Monday Morning Motivation

Central Elementary Staff News----April 11--April 15

Here's to the Kids Who Are Different!

Dear Staff,

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the The Legacy Foundation Trivia Night. It was fun to see several teachers from Central representing us well. One of the questions from the game asked the full name of the astronaut from Indiana. The answer is Virgil "Gus" Grissom. After our group answered the question, I was reminded of visiting his museum in Mitchell, Indiana.

When we visited and learned about him, you could not help but be captivated by his incredible bravery. He has several stories of near death experiences where he demonstrated courage. Ultimately, he died training for a space mission, paving the way for future astronauts.

While looking through all of his memorabilia, one thing that struck my sister and me was his report cards on display. There were several C's and D's as I recall in a couple of academic subjects. As educators we sometimes make judgements about a child's potential. I know I am guilty of it. While we do need to be realistic and have high expectations, I remember thinking, would I have written Gus Grissom off if he had said he was going to grow up to be an astronaut? Would I have thought, he can't do that with C's and D's? My hope is that we are encouragers for our students and do not discourage any of their dreams.

Since April is national poetry month, I am sharing one of my favorite educational poems.

Kids Who Are Different

Author: Digby Wolfe

Here’s to kids who are different,
Kids who don’t always get A's,
Kids who have ears
Twice the size of their peers,
And noses that go on for days.

Here’s to the kids who are different,
Kids they call crazy or dumb,
Kids who don’t fit,
With the guts and the grit,
Who dance to a different drum.

Here’s to the kids who are different,
Kids with a mischievous streak,
For when they have grown,
As history has shown,
It’s their difference that makes them unique.

Have a great week!


A Week at a Glance

Central Calendar

MONDAY, April 11

  • ISTEP Practice for grades 4 and 5. Labs are closed from 8:50-12:20 and again from 1:20-3:30.

TUESDAY, April 12

  • ISTEP Practice for grades 4 and 5. Labs are closed from 8:50-12:20 and again from 1:20-3:30.
  • Culver's Fundraiser-5-8 pm. No flyer needed. Student Council will assist PTO that evening.


  • ISTEP Practice for grades 4 and 5. Labs are closed from 8:50-12:20 and again from 1:20-3:30.
  • Cabinet Meeting at Central Office

THURSDAY, April 14

  • ISTEP Practice for grades 4 and 5. Labs are closed from 8:50-12:20 and again from 1:20-3:30.
  • Middle School Transition Case Conferences
  • Big Idea Committee
  • School Board Meeting

FRIDAY, April 15

  • ISTEP Practice for grades 4 and 5. Labs are closed from 8:50-12:20 and again from 1:20-3:30.
  • Packing Party 6-9

Announcements and Reminders

  • Computer Labs are closed for the next three weeks. There maybe some windows of times when they are available and Shonda will let you know. Please plan accordingly and thank you for your flexibility!!

  • Sign up for the Packing Party on the counter in the office if you plan to attend. It is not mandatory. We would like to get a count for food since the PTO is providing dinner.

  • Here’s what I am telling parents, who want to bring younger children/siblings to the Walk-A-Thon:

    Thank you for wanting to participate in the Walk-A-Thon. If you bring your child, you will not be able to participate in the capacity of a volunteer. Our children walk along the neighborhood streets and we need our volunteers to have their full attention on the children for their safety. However, you are welcome to sign up and come as a participant.

    Please call me if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Begin scheduling Domain 1 and 3 meetings with Karen. I would like to have these completed by Friday, May 13th. These meetings can be before school, during prep, or after school.

  • SInce we ran out of time at our faculty meeting, please plan to share your Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites strategies at our next meeting. You can share both at one time and don't feel like you have to take more than a couple of minutes.

  • Dickey's 4/26 4-9 pm. No flyer needed.

  • In July a New District and School Website will go live for the public. The goal is to create a user friendly, clean web page, highlighting all the wonderful things happening in Plainfield.

End of the Year

April and May Activities for Central Elementary

April 6 – Kindergarten Round up AM & PM @ Clarks Creek Elementary

April 7 – Kindergarten Round up PM @ Clarks Creek Elementary

April 15 – Central Staff Packing Party

April 18 – PTO Meeting

April 20 – Relay For Life Jeans Day

April 22 – Walkathon and Walkathon Celebration (2:45-3:20)

April 25 – 5th grade Flat Rock Parent Meeting

April 28 – 4th & 5th grade Growth and Development

April 18 – May 6 – ISTEP Testing for grades 3,4,5

May 6 – Walkathon Principals’ Minute to Win it @ Clarks Creek Elementary

May 9th and 10 preschool transition conferences here at Central

May 9 – Study Buddy Party

May 10th Kindergarten Screening in the afternoon

May 11th Pat Cooney from middle school to talk with 5th grade

May 12 & 13 – 5th grade Flat Rock Field Trip

May 16 – PTO Meeting

May 18 – 3rd grade field trip Jameson Camp

May 20 – Field Day

May 23 – 5th grade breakfast & celebration AM

KG – 4 grade Central Celebration PM

High Ability Process

High ability identification data team meeting with grade-levels for grades K-4 will be on April 26th

As you are completing the spreadsheet, you do not need to write anything for teacher recommendations as we will discuss your thoughts at the meeting. Cogat numbers can be found in student files although I am trying locate a report from last year from Central Office. I will get back with you on this. Remember, you do not have to grade writing prompts. We will talk about bubble kids at our meeting and determine as a grade level who and how we will grade those.

