ENSC Family Notes

February 22, 2016

Standards Based Grading

East Noble School Corporation is moving toward Standards Based Grading. What is Standards Based Grading? In a nutshell.....grades should reflect what students know and are able to demonstrate/apply. There are many grading situations where students grades are inflated or deflated due to a variety of reasons. It could be a student received points for returning a permissions slip, points for asking a question in class, points for doing additional work (extra credit), etc. None of these examples are related to standards in a course/subject. Examples of a deflated grade are when students lose points due to turning in an assignment late, not having a pencil for class, or being late to class. We believe it is important for grades to reflect a student's level of performance with the standards.

Beginning Monday, February 22, ENSC will be implementing small steps towards standards based grading. These first steps involve consistency across the district to eliminate "participation" and extra credit points in courses. There currently are teachers who do not allow these points due to grades being falsely inflated or deflated.
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Participation points will continue in courses such as physical education, band, and a few others. These are courses where participation and performance is the core of the course. When participation points are used to motivate a student to attend class or answer a question in class, these points have little to no value when assessing progress toward mastering standards.

Teachers tend to use extra credit points to help students raise their grades; however, these points rarely demonstrate a level of mastery of standards. They are given to boost a grade when a student falls short of performance expectations. These points inflate grades for students.

There are some people concerned that students who are accustom to receiving an "A" will now struggle to earn that "A." We need to step back and reassess the purpose of grades. Are grades assigned to help students earn a scholarship or feel good about their progress, or are grades assigned to represent what a student knows and is able to demonstrate/apply?

Over the next 12-18 plus months, we will continue to move towards standards based grading. Sometime in late April/early May, we will host a parent meeting to provide additional information. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your child's teacher, principal, or the central office. Also, check out the below notes under "Curriculum."


"A maker space is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials." --Diana Rendina, Renovated Learning.

ENSC is working to add a Maker Space to each of our buildings. Stay tuned for additional information.

Below is one link with some background information. If you search "maker space," you will finds hundreds of links to check out.


Engage or Invest in Learning

Do we want our students to be "engaged" in their learning or "invested" in their learning? Interesting thought and one worth the time to contemplate.
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School Board Meeting

This week's School Board meeting will include a presentation by Dave Pine over our upcoming AdvancED visit and accreditation. There will also be several preliminary resolutions to be approved which will continue our journey toward building a new middle school. We are getting closer to a ground breaking. Look for that to happen in late July or early August. The goal continues to be occupancy fall of 2018!

Future Meetings:

February 21 - Central Office, 6 p.m.

March 9 - East Noble High School, 6 p.m.

March 23 - North Side Elementary, 6 p.m.

This Week's Unsung Hero

Ryan Pepple, East Noble High School (and all other buildings) Adaptive PE teacher is the the Unsung Hero of the week. His dedication to our district is unmatched. He does things for the special education students, not because he is asked, but because he sees things our students need and makes it available to them. He also has a great bond with all of the students he works with. Ryan coaches the Abiliteam. Abiliteam is a noncompetitive sports program for special needs students. Ryan also coaches Unified Track and high school wrestling. He even has service dog, Wanda, who can brighten anyone’s day!

Ryan Pepple is the ultimate teacher/coach! He is always looking to improve the students he works with to make them be the best they can be. Coach Pepple has become the area’s go to guy concerning Unified Track. Schools are always calling and emailing asking to speak to Ryan to get ideas on how to start up Unified programs at their schools. You never hear Ryan Pepple complain about what he doesn’t have, he just makes the best with what he DOES have.

Curriculum and Building Notes


Behavior and Responsibility in Grades

Behavior and responsibility are often found in student grades. But, should they be there? We see these traits in gradebooks when a student is late to turn in a paper or a student does not bring a needed item to class and the grade is reduced. While it may be our job to help students become responsible citizens, it should not be our job to punish students for not being mature adults.

Helping students should not hurt.

