A NOTE FROM ANSWER LINE: I received several recycling-related questions that I’m answering today. Here we go:

QUESTION: The paper stated that the electronic recycling to be held as part of Green and Clean on Saturday at Lear Park would not accept televisions or monitors. What can we do with old computer monitors?

ANSWER: You can throw them out with your trash. The city also is no longer accepting televisions. Small sets (and computer monitors) can be placed in your landfill cart. Schedule a bulky item pickup for larger television sets by calling the sanitation office at (903) 237-1250. If you’re dedicated to recycling your old monitor or television set, an electronics store might be the answer for your. Warning: It might cost you. I found information about Best Buy’s recycling program online, for instance, and the store charges $25 per item to recycle televisions and computer monitors. The city of Longview will accept other electronics for recycling Saturday, as well as old tires. A city water bill is required for electronics and tire recycling. Other items accepted from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Lear Park softball fields parking lot are glass, eye glasses, mixed recycling including paper and plastic, motor oil, batteries and antifreeze. Paper shredding also will be available.

Q: I have some old gasoline that I need to get rid of. What do I do with it?

A: The city’s recycling coordinator, Mike Wigington, told me you can mix it with kitty litter — in a 5-gallon bucket or whatever you have available, wait for it to dry out and then deposit it in your trash cart.

Q: I’ve been recycling glass at the address you gave on the loop. I went there a few days ago and the bin is gone. Did they move it? Have they quit recycling glass? If there’s a new address I hope you can put it online.

A: The city has lost some glass recycling locations for various reasons in recent months, including the one on Loop 281, but it does still offer that service. First, remember you can take glass to Green and Clean on Saturday. Regular glass recycling locations are available at Fire Station No. 2, 2811 Gilmer Road; Fire Station No. 3, 1133 E. Birdsong St., and at the city of Longview Compost Facility, 2020 Swinging Bridge Road.

Q: Please explain common assessment testing and Plus days at Longview ISD.

A: I’ve heard from multiple parents with multiple questions related to the “common assessments” administered to Longview ISD students as well as Plus days, but because of the space in this column I’ll be breaking up responses to those questions.

I thought I’d start by giving an overview of common assessments, with the help of a conversation I had with Melanie Pondant, LISD’s director of secondary curriculum and Judson STEAM Academy principal, and John York, director of elementary curriculum.

Pondant said common assessments were introduced about eight years ago, first at Longview High School. Students there weren’t performing on the state assessment at the time at the level the district wanted.

“We needed to monitor students more closely,” Pondant said. This is now the fifth year district middle schools have participated in common assessments, and the third year for elementary school students.

She said the district uses pacing guides for each subject that are based on the state curriculum requirements and that tell the teachers what they need to cover during each three-week period. Tests given each three weeks provide a “quick check” on the material students were learning.

“That allows you to really laser focus, to get laser focused, on kiddos,” and identify students who are behind or those who need to be accelerated, Pondant said. Then, the district can respond by helping students who might be struggling in an area in a variety of ways.

Common assessments also measure growth, York said.

“Growth is part of our TEA rating for our whole district,” he said, and common assessments allow the district to track student progress. “We don’t want any child going backwards.”

The elementary schools, for instance, all use the same pacing guide, which Pondant and York said is developed by the district’s instructional specialists, using the TEKS Resource System and with input from teachers. Pondant said the district has a lot of mobility between campuses, and the pacing guides ensure campuses are moving through curriculum at the same pace, at the same time. Instructional specialists also develop the common assessments, with input from teachers, but they’re not allowed to see the tests. Pondant said that ensures the tests’ integrity.

”Common assessments are one component of our systems approach to instruction,” York said in prepared information he provided. “Common assessments given at three-week intervals are a very effective tool which allows students, teachers, parents and administrators to track student growth and achievement throughout the school year which in turn informs instruction.”

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to answerline@news-journal.com , leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.