ENSC Family Notes

February 3, 2014

Darn Snow

Last week was yet another short week for school. Winter will end, and the colors and warmth of summer will return. You just have to believe. Wait, isn't that what we say to young children when they begin to question the existence of Santa Claus? Right now, I am beginning to wonder if Santa Claus is more real than a week without snow.


As you may have read, the weather predictions are calling for snow Tuesday afternoon and "heavy snow" Tuesday night! It also looks like another storm is to arrive on Saturday.

Make Up Days


ENSC has now missed ten days of school. Two of those do not need to be made up due to a waiver granted by the state. Of the remaining eight days, we have four built in days that will be used: February 17, May 9, 16, and 23. That leaves the remaining four days to be made up on June 5, 6, 9, and 10.


Last Monday was an "emergency only" travel advisory and Tuesday was an "essential travel only" advisory. These advisories forced the district to close school. I used this information to apply for another waiver for those two school days. If approved, we will not need to make up those days.


I have received a number of comments about making up days. First, it is important to understand, we are required by law to make up the school days unless a waiver is granted. Many years ago, we did not have to make up days, then that changed to making up the first five days and two of the next three. When Tony Bennett arrived to the Department of Education, he eliminated that (through an expired law) and required the full 180 days.


Many have been asking about using technology for a school day at home. Excellent idea; however, there are some challenges with this. First, anything that deviates from a traditional school day, requires a waiver from the state. Which means, we cannot conduct school from home without getting permission first. We can request a waiver to make up a day of school from home using technology. However, currently, our kindergartners - fourth graders do not take their devices home. We will need to develop some guidelines and plans to make that happen. So, long story short, it is possible, just not quickly.


Superintendent Ritz is meeting with several IDOE staff members next week to discuss and develop options for making up snow days. Believe it or not, there are districts who have missed more days than we have. Hopefully, we are notified quickly!

Legislation

Education action revolves around the expansion of charter schools and vouchers. Some believe that the addition of vouchers doesn't hurt public schools. They do. Most (not all) of the vouchers are going to families who had planned to attend private/parochial schools without the use of vouchers. What is significant is the funding for vouchers. While we were told the funding for vouchers would not cost anything, it is costing public schools. Approximately $81 million dollars were funneled to the private/parochial schools last year. That is $81 million dollars that did not go to public schools...every year and it is growing.

Graduation

If you have not heard, graduation has been changed to Sunday, June 15. Yes, this is Fathers day. What better way for a dad to spend his day than to experience the pride of their child graduating from high school. Unfortunately, moving graduation is never easy and most likely will cause conflicts with some families. We do apologize for making this change, but hope it is early enough that families are able to adapt.

This Week's Super Hero is Julie Page

Meet North Side’s Hero of the Week - Julie Page. Julia is married to Rick and has three sons, Andru, Aaric, and Ryan. Julie serves as our office assistant as well as works with our Kindergarten Success Groups. As an office assistant, she wears many hats throughout the school day – nurse, telephone operator, copy machine repairman, file clerk, counselor to parents, and keeper of attendance. Julie always greets each day with a smile and is willing to jump in and help with any task that may come her way. As we returned to school on Thursday Julie was asked to help manage the records of the daily Snow Contest that each grade level ran with their students while we were out of school. Julie happily jumped right in, sorted names and gathered treats and prizes for our students. Julie’s warm and calming personality is a quality that further enhances the family atmosphere at North Side School.

A Few Websites Worth a Look

Have a Great Week

Hopefully, we are able to have five days of school this week!

Ann

Building and Curriculum Notes

Curriculum Notes

Test Taking Tips – Part III - Teachers

As we begin to prepare for the ISTEP+ (grades 3-8), IREAD 3 (grade 3) and ECA (grades 8-12) tests, it is important that we talk about test taking strategies. Yes, it is important for the students to learn and practice the concepts that will be covered on the test, but it is equally important that students, parents, and teachers address test taking strategies. This is part three of the Test Taking Tips series.

TEACHERS

Prior to tests, here are some good strategies for teachers to follow:

* Notify students and parents of the test dates in advance.

* Explain the purposes for testing.

* Create an uncluttered testing environment.

* Use a variety of test formats during the school year.

* Become familiar with the materials and procedures to be used with the tests.

* Identify which students may need and/or be eligible for test accommodations.

* Read the Test Administration Manual carefully for instructions and information.

* Encourage all students to be present on test dates.

* Allow students to express their anxiety verbally or in writing.

* Be careful not to over emphasize the importance of the test.

Avilla Elementary

OUR 5th grade students spent the snow days being challenged by Mrs. Hudson and Mr. Neilson. Mrs. Hudson challenged OUR students to complete acuity assignments from home, but there was a twist of course. Students were not only asked to complete the acuity assignments but they were also asked to write about what they had learned. Mr. Neilson had students tracking the temperature each day. Students then used excel to create a table and graph with the data. Math was not left out, students worked on solving problems dealing with decimals. Kudos to Mrs. Hudson and Mr. Neilson for challenging OUR students! A HUGE “Shout out” goes to OUR students that accepted the challenge and completed the work asked of them.


The next two weeks OUR school will be participating in “Pennies for Patients”. This will be the fourth year WE have participated in this great event. The NEHS has set a target goal of $1300.00 to be raised for the cause. WE have some great ideas to help reach this goal and cannot wait to get started.


