ENSC Family Notes

March 3, 2014

Our Students are Awesome!

I attended the ENHS boys basketball game Friday night. It was senior night, the state wrestlers were recognized, and the Abili-Team had their night on the floor of the Big Blue Pit. The Abili-Team was led by Ryan Pepple, Jenifer Holbrook, and Jacob Swartz, along with added support from several high school students. Abili-Team players walked, ran, and wheeled onto the floor ready to play some basketball with their teachers and the high school students. They were very proud to be recognized as a Knight, wear a team shirt, and have the crowd cheering them on. Thank you Mr. Gilg for including such important students to an evening of celebrations.

While the Abili-Team played basketball, nearly all of the student section left their seats and crossed over to the southwest doors where the Abili-Team players entered the floor. As I watched them head for the door, I became slightly concerned, but quickly realized they were setting up a "tunnel" for the Abili-Team to walk through. This was a moment of pride and an excellent reminder of the amazing students we have attending our schools.

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Big Vote

During last week's Board meeting, the School Board decided to move forward with plans to build a new middle school! While that decision was a very difficult decision, many more challenging decisions are yet to come. The next critical choice is "where" to build the new building. This will take time, conversation, and investigation to determine where to locate this new facility. That location could be on the property currently owed by ENSC and located across the street from South Side Elementary. It could be that land is sold and new land is purchased and there are those in the district who ask "why can't we build in the same location."

Building on the block between Sherman Street and Riley Street will be a topic of discussion. This location keeps the building close to the high school campus. There are challenges to this location. First, during construction, where will the construction trailers and equipment be located? Is there space for a one story building which is the safest for students? Perhaps it is a smaller footprint and a two story building. Can it be built without disrupting the neighbors? Is there space for outdoor athletic facilities for physical education classes? The biggest challenge with this site is the fact that due to the charter school laws, the old building is to remain in place for two years before the district can sell or dispose of the building. In fact, if a charter school decides to take over the building, we cannot stop that and there would then be two buildings on that block. In addition to the important task of choosing a site, another big decision will be selecting a building design to meet the academic needs of our students with a learning environment that best prepares our students for life success.

Process: In June, the district will hold a 1028 (legal name) hearing where the Board will announce the location, maximum cost of the project, and include any other district projects that need to be completed (examples: a roof for a current building, HVAC upgrades at a building, etc.). At the November election, voters will decide the fate of the project.

Between now and November, the ENSC School Board will be as open as possible about their plans. They are asking for input from all stakeholders which includes staff, parents, community members, and students. They will also spend many school board meetings publicly discussing their progress. The Board wants to bring a plan that voters will approve and the only way to do that is to listen and plan well.

Future Make Up Days

Last Friday, I posted to my website, the district website, the building websites, ENSC Twitter, and ENSC Facebook account a letter explaining how any future missed school days will be made up. In addition to these postings, the same information was carried home by elementary students and it was emailed to secondary students to share with their families.

The short story is this, if we miss any future school days, they will be made up as an eLearning Day on a Saturday in April and May if we have to. All K-12 students will be taking their device home for this day. Teachers will have online "office hours" during that day as well as be accessible over the full weekend. Students will receive their assignments in advance. ENSC knows a true virtual student generally does not work during a structured 8:00 - 3:00 time frame. They may begin early, study in early morning hours, daytime, or late evening hours. They may also spread their work over the full weekend.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ann Linson at school (347-2502), by email (alinson@eastnoble.net), or stop and chat if you see her out and about. You can also find the information at www.AnnLinson.com.

This Week's Super Heroes are from the ALC

Deb and her husband moved to Indiana from New York seven years ago so he could take a job with the State of Indiana Board of Health. They have two daughters and two sons who live all around the world. She has five grandchildren. Deb was hired as an Instructional Assistant at KHS, which is now ENMS. She currently works at the ALC with both elementary and middle school students. She looks forward to each new day. Deb lives in Wolcottville with her husband and their horses, dogs and cats. She says she has learned so much working at East Noble and has met so many new people whom she now has as wonderful friends.

