ENSC Family Notes

January 27, 2014

Think Spring....

Perhaps if we all "think" spring, it will happen. It is worth a try anyway! I am tired of the winter weather and getting worried about our ISTEP preparation for students. Our students need to be in the learning mode to be best prepared for the upcoming testing "season."


It has been interesting listening to the comments about the number of days we have missed. I have been hearing people comment over and over that our students need to get in school; they are going to "forget what they learned." "Kids can't be away from school this long and do well." Yes, I understand winter break was three weeks long and we then returned for one week before missing three of the next five days. That is nothing compared to summer break. Not many people seem to worry about the achievement loss during the ten-week summer break.


There are also those who believe the number of days we have cancelled is my effort to move to "year round" school. We are NOT moving to year round school. Neither the Board, myself, or any other administrators have an interest in moving to "year round" school. That would be a late July start with a late June end. No way! As a matter of fact, many year round schools are moving away from the four week summer to a calendar more similar to our 2014-2015 calendar.


Think spring!! You can never underestimate the power of positive thinking!

Three Hour Delays

We have had some inquiries about using three hour delays. Up to this point, a three hour delay wouldn't have been much help. However, as we move forward, we do need to consider this, when it is appropriate, to prevent us from losing more school days.


A three hour delay means we have to add an hour to the end of the school day. Please begin to make some back up plans for those days that we might need to call a three hour delay.

Waiver Approved!

It is official. The IDOE approved our request for a waiver to penalties for missing school on Jan. 6 and 7. This means, we will not be making up those two school days!


At this time, we are making up five of our seven school days we missed. When adding days on, the most value for students is getting these days in by mid May. We have now taken up all of our built in days which means adding them in June. While everyday is an important instructional day for students, continuing to add days to the end of the year is not always as productive as instructional days in March and April. We will hang in there and hope we do not miss many more days. However, be prepared. As we miss more days, they will be added on to the end of the school year.

School Board Meeting

This week is a School Board meeting week. Agenda items will include an overview of Keys to Comprehension by North Side staff; discussion over moving graduation, renovation vs. new ENMS building; and moving funds to the rainy day fund.


The meeting will be held at North Side Elementary, Wednesday, January 29, starting at 6 p.m. If you or someone you know wants to speak at the meeting, the process is as follows:


  • Before the meeting begins, sign up to speak.
  • When your name is called, you will have three minutes to speak.
  • This is your opportunity to comment. Board members will take your comments under consideration, but generally they do not respond.

Legislative Update

Hearings were held on the following bills:


SB0276 Music courses in school curriculum. Requires each school corporation to offer music classes as part of the school corporation's curriculum. Requires each school corporation to include music ensembles for grade 7 through grade 12.

SB0284 Teacher contracts. Changes the date, from August 15 to July 15, after which a contract entered into between a school corporation and a teacher is void if at the time of signing the contract the teacher is bound by a previous contract, unless the teacher provides a 30 day written notice to the first employer or the first employer releases the teacher from the previous contract.

SB0326 Celebration of winter holidays in schools. Provides that a school corporation may: (1) instruct students about the history of traditional winter celebrations; (2) allow the use of traditional greetings concerning the celebrations; and (3) display on school property scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations if certain conditions are met and the scenes or symbols do not include a message that encourages a particular religious belief.

Super Hero of the Week is

Pat Laverghetta is this week’s super hero. Pat is an instructional assistant at the middle school and is in charge of the In School Suspension room. At least that is what it says on the master schedule but Pat does far more than just watch the students in the ISS room each week. When a student is in her room Pat treats each one is if it was her own child. Pat will sit down with each student and work with them one on one with their homework, missing assignments, or just read to them. Mrs. Laverghetta also has some of our students who are still working on mastering the English language; Pat will work with them on vocabulary flash cards, help them understand their assignments, and also seek out additional resources to help them be successful. Pat is like many of the ENMS staff members and is always willing to step up and ask if there is anything else she can help with in the school. Mrs. Laverghetta has a difficult assignment in our school with dealing with students who are continuously in trouble but she does it with pride and puts in a lot of effort. She is a true super hero for the middle school.

