ENSC Weekly Notes

January 18, 2016

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When an East Noble Student Graduates.....

Every June, approximately 250 students graduate from East Noble High School. Donned in a blue and gold cap and gown with medals around their necks and smiles on their faces. They walk across a stage confident that their 13 years in school prepared them to successfully pursue their goals of college, work, military, or another path toward life success. Watching these students are thousands of teary eyed family members who have supported these graduates during their school years by attending their elementary music programs, parent-teacher-conferences, athletic events, provided a shoulder to lean on, and an ear for listening during challenging times. These family members have invested their lives in their children and trust in our schools that their child has the tools he/she needs to be successful and independent (yes, move out of the house).


What are the tools future students need to be successful and independent? Ability to pass ISTEP? Write a quality essay? Compute a complex math problem? Think critically? Communicate effectively? Collaborate with others to create a solution to a challenge? Ability to use technology in meaningful ways? What skills should our graduates possess?


East Noble School Corporation believes our graduates deserve more from their education than a score on a "once a year, one size fits all" ISTEP or ECA test which does not provide reliable or usable data. Our focus and passion is to provide our students with the skills and experiences they need to be successful in life, college, and career.


In the near future, some form of a school/district grade will be released. I want to again remind you, our focus for students is a 13 year journey toward life success. The ISTEP and ECA tests are a once a year chore we must complete, but not a result that defines what our students and staff have accomplished or are able to demonstrate. We will continue to use the information as a reminder that we can improve, but it will not dictate what our students need.

Thursday PD

Thursday's professional development will be a continuation of Standards Based Grading discussion. Early signs of implementation will occur in February. To learn more, teachers are encouraged to attend the training in Room 612 at East Noble High School beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Middle School Update

Not too much new at this time. The architect has held two different meetings with ENMS staff to solicit their input on design, needs, and wants for classrooms and space. A focus in design is "flexibility!" Testing and evaluation of the land continues. We are still on track for Fall of 2018!

Legislative Updates

Bills are still moving forward to remove 2015 ISTEP scores from teacher and school punishment. Originally, there was to be a State School Board meeting on January 19 when it was expected that the Board would release school and district grades. That meeting has now been changed to January 26. It indicators point to teachers, schools, and districts being held to the better ISTEP results of 2014 or 2015.
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A few links...

Resources for the 100th Day of School: http://tinyurl.com/100DayIdea

20 YouTube Channels for Teachers: http://tinyurl.com/20YouTube

Reinvent Project Based Learning: http://tinyurl.com/ReinventPBL

Did you know......

In high school, Elizabeth Flinner, ENHS Family and Consumer Science teacher, found out she was naturally gifted at lifting weights. That’s when she started powerlifting. After college she wanted to continue to do some type of physical activity after track and got back into powerlifting. Powerlifting is a great way to relive stress. She calls it barbell therapy. You continually push yourself to lift heavier weights than you mentally think you can handle. Competition is all about how much you can lift and pushing yourself to lift more than your last meet. You also cheer on your competitors when they are lifting no matter how much they lift. Elizabeth’s goal at the national meet was to qualify for the Arnold classic but she came up a little short. Still she walked away with a 6th place finish at Nationals in Scranton, PA.

Unsung Hero of the Week

This week's Unsung Hero is Rebecca Monahan. Rebecca began working as an instructional assistant in the Functional Life Skills program at the beginning of this school year. Rebecca does an outstanding job working with our youngsters. She is caring and compassionate and treats each child as if they were her own. Rebecca provides guidance and support as the children work to achieve their goals. She celebrates successes with students which helps motivate them to do their very best. Rebecca is one that can be counted on to help wherever assistance is needed. She is a valued team member at Wayne Center, and her hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated by all.

Curriculum Notes from Becca

Terrified to Swim

My mother was terrified of water. She did not know how to swim and would never get in water deeper than her waist. In fact, she as so terrified of water that at a young age we were trained to hold the steering wheel of the car when crossing a bridge over large bodies of water so the car would not drift too close to the guardrail as the water drew her attention away from the road.


Despite her fears, she knew that it was important to know how to swim and enrolled my sister and me in swim lessons at an early age. I grew up a strong swimmer. I swam for four years on my high school team, played water polo, served as a lifeguard for ten years, and taught swim lessons. In contrast, my sister is a non-swimmer. She, like my mother, is terrified to swim. How did this happen?


Our swim instructor used the sink or swim method to teach swimming by literally throwing us into the pool. I fought, and fought hard, to master the swimming techniques to insure that I would not go underwater. My sister, however, was consumed by panic and fear and eventually would sink. Once she met her threshold for sinking, she simply chose never to get into the water again.


Grades are much like the water. If we continue to employ sink or swim methods for student grades, we will continue to watch students sink and drown. In turn, they learn to never trust teachers or participate in learning.