This is Belinda’s 5th school year with East Noble. She is a School Social Worker for Avilla Elementary School and the ALC. She started Knight’s Kloset, the district clothing bank, in 2011 and it is housed at the ALC. She also coaches girl’s tennis at the high school. Belinda builds relationships with our families and students, so their experience with us is a positive one. She is always willing to help out when needed and believes education is the path to a better future. When she is not at work she enjoys spending time with her husband, Matt, and their daughter, Natalie, in Fort Wayne where they reside, playing sports or hanging out with friends.

Curriculum and Building News

Curriculum Notes

Conventions and Voice in Writing

In the past, writing assignments were strictly graded based on conventions (grammar). We all remember getting a paper returned to us with a sea of red marks. The person in class with the fewest red marks had the best grade regardless of the content of the paper. When I was in high school, my best friend, Debbie, tested the theory that our history teacher did not really read our papers for the information but merely sought out errors on the page. In the middle of her main research paper she dedicated several pages to her opinion on chocolate chip cookies. She was correct… with only a few red marks in sight, she received an A.

Today, we know that there is much more to writing a good paper than merely having the punctuation marks in the correct places. The idea of voice in writing is also important. Conventions can play a role in voice and this is a skill that we need to teach our students. Look at the example below.

Take three little words uttered on EPSN frequently and see how voice and conventions can change the meaning: The pronunciation of the phrase changes every time, depending on the sports clip. Sometimes it's "Come ON, man."

Or, "Come oooooooon, Man!"

"Come. On. Man!"

"COME on, MAN!"

"Commeon, Man."

"Come ONman."


What does this mean to us as literacy educators? The words showcase a simple fact: how we write and how we read others' writing can change simply by the grammar and emphasis (voice) we use. That's why teaching students to read fluently matters -- our meaning can change simply by having an emphasis slightly off-kilter. Students need to read grammar fluently to understand meaning but they also must know how to use conventions appropriately to express their intent in writing through voice. So, instead of just marking the paper for conventions, give your students feedback on their use of voice as well.

Alternative Learning Center

With only one week to go it has already been a record setting 2nd Tri at the ALC. Our students have amassed almost 90 credits so far and they have one week to go. Will they reach the magic number of 100? It may be a stretch, but if we could have a week without a delay or cancellation, they may have a shot. Ms. Justis and I recently met with the ENHS Counselors and Assistant Principals to discuss the students that will be joining us for 3rd Tri. It sounds like we will have a great group of students to finish out the year and it will be exciting to see many of them graduate in only a few months!!! It has been a long winter, but it still doesn’t seem possible that the last Trimester of the school year is almost here. As always, stayed tuned to Weekly Notes for all of the happenings at the ALC.

Avilla Elementary

Panther University was held this past Tuesday evening and welcomed the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. OUR community came out and supported this event very well. The zoo brought many very cool animals for OUR students to see and learn about. The dingo was a HUGE surprise to all! Earlier in the day, the zoo visited several of OUR classrooms so that OUR students would be able to see and learn about the animals. We would like to give a special thank you to the zoo for all that they do for kids each and every day.

OUR Math Bowl team would like to congratulate all the East Noble Elementary teams that competed at the regional competition at Hamilton School this past Thursday. Avilla’s team placed first in OUR division as we were unopposed, which typically doesn’t happen. The blue division is determined from the number of eligible participants. OUR kids fall into the blue division because we have 187 or more eligible members which includes 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. We’d like to thank Mrs. Owens from South Side for being a gracious proctor. Thank you also goes to Hamilton School for opening their doors to all of us even though they closed school that day!

East Noble High School

The high school guidance department recently began the process of scheduling for next school year. We are adding an AP Spanish to our course selection, and next year’s Algebra course will be presented in modular format that requires demonstration of mastery as students progress. The mastery modular system will allow students to earn the full Algebra credit in two trimesters, and will provide support for those students who need three trimesters to complete the course. We’re excited about providing this differentiated approach to better meet the individual needs of our students.

