Thursday, March 24, 2016

SBA Testing for Grades 3-5

Dear Parent or Guardian of 3rd-5th Graders,

This is the second year of the State of Washington’s Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA). All students in Grades 3-5 will be taking the SBA. The purpose of the program is to find out how well students can perform in the basic school subjects. At Orchard, students in Grades 3 through 5 are tested in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Students in Grade 5 are also tested in Science using the MSP.

Here is the schedule detailing which days your child will be assessed.

The SBA has the following features:

  • The SBA measures critical thinking with questions that ask students to demonstrate their research, writing, and problem solving skills.
  • Assessments are untimed and students can take breaks so that they can do their best.
  • Accessibility resources for all students and accommodations – such as Braille – for those who need them.
  • More information can be found here:

How Parents Can Help Prepare Their Children for Testing.

We at Orchard do all we can do to provide your children with an excellent education. When it comes to testing, we feel that top-notch teaching, high expectations and a rigorous curriculum are the best preparation. But parents can help with some basic test-taking skills and preparation.

To help children prepare adequately for assessments (whether teacher-made or standardized), you can do several things to provide support and create a positive test-taking experience.

  • Make sure that your child eats his/her usual breakfast on the day of the test.
  • Make sure that your child is in school during the testing sessions. Do not plan any doctor or dental appointments on test dates and of course no family trips.
  • See that your child gets his/her regular amount of sleep before the tests. 
  • If your child is nervous at test time, ask her teacher for tips on helping her relax.
  • Encourage your child to listen carefully to all test-taking directions given by the teacher and to ask questions about any directions that are unclear.
  • Encourage your child to do his/her best.
  • Of course, the best way to prepare for tests is to pay attention in class, study and know the work.

Thank you once again for your support of Orchard and the Richland School District.


Robert Broecker, Principal

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Placement of Students for 16-17


Dear Families,

Each year at this time, the school staff begins the very important process of placing students in classrooms for the next year.

Our goal each year is to ensure that all of our children have the best possible learning environment.  The staff spends many hours and gives much thought and consideration to making the appropriate placements for each of our students for the following year.

We ask for your adherence to our policy that we do not take requests for the following year into consideration and ask that you do not make requests of specific teachers to our staff.  It is our professional obligation to meet the needs of all of our students. Rest assured we have our students’ best interests at heart. We consider student placement one of the most important things we do and we spend much time getting it right.
The process we use at Orchard takes into consideration numerous factors and areas of input: 

  • Academic & social needs
  • Staff input
  • Parent input
  • Special needs
  • Language ability (English Learners)
  • Compatibility with other students
  • Equalization of class loads
  • Overall class balance

As you can see, a lot of care, consideration, and thought are put into this very important task.  If you feel there is additional information we need in order to best place your child, please fill out a Student Profile Form.  The Student Profile Form will give you a chance to list specific educational considerations; however, again we will not accept any requests for specific teachers.  This form can be picked up in the school office or at this link. It must be returned by April 1st.

Orchard has a very strong teaching staff that will do a fine job of educating your child with your cooperation and support. 

You can expect announcement of your child’s placement in mid-August.  Please be assured that with or without input from you, we will review each child's needs individually and select the classroom in which we believe he/she will learn best.


Robert Broecker, Principal