ENSC Weekly Notes
April 14, 2014
I hope that you solicit student feedback and data to help us assess the quality of the day/activity and share this with your building administrators, tech coaches, Joanna, Becca, and me. Just share it with someone!
Thank you for your efforts to make this day valuable, challenging, and engaging for our students.
With all of that said, ENSC would like to apply for the "Flex Time Pilot" as offered by the IDOE for next school year. I will be holding an after school meeting this Thursday, 3:30 p.m., at the Central Office to brainstorm and discuss how we could use eLearning in an innovative way during one or more of our 180 required days. Anyone interested in participating in this exploration, you are encouraged to attend the meeting.
- Jo Drudge will be bringing her Annie cast to the meeting where they will sing a couple of songs for the Board.
- Becca will be giving an overview of the 2014 iRead3 Results.
- I will be reviewing which days will be used for weather cancellation make-up days for the 2014-2015 school year.
- A hearing will be held to adopt a resolution to refinance an older bond. The district will save about $200,000 in CPF funds as a result.
- Adopt revised Board Policy 5464 that clarifies the criteria for students to graduate at the end of their junior school year.
As usual, you are encouraged and welcome to attend the meeting. This week's is held at the Bus Garage and will begin at 6 p.m.
Reporting of Teacher Evaluation Ratings
The message sent by the IDOE Board of Education this week is disappointing. Their comments that the scores were too high and the system failed is shocking and, again, disappointing. Comments were made that schools have low and failing scores; however, their teachers were rated high. These comments mean they are placing 100 percent of the results of a student's education on the shoulders of the school and teachers! Really??? Apparently, they believe a lack of early learning, lack of family and family support, special needs, and language barriers have no effect on a child's education. It goes back to a feeling of "one size fits all."
The teacher evaluation system is a subjective assessment, plain and simple. Our administrators do the best they can to follow the rubric closely and eliminate as much subjectively as possible to ensure teachers are receiving fair and accurate feedback. The purpose of the system is to use a quality assessment tool that can inform teachers of their performance and then use the information to design strategies that lead to improved instruction and increased student achievement. It is not a competition to see which district can have the most 4s nor is it a competition between teachers. When that happens, as it was published last week, we lose sight of what is truly important about education. Serving students to the best of our abilities.
I want teachers to know, I believe we have the best staff in the area and I would challenge any district to have a better community of quality, hard working teachers (and staff) than ENSC! Thank you for all you do. I respect each of you and believe in you every day.
Update on ENMS
The Board is reviewing several property options for locations. This part of the process is done during Executive session to maintain confidentiality of the owners. The plan is to have a site selected by the June 1028 hearing; however, time is running short and it may need to be announced later in the summer.
This Week's Super Hero is....
Kevin Irons. Kevin is one of East Noble Middle School's physical education teachers and is also assists the athletic director. On two separate occasions this school year Kevin has stepped up and offered his services in a huge way. Bill Cain, our assistant principal, has had two separate medical leaves this school year. The first leave was for 5 weeks and the latest leave was for four weeks heading into spring break. Kevin was taken out of the gym during this time to help with Bill’s absence. Kevin was a tremendous help in the office area and alleviated time, work, and stress from the counselor and principal. Mr. Irons has been a teacher at the middle school for 15 years and is a valued member to both his teaching partners and administration.
Have an Excellent Week.
Curriculum and Building News
New Things for Spring
Now that we all have had time to rejuvenate, clean out a closet, or catch up on a back log of work, we are ready to approach the last quarter of the school year. While we have many items on our plates from now to June, this is also a great time to try something new. Spring is a great time to explore a new curriculum item, a new program, or a new teaching technique. Below are a few new things that I am exploring that you might also find interesting.
- Read Works has new reading comprehension passages for grades K-5 - http://www.readworks.org
- Teaching Channel has released 50 new videos focused on Deeper Learning -https://www.teachingchannel.org
- Problem Attic just added 8000 new middle and high school math problem to their database - http://www.problem-attic.com
East Noble Middle School
East Noble Middle School quickly got back into the swing of things this week following a great spring break. Track, Soccer, and Golf all started their practices this week as they prepare for their fast approaching first events. Our student-athletes are working hard at maintaining their grades and competing hard to represent the Knights.
On Thursday night 39 new members of the National Junior Honor Society were inducted during a great ceremony. Sara Stein and Sarah Ackerman did a fantastic job putting together the program and making it a special evening for our students.