Recently, members of the ENHS staff welcomed current 8th graders and their parents to an informational meeting where they had the opportunity to meet the principal, their counselor, and some of their future teachers. There they learned about the various requirements for the diplomas and they were exposed to a wide variety of elective options. This meeting was a way for ENHS to welcome the Class of 2018.

The ENHS Special Education Department is working diligently with their students to assist them with credit work and completion of 2013-2014 goals. The department is also making plans for life skills coursework for the 2014-2015 school year. They also look forward to spring because this is the time of the year they begin making plans for our incoming 8th grade students. 8th grade assignments will soon be made along with scheduling of those conferences.

The café project continues to be a huge success! ENSC leaders are supporting the project, Kendallville Mayor Suzanne Handshoe has visited, and ENHS Staff are supporting the hard work of the students! With the exception of some weather cancellations, the FLS & Life Skills students are enjoying all that comes with a successful start to a restaurant business.

East Noble Middle School

This was a big week for ENMS! We completed our first week of extended days, held parent/teacher conferences, and hosted the school board meeting. All were successful: we added time to each class period, which allowed math and language arts classes to do more focused ISTEP prep. Parent/teacher conferences were well attended with lots of positive feedback. Two of our fabulous social studies teachers gave school board presentations over technology they have used to enhance US History. Finally, great news from the school board meeting: we're getting a well-deserved new building!

The East Noble Middle School held its first ever swimming and diving competition Thursday, February 27 against Indian Springs Middle School, Columbia City. With the efforts of High School Swim Coach Sean Page, Middle School Athletic Director Bill Cain, the willingness of High School English teacher Megan Disque to take on the role as head coach and several parents, a middle school team was established. The program, which lasts six weeks includes diving and will lead to a conference in mid-March. The next meet will be at Northridge Middle School, Middlebury, Tuesday, March 4 at 5 pm.

North Side Elementary

Even with all the snow days, the fourth graders at North Side are well into the swing of our 10 Day Countdown to the first round of ISTEP testing. Students have been excited, working hard, and are more motivated than ever! Fourth grade SUCCESS has been focused on reviewing skills in both language arts and math including area and perimeter, using varied word choice (we call these WOW words), figurative language, and context clues…just to name a few! We are also working on reading and interpreting graphs in the context of science, math, and language arts passages. We are also making the most of our extra hour at the end of the day by continuing our ISTEP prep with IXL and Acuity lessons and small group work in order to help students meet their individual goals that they set.

Fourth graders were also thrilled to explore the Native American trunk that was on loan to us from The History Center in Fort Wayne. Students uncovered and studied photographs and artifacts representative of Native Americans from our area. They were able to try on garments and experiment with tools and gadgets used way back in the day! They were so excited to consider and wonder what life was like back then and they used their imaginations to come up with some great stories behind the artifacts. They also viewed several photographs of historic Fort Wayne sites and read accompanying passages about them.

North Side 3 Peats as Area Math Bowl Champions! The North Side Elementary Math Bowl team finished its third consecutive year as champions in the green division at the Hamilton regional Math Bowl competition on Thursday. The team consisted of fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students. North Side started out the competition scoring a six out of eight possible points. Round two’s perfect score pushed the Wildcats into first place, and they never looked back. By the end of the competition the North Side team finished with two perfect rounds and an incredible string of 12 points in a row. North Side finished with 26 points. Our team worked through many weather obstacles to prepare for this year’s competition with numerous delays and cancellations. It was not evident though as the students worked diligently with each question throughout the night.

On Friday North Side celebrated Read Across America Day. Students were involved in classroom activities planned by grade levels as well as school-wide activities. With the help of the Kendallville Public Library, students had their pick of 300 Dr. Seuss books to read in the gymnasium! Every student’s name was also entered into a drawing for lots and lots of Dr. Seuss prizes. Lucky winners from each grade level received hardcover Dr. Seuss books, stuffed animals of favorite Dr. Seuss characters, bookmarks, pencils, and 3D cups. To round out the day, all students in grades K-6 spent time in the hallways reading a book of their choice.

Rome City Elementary

Rome City completed an eventful week. Extended school time, MDA Penny wars, new musical instruments, Science Fair, and Math Bowl.