We often adjust a student grade related to behavior and responsibility as a means to communicate with students and parents. However, when this happens we are communicating false information, too. When a teacher, student, parent, college or employer looks at a C on a report card, they do not ask themselves if that C was a result of late assignments or a lack of material. Only one thought is applied to the C; this student had an average knowledge of the content for this course.

In order to ensure that our grades are only representative of student knowledge, we need to safeguard that behavior and responsibility do not find their way into our academic grades. K-6th grade students have a separate place to record these traits which makes accurate reporting easier. As we explore and learn more about better grading practices, we will look at ways that middle and high school teachers can still communicate these traits with students and parents, while at the same time maintaining the accuracy of the student’s grade.

East Noble High School

In the Fort Wayne News Sentinel recently there was a short story about an area school district and their new direction of “doubling” math classes for students who are at risk of not passing the state math test. Our very own math department has created an alternative approach that’s proving to be quite successful. Our math teachers are demonstrating that with the math modules “more doesn’t mean better.” Our module framework is rather fluid and allows students who need more time to receive that time and those who do not, are free to take other courses. Our math modules are proving to be more successful than simply doubling time because it provides kids the support when they need it.

Math classes at the high school were busy this week finishing up the last topics of the second trimester. It is hard to believe we will start the third trimester on Monday. Fast track Mastery Algebra students just finished learning how to graph quadratics and use quadratic equations to model real world examples. Students in fast track used Snag – It on their computers in order to record themselves teaching other students how to solve their problems. It was really neat to watch the videos and see the students take on the role of being the teacher! The Algebra 1 students that worked hard and stayed on the “fast track” finished the course in 2 trimesters and can take a break from math during trimester 3. These students are able to pick up another elective class that they are interested in. Great job fast track students!

Enrichment courses are busy learning how to graph systems of equations. Students have been engaged using the IXL website to practice graphing equations using technology and learning to read a graph from a computer screen. Algebra 2.1 courses finished up the trimester simplifying radicals. Students will be ready to conquer the standard of imaginary numbers at the beginning of third trimester. Algebra 2.2 finished up trimester 2 and have 3 sections of students that have completed their Algebra 2 requirement and are feeling confident and ready for the ISTEP test in 2 weeks.

Calculus is beginning applications of integration this coming week. Students will be graphing and finding area between curves. They will also be finding volumes of revolutions using disk, washer, and shell methods. In Probability and Statistics, students took data from the packs of M&M’s they were eating to find the average blue M&Ms per pack along with its standard deviation and confidence intervals. It was a delicious learning experience.

East Noble Middle School

Starting the week on Tuesday due to President’s Day, made this week at the middle school go quickly but smoothly. This week’s highlight occurred on Wednesday for the students who attended a special program. Students who sold at least five items for the fall fundraiser were rewarded with an exhibition of incredible basketball skills during their No Excuses Time. One hundred seventeen students were eligible to attend the dunk show along with students who have no missing assignments for this grading period. Using trampolines, players dunked the balls from above the baskets with amazing accuracy and agility. It was a thrilling demonstration, enjoyed by all present.

Avilla Elementary

Panther University took place this past Friday night. The event started at 6:00 with families looking at the Science Fair projects OUR students created. BINGO began at 6:30! We were very excited to see so many families ready to play! The excitement of the evening capped off another great week at Avilla. The smiles were a great reminder of how lucky we all are to spend time with all of OUR families. We would like to thank three former Avilla students for helping call and hand out prizes: Lexy Rhoades, Nolan Mallas, and Drew Alwine.

Parent/Teacher conferences will take place this Tuesday from 3:30-7:00. Invitations and/or phone calls have been made to those families that teachers would like to speak with. If you would like to speak with your child’s teacher please contact the teacher directly. We would like to speak with all families but time is limited. Thank you for your understanding.

ISTEP testing will begin the week of February 29th for grades 3-6. Please remember to talk to your child about the importance of doing her/his best. Please be sure students are getting to bed on time and having breakfast before coming to school. Weather permitting, please let the kids go outside and be kids! With winter coming to an end all the kids are ready to get outside and play. Thank you in advance for all that you do for all of OUR kids each and every day.

