ENSC Family Notes

January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Monday, January 20 is the federally designated Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Many schools across the nation do not hold school on this day to recognize MLK and the impact he made. I often wonder if students understand what that impact was? Martin Luther King, Jr. made his "I have a dream" speech when I was in first grade. I was fortunate to attend Burris School which was (and still is) an extension of Ball State University. Our student population was fairly diverse and we often had BSU students in our classroom adding to the diversity. For most of my school age life, I didn't understand the impact of MLK and his speech. To me, everyone had similar lives and were treated the same. It wasn't until later in my life when teaching at a post-secondary institution in Fort Wayne, that I learned what that speech meant. I learned the stories I had read about were not history, but were still happening in the early '90s. What I thought was an understanding of civil rights and discrimination was actually me living in a sheltered world with no true understanding of the "real" world. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic speech and passion to eliminate discrimination and create a world where his children and our children can "sit together at the table of brotherhood," changed the world, but the task is not complete.


I return to the question, do our students understand the impact that Martin Luther King, Jr. made? Discrimination continues and honestly, as our world becomes even more culturally diverse, is it possible progress is slowing? This week is an excellent time to learn the answer to that question and help our students understand Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream is a dream for all of us.

Legislative Updates

Last week's action at the legislature included the following:


SB0113 - A hearing was held. This bill requires cursive writing and reading be included in curriculum. Passed 8-2.

SB0114 - Provides for three excused absences for students participating in the Indiana State Fair. Vote was held until next week. HB 1047 calls for five excused absences.

HB1004 passed the house 87-9. This bill provides vouchers to low income families for their children to attend preschool. (ENSC is considering adding community preschool back into its offerings.)


Here is an interesting bill:

SB322: Passage of this bill would allow voucher schools to either administer the ISTEP test OR a nationally norm referenced test approved by the State Board of Education. Senators Scott Schneider (R) of Indianapolis and Jim Banks (R) of Columbia City are the authors. (Hummm.....and why can't public schools do this?)

STEM

As you read educational literature, blogs, etc., you keep hearing about STEM. Do you know what that is? Is there talk about STEM in our schools? STEM represents Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These are the areas that the Unites States is lagging behind other countries and these are the areas that need our attention to compete with the best. These are the areas that need our students most. However, these should not be the only areas of our focus. Some of you will say we have technology covered. Yes, our students do "use" technology but that not enough.


Here is a good starting point to learn more about Indiana and STEM:

http://www.doe.in.gov/achievement/ccr/indiana-stem-education-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics

Progress on ENMS

The Board continues to listen to the community and evaluate the future of the middle school. An agenda item for the January 29 School Board Meeting will be to discuss renovation vs. new building. The meeting will be held at North Side Elementary.

Super Hero of the Week Goes to ENHS Mark Cockroft

It was only a matter of time before Mark Cockcroft was recognized as the East Noble High School’s Hero of the Week nominee. Mark has been teaching at ENHS since 1984, and is the very definition of a true Knight. Over the years he has coached and been involved in various extracurricular activities here at East Noble. He represents our school and our community with pride. In a word, Mark cares! Whether he’s filling in as the voice for the Knights on a radio broadcast, or speaking in front of a panel of lawmakers Mark is passionate about our kids. His leadership roles have included Business Department Chair, and his current position as Pathway Leader. Mark serves as an ambassador for our kids as he spends the majority of his day helping young adults as the Internship Coordinator. His passion for helping kids goes beyond the walls of East Noble High School. He is the founder and Board President of Boomerang Backpacks; a program he started in 2009 that provides healthy snacks to needy children over the weekend. As if that’s not enough, Mark has been a member of the NE Indiana Light the Night Walk Steering Committee since 2001. There’s a saying, “It’s easy to count the number of seeds in an apple, but it’s hard to count the number of apples that come from a seed”. Mark has had a tremendous positive impact on the world around him, and we may never know the full impact of his reach. His wife Edie, and his three children Eric, Autumn, and Rachel are as proud of him as we are. To them he’s called husband or dad, but to us he will always be a Knight!


Have an excellent week......

Enjoy your week! Keep this in mind, we are getting closer to warm weather as sunlight for each day gets longer by several minutes.



Ann

Building and Curriculum Notes

Curriculum from Becca

Test Taking Tips – Part 1 - Parents

As we begin to prepare for the ISTEP+ (grades 3-8), IREAD 3 (grade 3) and ECA (grades 8-12) tests, it is important that we talk about test taking strategies. Yes, it is important for the students to learn and practice the concepts that will be covered on the test, but it is equally important that students, parents, and teachers address test taking strategies. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be highlighting strategies for parents, teachers, and students that will help students be successful on the tests.

PARENTS

Parents play an important role in their student’s success on tests. Here are some important strategies for parents:

· Keep a positive attitude about tests.

· If you are anxious about your child's test, it's ok but try to keep cool around your child; you don't want them to get anxious about their tests, too.

· Encourage your child to do well but don't pressure him/her. You may stress him/her out. It is important for your child to stay relaxed for the test.