Several of OUR band members participated at Carroll this past Saturday. WE would like to thank the students, parents, and Mr. Smith for all the hard work with preparation. Students and parents need to be commended for all the practicing at home that took place over the course of the past two weeks. Mr. Smith said the kids are ready to represent Avilla, and all of EN, to the best of their ability.

East Noble High School

Week Campaign, and Friday our kids donned their red outfits to show their support. The activities will extend into next week to compensate for the lost school days. Kids are working hard for their chance to showcase their talents at Collage; another student council sponsored activity designed to raise money and awareness for Riley Week.


Even though the weather is causing disruptions to our routine, our kids have maintained their focus. Our wrestlers secured their third sectional championship in a row, our show choir gave an awesome performance, numerous band students received honors at the ISMAA competition which includes 10 events qualifying for state, our Science Olympiad team competed at IPFW, and our basketball and swim teams took steps to improve as individuals and as teams. Our students are eager for a break in the weather and a return to regular routine. They are also adapting to the changes and stress that comes from sporadic sessions

East Noble Middle School

The final round of Acuity is just one week away. All teachers in the middle school will then focus on ISTEP items shown to need extra work based upon Acuity results. This is just one tool the teachers are using to assist the hard work the student have demonstrated when we have been at school.


The first week’s winner of the pizza party based upon Acuity success was Mrs. Sandy David’s class. As a school almost 800 lessons were completed in on day with scores of a 5 or 6 out of 6.


The athletic teams have also been in action when school has been in session. Both the boys and girls teams are in the middle of their conference tournaments. The wrestling and swimming teams are anxiously awaiting their first contest.

North Side Elementary

This week Mother Nature showed in rare form what winters in Northern Indiana can bring. This did not deter the North Side Wildcats though as while it may have been 30 below outside, the Wildcats were blazing the learning curve throughout the week at home. To keep the students engaged during this time, a daily competition was held across the various grade levels. Each grade level would put together various learning activities for the students to complete at home of which was then posted on the school Facebook page and Twitter. Activities created by the teacher included, daily reading, working on IXL math, Acuity lessons, and integrating various things within the home setting to solve math and reading type of problems such as making a list of things within the house which began with a specific letter or write a compare and contrast paper about winters in Alaska and Indiana. The students came to school on Thursday with either a signed agenda or note signifying their successful completion of the daily challenges and were rewarded for completion of the challenge. A huge thanks to our staff for making this possible for our students!

Rome City Elementary

It seemed that Rome City students came back to school ready to work following the recent snow days. Our staff has worked very diligently at preparing Snow Day Challenge work for our students. These packets include class assignments to be completed at home on snow days in the future. When the student return the completed work following the snow day they will receive an incentive prize from their classroom teacher. We are striving for academic excellence even with this crazy snow.


We conducted our monthly fire drill on Friday. Our students wore their coats out for this drill. The temperature was a balmy 28 degrees and this seemed warm compared to our most recent sub-zero temperatures. We achieved our best time at exiting the building safely. WAY TO GO ROMANS!!


The nine week awards program was held Friday afternoon in the gym. We gave out 113 perfect attendance awards. WOW that’s GREAT. When the student receives this award they receive a slip of paper with their name on it. They put their name in a basket of their choice for the end of year drawing to win a bicycle. We will be giving away 4 bicycles for perfect attendance at our final awards program in June. The other awards given were All A honor roll, A/B honor roll, Character Counts, Merit, Reading, and Math.


Our fourth grade students recently completed an American Flag segment. This was in partner with the American Legion. The students were tested and wrote an essay. One boy student and one girl received a $50 gift card as top winners of the program. Our teachers Mrs. McKibben and Mrs. Rogers received a basket with a plant as well. Congratulations to all of the Roman students and parents for a successful grading period.

South Side Elementary

Third grade students are currently learning about the genre of biography. They are reading a biography of their choice in addition to reading Harriet Tubman’s biography. We will be writing our own autobiographies in February.

As part of our study of inventors, students in third grade worked to produce a simple machine of their own using various materials. They really enjoyed eating butter they made themselves using one of these machines.

In addition, the Purdue extension service will be presenting a variety of health lessons about proper nutrition to our third-graders next week! We’re looking forward to seeing what they have to share!

Wayne Center Elementary

Snow! Snow! Snow! How do you stay on track when the weather interferes with our regular schedules? Wayne Center teachers have developed homework activities that are going home with students in the event that we have future cancellations or to give parents ideas for reinforcing learning at home. Preschool sends a weekly activity sheet including cognitive, motor, singing and rhyming practice. K-3 and resource sent home activity sheets including activities such as: graphing, writing, reading, choosing text, orally discussing, reading response pages, working with math apps (if available at home), completing a variety of math activities using household items, making a how to book after doing a cooking project, etc. Grades 4-6 sent home review packets including reading passages, writing prompts, non-fiction reading, mixed review of math, etc. Caregivers are encouraged to assist when needed and can e-mail their child’s teacher with questions.


On a happy note, Math Bowl was able to have their first practice this week in preparation for the Math Bowl competition in February. Also, Wayne Center is host for the Noble County Spelling Bee on February 6, 2014 at 6:30pm.

Alternative Learning Center

With only 2 partial days of school it has been a slow news week at the ALC. We have had a couple of credits earned and we have some students on the brink of earning credits. It would be much easier for the students to earn credits if we could string together 4 or 5 consecutive full school days. Hopefully we can pull that off and I will have more to report next week. Until then, think warm thoughts!!!