The 7th Grade Band traveled to all five elementary schools for their annual concert tour this past Thursday. They played three great concert pieces (Prehistoric Suite, Navarro and Born This Way) for the 5th and 6th graders in each school. The band sounded great in all their performances and had a wonderful time! Our students were very excited to show off their skills and recruit new band members for the future.
North Side Elementary
Second graders from Northside Elementary School are currently working with Mindy Hoffar, East Noble’s own Writing Coach, to better their writing. With the pressures of ISTEP, 2nd grade is hoping to get a head start on personal narratives. After completing our personal narratives, 2nd grade will be publishing their stories into books using Student Treasures Publishing. In addition to writing, 2nd grade is working with a hands-on curriculum delivered by a trained classroom volunteer through Junior Achievement. We have been learning about communities and occupations within a community. Finally, students have been busy learning about the Solar System. Specifically each student has chosen a planet to research. 2nd grade teachers are anxiously awaiting EOY mClass benchmark to see the growth of each student throughout the year.
On Thursday, the 7th grade band treated our 5th and 6th grade students with their musical talents. Students were excited to see former North Side students and many students were overheard commenting on the instruments they wanted to play when they had the opportunity to join band as 6th graders. Thanks to Mr. Swartzlander and Mr. Cary for providing this opportunity.
On Friday, North Side students dug into Indiana’s geology and explored sea animals that used to live in our lakes during our Family Night hosted by Science Central and North Side PTO. Students made sedimentary rocks from crackers, frosting, and cereal. They created igneous rocks and made mini volcanoes using clay, baking soda, and colored citric acid. To top off their evening students were able to enjoy a tasty treat to help support the North Side PTO and the many plans they have in the works
Rome City Elementary
The Friday before Spring Break was our school carnival. It was a great success thanks to our parents, community and staff who devoted time and energy to help our carnival run smoothly. Our main goal was to be fun and affordable for the entire family. Our games used 1 or 2 tickets and they were presold before the carnival for 5/ $1.00. Families could come and purchase an entire meal for $3.00. One of the items we had donated was a beautiful stuffed giraffe. Teachers were given tickets to hand out to their students that were good Rome City School Citizens. The tickets were placed in a box and one of our pre-school students was the delighted winner. I wonder if his mom was as excited as he was?
We just celebrated our 3rd Principal’s Challenge with a Hawaiian Luau in our gymnasium. The students who successfully met the challenge from Mrs. Green to read more, write more and solve more math facts fluently for the quarter were able to attend the Luau. Students had snow cones, played musical beach towels, received beach balls and did other beach like activities. Each child who earned the incentive received a brightly colored lea and a beach ball to take home.
Mrs. Krebs’ P.E. Classes are helping earn money for the American Heart Association by collecting donations for “Hoops for Heart” they are hoping to raise $4,000.00. The family below in the picture has already brought in donations totaling $1,300.00. This is the 3rd year in a row this family has been this successful. Kudos to Mrs. Krebs and her students who are working so hard to help those who are afflicted with heart problems.
South Side Elementary
This week the Fort Wayne Philharmonic visited South Side. The Resonators, a small ensemble within The Phil, performed several beautiful pieces for our students featuring each of their instruments. Between pieces, they explained how each instrument works and took questions from our students. Our Trailblazers even got to participate in the performance! Thank you to Mr. Johnston and Mr. Swartzlander for helping to coordinate this visit.
Continuing on the music theme, the middle school band also came to perform for our 5th and 6th graders. They did an excellent job, and were very cordial guests. We were happy to have them, and our students were mesmerized by the performance.
This Saturday morning brought the first annual Kindergarten Pancake Breakfast! This was an idea that started with Mrs. Wilhelm’s class last year. This year, all three classes collaborated to host their families for a morning of pancakes and sausage. The best part—our Kindergarteners made the flap-jacks! Anyone in the building Saturday morning would have been hard pressed to stay away with the smell of syrup and sausage wafting through the halls. We have a talented group of little chefs. It was a fun and delicious way to begin the beautiful weekend!
One final note about the week: Mrs. Roberts’ class has been collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald house. This week, we received a very kind letter from the house thanking South Side for our generous “overflowing” contribution. That prompted us to take a look at just how many pop tabs we have collected. Since beginning this initiative last year, Mrs. Roberts class has collected over 250,000 tabs! Incredible!