As a swimming teaching, I never used the sink or swim method of instruction. I can still picture my sister screaming in terror and vowed to never put a child through that again. As a result, I successfully taught over 1000 children and adults to swim. I have a 100% success rate because I taught each of my students the skills that they needed at their level. For some students that meant three months of sitting on the wall before they put their whole body into the water, while others took to the water like a fish.


If grades are the water then think about these questions for a minute. Is it ok to watch students drown (fail)? Are we really teaching kids to learn when we let them sink? Does failing over and over truly help students learn? What is the acceptable rate of student drowning (failure)?


To further your thoughts on this topic, please visit https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/letting-students-sink-doesnt-teach-them-to-swim/2016/01/10/1598c6b6-b66e-11e5-a842-0feb51d1d124_story.html .

Building Notes

Wayne Center Elementary

Reading benchmarking is well underway at Wayne Center. Teachers are meeting with students individually to assess students' growth in reading since the beginning of the year. Students have been working hard to improve their reading skills this year, and it is showing in their benchmark levels. Our students are excited to see the growth they have made--so are the teachers!


There are several upcoming events planned for January and February. The family tailgating party will be held on January 26, and our school book fair begins on January 22. Teachers will send home specific times that their class will be visiting the book fair. Our sixth grade band will be performing a concert on February 9. Parents and guests will be amazed at the progress the students have made over the course of the year. Our Math Bowl team will be competing on February 25, testing their mathematical knowledge. Lastly, our Father/Daughter & Mother/Son Dance will be held on February 19 while winter parent/teacher conferences will be held on February 24. Lots of great things are happening at Wayne Center Elementary!

Alternative Learning Center

This week the weather brought many challenges, but it also brought the opportunity for an e-learning day. The students were very active during their e-learning day and kept the teachers very busy. It was wonderful to see the learning continue when Mother Nature tries to interfere. Just a reminder that on e-learning days attendance is counted. Students who attend the ALC are expected to meet their daily goal and teachers monitor progress continually throughout the day. If a child does not have wifi and cannot access wifi during e-learning days there is coursework students can complete on their computers and email to teachers or turn in the following day. If you have questions about e-learning days please feel free to give them a call.


We are disappointed to report that Ms. Jenelle Combs resigned from her position at the ALC in December. It was hard to let her go, but she has agreed to come back and sub whenever needed. She is also continuing to help our senior students with resume writing and job shadowing opportunities. Mrs. Ann Fraze was a teacher at the ALC for four years who retired last spring. We are happy to announce that she has returned to fill the open position and return to the ALC for a while. She will be the new voice you hear when you call the building. Please help us thank Ms. Combs for all she did to help the staff and students at the ALC, and help us to welcome back to the ALC, Mrs. Fraze.

East Noble High School

Many of you are asked the same question every year around this time: “Why do we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?” In the Social Studies Department at East Noble High School, this question represents the very essence of what we do. We strive to relate the actions of historical figures to life today and how those actions and choices of the past have affected our society. We attempt to give our students a better understanding of how service to their nation is not just voluntary, but a necessary part of a democracy. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to change and better our country by standing up for what he believed was right in a time of turmoil, a choice that would ultimately cost him his life. Join us in taking a little time on Monday, January 18th, and remind your children of this inspirational lesson from his life.


World Geography classes are using Google Maps to locate and describe places in Russia and in the United States. Google Maps allows for the students to maximize their technology and move away from the blank maps on paper. Along with the Google Maps students are exploring Weebly to help create Study Guides to prepare for upcoming tests and final exams. Government classes have recently begun research on an interest groups. Their research consists of using websites like vote-smart.org and opensecrets.org to find out what interest group’s lobby for and what methods they use to lobby. AP World History class has been researching the Bubonic Plague. After conducting their research, each student was required to develop a medieval character based on someone living in a European community experiencing the Plague. As their characters, and in the context of the time, the students will then write five journal entries describing life around them. What do they see? What do they smell? What is life like? What is being done to combat the Plague? How have their lives changed? What are their fears? US History students are creating Websites detailing the World War 2 Era. The sites explore many aspects of the era including, the war, the Holocaust, Japanese Internment, and notable figures. Students develop programming skills in this activity while gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for “The Greatest Generation.” In AP Human Geography, students just finished studying languages and are now starting a unit on religion. With the AP test date in early May students will continue to prepare for the material on the exam. In regular Geography, students have been studying population and working with the Demographic Transition Model.

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East Noble Middle School

On Wednesday, January 13, we held our 8th Grade Honors Breakfast to celebrate students’ academic achievement. Due to school being cancelled on Tuesday, the 7th Grade Honors Breakfast will now be held on Tuesday, January 19, at 8:00 A.M.


