Grandview C-4 School District

The C&I Focus

A Message from Lisa

-Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction

July 8, 2013

Dear GC-4 Leadership Team,

I hope this letter finds you rejuvenated and enjoying the remaining days of a fun and relaxing vacation. After the MANY accomplishments that have occurred during the past school year – ALL of you are certainly deserving of this time of restoration. As we get ready to begin another year, noted below are some things which you will want to know.

It’s my pleasure to officially welcome several individuals to our 2013-14 GC-4 Leadership Team. First, Dr. John Herrera moves into the Meadowmere principal’s position after serving in multiple administrative roles in the Hickman Mills School District. Also from outside of the district is Adrain Howard, former KCMO elementary principal, joining the GHS administrative team as an assistant principal. Returning to GHS in a new role is Ryan Beatty, former house leader and SPED teacher, serving now as an assistant principal on the administrative team. Many of you had an opportunity to meet Scott Sisemore last spring, who transitions from Belton into the GC-4 Director of Instructional Technology position. Finally, John Baccala joins us as the Coordinator of Communications and Community Relations, having served previously in a similar role in the Hickman Mills School District. The capacity of our leadership team continues to expand with the addition of these individuals, and tremendous opportunities lie ahead as we collaborate to develop our professional relationships and abilities during the coming year.

Our Leadership Orientation Sessions will be held in the BOE room Tuesday, July 23rd through Thursday, July 25th from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Many parent/staff communications and enrollment preparations will occur prior to these meetings, so please refer to emails and agendas from last spring and the GC-4 Connection on Moodle for items to consider as you make arrangements for the return of staff and students.

Our GC-4 learning journey continued to move ahead this summer with large groups participating in numerous curriculum and professional development opportunities. Second through twelfth grade teachers developed math benchmarks to systematically increase the rigor and align instruction in this content area, K-8 curriculum authors continued revisions of the ELA curriculum and anchor lessons, and a number of staff attended the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and Model Schools conferences. I am proud of the diligent work occurring and inspired by the powerful collaboration that continuously focuses on careful study, reflection, and growth around improving teaching and learning for staff and students in our district.

This year, we will continue to focus on fostering strong and authentic relationships amongst all members of our school community – working with staff, students and parents – not on staff, students and parents. As stated by Adam Bellow, ISTE closing keynote speaker, “We change the world every single day, through our actions and inactions.” With this in mind, we must be passionate about embracing technology as the great equalizer in our learning and our students’ learning. Transformation will occur through increased connectivity, as we intensify our focus on the delivery of quality and rigorous instruction and work collaboratively to build our district’s capacity to learn in this global society. Until I see you, I leave you with these thoughts…

“The secret of success is consistency of purpose.”

-Benjamin Disraeli

“Innovation happens when you intersect fear and bravery.”
-Adam Bellow

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Highlights from the 2013 ISTE Conference

In our pursuit of expanding students’ access to using digital tools in the classroom to connect and collaborate around deep learning, we had the opportunity to take a group of GC-4 staff members to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference this summer. The conference was a great opportunity to collaborate around best practices for technology integration to enhance the effectiveness of instruction. What was the biggest takeaway – the reinforcement of the fact that the tech tools are just the “stuff” and the teachers are the craftsmen. It’s not about the technology, it’s always about the instruction! Check out these keynote speakers from the 2013 ISTE Conference.

Closing Keynote: You’re Invited to Change the World

Author and educational technologist Adam Bellow delivered the closing keynote of ISTE 2013 with a high-energy presentation reveling in the joys found only in being an educator in these amazing times. Bellow shared anecdotes about both successes and failures in his experiences as a classroom teacher, administrator and entrepreneur - and invited educators to challenge themselves to make a difference in their schools with creativity and kindness. Founder and president of the eduTecher website and eduClipper digital tool, Bellow works with educational leaders, teachers and students from around the U.S. to help them infuse technology successfully into the classroom. He recently co-authored Untangling the Web, which takes an in-depth look at essential web tools for the classroom. Follow Adam Bellow on Twitter.
ISTE 2013 Closing Keynote, Adam Bellow: You're Invited to Change the World

Opening Keynote: Learning is an Epic Win

Jane McGonigal is today’s leading speaker on games and the application of game-design to education. McGonigal referenced lessons learned through her work creating games for organizations such as the World Bank, the Olympic Games, the American Heart Association, and the New York Public Library. McGonigal discussed the powers of gameplay to solve real-world challenges, and to teach 21st century skills like resilience, urgent optimism, and extreme-scale collaboration. McGonigal’s ISTE presentation isn’t currently available; however, you can catch her TEDTalk to get a snapshot of what she shared at ISTE.

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

Keynote 2: Where Good Ideas Come From

Best-selling author Steven Johnson, one of the foremost thought leaders in today’s interdisciplinary, collaborative and open-minded approach to innovation, brought his experience writing for Wired, The New York Times, and other influential publications to the ISTE 2013 stage. Drawing on examples from both inside and outside of education, Johnson identified real-life learning environments that operate as incubators of creativity. Johnson discussed how innovative learners solve problems by borrowing ideas from multiple fields of thought, and how both educators and students leverage peer networks to mobilize as agents of change. Johnson’s ISTE presentation isn’t currently available; however, you can catch his keynote at Atmosphere 2011 to get a snapshot of what he shared at ISTE.

Atmosphere 2011 Keynote: Chance Favors the Connected Mind, Steven Johnson (4-12)