ENSC Weekly Notes
September 22, 2014
Book Rental vs. State Supported Books
Last week, I had the opportunity to learn about school districts in another state out west. I feel very fortunate that our district has moved to a technology rich environment for all students. I also feel fortunate that Indiana allows us to use textbook rental to help support this critical learning tool. States that do not have this flexibility recognize the importance of providing students with access to the Internet and access to these tools; however, they are struggling to find the dollars to purchase the infrastructure, devices, and software.
During the years when Tony Bennett was our state Superintendent, there was much turmoil, chaos, and uncertainly in education (yes, we still have some of that), but not all things imposed and implemented by Tony was "bad." His work with the legislature and IDOE allowing computers to be considered a textbook was a tremendous boost to how we deliver education in Indiana and is tremendously impactful for our students. Access to these tools better prepares our students for college and careers! These tools provide experience and skills that gives them a competitive edge in our global economy.
Superintendent Ritz has proposed to the legislature and IDOE that the state take over book rental. I hope you understand how detrimental that will be to school budgets. The state does not have the tax dollars to support districts with adequate funding to continue the current resources that are provided to students. ENSC already supplements student book rental fees. Even with increases, part of the cost of the books and technology is still supplemented by the district. State funded book rental would develop an even larger commitment by the district over time. Many districts across the US whose book rental is supported by their state, are not able to stay current with student resources due to a lack of funding. There are numerous examples of districts using book that are over 10 years old (their social studies books don't cover the Obama election) and have limited to no technology access. This is occurring in states that do not charge book rental to families.
I understand that book rental is expensive. Ten to 12 years ago when my children were in school, we were paying over $200 each in book rental. I thought that was ridiculous for what they were receiving in return. When ENSC first moved to technology tools, we raised book fees just $5. (In the last four years, book rental has increased $19 which includes the initial $5.) We shifted funds from hard back books to supporting the technology devices. Today at East Noble, our K-8 students are paying less than $200, but some of our high school students are paying in excess of that amount due to the types of courses they are taking. Fifty-one percent of our students are receiving free or reduced cost books. The state reimburses ENSC approximately $78 dollars for these students. That doesn't come close to the cost of the books. What if the amount the state decides to pay toward book rental is $78 for every student. Not only would this make the continued use of technology questionable, it would also mean replacing technology with books nearly impossible. Seventy-eight dollars per student would not come close to covering the cost of traditional textbooks. Teachers and students would not only be without technology, but they may also receive limited books to use.
Over time, there is no doubt that taxpayers would see an increase in taxes or schools would see a reduction in the ability to provide quality educational resources for its students.
This Week's Board Meeting
1. Rome City presentation on No Excuses University
2. Approve the Teacher Contract, if ratified by the teachers before the Board meeting.
3. An overview of ISTEP and school grades.
We had hoped to have Board approval of land for the potential new middle school; however, it appears we need a bit more time.
ENEA Hosted School Board Candidate Forum
The East Noble Education Association is hosting an open forum for all of the school board candidates on Tuesday, September 30, at 7 p.m. in the Cole Auditorium. Each candidate will be given an opportunity to introduce him/herself and explain what they can bring to the school board. After the introductions, Tony Blomeke will take questions from the audience for the candidates.
October 31 Professional Development
An Edcamp design is a day that is driven by participant interest only! The agenda is created the day of the event, participants volunteer to facilitate 50 minute sessions, and sessions are over areas of interest and passion. Those interests could be technology related, subject related, grade level related, etc. and consist of discussion, debate, and some demonstration. The day is to be a very collaborative and open sharing of views and passions.
Hopefully, many of you will be interested in facilitating a session or you and another colleague will be interested. More information will follow. To learn more, check out this link: http://edcamp.org/
If the proposed middle school estimates are $31 million, why is the total project $37.88 million?
In addition to the middle school project, the high school is in need of new boilers, chillers, and a roof. Funds to support these projects has been added to the budget. When securing bonds for a large project that takes up to two years to build before occupancy, interest is accumulated and must be paid. This interest along with the high school projects added to the proposed middle school brings the total to the $37.88 million.
All Star of the Week
East Noble’s All Star of the Week is Jessica Patterson. This is Jessica’s first year teaching special education students at Wayne Center, and she has been a valuable addition to the staff! Jessica worked collaboratively with classroom teachers to create a schedule for servicing her students that focuses on their needs. That’s a daunting task with the number of teachers she works with. In all that she does, Jessica is focused on the needs of her students. She creates engaging lessons that address the goals of each student and has built a strong rapport with them. Jessica is one of those staff members who is willing to help out in a pinch or wherever she can. Her can-do attitude and dedication to the students is outstanding, and that’s what makes Jessica All Star of the Week.
Rome City Elementary - 98.5 percent
Avilla Elementary - 98.3 percent
East Noble High School - 97.6 percent
East Noble Middle School - 97.4 percent
South Side Elementary - 97.3 percent
Wayne Center Elementary - 96.5 percent
North Side Elementary
Have a Great Week
Building and Curriculum Notes
The Role of Speaking and Listening in Your Classroom
Think about a lesson in your classroom sometime in the last week. How much time did the students spend speaking to each other and listening to the ideas of their peers during this lesson? Who talked more during the lesson – you or the students?