In seventh grade language arts classes, students are reading the novel The Outsiders. Students will not only enjoy the great characters in this book, but they will also learn many valuable life lessons about family, friendship, and the importance of treating others the way they would like to be treated.


Seventh grade math students are currently learning how to use ratios and proportions to solve percent problems. This will lead them into the rate of change and everyone’s favorite topic-- slope. All of these topics use of ratios, percentages, and slope will be very helpful to the students when they complete the landscape projects.


In seventh Grade social studies, students are finishing the ancient China River civilization project and will begin tying together all four river civilizations that they have studied into a writing prompt. This will allow the students to compare and contrast and to take a closer, more in depth look at each civilization as a whole. Students will also critically think about all the contributions that these civilizations have made to modern day life. Students will then look at which one; and in their own opinion, determine which one is the most prevalent to them and their life. On Monday, January 18, in observance of Martin Luther King Day, social studies classes will be studying and reflecting on the legacy of Dr. King through various sources.


Seventh grade science classes are beginning a physics units. Topics will include kinetic and potential energy, work, gravity, forces, and Newton’s laws. These topics lay the groundwork for upcoming projects that will include construction of bridges, and new this school year, construction of roller coasters!

Avilla Elementary

This past Friday night was Avilla Night at the boys’ basketball game. What a great experience for all of OUR families. Families and staff were on hand to cheer on the Knights to victory. A HUGE thank you goes out the NEHS member Nick Munson for explaining the crowd on hand what a great experience it is on a daily basis at OUR school. Nick talked about how much fun it is for students and staff each and every day. He even said that the teachers have more fun than the kids do sometimes. Fun, such a simple word, yet so powerful. Thank you to Coach Cripe, Mr. David, players, and high school staff for welcoming so warmly. A great time was had by all. What a game it was! Knights win 47-46!


Prior to the varsity game Avilla alum and East Noble senior Chase Klinker said a few words about his experience while at Avilla. He talked about the staff getting to know the students outside the classroom. Finding out what interests they have, what activities they are involved in, and what goals they have in and out of the classroom. He knows that staff members have been in the stands while he was on the court or on the field during an athletic event. He also knows that even though he does not attend Avilla the staff keeps an eye on him and are very PROUD of how much he has grown as a leader, student and as an athlete. Congratulations to sixth grade teacher, Mr. Brian McNamara, for being recognized by Chase as a teacher who made a difference in his life.

North Side Elementary

Another excited week at North Side saw students playing math games, finishing soup can commercials in art class, and having a visit from the Fort Wayne Tin Cap. Students gathered in the gym on Friday to hear from the Tin Cap and get fired up about the Tin Caps reading program. Each grade level is selecting reading goals and every student that meets the reading goals will receive free tickets to a Fort Wayne Tin Caps game. Also in the world of reading, students at North Side began using a new reading program called Lexia Core 5. Lexia is a reading program that analyzes a student’s reading ability and targets skill practice where additional practice is necessary. Students are encouraged to use the program at home for additional reading skills practice. The program makes practicing reading game-like and is very engaging for students. Speaking of game-like, students were learning a few new math games this week. Math games are a key part of the math curriculum and help students engage with content in a fun way that makes practicing math exciting!

Rome City Elementary

Romans have been busy this week being flexible and adapting to different schedules. Even with two days consisting of two hour delays and a non-traditional classroom day it is amazing to see the amount of learning that takes place even from our littlest Romans. Many students started their eLearning early Tuesday morning and were able to get younger siblings involved in their activities.


Mrs. Erexson's second grade Romans have been working doing random acts of kindness. They have learned how they feel when someone does something nice for them. As a class they have been demonstrating acts of kindness to others. They get so excited to talk about how their kindness effected the other person.


Third grade Romans are learning about simple machines. Students used a ruler, marker, and books to observe how a lever works. Students moved the books closer to and farther away to fulcrum to observe the effect. Students had fun and made new discoveries. Looking forward to what next week holds for our Romans!

South Side Elementary

South Side Trailblazers were thrilled to see our friends at the Fort Wayne Philharmonic again as they sent an ensemble to perform for our students. Each year The Phil visits, not only do they perform beautifully, but they also do a music tutorial for our students and a question and answer session. We are so fortunate to have this resource as part of our broader community.


Our students recently stepped up to the Mad Ants “Get Fit” Challenge and earned a free gym day! Students had to complete 30 minutes of physical activity each night for 30 days. The students who returned their chart also received a FREE ticket to a Mad Ants game! This was a great way to keep our students active and moving.


Grade level update this week comes from our fifth grade classes: fifth grade students have been collaborating on different class projects. We have been working through online articles about the Revolutionary War, and the events leading up to it. We also have been engrossed in the novel My Side of the Mountain, and will begin to work on travel guides and posters promoting the book next week!