Wayne Center Elementary
Right before Spring Break, students at Wayne Center participated in Jump Rope for Heart. Students had spent two weeks raising money for the American Heart Association. During the Jump Rope for Heart event, students rotated through different stations to get their hearts pumping. Some of the stations included hula hoop musical chairs, an obstacle course, snack, and helicopter. Everyone had a great time. The best part was that students from Wayne Center raised over $3,500 for the American Heart Association!
We also ended the week before spring break with a celebration! Students at Wayne Center we have been participating in a reading challenge. This school wide challenge holds students accountable for at home reading. They are doing a marvelous job! Throughout the challenge the students have reached many milestones. They have received prizes for individual goals, but have reached school goals as well. Students have had donuts and juice, popcorn, and today we made ice-cream sundaes for passing 750,000 minutes read! All grades really enjoyed being able to create their own sundae. Our next milestone to reach before the end of the year is 1, 000, 000 minutes. Our Wayne Center students are really working hard, and there will be a special surprise for this great accomplishment! Read, read, read!!!
Wayne Center 6th graders have been very busy with a variety of technology assignments. In science, students used kinetic and potential energy to build digital roller coasters on the computer. In language arts, learners have been using a variety of programs such as ThingLink, Empresser, and Glogster to publish their collections of poetry as well as their research projects about natural disasters. The focus on natural disasters stems from the extended text Out of the Dust, a book of historical fiction that all 6th graders recently read and enjoyed.
It is hard to believe that Kindergarten Round-Up has already taken place! On Thursday, sixteen members of the Wayne Center National Elementary Honor Society helped incoming kindergarteners find their way around the school, take a bus ride, play games in the gym, and visit the media center. The event was a success, and it is believed that the big kids enjoyed themselves as much as the little ones!
Alternative Learning Center
As the temperature continues to rise, so does the credit total for 3rd Tri. Our current total for the Tri stands at 35!!! It has been a great start and I would anticipate that we are just getting warmed up. In addition to the credits rising, our enrollment numbers are rising as well. We have welcomed four new students since Spring Break. Since my last report in Weekly Notes we have also had one student complete her program. We would like to wish a big ALC CONGRATULATIONS TO BREANNE WEBER on the completion of her graduation requirements!!! If you haven’t had the pleasure of knowing her, Breanne is a very sharp and talented young lady who is graduating early!!! Best wishes Breanne on a bright future!!!
An outstanding week back from spring break here at Avilla. Students and staff were glad to be back into the routine and glad that the sun was shining at least part of the week. Great news from preliminary IRead3 scores came in! WE are ALL very proud of the effort ALL third grade students put into the test and the results show that hard work. We would like to thank ALL of OUR staff for the hard work and effort that goes into educating OUR students each day. Kudos goes out to Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Kerr, and Mrs. Stine for the outstanding results this year. We cannot forget to thank the kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade teachers that put so much time and effort into these students when they had them in class. Thank you to the assistants that work with OUR students as well. You ALL do a great job with ALL of OUR kids! Keep up the great work! We truly appreciate it.
As a staff, we feel that the RTI process that we have in place here at Avilla is working very well. The RTI team is made up of teachers that help the classroom teacher with accommodations that will help each individual student grow in an area of need. The process is working because everyone involved in the process is flexible and understands that we are putting the needs of the student first. All of OUR staff put OUR students first and that is why we are seeing the results we are seeing. The RTI team consists of: Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Justus, Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Pashea, Mrs. Richmond, Mrs. Leffel, Mr. Pine, and Mr. McNamara. A huge thank you goes out to Mrs. Justus for taking care of the assistant schedules and making time for them to work one on one or in small groups with OUR students throughout the day. A huge thank you goes out to Mrs. Peters for keeping EVERYTHING organized, up to date, scheduling students and staff, and I am sure a whole lot more. Everyone at Avilla appreciates the efforts being made to maximize the potential in all of OUR students.
OUR 6th grade students were able to make it to the University of Notre Dame this past Friday. The students were able to go on a historical tour of the campus, eat at the dining hall, and see men’s and women’s tennis matches! The cost for all of this was: FREE! Thank you to the sixteen parent chaperones, Mrs. Foote and Ms. Paul, and the transportation department. Mrs. Leffers and Mrs. Garl worked very hard to set the trip up and everyone had a great time! My favorite comment from students were about how much fun the ND students seemed to be having on the Quad together. Several said I want to be able to do that someday. One student even said that she better start working harder on homework so she can attend a college someday. Awesome to hear these thoughts from students!