, she spoke English, but it wasn’t her first language. Her father was already in America, but she had to wait a while until her mother could join the family in the United States.

Remembering 911

We promised to NEVER FORGET

JFYNet staff remembering that fateful day.

Paula Paris

September 11, 2001, was a day that changed the narrative of life in the United States as we once knew it. Wars were always fought somewhere else. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the thwarted attack on the mystery target of United Flight 93, changed that narrative irreparably.

Unexpected Lessons of the Pandemic

by Joan Reissman

What We Learned and How Students Benefited

Nobody’s saying the pandemic has been easy. Many families have suffered terrible losses. People have lost loved ones, jobs, homes. Students have felt isolated and disengaged. They’ve missed interaction with their peers. Teachers have felt overwhelmed trying to manage online and in-person students at the same time, forced to do an academic juggling act. But even though the pandemic has exposed many systemic problems, there have been surprising success stories, and some teachers and students have flourished during this time.

Remote learning boosts Kingsman student achievement

by Joan Reissman

A resourceful school turns pandemic necessity into academic virtue

The past 14 months of virus disruption have produced a mediastorm about the many difficulties faced by teachers and students forced to practice remote and hybrid learning, and the resulting learning loss or unfinished learning. Teachers have had to perform a juggling act every time they step into the classroom or log into Zoom. Many commentators have declared remote learning a frustrating failure. But not all users of the medium agree. I have worked this year with a school that figured out how to make remote learning work. The Kingsman Academy Public Charter School in Washington D.C. adapted its program to the necessities of online education and saw its students flourish. As a remote learning consultant to the school, I observed students making exceptional progress.