· Mark down test days on your calendar so you and your child are both aware of testing dates.

· Make sure that your child gets enough sleep on the night before the test.

· Ensure that your child eats a healthy breakfast and avoid heavy foods that may make him/her groggy and high sugar foods that may create a sugar slump later.

· Make sure that your child gets up early enough so that he/she will be on time to school.

· Talking about the test with your child can relieve stress about test taking.

· If your child is struggling with school work, talk to him/her about it and meet with his/her teacher to find out the best way to help your child.


Alternative Learning Center

We are finally back to school after a snowy start to 2014. Our ALC students picked up right where they left off, completing six credits this week. Our grand total for the school year to date is One Hundred Forty-Six!!! Great job students!!! We added one new student to our ranks this week and are anticipating a couple more in the next week. The ALC would also like to extend a warm welcome to Ms. Jenelle Combs. Ms. Combs has joined our staff as an Instructional Assistant working with our high school students. She is replacing Ms. Ade who left the ALC to pursue a position with another school district. Welcome Ms. Combs!!!


Avilla Elementary

OUR 6th grade students participated in a mini writing debate. Students were given a piece of text to read, then each student had to decide if the piece of writing was expository, narrative, or persuasive. Once students decided for themselves the genre of the writing piece, students formed their teams. Each team used persuasive techniques to convince the opposing members to join their group. If was a fun activity to reinforce the skills they had been practicing before break.


The PTO will be hosting a skating party at the Skatin’ Station in Auburn this Tuesday evening from 6-8 p.m. for OUR students. The cost is free! Please plan on attending. Students and staff would like to thank the PTO for all that they do for OUR students. We are very fortunate to have such an active parent committee work with OUR students and staff. The skating parties are just one of many activities that are sponsored by OUR PTO.


East Noble High School

The ENHS Special Education Department is proud of the life skills teachers and students for their hard work and dedication to the new café that opened in December. Two debut dates took place to give EN staff a chance to enjoy the café and for students to demonstrate their wonderful work they have done. A menu of salad bar, soup, dessert, and drink were available on both dates. The food was delicious and the students have a wonderful start to their café! The students have an opportunity to learn and practice marketable skills. Whether it’s learning to read and follow recipes, bussing tables, or interacting with guests the kids working in this café environment have a tremendous opportunity to gain experience and confidence. This hands on project is more than just a simulation. It’s a functioning café. One day each week, staff members have the opportunity to sit down to a well prepared meal in a quaint environment. The walls are decorated with student art, and in the background you hear music as recorded by students. As the program expands, the Roundtable Café will look to accept reservations for groups. Perhaps you have a meeting with community guests that spans across the lunch hour. How better would it be to make it a working lunch in the café? The entire FLS team needs to be commended for their vision, leadership, and passion for this real world opportunity they are creating for our kids.

The high school staff would like to extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Bill Knox and his maintenance staff and Ryan Rowe and his custodial team for their hard work on January 9th. Through their swift action, they prevented a bad situation from turning into a catastrophic disaster. At approximately 8:15pm a burst water pipe began flooding our concession stand area outside the main gym. Their actions limited the damage to the ceiling, and although we lost a portion of our dry wall they saved our main gym floor and returned the area back to operational status in under two hours.


East Noble Middle School

Many of you may have heard that on Tuesday, there was a fire in one of the third floor classrooms. It started in the heater, and filled the room with smoke. The quick response of teachers, administration, and of course, the Kendallville Fire and Police Departments, resulted in only a twenty minute delay in the start of school. A special thank you to the staff and students of St. John’s Lutheran School, who opened their doors and allowed us to stay warm until we could return to the middle school. Our students and parents who were just arriving to school did a great job.


On Wednesday and Thursday, the 7th and 8th grade breakfast award programs were held for students making the honor roll for the second grading period. It was nice to see so many of our students and their parents enjoying their achievements and time together.


A new contest between academic labs starts next week, and classes were deciding their team names and a few strategies to be successful to earn Acuity points and ultimately a pizza party.


Our athletic calendar was full with make-up games and the pep-band capped off the week by rocking the big blue pit for the boys basketball game Friday night at the high school.


North Side Elementary

The North Side fourth graders have been hard at work and making great gains! Our first week back from break has been a busy one. In writing class, the students have been voicing their opinions about how they spent their snow days and what they consider to be the best way to spend a day off. Students have enjoyed sharing and conferencing with classmates and have been practicing their editing and revising skills, too. In Success, our most recent focus has been on measurements with both customary and metric units. The students have fine-tuned their skills with their rulers and have been measuring all sorts of items around the classroom! They have been working on conversions and elapsed time, as well. They have enjoyed being able to explore the classroom and making personal references for their units of measurements. They are doing a great job at making a very important skill fun to learn!


