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Words to Know


Absence: A day when a child does not show up for school due to illness.

Academic: Having to do with school subjects such as reading, writing, math, social studies, and science.

Academic Probation:  A student can receive this if they fail to keep up with their school's academic minimums.

ACCESS: The test that measures the English proficiency of ELL students.

Accommodation: A different way of doing something that takes into account a student's disability. For example, when a student with a visual impairment studies by listening to a recording of a textbook, the student is using an accommodation. Accommodations are changes in how a student is taught or tested. Accommodations do not change the requirements of a course or the standards the student must meet.

Administration: The people in charge of a school. (Principal, Vice Principal, Teachers)

April Vacation: The week of vacation that begins with Patriot’s Day which is the third Monday of April.

APP: A program for an IPAD or IPhone that may be free or may be purchased.

Assessment: A way of collecting information about what a student knows and can do and what a student still needs to learn. Assessments may include giving tests, observing the student, and looking at the student's portfolio or work samples.

Assistant Principal: A member of the Administration who helps the Principal.

Athletics: The sports available at school.

Athletic Director: The person in charge of sports for a school.

Attendance: A list of students who are in school on a particular day. The record of the number of days that a child attended school.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A person who has an autism spectrum disorder has trouble communicating and interacting with others. The person may also repeat patterns of behaviors and activities. In order to qualify for programs and services for students with autism spectrum disorder, a student must meet all the requirements.

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS): Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) is often referred to as "playground English" or "survival English." It is the basic language ability required for face-to-face communication where linguistic interactions are embedded in a situational context called context-embedded language.

Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): A plan that helps a student with a disability reduce their problem behaviors. The BIP includes strategies the student will be taught that will allow them to stop the problem behaviors or replace them with other behaviors. The BIP also explains how to determine the student's progress in reducing the problem behavior.

Bicultural: Identifying with the cultures of two different ethnic, national, or language groups. To be bicultural is not necessarily the same as being bilingual. In fact, you can even identify with two different language groups without being bilingual, as is the case with many Latinos in the U.S.

Bilingualism: Bilingualism is the ability to use two languages.

Biliteracy: Biliteracy is the ability to effectively communicate or understand written thoughts and ideas through the grammatical systems, vocabularies, and written symbols of two different languages.

Book Fair: Two or three days when students may buy books and other items in school.

Book Report: A reading assignment that must be done at home, following a particular format.

Cafeteria: the place where students eat lunch.

Christmas Vacation: The week that runs from Dec 24th through January 1st when there is no school.

Coach: An adult who is in charge of a sport’s team and the players.

Common Core: National standards that provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.

Consent: A parent's permission to let the school take an action that affects their child's education.

Concerts: Musical performances by students who are members of the band or choir in a school.

Conferences: Parent –Teacher meetings which occur at particular times during the school year or by appointment.

Curriculum: The subjects/topics that are covered in school at a particular grade level.

Delayed Opening: School begins later than the usual time, usually due to weather or testing.

District: All of the schools in a town or combination of towns, under a single Superintendent.

Dress Code: Acceptable clothing to wear to school as stated in the Student Handbook.

Early release: School ends earlier than usual due to weather or Professional Development.

Elementary Grades: Kindergarten through Grade 6.

ELL: English Language Learner

ELL Teacher: The person who teaches English Language skills to ELL students outside of the regular classroom.

ESL: English as a Second Language

Evaluation: A way of collecting information about a student's learning needs, strengths, and interests. It is used to help decide whether a student has a disability and qualifies for ESE programs and services. It may include giving individual tests, observing the student, looking at records, and talking with the student and parents.

Expulsion: When a student is no longer able to attend school due to a very serious behavioral act. Reasons for expulsion are listed in the Student Handbook.

Failing: A student does not obtain the grade that is necessary to pass a class.

February Vacation: A week of vacation that begins with the third Monday in February, President’s Day.

Field Day: A day of outdoor activities and sports, usually near the end of the school year.

Field Trip: A school trip to a special place such as a museum, zoo, historical site. Field Trips may require a certain amount of money from each student. They always require a Parent or Guardian’s permission in order for a student to attend, usually in the form of a written Permission Slip from the school.

FLEP: Former Limited English Proficiency: A student who no longer requires the services of an ELL Teacher, but who will be monitored for a period of 2 years.

Free Lunch: Lunch that a student does not pay for due to the economic situation at home .

Guidance Counselor: A member of the Administration who helps a student plan schedules and assists with other adjustments, usually at the Middle School and High School levels.

