ENSC Weekly Notes

April 27, 2015

ISTEP

While ISTEP rarely goes without a glitch, the middle school began testing Friday and it was a smooth implementation for our students. That is good news! Also good news is the fact that a very large number of Indiana school districts have selected paper/pencil for testing after experiencing several issues. Eliminating thousands of students from accessing the testing servers should benefit the remainder of online testers.


Good luck everyone.

Upcoming Meetings

I want to continue to remind everyone of two important meetings. During the May 13 School Board Meeting at East Noble Middle School (6 p.m.), The ENSC School Board will be presenting the next proposed new ENMS building project. Also, on May 21, 6:30 p.m. at ENHS will be a Question and Answer meeting for the community. You are encouraged to attend either meeting and also asked to encourage others to attend.


Thank you goes to Luke Amstutz and his Tech Communication class as they will be live streaming both meetings through a website called The Cube. Viewers can watch the live streaming through their Facebook account or sign up for a new Cube account. It is very easy. Below is the link to use.


http://thecube.com/event/east-noble-school-corporation-board-of-trustees-me-492040

Support ENMS T-Shirts

Andy Deming has created a t-shirt that shows support for the new middle school project. While the audience originally was the ENMS staff, other district staff members have expressed an interest in the shirt. Andy will be sending out a link next week that you can use to order a shirt if you are interested.

All Star of the Week

Janie Lawrence is the “All Star of the Week”. Janine is the Cafeteria Manager at South Side Elementary School. She has worked for East Noble Food Service off and on since 1974! Janine has worked in every school in the corporation and has done every job in the kitchen. She became manager at South Side Elementary in 1999. Janine truly has a passion for feeding children. Her and her great staff treat the children with respect, care and concern every day. Janine believes in what she does, and believes in doing her best always. She is an exceptional LUNCH LADY! Thank you Janine, for all you do for the students at South Side.

And the Cookies Go To....

North Side Elementary! Thank you staff for all you do for your students, the district, our families, and our communities.


North Side Elementary - 98.5 percent

Avilla Elementary - 98.3 percent

Rome City Elementary - 98 percent

South Side Elementary - 97.7 percent

East Noble Middle School - 97.1 percent

East Noble High School - 95.6 percent

Wayne Center Elementary - 93.9 percent

Curriculum and Building Notes

Curriculum

Language Development

This week ENSC had an audit of our Title III program to look at what we do well to serve our ELL population and what we need to work on. Language development was an items that rose to the top of the “what we need to work list”. As I reflect on that visit, I began to think about the fact that all students can benefit from stronger language development. I also started to think of the difference between language development and the traditional vocabulary lists.


In the past, we have asked students to memorize vocabulary or spelling lists that are often unrelated to the literature that we are reading. They might have even been the weekly list from the vocabulary program that was being used. As our understanding of language acquisition has grown, we know that short term memorization and words without context do not yield a growth in language development. We also used to rely on “look it up” skills. If you don’t know what a word means, look it up. This is a great strategy as long as the student can also understand the words in the definition. I often find definitions more confusing that the words themselves. I am not sure I understand this:


“a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding. The principal natural taxonomic unit, ranking below a genus and denoted by a Latin binomial” Oxford Dictionary


So what are some better strategies that would benefit all students in grades K-12? At the beginning of a unit, novel, or reading passage, we need to teach students the vocabulary related to the text. What does that look like?


Over 800 species or types of bats feast on pesky insects that damage crops or spread disease.


If the text has already done the heavy lifting and has bolded key words (signal words), such as species in the above example, before this passage is even seen by students they need a mini lesson on what a species is. They need to see pictures. They need a chance to tell a partner what is means. They need to hear a teacher’s version of the word. In other words, student need a pre-lesson on the words that they will encounter that are vital to understanding the text. Vital is a key words in the past sentence...be cautious that you don’t choose too many words and overload the students.


If the text has not bolded the words, then the teacher or the students need to identify the unknown and key words during the first reading. Notice that I said the first reading? Language development is aided by multiple opportunities to see the same reading passage.


The key question to reflect on as we move forward is “How are you helping ALL students in your classroom with their language development?”

Alternative Learning Center

There are six weeks left in the school year and the students are working hard to complete classes and earn credits. There are several students planning to graduate early in the next couple weeks. Summer school is being offered at the high school for any students who need Credit Recovery. Students can sign up in the Main Office at the high school.

