ENSC Weekly Notes

February 16, 2016

Digital Learning Day

On Wednesday, February 17, East Noble School Corporation will be celebrating National Digital Learning Day by teachers and technology integration specialists tweeting out pictures of students and teachers learning through the use of technology. Digital Learning Day is a time for us to highlight great teaching practices and showcase innovative teachers and instructional technology programs that improve student learning. It’s a great day for us to take a step back, reflect upon how far we’ve come since going 1:1 five years ago, and to show off all of the ways we use technology to improve the learning experience in our schools.

This Wednesday, follow the hashtags #whyitech and #ENSCBecause on Twitter and Instagram to get a glimpse of the innovative teaching and learning going on at East Noble that day--and every day.

AdvancED Visit

March 7-9 is our District visit for AdvancED Accreditation. All of our buildings have dedicated staff members who have been collecting evidence for the team members. The evidence is not something that you are creating now, but rather a collection that demonstrates embedded continuous school improvement.

When the team visits our district, they will be visiting your classrooms. The team members are not observing what you are doing as a teacher, but rather what students demonstrate during the class. There are a couple of expectations for the visit day: 1) please do not give a test, and 2) please place a chair for the visitor near your classroom door with a copy of your lesson plans.

The AdvancED process is about continuous school improvement. In addition to finding what we are doing well, we are very interested in areas where we can improve. When the team members talk with you, provide answers that are reflective of our practices as a whole. This will be an excellent opportunity for the team members who help us narrow our future goals.

If you have time for some reading......

I stumbled upon a book titled "What Spins the Wheels: Leadership Lessons" by Len Forkas. In 2002, the 12 year old son of Len was diagnosed with Leukemia and spent six months in isolation from the outside world. Len knew that his son needed contact with his classmates and teachers and spent ten weeks securing approval and creating a webcam hook up between school and home. This was before Facetime and Skype. Realizing the powerful impact this had on his son, he created the Hopecam foundation to bring this same technology to other home bound children.

One way he raised money was to ride in the 2012 RAAM - Ride Across America, a 3,000 mile bike ride from the west coast to east coast which he completed in 11 days. (And, to think, I am worried about riding 245 miles in five days.) The story details his ride while highlighting very important leadership lessons. The lessons include the importance of team, trust, belief in others, and recognizing the strength it takes to reach a goal. Len's goal, finishing the race, meant $300,000 in donations toward Hopecam to help other ill children and keep them engaged with their friends and school.

While reading the book, I found many reflective opportunities that parallel education. Most importantly, our students can reach lofty goals when they have a strong diverse team of caring and passionate people who believe in them. Len's biggest obstacle was pushing through adversity and staying focused on the goal rather than the pain of riding. Nearly all of our students have some sort of adversity in their lives and we have the opportunity daily to support them and give them hope for a future.

Thank you all for choosing to share your talents, time, and treasures with our students!

Unsung Hero

This week, the ENSC Technology Department is proud to nominate Jenny Newton for the Unsung Hero of the Week. East Noble was fortunate to steal Jenny away from a lucrative programming job in 2004. Since then, she has become an integral part of the technology department and performs vital roles for the district that have far-reaching implications. Jenny’s official title is “Data Manager,” and that’s exactly what she does; anything in our district that has to do with data--such as all of our state testing, NWEA, Canvas, the lunch program, transportation schedules, you name it--Jenny is the person that pulls that data and loads it where it needs to be in the correct format so that it works properly. Another extremely important job Jenny does is that of State Reports. For those of you that don’t know, school corporations must provide endless reports to the IDOE several times throughout the year. Incorrect data or failure to submit these forms on time can potentially cost school districts thousands of dollars. Jenny is extremely knowledgeable about these state reports and is well respected by her colleagues for that knowledge. She is always willing to help people, and her commitment to East Noble School Corporation is demonstrated by her willingness to do what needs to be done at any hour of the day and even on her days off; many times Jenny can be found working online at horse shows even on days that she has taken as vacation. Thank you, Jenny, for the hard work you do each day for the students and staff members of East Noble School Corporation.

