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Darien Education Glossary: Abstruse Terms Defined

Here's a list of otherwise uncommon words often used by Darien Public Schools officials, the town Board of Education and others involved in the town's public school district. Feel free to suggest a word that needs to be defined or a definition.

Here are some words, phrases abbreviations or acronyms used in official discussions about (some are terms used statewide or even nationwide):

ASPEN — According to the school district website: "ASPEN is a secure, Web-based school information management system produced by X2 Development Corporation for school districts. This system manages all facets of student data and has been used by the Darien district and parents at the middle school and high school since 2009."

BoEBOE — Board of Education

CAPTConnecticut Academic Performance Test — Administered by the state Department of Education, this statewide standardized test is taken by students in Grade 10. Like the CMT, students are assessed in three areas: reading, mathematics and science. (Connecticut Department of Education's Web page on the test.)

CDSPCouncil of Darien School Parents — According to the organization's website, the group is "the umbrella organization for the Parent-Teacher Organizations of the Darien Public Schools. Its purpose is to promote understanding and communication among parents, schools, the administration and the Board of Education by exchange of ideas and consideration of matters of mutual interest."

C.E.S.Cooperative Educational Services — a group set up by some school districts in Fairfield County to assist them with joint projects. Darien is in the group, along with these school districts, according to this C.E.S. web page: Bridgeport, Region 9 (the Redding-Easton high school district), Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Shelton, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Westport, Weston and Wilton.

CIACConnecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference

CMTConnecticut Mastery Test — Administered by the state Department of Education, the statewide standardized test is taken by students in Grades 3 through 8. Students are tested in three areas: reading, mathematics and (for grades 5 and 8) in science. (Connecticut Department of Education's Web page on the test.)

cohort — Students in the same grades together who are scheduled to graduate the same year, such as the class of 2020.

Common Core — According to this Web page on the Common Core official website, "State education chiefs and governors in 48 states came together to develop the Common Core, a set of clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Today, 44 states have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce."

CSDEConnecticut State Department of Education

DHSPADarien High School Parents Association

DRGDistrict Reference Groups — a classification system used by the Connecticut Department of Education to identify similar school systems. The most affluent and low-need district is DRG A, the one Darien is in, which also includes Easton, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wilton and Region 9, a joint school district of Easton and Redding for high school students (Joel Barlow High School). The state has nine different DRGs (A through I).

According to the group Connecticut Voices for Children (PDF here): "Seven data indicators are used to classify similar districts into a DRG: three indicators of socioeconomic status (median family income, parental education and parental occupation), three indicators of need (percentage of children living in families with a single parent, the percentage of public school children eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals and percentage of children whose families speak a language other than English at home) and enrollment (the number of students attending schools in that district)."

ELPEarly Learning Program — According to the Darien Public Schools website: "The Early Learning Program is a [...] preschool where children with special needs and children with typically developing skills learn from each other in a nurturing environment.  It has been part of the Darien Public School system since1996.  The Early Learning Program has classrooms located at Hindley and Tokeneke Elementary Schools."

FCIACFairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference

IDEA — Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — a federal law described by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities this way: "IDEA was originally enacted by Congress in 1975 to ensure that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education, just like other children.  The law has been revised many times over the years."

IEPIndividual Education Program — the plan for educatiing an individual student in special education.

Learner-centered instruction — A way of teaching reading that's been adopted by Darien Public Schools. A newsletter for elementary school parents states, "According to McCombs and Whisler (1997), learner-centered learning is 'the perspective that couples a focus on individual learners (their heredity, experiences, perspectives, backgrounds, talents, interests, capacities and needs) with a focus on learning (the best available knowledge about learning and how it occurs and about teaching practices that are most effective in promoting the highest levels of motivation, learning and achievement for all learners)' [...] Rather than simply learning content material, students learn-how-to-learn through critical thinking, problem-solving and reflective thinking."

NEASCNew England Association of Schools and Colleges — an organization that "provides accreditation services for more than 2000 public and private institutions in the six state region - Pre-K through university," according to the group's website.

NESDEC — New England School Development Council — on its website, the organization describes itself as "a private, not-for-profit educational organization with over 300 school districts as affiliates. Its primary focus is in the areas of planning, learning & Teaching/Professional Development, executive searching, [and] research & development."

PLCProfessional Learning Communities — according to a school district newsletter for elementary school parents, Darien teachers are encouraged to "engage in collective inquiry about how students learn best." One of the ways they do that are  Professional Learning Communities, groups of teachers "comprised of members from multiple disciplines and backgrounds. PLCs are characterized by the process of analyzing best practices and assessing their impact on student achievement."

PPTPlanning and Placement Team — a group of teachers and others who help determine the IEP (Individual Education Program) for a specific special education student

RCResponsibility Center — as in "RC 1" or "RC 18." A term used in the school budget. It means "a division of the budget for a particular purpose." The high school is an RC 1, special education is RC 24. There are 25 RCs.

Rollup, Roll-up or Roll up — [to be defined]

Section — a classroom full of students from one particular grade level.

Section 504 — According to the U.S. Department of Education website "Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED)."

SPED — (pronounced "sped") — Special education

SRBIScientific Research Based Interventions — A state program in which students are assessed, in part to make the standards for getting into special education more uniform between school districts. According to a state online brochure (PDF here): "Another component of SRBI is that the school or program conducts 'universal common assessments.' Universal common assessments review the progress of all children through the use of grade/age level assessments. These assessments help schools identify children who may need more support or other types of instruction."

STAR or S.T.A.R.Schools Together Are Responding — an anti-bullying program in the school system

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