A Few Websites...

Stay warm and positive thinking.....

I am optimistic that we are going to get school back in session and into a regular routine for everyone!


Stay warm, free of snow, and have a great week.


Ann

Building and Curriculum Notes

Curriculum Notes from Becca

Test Taking Tips – Part II


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 two of the Test Taking Tips series. Parents and teachers, please share this with your students.


STUDENTS

Students need assistance when thinking about a test. Often, students are so worried about the answers that they forget some important strategies.

· Keep a positive attitude throughout the whole test and try to stay relaxed. If you start to feel nervous take a few deep breaths to relax.

· When you first receive your test, do a quick survey of the entire test so that you know how to efficiently budget your time.

· Do the easiest problems first. Don't stay on a problem that you are stuck on, especially when time is a factor.

· Write legibly. If the scorer can't read what you wrote, they'll most likely mark it wrong.

· If you don't know an answer, skip it. Go on with the rest of the test and come back to it later. Other parts of the test may have some information that will help you out with that question.

· Don't worry if others finish before you. Focus on the test in front of you.

· If you have time left when you are finished, look over your test. Make sure that you have answered all the questions. Only change an answer if you misread or misinterpreted the question because the first answer that you put is usually the correct one.

· Watch out for careless mistakes and proofread your essay and/or short answer questions.

· Show all of your work, even if you can do it in your head. Many questions have partial credit.

· On essays use the “me, my friend, invention” method. Ask yourself if you can write about yourself in the situation. If not, do you know someone that you can write about? If you are still stuck, make it up. Often students say, “I didn’t know what to write about.” They need permission to create a story, if there isn’t one that is true.

Wayne Center Elementary

Approximately 40 fifth and sixth graders participated in the Wayne Center School spelling bee preliminaries. Students spelled a number of difficult words in attempt to earn a place in the spelling bee finals. After several rounds of competition, the field was narrowed down to fourteen finalists. These students went on to compete in our spelling bee finals held recently.


During the spelling bee finals, students were challenged with even more difficult words that tested their knowledge of spelling rules and patterns. In the end, two fifth graders claimed the title of champion and runner-up. Manal Ali spelled her way to spelling bee champion and classmate Jasney Combs was runner-up. Manal will now compete in the Noble County Spelling Bee which will be held on Thursday, February 6, at 6:30 p.m. at Wayne Center School.


All the spellers did a tremendous job preparing for the bee and showed outstanding sportsmanship by cheering on their classmates as they competed in the Bee.


South Side Elementary

Well, the week was shorter than we had planned, but that does not mean it was uneventful! Some weeks ago, South Side received great news that we have been awarded a technology grant from Bosch for a beginning level programming course designed for elementary students. Our very own tech coach and teacher Mrs. Julie Becker worked hard to apply for the grant and communicate her vision for the funds to our community partner—a big thank you to Bosch for the opportunity! The course we intend to purchase with the grant uses the Scratch programming language and gives students an opportunity to design two working games. During the last couple of weeks, we have been preparing to put the grant to use for our students. Mrs. Becker plans to start a student “tech” group beginning with a small group of students in second and third grade, then eventually adding fourth and fifth grade students as time allows. This is a tremendous opportunity for students at this level to begin building programming skills and to work through a collaborative process with their peers and with technology toward an end product! We know our students will be as excited as we are!


Rome City Elementary

Students at Rome City were discussing the weather at lunch this week! Many students say they love the snow, but the "super"cold weather is not fun. Students miss not being able to go outside for recess. We have started playing "Just Dance" during indoor recess, the older students really enjoy dancing.

Rome City is proud to have 20 students in. Math Bowl this year! Mr. Tyler Martin is coaching the team for success. They are working hard to represent Rome City in February at the area competition.


North Side Elementary

The sixth grade students came back ready to work after break! Currently in reading, students are working on citing evidence to support analysis of what text states explicitly as well as making inferences. They are developing skills in evaluating arguments and claims in a text, specifically distinguishing claims that are supported by reason or evidence verses those that do not.