This Week's Cookies Go To Wayne Center Elementary

Thank you all for your dedication to our students. I know cookies are not what get you up in the morning excited to teach and serve our students. It is the passion you have inside yourself to give our students purpose and hope for a rewarding future. Thank you!

Our top three schools are:

Wayne Center Elementary - 97.5

East Noble Middle School - 97.4

South Side Elementary - 96.7

Just six more weeks until spring break!

Curriculum Notes

Grading Responsibility

I often hear teacher make comments like these:

“It is our job to teach students responsibility.”

“If I don’t grade it, then students won’t take it seriously.”

“If students show up without materials for class, it should affect their grade.”

“If we don’t teach student responsibility then we are not fully preparing them for a job or college.”

As educators, we have taken on the role of teaching students the “soft skills” necessary to be a productive students and citizens. However, there is a difference between teaching something and grading something. Do you get a grade for how well you cook or do laundry at home? If I did, then I would have an F! When you show up for a staff meeting without a pen, does it affect your teacher evaluation? Again, thank goodness that does not happen because I would have an F!

In life, acts of responsibility are not graded, yet we continue to add responsibility to our grade books for students. Now, I am sure that you can say that an employee that fails to show up to work will be fired. That is true. But then they are fired for an act of irresponsibility not because of their ability to perform a job. In schools, however, our students are not adults with the capacity for full maturity, yet we continue to treat them as such instead of helping them learn how to improve. We have moved to a punitive system- a system that if it truly worked would mean that we never have students who are late or forget to bring something to class.

Here is the problem with this practice. How does an employer or college know that a student with C in a science class know that the C is really a representation of student responsibility issues vs. an average level of knowledge on the topic. Simply put – THEY DON’T! Teachers, parents, colleges, and employers all look at that C and assume that the student does not have a good grasp on the science content. There is no way to determine that the C was gained for not bring a book or pencil to class. So, why do we continue to falsely report information about students?

If a grade is to truly represent student knowledge then it is time to find another way to report behaviors, effort, and responsibility. Join us on Thursday, February 18th at 3:30 in Room 612 at the HS to learn better ways to handle behavior, effort, and responsibility.

East Noble High School

There is often a lot of comparisons between public education and charter schools. The politics surrounding the best way to educate our children can get heated at time. One of the key differences between public and non-public schools is the philosophy that all children are welcome in the public setting. Our goal is to provide an education to all young people to maximize his or her potential. That means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some it means preparing them for an Ivy League education and for others it’s learning to use technology to engage in a conversation. We value all of our children and work hard to provide each student with an education that betters his or her life.

The ENHS Special Education Department is currently preparing some senior students for early graduation. Trimester three ends February 19th. Senior special education students are in the process of meeting with their TOR’s for senior exit conferences before transitioning into the next phase of adulthood. Our students are engaged with some pretty amazing opportunities. Whether it’s running a restaurant or a tee-shirt business, our kids are given the chance to learn skills that’ll last them a life time. Many of our students go off site to work within the community as they strengthen their work skills. It’s amazing to see the confidence and smiles from kids as they accomplish their goal.

The department is also beginning to work with the ENMS Special Education Staff to coordinate plans for the transition of 8th graders to the high school in the fall of 2016. We welcome all students and it starts early. We have high expectations and will support their growth as members of ENHS.

East Noble Middle School

Parent teacher conferences were held on Thursday, February 11, which marked the midpoint of our third quarter. While it wasn't a huge turnout, there were many positive comments and conversations that took place.

Staff members have enjoyed a baby picture contest and a Goosechase. The Goosechase has led teachers to discovering some new tech tools and using them in their classroom, as well as just having a great time competing against the other staff teams with fun missions like parking in the "chief's" spot. :)

Avilla Elementary

This past Tuesday evening OUR PTO sponsored a skate night! Over 190 skaters did their thing and well over 200 students and families attended. We are very blessed to have such a great PTO and a great community supporting all of OUR kids. Thanks to all those that put this together and thank you to everyone for attending!