While the Speaking and Listening standards are often referred to as the forgotten standards they are probably the most critical standards to focus on as we gear up for the new assessments. No, we will not see them on the test but these standards will determine our student’s ability to perform on the test. What? How can that be?
Students need to learn the essential skill of breaking down questions into smaller tasks and processing a plan for responding to assessment questions. They need a plan of attack. The best way for students to internalize this plan of attack process is to first verbalize the steps. At first, they need to verbalize out loud; then, they can learn how to verbalize internally. Allowing students to talk to each other also provides support for your ELL and IEP students. They can hear the ideas of others, gain more information, and own the information shared in the group.
Here is a great way to get started on increasing the speaking and listening in your classroom. Let’s say your class is reading something in which you want the students to identify the main idea and supporting details. In the past, you may have asked the whole group what the main idea and supporting details are, and maybe three students had a chance to talk. This time try these steps. Have the students form groups of 4 students and have them number off 1-4 in the group. Tell them that they need to come to consensus on the main ideas and the text that supports the details. They have three minutes to do this. You will pick a number 1-4 but they don’t know which number and that person will share the ideas of the group with the class. The level of discussion engagement is increased because no one knows who will have to speak. When students begin to share out, prevent students from falling into the “ditto” trap and require that each group add more details to the conversation.
In the 6-8 minutes that it took to complete this task, every student had a chance to speak in the group and ¼ of the students shared with the whole class!
Wayne Center Elementary
Wayne Center started Thursday morning off with students bringing their grandparents with them for a special breakfast. Over 550 people attended the event! With their grandparent(s), students enjoyed a doughnut and juice in the cafeteria and enjoyed each other’s company. After their breakfast was finished, they walked through the halls to their classroom to meet their teacher.
In the classrooms teachers had special activities planned. In the preschool room, preschoolers were fishing for letters to identify and to spell names and other words. They also built letters with straight and curved ‘wood’ pieces, and put together puzzles while first graders made a card for their grandparent.
In Mrs. Erexson’s class, students made foam signs with their grandparents for their grandparents to take home with them. They also had writing for their grandparent to take home too. In Mrs. Bollman’s class, students made a craft with their grandparents.
In Ms. Abbee’s class, students showed their grandparents their rebus and fable story and took them for a tour of the classroom. In Mrs. Jackson’s classroom, students interviewed their grandparent and read a story with them too.
In fourth grade, students showed their grandparents their classroom, asked interview questions about their grandparents’ lives, and took a picture in front of a backdrop to remember the day. Fifth graders also interviewed their grandparent and gave them a tour of their classroom and laptop.
Lastly, the sixth graders wrote each of their visiting grandparents a diamond poem. After giving them their poem, they shared with them various ways the sixth graders practice basic skills using their computers. To practice math facts, the students showed their grandparents the program, Xtra Math. They played against their grandparents on a variety of games used on Everyday Math online to practice the skills the students are learning in class.
It was a great way to start Thursday!
Alternative Learning Center
This week the ALC had their first senior complete all requirements and graduate early. Congratulations to Sataya "Starr" Grubb for her accomplishment!! There was another reason to celebrate with pizza this week at the ALC when the students passed the 50+ credit mark. The students have been working hard and it shows in the numbers. It's exciting to see the success students can have when they find an academic program that works for them. Great week at the ALC!
OUR 5th graders spent a gorgeous day and a half at Camp Potawatomi this week! The students had an outstanding time learning skills that they will carry on with them for a lifetime. The students challenged themselves as individuals and within a group setting. They all did an outstanding job representing East Noble Schools. OUR 5th grade teachers, Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Onion, did an excellent job preparing the students and arranging this opportunity for them. We are blessed to have such outstanding teachers. We would like to thank ALL of the parents that were there as chaperones. Without them this experience would not have been possible. We would also like to thank all the parents that could not attend the trip for making sure the students came to school with all the bags packed and sleeping materials ready to go. Again, without this preparation the trip would not have been as enjoyable for the kids.
OUR 6th graders had BizTown job interviews and mayor election this past Friday. The students were interviewed by several members of OUR school community. We would like to thank Mr. Cockroft, Ms. Ackerman, Officer Moriarty, Officer Ritchie, Ms. Kovets, and Mr. Ogle for taking time out of their busy schedules for OUR kids. OUR 6th graders also heard eleven BizTown Mayoral Candidates give speeches prior to an on-line election. The students that were nominated for mayor did a great job preparing for and giving the speeches. The students also did some campaigning this past week. We are all very appreciative of the time that was spent by students and parents in preparing for the interviews and mayor speeches. We are so lucky to have such great students and parents to work with each and every day.
East Noble High School
The science department has a lot of different courses that are offered. There are 2 Project Lead the Way Programs offered at East Noble. We have 2 different courses in engineering and we offer 4 different courses in Biomedical Sciences. There are also dual credit opportunities in Chemistry and Biology within the department. Here is a small sampling of what the department is doing in some of the classes.