Avilla Elementary

In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, fourth graders at Avilla Elementary, North Side Elementary, South Side Elementary, St. John’s Lutheran, and Rome City Elementary schools each received a tree seedling to plant, sponsored by State Farm Agent Don Gura through the Fourth Grade Foresters Project. This is the fourth year we’ve been proud to be a part of this program to give back to our community and environment. This year it was especially rewarding to meet OUR Bryson Mills from Mrs. Amstutz’ class who wanted to thank me in person. Bryson already knows where he wants to plant his tree. Thank you, Bryson, for your commitment to ecology!


This past week OUR sixth grade art students completed a mask project. OUR students put a lot of creativity into the creation of the masks. One student even brought in real horse hair to add to her mask. Mrs. Daub does a great job with all of OUR kids each and every day! We are blessed to have her as part of OUR team at Avilla! Thank you, Rita, for all that you do for OUR kids each and every day!


This past Friday was OUR PTO Carnival! A ton of work goes into an event this big and we would like to thank OUR PTO for all that they do for us. The gym was full of cool games and activities for OUR families to enjoy! The auction area was full of energy as OUR families were bidding on items! We would like to thank all the volunteers for helping make OUR Carnival a success. Your donation of time is something that is appreciated more than you could ever imagine. On a special note, I would like to thank all the middle school and high school that came back to Avilla Friday night to help out with games! The entire staff enjoys talking with you and seeing you so much!


Avilla 3rd and 4th graders wish all the kids at East Noble the best of luck as you "Bubble your way to the top of ISTEP!"


Please don’t forget Muffins with Mom on May 5 and the Spring Concert for grades 1, 3, and 5 on May 6!

East Noble High School

Psychology students will be creating a series of experiments ranging from blind taste tests (involving candy…yum) to identifying right-left brain. We will be testing students and collecting data and then analyzing the data to make generalizations about our experiment and then see if hypothesis was supported.


AP Human Geography is gearing up for the exam in May, this is our first group of students to take the AP Human Geography exam, and we are excited to see them perform well.


Social Studies students recently wrote letters to Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma. The letters were part of a contest sponsored by the Noble County Republicans for all Noble County Schools. Eight winners across the county were announced and among them were East Noble students; Joanna Foster, Alyssa Claymiller, Bo Drerup, and Alyn Clark. These students were invited to a dinner at the Sylvan Cellars in Rome City on Friday April 17, where the overall winner, Alyssa Claymiller, was announced. Alyssa’s letter was about her experience as a worker for a local grocer where she ran across many people misusing food stamps. Her letter offered solutions to Speaker Bosma. Alyssa was awarded a new Kindle Fire tablet for her win.


Social Studies students were also visited by Noble County Clerk, Shelley Mawhorter on Wednesday, April 22. Mrs. Mawhorter brought with her a voting machine and an iPad used for signing voters in. Students were instructed on how to register and why it was important to do so. The students then were signed in and voted on a machine used for demonstrations.

East Noble Middle School

Students in 7th grade LA are finishing up their studies of Guts by Gary Paulsen. In Mrs. Munger’s classes, students reenacted Paulsen’s challenges with eating strange things, by simulating their own version of “Fear Factor” complete with kitty litter/dung, dirt with worms, and blood to drink. They have learned a lot about the nutrition in the lands around them, and were extremely creative in designing a “Living off the Land” four course menu/meal.


There is an abundance of writing going on: Students in 8th grade SS are writing persuasive essays on whether or not Andrew Jackson should be on the $20 bill. Mr. White’s Science classes are studying the environmental impact of “The Lorax” and writing new epilogues. 7th grade SS are writing about Gandhi and comparing to Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa. The 7th graders will also be writing persuasive essays and conducting a debate on building a new ENMS building. Follow the tweets to come at #ENMSyes. Students in heath are studying healthy/harmful relationships and the decision making processes.


The ENMS staff did a great job with the new "Knight in Training" flipped professional development. Twenty-five of 35 staff members (71%) completed the Snagit module from the ENMS Teacher Resource page. ENMS Staff completed a total of 185 modules in 16 days for a total of 117 PGP points. Seventy eight percent of staff completed all five Knight in Training modules.