The 2016 Avilla Science Fair was held on Thursday, February 11th. We had 15 students’ present projects this year and with the help from East Noble High School teacher, Mr. Liepe, and ENHS students. OUR winning students will move on to the Regional Science Fair at Trine University on March 19. Congratulations goes out to Hailey Holbrook, Nolan Kloer, Gabe McCord, Molly McCord, and Laure Munson for advancing. We wish them all the best at regionals! Science Fair participants will have the opportunity to share their projects with fellow classmates and the community on Friday, February 19th from 6:00-6:30 PM.

Please plan on attending Friday night, February 19! Beginning at 6:30 we will be hosting BINGO Night! A night of family bingo will be a great way to kick-off your weekend! Please mark your calendars!

Parent/Teacher conferences will be held this Tuesday, February 23rd beginning at 3:30. Students will be bringing home information about the upcoming conferences one day this week. If you have questions please contact your child’s classroom teacher. The conferences run until 7:00 and the time for each conference will be limited, so that teachers can meet with as many families as possible. Thank you in advance for being flexible with us.

North Side Elementary

This week students were working on research with a purpose during library. They had to research three things. The first investigation was how to find target heart rate. Next, what is the average heart rate at rest. The last inquiry was what does their heart rate become after vigorous activity. Using marshmallows and toothpicks they took their heart rate then they had to do 20 jumping jacks and find out what it was after the jumping jacks. The kids had a blast! The Wildcats ended the week, of course, by celebrating the upcoming three day weekend and Valentine's day holiday with a little fun in the classroom.

Rome City Elementary

Rome City halls were full of Science this week. Our fourth grade Romans have spent time learning about types of energy and how it is converted to electricity. This week they experimented with electric current by constructing snap circuits to run radios, motors, and light bulbs. What an awesome hands on example of energy!

Our third grade Romans created wheel and axles in science. Students read a how-to article about wheels and axles. They used the steps in the article to create their own wheel and axles out of paper, yarn, pencils, and washers. Students used the SeeSaw app to record a video of their simple machine in action.

The school Science Fair was held this week and approximately 50 projects from grades three, four, five, and six were completed for judging. Thursday night we also hosted a Science night! About 48 IPFW students came and shared a Science topic/experiment with the students and families in attendance. There was a great turn out and many things were learned by all in attendance.

South Side Elementary

South Side’s National Elementary Honor Society has been busy this month with a food drive for our local Friendship Food Pantry. Students contributed nearly four hundred pounds of food for this cause! They set a very ambitious goal, and while they didn’t quite meet it, the food they gathered will be a great benefit to those who need it. We are very proud of our NEHS for all of their ongoing efforts in our community.

This month’s students of the month earned the most Dojo points in their class during the month of December. They were: Joseph Rugg, Jade Collar, Milli Dominguez, Olivia Halbert, Kyle Harrington, Owen Diehl, Alexander Bowers, Gustavo Barrientos, Reese Rouch, Dylan Bailey, Jordan Rusmisel, Brayden Colbert, Jillian Colbert, Cody Iton-ey, Mikiah McDonald, Jacob Everson, Makynzie Anderson, and Melissa McIntosh. Way to show leadership, Trailblazers!

Wayne Center Elementary

This week has been a busy one in second grade. Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Bolllman have been working with Mrs. Rathke to implement the Daily 3 during their math time. Students have been working on their new Daily 3 math procedures. They have been learning Math by Myself, Math with Someone, and Math in Writing. Students are enjoying the choices they are able to make during this time. They are also learning how working with someone can help their understanding of math concepts.

Second graders have also been working to learn about the phases of the moon. As a final project, they used Oreos to make their favorite two moon phases and had to name the phases correctly before they ate them. Yummy! They have also been working to learn more about the authors Kevin Henkes and Margie Palatini. These are definitely authors who have written some books that are fun to read with a partner.

For some Valentine’s Day fun, students showed off their graphing skills by graphing the different colors of conversation hearts that were in their box. They had a lot of fun with this activity.