In the life Sciences, Ecology is beginning a PBL on Biomes and Sustainability. Within this unit, students will be doing a bit of outdoor discovery, listening to a guest speaker from the Indiana DNR, and even investigating the possibilities of existing undiscovered species. The PBL lesson is entitled, “A Bigfoot in my Biome”. Biology classes are studying cells and cell functions through a variety of projects including video productions, cell wanted ads, analogies and cell advertisements. Anatomy/Physiology just wrapped up their study of tissues. One of the classes’ favorite events is the annual gourmet meals made of various animal organs which included brains, pig feet, intestines, heart and many other delicacies. The classes have since moved on to studying various aspects of skin and will be moving on to the skeletal system soon.
Human Body Systems (PLTW) just finished up a unit on identity. Students had to analyze DNA by creating a DNA fingerprint to identify a suspect from a crime scene. They are now studying the nervous system through brain mapping and developing models of the nervous system.
In the physical sciences, AP chemistry is using the spec 200 to do forensic determinations of Copper % and stoichiometry of brass screws. ICP physics just finished forces and motion. In this unit students studied Newton’s laws of motion, forces, momentum and centripetal forces. The Physics classes applied Newton’s 3 laws to various situations to better understand force. They also utilized Vernier software and hardware to analyze friction between surfaces.
POE – Built Hydrogen Powered and Solar Powered miniature vehicles in an effort to analyze Ohm’s Law, Calculate power outputs of these types of alternative energy sources and discovered “why” they are not in production yet. IED – Created and inspected multi-view drawings. The students also created summary statistics to predict if a product would be able to pass a quality control test in the real world.
East Noble Middle School
The eighth graders completed the first series of their field trips for their “How Healthy Are Our Lakes?” project. While visiting Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College, students participated in both the Water Quality and Wonderful Wetlands programs. Students learned about the St Joseph’s River watershed that Kendallville and other areas of ENSC are a part of and how what we do at our homes and schools affects others all the way to Lake Michigan and beyond. At High Lake, eighth graders ran water quality tests similar to those they will be doing in our study of Bixler, Skinner, and Sylvan lakes next week. This week’s groups had a pretty and dry day to hike in the woods, wade in the wetlands, and canoe on the lake. We are hoping for the same good weather next week.
In after school activities, volleyball, cross-country and football all had events and Friday night was the middle school’s first dance. Many students participated or attended these activities along with their coaches, teachers, parents, grandparents and friends.
North Side Elementary
This week was a busy one at North Side Elementary. Students were busy this week creating games to apply their learning, doing their weekly assignments, receiving their new fundraiser, and having breakfast with their grandparents on grandparents day.
Grandparents day was a huge success thanks to the many teachers and PTO members who volunteered their time and effort. North Side PTO sponsored the event as well as organizing and running the book fare this week. Thanks to all the parents and family members of the PTO who made this a memorable week for the kids!
Rome City Elementary
John Bauman of Indian Farm Bureau-Young Farmers group stopped by Rome City to visit with some students. FB’s Young Farmers Group recently donated funding towards updating the school library’s agriculture books. Mr. Bauman chatted with students about what he does as a full time farmer and looked through the new books with the kids. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU TO FARM BUREAU’S YOUNG FARMERS GROUP!!!!!
This week Ms. Haley from the Limberlost Library came into first grade to talk to the students about folk toys. This fits perfectly into their reading as they have just finished up the first chapter in a Little House In The Big Woods. Students were able to play with old fashion toys similar to the time period from the story They took notes in their science journals and made conclusions as they worked together in groups. The teachers enjoyed watching the student’s eyes light up with the discovery of each new toy!
South Side Elementary
The Sumdog Math contest for Northeast Indiana ended on Thursday, and South Side was very well represented! Mr. Schutte’s fifth grade math class finished 8th overall, and Miss Strojny’s 5th grade math class finished 16th. Eighty-nine classes participated from all over northeast Indiana! We also had some stand-out students in the competition: Mikiah McDonald finished 5th overall out of 2,105 students who participated! Jeremiah Carter finished in 12th place, Darren Donat was 24th, Sophia Gruszczyk was 45th, and Hayley Kline placed 50th. Way to go South Side Math students!
Our grade-level update this week is from first grade: It is official, we have iPADs!! First grade has been working hard at showing good digital citizenship and respect for our devices. During an author study of Kevin Henkes, one of the books we read was Chrysanthemum, and we learned through that text that everyone’s name is perfect. Mrs. Munk from the Kendallville Public Library also came and helped us with our five senses by preparing a hands-on lesson about touch. Students were able to feel a starfish, instant snow, kinetic sand, cotton balls, and different shapes.
In Writing, first graders are working hard on building rubrics and striving for five-star stories. In Math, we have been exploring a variety of tools we will use the rest of the year.
Also, Permission slips have gone home, and we are really excited about going to college! Huntington College look out! We are the class of 2030 and we are proud!