Fifth grade is diving into 2014 with their writing prompt study focusing on narrative, expository, and persuasive writing. First students will learn the importance of identifying the parts of a prompt by using the acronym, R.A.F.T. (Role, Audience, Format, Topic). Then they will practice planning their writing by using graphic organizers. The next step is to write, write, write!! Students are focusing on how to manage their time, use their planning to stretch their writing, and incorporate good word choice and voice into their writing prompt.


The North Side Math Bowl study team is in full swing. Twenty-four students are competing to make the final cut of 18 students in order to represent North Side. The fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students are excited to have the opportunity to show off their mathematical prowess. The area competition will be held February 27th at Hamilton High School.


On Friday, the North Side PTO hosted their annual Talent Show where students had the opportunity to showcase their many talents. This year, students performed popular songs, danced, and performed a gymnastics routine. A big thanks to our dedicated PTO members and Mrs. Sibert for being the MC of the night!

Rome City Elementary

It has been a busy week here at Rome City School. Overall I think everyone was ready and glad to come back. At least I know the parents were ready for school to be in session again.


We were proudly able to add 7 new members to our all “A” list from the 3rd through 6th grades after the grades were recorded. They will receive a plaque that will be displayed proudly in the hallway along with the other students that have been able to attain this. We are running out of space and may have to add an additional row to our shelving unit where these are displayed. Not a bad problem to have!!!!


On Thursday, January 16 our 5th and 6th graders attended Biz Town. Not even a small hindrance last week due to the weather could keep these students down. In addition to preparing the weeks prior to winter break, they worked very hard over the three days after break to be prepared. They wanted to represent Rome City Elementary and East Noble School Corporation well, they succeeded. Not only did they act like model citizens they had a great time doing so. According to one 6th grade student “our trip was the best trip ever.”

South Side Elementary

It has been a week to celebrate at South Side Elementary School as School Grades are now public, and we can let our kids in on the big secret of their success! Every student preschool through 6th grade was awarded with a yummy treat for last year’s hard work, which earned South Side an “A.” Pre-school through 3rd grade received tootsie pops for working hard every day to build the foundational skills necessary to succeed in upper elementary and beyond; 4-6 enjoyed ice-cream sandwiches for their hard work all year as measured by their success on ISTEP and IREAD-3. Mrs. Smith personally visited each classroom to congratulate our kids on a job well done. No matter what their role in our building, each member of our staff also contributes to an environment and a culture that makes learning exciting. So, as a token of appreciation, we thanked them as well with cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory!

In more news, South Side held its building-wide spelling bee this week. Each classroom grades 4-6 held their own bees to determine our building candidates. We began our building-wide bee with 21 excellent spellers…and finished with one winner. Holly Butler took the spelling championship, with Ian Trout as runner up. Congratulations to these spellers! Personally, Mrs. Smith has never heard the word mugwump in her life. Impressive!

Our grade level update is from 2nd grade: Second graders at South Side have been very busy with an exciting integrated project, based on their novel Flat Stanley. Students have been researching places in the world and writing letters to people there. They also designed their own Flat South Siders on their iPads to send along with the letters, traveling the “techy” way, digitally! Students are comparing and contrasting what they are learning. Students are displaying their information and comparisons in the hallway here at South Side. They are also planning a video to share what they learned through the project!


Wayne Center Elementary

Have you ever heard of dessert Fridays? Second graders at Wayne Center have and strive to be a part of one each and every Friday. Both classrooms follow a clip chart that allows students to move up instead of just down for behavior. If a second grader is on purple or blue each day Monday-Thursday, then they get to come back to the room and eat lunch with their teacher on Friday. The lunch includes a dessert that changes every week. That is where the dessert Friday name came about! There is a lot of POSITIVE behavior happening in second grade! Keep up the good work!


Student Council held a jar wars competition to raise money to provide gifts for the Christmas family they sponsored. Ten teachers agreed to participate in the jar wars. The last day before holiday break ended with the three teachers having the highest money total getting a pie in the face. Mr. Starkel, the beloved gym teacher, won first place! His jar had a total of $108.64 inside. Miss Northrup, fifth grade teacher came in second place with a total of $76.82. In third place, Mrs. Ihrie, one of our kindergarten teachers, raised $72.10 in her jar. Wayne Center raised $444.86 total! Way to go Wayne Center! That was a wonderful example of December’s month of Caring! What a wonderful way to end 2013!


While we had a great time thinking of others, we did not forget our studies! We have been studying our math facts and at the end of December this is our data: Ms. Abbee’s Class: 19 students have passed a total of 48 mad minutes and Mrs. Jackson’s Class: 17 students have passed a total of 54 mad minutes!!!! Ms. Abbee’s class celebrated with a picture which includes Hippy Frog and base-ten hundred blocks – one to represent each of the 48 passed tests! This picture and data is posted in the hallway. In January, we plan to show even greater improvement!


Before break Ms. Abbee and Mrs. Jackson challenged their students to complete a skills packet and to read over their break. The Monday after break there were 21 students who completed the challenge. Together they enjoyed eating lunch with their teachers, received an Applebee’s free lunch coupon, a certificate for their efforts, and a special snack just for learning! Way to go!