North Side Elementary

Another learning filled week has passed at North Side. Students are well on their way to meeting the fundraising goal for Jump Rope for Heart after being inspired by the Turtle Town Turners performance and the American Red Cross blood drive. The learning goes beyond academics into solving real world problems with a focus on leaving the world a better place. In gym class students have been working on their jump roping skills and discussing healthy living habits. Sixth graders are continuing the hard work of preparing to go to JA Biztown by working through the curriculum of personal finance and business.

Rome City Elementary

Even though we had a short week this week, Rome City Romans were busy! Wednesday was Digital Learning Day. Romans did various digital activities to celebrate Digital Learning. Second graders research about severe weather. They were creating a plan for their safety posters on helping others stay safe when severe weather hits.

Thursday, Johnny TinCap came to cheer the students on for working on their Reading Challenge. Romans are working on a reading challenge to go to a TinCaps trip during the school day. Johnny read to some students in the classroom. Students are excited to complete fun reading activities at home.

South Side Elementary

This week was South Side’s third annual Science Fair. When we re-launched this program three years ago, about a dozen students participated. Last year, that number more than doubled to almost thirty students. This year, ninety-one students participated in the South Side Elementary Science Fair, and several of those projects will be moving on to the Regional Science Fair! The new format for this familiar project follows a PBL (Project-Based Learning) model. Students begin with a driving question, and work collaboratively with a partner or small group to answer that question through a series of experiments and benchmark assessments. In the end, they display their results and data and parents and families are invited to attend an exhibition on the evening after the judging. These projects are student-driven, answer real-world questions, are presented to an authentic audience, and completed at school where the teacher is able to guide the process and students have access to a variety of resources to help them through the project. We are very proud of our students for their hard work as scientists throughout this process, and would like to thank all of our parents and families who came to support their children in Tuesday’s exhibition, and our teachers who took the risk to engage our students in this authentic and relevant learning experience. Thank you also to Ms. Juillerat and Mr. Robertson who are our teacher sponsors and organizers of this event every year!

This week, East Noble and South Side Elementary participated in National Digital Learning Day on Wednesday, February 17th. This is nothing new for us! It did give us a chance to show off all of the great things our students are involved in each and every day in our district. We are growing tech-savvy learners who will be ready to participate in the jobs and careers of their adulthood, and we are having all kinds of fun doing it!

Wayne Center Elementary

This past Wednesday was observed as Digital Learning Day. Staff and students participated in many ways. Third graders in Miss Endres’ class have been publishing their “How-To” pieces of writing using Google Slides. They have learned to navigate the options and import pictures to make an attractive presentation. Third graders in Ms. Abbee’s class dug deeper into the tools offered in the Popplet app. They selected 5 of their spelling words, typed each into its own Popple, typed a sentence using the spelling word correctly, then they imported a photo that demonstrated the sentence from their camera roll. To do a little- app “smashing” – students located their photo from Photos for Class via their Student Portal. Learning which way to email the completed assignment so the recipient could see all their cool Popples was interesting, too! “What do we put in the subject line?” Tons of fun!

This week the fourth grade classes began their participation in a 9 week Zoo Scientific Inquiry Program. The students are learning all about animal adaptations and ecosystems. The students are divided into groups of 4 and each group is responsible for caring for their 2 millipedes. Students perform daily tasks, such as monitoring humidity and recording temperature to ensure that the millipedes are receiving good care. The students will also be conducting a science experiment with their millipede. Right now, the classes are in the beginning stages of the scientific method where students are observing their millipedes and asking questions!

On Friday Wayne Center was the “center” for a delightful family event! Students and their parents danced the night away at our Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance Friday night. They showed off their dance moves by dancing to fun songs such as the Chicken Dance and the Electric Slide. Students and their parents were able to get their photo taken to capture the evening fun and decorate a photo frame to put it in. Mothers and daughters were treated to a fresh carnation, and guests could munch on some refreshments donated by our Wayne Center families. The event was a huge success for all! Special thanks goes to our PAC for sponsoring this special time for our families and to Mr. Mosley for allowing us to use his sound equipment!