North Side Elementary

The busy week began with ISTEP+ testing that saw third through sixth graders gearing up for the last round of ISTEP+. The kids and staff have worked so hard this year everyone is excited to see the fruits of their labor. Primary students continued with mClass reading testing and there have been many successful stories that have been celebrated already.


Friday saw many distinguished guests at North Side celebrating Arbor Day and Earth Day. Three students, Madison Ritchie, Rehab Yahya, and Savannah Keith all read poems or essays at the presentation of the tree. The three girls were the winners of the school-wide writing contest. The event was highlighted with Mayor Handshoe of Kendallville and members of the Kendallville Tree Commission to commemorate the tree planting.


Friday evening was packed with fun as hundreds of students, friends, and families came out for the annual PTO carnival. Kids were jumping in bounce houses, showing off their muscles, kidnapping their friends (it was a game), and getting their face painted to name a few of the fun festivities. The evening was punctuated with a super successful silent auction. There is not a final tally yet but the PTO expects it to be a very successful fundraiser on top of a good time had by all.

Rome City Elementary

It was a fantastic week at Rome City School! Visitors abounded Thursday with East Noble High School’s job-shadowing day. A total of five students from the high school took advantage of the opportunity to gain valuable, on-site job experiences by “shadowing” a few members of our staff. Mrs. Krebs, Mrs. Shepherd, Mrs. Babyak, and Mr. Cary all guided these students through a day in their respective positions and, in doing so, certainly provided the insight necessary to help them in their future career choices.


Candy Grams, flowers and cards-oh my! Secretary’s Week was a huge success as both secretaries were showered with gifts, candies, and letters from all classes showing how much they are truly valued and appreciated. Secretaries play a crucial role in the smooth progression of the school day, and as such, it was great to see such genuine gestures of appreciation from everyone!


Romans had a fun time at their ISTEP kickoff assembly! Students had several fun relays, played minute to win it games, and even played “Are you Smarter than your Teachers?” Mrs. Green talked with students about the importance of good sleep, eating a healthy breakfast and doing your personal best. Students and staff at Rome City are ready to pass the test!

South Side Elementary

South Side joined together last week in recognizing South Side’s administrative professionals, Deb Hursey and Sherry Kemerly. We tried showing our appreciation for these two outstanding people who do so much for our school by sending them electronic thank you cards from students, serenading them with a cheer, providing lunch, treats, gifts, and flowers. Thank you Mrs. Hursey and Mrs. Kemerly for all you do!


Our Trailblazers are also preparing for our second round of ISTEP which begins on Monday. Every child participates in the send-off pre-K through 6th grade as our little ones make special appearances in our ISTEP cheer music video and shower our big kid testers with bubbles and side-walk chalk messages during the send-off parade. If you’d like to watch our super-fun ISTEP send-off music video, follow this link!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COEMJmwtgl0&feature=youtu.be


Our grade-level update this week comes from fifth grade: In addition to preparing for the second round of ISTEP testing that begins next week, fifth graders have been studying ecosystems and how all living and non-living things interact. On Monday, the fifth graders saw first-hand how our food chains work when they dissected owl pellets in class. Each pair of students received an owl pellet that included the non-digestible parts of an owl’s prey, in most cases a field mouse. Students were both excited and squeamish as they took apart the pellet and tried to reconstruct the skeleton of the prey. Some pellets included as many as four different skeletons!

Wayne Center Elementary

For the past two weeks, kindergartners have been celebrating Poetry Month by writing poetry of their own. Students were introduced to poetry by looking at kindergarten student examples and listening to poems read aloud by published authors. We made an anchor chart listing our observations about poems. Towards the end of the week, they began writing poetry on their own! This week they continued examining poems written by their peers and published authors. The students did a great job last week and wrote wonderfully, creative poems this week too! We celebrated Earth Day by listening to several read alouds and completing activities. Students were asked to name things they would do to protect the Earth and write about it during Writer’s Workshop. They also created their own Lorax inspired poster by building truffula trees and drawing animals that would exist in that environment.


The week ended with fun at the Ft. Wayne TinCaps game Friday night. Students who met their reading goals were awarded a free ticket to the TinCaps game. Many students and their families attended the event and had a great time cheering on the TinCaps to a victory!