The Buzz 9/14/15

What you need to know to be in the know...

Our Mission:

Chandler Elementary will create a safe and positive environment where all students and adults work together using 21st century strategies to achieve high academic growth.

Parent/School Compacts

Congrats Mr. Amstutz and Mrs. Fisher on being the first to have all compacts returned. I have one more grand prize to the next person with them all returned. We still want to know when you have yours back. Please let Mr. Bauman and myself know when yours are returned.

Central Office Listening Day Date Change

On November 2, Central Office personnel will be spending time in the building talking with staff. Their goal is to get feedback on how things are going, and have an open forum.


Here are two opportunities to help provide some feedback on how Chandler is doing. Neither take too much time, and both have been sent in the past.

The first is critical for completing our school improvement plan, through AdvancED. This information will be used by our school improvement team, to write a school improvement plan that is submitted annually to the state. The survey can be found here:

Thanks in advance for helping!

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Social Dues

Don't forget that social dues are collected by Mrs. Bontrager. Support staff dues are $20 and certified staff is $30. These funds help support the staff Christmas Party, teacher appreciation week activities, occasional festivities, and more. See a member of the social committee for more information on how these funds are used.

Staff Shirt Deadline

We will submit our Chandler garb order at the end of the day Monday.
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From Central Office...

What we have learned from others becomes our own reflection.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


After discussion at district council about NWEA, there were some concerns with some of the requirements that seem to be making the assessment process more difficult. So we will attempt to address some of those concerns in this newsletter.

Why did we choose NWEA? As the state came under pressure last year concerning assessments and how to track the growth of students, the State Board of Education decided that one way to pacify the outcry was to give school districts more local control over their benchmark assessments. This decision came through in late June with the funding coming from the money that was previously used for Acuity and mClass. We then looked for assessment products that would be able to give us trackable student data K-12; so that we would not have the assessment gap that we previously had between second and third grade. NWEA was discussed at the county level among superintendents and among curriculum specialists. In order to learn more about the product, we invited administrators to go to the NWEA National conference in July. After the conference, we felt that NWEA had a lot to recommend for the needs of our district. Not only through trackable RIT scores K-12, but also through the alignment to ICCRS and the ability for it to break the student need down from standard to skill level. It was mid-July by the time we had decided as a district to go with NWEA which left a very fast turn-around time to set up early Fall assessments.

How do I know people’s roles in NWEA? At the August 13th training, the roles and responsibilities for support were outlined. Regina then sent an email on 8/27/15 that discussed not only that but some of the learning that was gained during the training. Here are some of the excerpts:


· Have the students do the test warm-ups. They will help them understand what they will be doing during the tests. Attached is a pdf to help prepare your students to take the NWEA Assessment.

· Each test will take about 45-60 minutes. The Winter and Spring tests should take less time. It is an untimed test so students can take as long as they need. A test can be suspended and students can come back to it. GCS requires the classroom teacher and one other person be in the room at all times during testing.

· Attached is a pdf “cheat sheet” to help you with the set-up, administration, and ending the tests.

· Because of the bandwidth used by the K-2 assessments, it was suggest that we have K-2 and 3-5 take the assessments at different times during the day. If the assessments are “sluggish” that could be a reason why.

· The Reading test will give a Lexile Range for each student. It is important to know that the range is 100 points below and 50 points above a student’s actual Lexile. So if a Lexile range is 780-930, the students’ Lexile is 880.

· “Understanding the data” PD, via Destination PD, will be send out after the assessments have been given. There are many different reports with the data presented in different ways. This PD will help you understand it all.

Map Leadership Team

Assessment Coordinators – Mary Kay Longacre and Regina Goodman

Staff Development Coordinator – Regina Goodman

Tech System Coordinator (submitting roster and program files; network) – Mark Perry; David Snyder

Administrator (help teachers understand the assessments) – Principals, TOSA, Master Teachers, Regina Goodman

Looking at the second bullet, we were told that most kids on average take between 45-60 minutes and during the first test when MAP is determining their RIT score it could take longer. Because it is untimed some students are taking significantly longer. The teacher has the ability to determine if the student is legitimately working or just spinning their wheels. If the teacher feels it is appropriate they can mark the test as complete and scores will be determined on the part completed. It is our understanding that after the initial assessment student times will fall more in the average range.