Gym: Physical education class or the place where indoor sporting events occur in a school.

Handbook: A Parent’s/Student’s guide to the rules and policies of their school.

High School: Grades 9 through 12

Holidays: Days when school is not in session.

Homeroom: The classroom that students in middle and high school report to at the beginning and end of the school day.

Homework: School work that is assigned to be done at home on a daily or weekly basis.

IEP: Individual Education Plan: A special individual education plan designed around the particular needs of a student who struggles in school. IEPs are set up after diagnostic testing and team meetings between specialists, teachers, and parents.

Kindergarten: The first of the primary grades for students who are 5 years of age by September 1st.

Library: A building or a room in a school that contains books that may be borrowed and returned, as well as computers and other resources.

Massachusetts Dept. of Education: ESE (Elementary and Secondary Education): The office that oversees and regulates all of the public schools throughout the state of Massachusetts.

MCAS: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System: Standardized tests that are administered in certain grades to determine a student’s academic progress.

Memorial Day: A school holiday that occurs on the last Monday in the month of May. This US national holiday honors all of those who have died during military service.

Middle School: Usually describes students in grades 7 and 8, however some middle schools also include grades 5 and/or grade 6 students.

Modified Curriculum: A change in the way a child is taught due to individual learning needs.

Nurse: The medical professional who attends to student health issues while they are at school.

Nut Free Class: No nuts such as peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc. are allowed in the classroom for lunches or snacks due to student allergies in that room.

Office: The main room in a school where the Receptionist/Secretaries and Administrative people can be found.

Open House: A specific time when Parents/Guardians and students are encouraged to visit the school, classrooms, and teachers. It is usually held near the beginning of the school year.

Paraprofessional: A person who assists a teacher in a classroom.

PARCC Test: A new yearly assessment test given in the spring to Massachusetts students.

Passing: When students get grades that are above a predetermined numerical value.

Permission Slip: A paper sent home for a parent/guardian to sign authorizing the school to take a child on a Field Trip or other important event.

Physical: A medical evaluation required in certain grades and for clearance to play school sports.

Pre-K: The name of the grade assigned to students who are 4 years old by Sept 1st.

President’s Day: The third Monday in February which begins the February vacation period.

Principal: The person who is responsible for the total administration of a school.

Progress Reports: A report of a student’s grades that goes home to parents midway between marking periods.

Projects: Special assignments that students are required to do usually as homework.

Psychologist: A professional person who helps students/parents deal with emotional, social, and academic issues.

Report Cards: The report of a student’s grades and academic progress that go home to parents/guardians three or four times per year.

Schedule: The daily plan that a student follows to go to classes during a typical school day.

Secretary: The person in charge of assisting the Administration with all of the activities involved in the day to day operations of the school.

SEI Classroom: Sheltered English Immersion Classroom: A classroom that has ELL students in it who are being accommodated by the classroom teacher.

Snacks: “Small” food items that are eaten during short breaks in the elementary classes.

Snow Day: A day on which there is no school due to the wintry weather conditions. Five snow days are counted into the school calendar. Additional days must be made up at the end of the year.

Social: Having to do with a student's ability to get along with other people—adults or children. An example of a social skill is being able to play well with other children.

Special Education Teacher: A professional who is licensed to teach students on an IEP, either within the classroom or in a separate setting.

Standards: The specific tasks that students should be able to perform at a particular grade level.

Substitute: A person who is filling in for a teacher who is absent for the day, or longer.

Superintendent of Schools: The person in charge of a school district.

Tardy: Late for school or class.

Tests: Evaluations/assessments that are given periodically to students in order to determine how much they know.

Vacations: Periods of time when school is not in session. Typical school year vacations include Thanksgiving Weekend, (Thursday through Sunday), Christmas Break, (Dec 24th through January 1st), February Vacation, (the third week of February) Easter break, (Good Friday through Easter Sunday), April vacation, (the third week of April), summer vacation.

Vocabulary: Vocabulary refers to the words a reader knows. Listening vocabulary refers to the words a person knows when hearing them in oral speech. Speaking vocabulary refers to the words we use when we speak. Reading vocabulary refers to the words a person knows when seeing them in print. Writing vocabulary refers to the words we use in writing.

WIDA: World- wide Instructional Design and Assessment: An educational program of instruction and assessment for English Language Learners.

Yearbook: A summary of the school year in photos and other memorabilia that is available for purchase by students at the end of a school year in some schools.

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