To prepare for ISTEP, students are practicing their constructed response writing as well as increasing writing stamina. Students will focus on strategies, and traits that help them become better writers, including, but not limited to the following: use of vocabulary, transition words, and creating a voice within the text to make it interesting.


In math, students have been working on problem solving and algebraic expressions. They will be learning to use a pan-balance model to understand equality and equations. Likewise, students will solve equations involving multiple steps.

In science, they will be reviewing characteristics of organisms, forms of energy, scientific method, and challenging vocabulary. In social studies, students develop an understanding of skills that will help them to be successful in the workforce. Along with this knowledge, students will learn what connects local community with the countries of Europe and the Americas via the structure of global economics.


Finally, with the celebration of a dynamic figure and catalyst for change, students will participate in a plethora of activities that will accentuate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These activities include learning about the man behind the powerful speeches and writings, through watching a video that encompasses what he stood for and believed. Students will engage in discussions of equality and civil rights, as well as write their own persuasive essays that highlight “their dreams” for this world. They will likewise create timelines that walk us down the memorable path of one of the most integral men of America and the human race en masse: Dr. Martin Luther King.


East Noble Middle School

The students at the middle school have started their second semester, and are quickly adjusting to their new electives. There was a call-out meeting about the China Trip Wednesday for the Exchange Program for next year’s spring break. The students on the trip will visit Beijing, Xi-an, and Hangzhou. Students who attend the trip will have a home stay with a Chinese family with students who attend our sister school in Hangzhou, Qingchun Middle School.


Second semester is starting off with a bang in the Art room here at E.N.M.S. Portfolios are made and the Drawing Journals skins are completed! Students are ready to begin filling the journals up with their drawings showing viewers their point of view. The advanced art class is starting off with a narrative project. They are making inside/outside boxes. Many of the content courses are doing Acuity and ISTEP prep as well as engaging their students in exciting novels, and curriculum.


Finally, our Academic Labs are participating in weekly Acuity lesson competitions. They can earn a weekly pizza party for having the most 5s or 6s on acuity! They created names and are working hard towards their goals. Just another EPIC week at ENMS!

East Noble High School

Our English department has been working hard to prepare kids for the End of Course Assessment (ECA). Whether it’s a new structure to the schedule that will allow more freshmen to take English all year, their use of Acuity data, or the extra support in English Academic Lab we’re proud of how our teachers and students have responded to the challenge to raise their test scores. As ECA time nears, classes are tackling one of the hardest tasks on the assessment: finding the main idea.


In the 9-2 English classes, they just began reading Black Like Me. Prior to reading the book, they did a group project to learn more about the time period in which their story takes place as well as some background information on the Jim Crow laws. This project had the students complete various activities using an interactive PBS website focused on the Jim Crow Laws. Students had to write a paragraph about which law they felt was the most unfair and why as well as list 3 facts about how the government played a role in the Jim Crow Laws. The students then had to look at interactive maps and data in order to write a paragraph about which state they would want to live in back then and why. Finally, the students created a timeline of various events throughout our time period and a Facebook page for a public figure of that time (example included).


Several English classes are working on skills to prepare for on-demand writing for the classroom and for the ECA and Acuity testing. Our students are learning how to improve their constructed response and essay writing with RUPR and Yes, Ma’am. By familiarizing our students with the modes of reading and writing, they are able to hone in on specific words and methods to answer questions more successfully. The confidence level of these students is on the rise!


Alternative Learning Center

Despite missing several days this week due to inclement weather, the ALC students continued to make progress toward graduation. Four more credits were earned in less than two full days of school, stretching our total for the Trimester to 62!!! We also welcomed one new student this week and were supposed to welcome more, had the weather co-operated. We will look forward to meeting those new students next week. Last but not least, a BIG ALC THANKS goes out to Starr Grubb, Justis White, Dylan Rice and Cody Hooser, all of whom helped pack Boomerang Backpacks in the absence of some of the regular crew this week.