The second part of this bullet talks about having more than one person in the room at a time. This was in there for two reasons. First, because this is an adaptive test and every child will have different questions it is more efficient to be able to help students as questions arise. Secondly, it is good test security protocol. Having two people in the room during the assessment in case of testing irregularities safeguards everyone…That being said, after District Council this morning we have decided to relax our stance on this issue. You no longer have to have two people in the room unless you as a building want to continue to do so.

Accommodations! We don’t need no stinking accommodations! Accommodations has been an obstacle for moving forward at an acceptable pace. As you know IEP’s, ILP’s, and 504 plans are legal documents and if it calls for accommodations then they need to be given. The lack of text-to-speech has been the largest problem, but it is not one we were unaware of. At the August 13th training, Jeff Gangloff stated that the text reader was not available. While not giving us a lot of time to prepare, it should have been in our minds as we worked out our schedules. Mr. Gangloff was contacted today and he stated that the text reader will be available for the winter window. He also said that the iPad app will be available for winter, however, you can still use the iPad with the lock-down browser.


The grant for addressing disproportionality in our district has been submitted. This money is to be used for early intervention to prevent the issues that have caused the disproportionality in the district. Across the district the disproportionality committee identified a couple of areas on which to focus these resources. First, is the RTI process throughout the district. We have a wide variety in the programs and implementation in our district and there is no consistency between them. In order to help create a district vision, help individual schools, and coach child study teams, it was decided to use part of the funding for the creation of an RTI coach for the district. As such you will be seeing a posting come through in the next couple days. Secondly, addressing the behavioral issues that contribute to disproportionality will be done through a more systematic approach to PBIS in the district and the gathering of data through the use of the SWIS-ISIS program. These were talked about during our administrative retreat. The disproportionality plan will be discussed during your upcoming principal meetings.

TLT UPdate

TLT spent time last week learning more about NWEA and what it had to offer. After our time together learning, TLT expressed the importance of sharing our new learning with staff as soon as possible. This led to a complete change in topics for our Wednesday staff meeting.

Our goal as a TLT is to work together to plan what would be the best for our students and our staff, and go before the staff in our learning so we can support and come along side you as you learn. This was a clear example of where we felt we could offer timely, ongoing support that would benefit students in the end.

As you continue your learning and growth, please let us know how we can support you as you grow and help your students grow.


Mrs. Cheryl Hochestetler-Shirk - Tuesday, Sept 15

Calendar Items


Cluster 7:15-8:15

Kindergarten to Bank (Be-Mo & Gaspar PM)

GCS School Board Mtg 6:00 (Admin Bldg)


TLT @ WG for Close Reading Training

Kindergarten to Bank (Fisher)

Running Club 2:50-4:15


Soccer 3:00-4:00

Orchestra 3:45-4:45 (GMS)


Birthday Snacks provided by Office @ Lunch

Orchestra 2:55-4:00 (Music Room)

4th Grade Family Night 5:30-7:30


Success/Support Staff Meeting 8:35

Running Club 2:50-4:15


Hispanic Heritage Lunch - K - 12:00 (café)

Just in case you forgot...

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Growth Mindset

What’s growth mindset and how do we share it with fixed mindset students?

Hopefully the attached visual will help. There will be a copy in every mailbox by Monday morning.

Also, here’s an interview with Khan Acadamy’s Sal Khan and Carol S. Dweck, author of Mindset.

Khan Academy is on a mission to unlock the world's potential. Most people think their intelligence is fixed. The science says it’s not. It starts with knowing you can learn anything.

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Family Nights

This year we would like to continue each grade level hosting families one night during the year. These nights last year served many purposes: Building relationships with and within families, helping them understand different ways that they can support their child at home, and completing a fun activity! This week 4th and Kdg will kick off this year. As your grade level knows when they will host their night, please let Mrs. Romero, Mrs. Mast, Mrs Schwartz, Mr. Bauman and I know.