Things to do prior to the meeting in grade 5:

APRIL 20th

· Review the spreadsheet once I get it to you in preparation for our identification meeting on April 20th

· 4:00 p.m. meeting with the middle school assistant principal, a math teacher and a language arts teacher to discuss place

Things to do prior to the meeting grades 2-4:

· Please plan to give a writing prompt the week of April 11th

· Review the spreadsheet once I get it to you in preparation for our identification meeting on April 26th

Things to do prior to the meeting grades K-1:

· Review the spreadsheet once I get it to you in preparation for our identification meeting on April 26th


The Politics of ISTEP: What Will It Take to Find a Replacement Exam?

The Indy Star, March 27, 2016 by Chelsea Schneider

Gov. Mike Pence dealt the final blow to Indiana’s ISTEP student test last week, signing into law a repeal of the controversial exam after mounting concerns over computer glitches, lengthier tests and tougher learning standards. That was the easy part.

Now state education officials will undertake the heavy lift of determining a replacement for the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress — a fixture for Hoosier schoolchildren in one form or another for nearly 30 years and a source of increasing frustration for teachers. In doing so, the state will dump a testing brand it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build and find a replacement under a quick timeline. A panel has until Dec. 1 to recommend a new standardized test Hoosier students will begin taking in the 2017-18 school year.

Any new test likely will resemble the ISTEP — at least in its content. Unknown is how far educators will go in altering the test. Will they undertake robust revisions? Or will they simply change the name and keep the exam the same? The future of the state’s testing program is now in the hands of a 23-member panel whose design has already sparked a political fight. Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz and her supporters are mad the Republican-controlled General Assembly didn’t appoint her to lead the group. Instead, Pence, who has butted heads with Ritz over education policy, will name the chairperson.

Spring Assessments!

Students are preparing now more than ever for upcoming assessments this semester.
  • ISTEP Part 2 Window April 18-May 6, 2016 (all students grades 3-5). We will begin on the 18th and it will be online.
  • Grade 3 will be taken by way of paper/pencil, beginning on April 19th
  • Grades 4 and 5 will be online and begin April 18th

Teachers in grades 4 and 5 please note the following (see me with questions; they make many things more confusing than they need to be :):

ISTEP+ Part 2 Practice Test

The ISTEP+ Part 2 Online Practice Test for Science and Social Studies is now available! Please refer to the “ISTEP+ Part 2 Spring 2016 Practice Test Set-up Instructions” document for directions. We anticipate the ELA and Math Online Practice Test will be released on Monday. Please see below for more details.

Online Practice Test

· Directions to administer the Practice Test are contained in the Examiner’s Manuals, which are posted in the IDOE – Test Coordinator Corner Learning Connection Community.

· Important Notes regarding Seal Codes

o The number of Seal Codes needed is determined by the number of sealed sections in the test.

o Seal Codes must be used in the exact order in which they are listed on the Seal Code document.

o All of the Mathematics practice tests have three sections and will use all of the seal codes.

§ The remaining subjects (ELA, Science, Social Studies) have just one section in the practice test, so only the first Seal Code is needed. The remainder of the Seal Codes for these subject areas will not be used.


Ø Schools are required to give students an opportunity to interact with the practice test items.

Ø Educators are provided flexibility with regard to use of practice test items—refer to the attached documents for details and ideas.

· Helpful Hints/Ideas:

o Print an extra testing ticket for the teacher to project the Online Practice Test items for use in discussing the Practice Test items with students.

o Have students work in pairs or groups of three to practice the online testing tools.

o Make a computer one of the learning stations in the classroom and have students practice the online testing tools there.

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Celebrate Staff

  • Thank you very much for your flexibility with regard to computer labs and ISTEP. By staying positive and working together, we will be successful and our so will our students (the VIPs in this whole process)

  • Congratulations to Laura Burkert and Linda Dickey for receiving our Compass Award recognition at our last staff meeting!

  • Kathy Crum for moving the library to the basement. You made it seem like an easy task and it looks great down there. The second grade treehouse projects make it even more kid friendly.

  • Thanks to the kindergarten teachers for giving up time to participate in Kindergarten RoundUp. Our numbers look great and I know our families are excited to come to Central!


New from the DOE

NEW! Fluency FOCUS (April)

Comprehension FOCUS (March)

Writing Connected to Texts FOCUS (February)

Vocabulary FOCUS (January)

The purpose the Literacy Focus of the Month is to provide guidance to administrators and teachers for supporting a monthly, school wide instructional focus based on best practices and research-based strategies in literacy. This "user-friendly" support tool will assist districts and schools in the implementation of reading instruction in classrooms across multiple grade levels, as well as different subjects/content areas. Although the monthly focus will highlight and supplement a specific procedure or skill, it is impossible to teach the components in isolation; therefore, the Literacy FOCUS of the Month should serve to present a school-wide shared commitment to literacy.

Reward for Getting to the End!

This is a long newsletter this week. For those of you who have made it to the end, please feel free to wear jeans on Friday. This should be especially helpful if you are planning to attend our packing party. Have a great week!