The extended school time began this week. Everyone handled this change very well. It was wonderful to see all the additional learning that was missed due to the snow days beginning to take shape and getting us ready for the upcoming testing. Snack time became an important part of the day.

Our 2nd grade classes sponsored Penny Wars between classrooms the winner was MDA with $550 actually being raised. Way to go ROMANS!!

Rome City was very fortunate to have two brand-new instruments donated to their 6th Grade Band through a website called Donors Choose (donorschoose.org). Mr. Cary started two projects to get a new alto saxophone and trumpet. Within a week, almost $900 was raised to get both of these instruments. Donors included members of the East Noble community and people from all over the state. Thank you to all who donated for these instruments!

The Science Fair took place on Thursday. We had some amazing projects. We are very thankful for the judging assistance from the ENHS Bi-Phi Chem Club. The students moving on to compete in the Regional Science Fair are: Austin Liepe, Tyson Johnson, Josh Prater, Carter Sorrell and Jeffrey Hosford. Congratulations to all who participated.

South Side Elementary

Mrs. Mossburg’s art students just finished paintings for FAME’s Fusion Poster Contest. FAME’s Fusion of Concert Colors program promotes interdisciplinary arts understanding by encouraging students to draw connections between musical selections and the visual arts. Mrs. Mossburg’s students listened to “The Hebrides Overture “, also known as “Fingal’s Cave” by Felix Mendelssohn, then interpreted the music into a painting. South Side has six finalists whose artwork will go on to compete with students from 40-50 other northeast Indiana schools. The students are front L-R Covell Guerney, Jeffery Smith, and Gatlin Cain; back L-R Lynnea Gruszczyk, Ella Edwards, and Dayanara Solis. One child’s work, per grade, will be selected as the FAME Poster of the year and the poster will be used to promote the FAME Festival throughout the region. On Sunday, March 16th at the FAME Festival’s Celebration of Youth Concert, at the Grand Wayne Center, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic will perform the music that inspired the children’s art pieces and a giant slideshow display will feature all of the Finalists’ art pieces behind the playing musicians. The children and families are honored guests at the Fort Wayne FAME Festival’s Celebration of Youth Concert. In addition the finalists are invited to a reception in their honor at the Arts United Center. Mrs. Mossburg is also busy preparing students’ artwork to be displayed at the FAME Festival on March 15th and 16th. Nearly 100 of South Side’s students will have their artwork selected to be displayed at the festival. The two-day festival is the largest annual event at the Grand Wayne Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana amassing crowds of 20,000 art loving families and friends.

The Science Fair was Tuesday February 25th and several of South Side’s students got to show off their awesome projects and all of their hard work from over the past month. Students were asked to come up with a question that they wanted to use science and the scientific method to answer. Student projects reflected their own interests and were about everything from visual perception to rotting fruit. We even saw a few bouncing eggs and a fruit that could charge a cell phone! All of the students that participated got to receive feedback about their strengths and weaknesses from one of the high school student judges. South Side hosted an exhibition night where students could show off their hard work from other families and see what place their project earned. South Side is very proud to be able to send five of these wonderful students and their projects off to the Regional Science Fair at Trine University on March 15th. We are very excited for these students and we know that they will make South Side proud!

Wayne Center Elementary

The Wayne Center Math Bowl team competed Thursday night in Hamilton and tied for third place. The students worked hard during practice and scored 18 points at the competition.

On Friday the K-2 students had a visit from the Kendallville Police Department and the Mad Ant. Chief Wiley taught the students about staying safe and being strong. They learned about such things as bicycle safety and being safe around strangers. At the end of the program all the students were able to give the Mad Ant a high five.

Lastly, our annual science fair was held this week. The projects covered many different topics of interest. Research was conducted on which batteries last the longest, if weight affects the speed of which a truck travels down a hill, if water can float on water, and how sweet candy compared to sour affects the temperature of heated water. The students did a great job explaining their research projects to the judges. Four students will now move on to the Regional Science Fair that will be held at Trine University on March 15. Those students are Erin Pippenger, Laney Schlictenmyer, Ethan Freed, and Eedyn Yahne.