Thursday Thoughts on Learning

CIA & PD Newsletter for Meramec Valley R-III School District

March 17, 2016-7th Edition

Happy St. Patrick's Day to ALL!

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District Spotlight on Student Learning

Zitzman Elementary hosted a building-wide Science Symposium on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Mrs. Falyn Sample, 1st grade Teacher & District Vertical Science Team Member and Ms. Jennifer Cooke, 3rd Grade Teacher, along with many other ZE teachers organized the 1st annual event for ZE students. Many thanks to the students and teachers who participated in the event and the numerous parents who attended on Tuesday evening. Students who designed exemplary projects received 1st and 2nd place honors based on a detailed science project scoring guide. Thank you to Mr. Sample, current engineer, and former Missouri S & T graduate, for spearheading the judging along with his other STEM engineering colleagues.

Pictured below is just one example of a 1st place winning project by Mason Bennett, Ms. Tate's 5th Grade homeroom student & Mrs. Bielicke's 5th Grade science student. His "Zap Dog" project was quite impressive! Do we have an Electrical Engineer in the making?

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Kindergarten students perform Testable Science Experiments

Kindergarten students in Mrs. Sarah Grodie's classroom are very comfortable with weekly "testable" questions. Students are exposed to inquiry throughout their daily lessons. Example of the science inquiry protocol that Mrs. Grodie's Kindergarten students use in class provided to the left.

DARE Curriculum provides connections BEYOND the Classroom

MVR-III embeds the national DARE curriculum into all 5th Grade elementary classrooms across the district. Students at Coleman Elementary used the principles from the national DARE association focused on making healthy choices and doing the right thing and extended these principles into a community service project to help veterans in the community. Thank you to Coleman Elementary and all families and patrons who participated in this wonderful cross-curricular service event.

Photo of the DARE Kids for Vets flyer designed and distributed by CE DARE Students.

See the MVR-III Prevention Scope at the link embedded below.

Lighter side of Learning

Have a funny cartoon, video, or quote related to loving the teaching and learning journey? Send it to a Curriculum Committee Member or PD Rep and ask to have it included in one of the Thursday Thoughts for Learning weekly newsletters.

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Spring Break March 24-March 28, 2016

MVR-III wishes everyone a safe, wonderful, and relaxing Spring Break!

No Thursday Thoughts on Learning during the week of Spring Break.

Updated Proposed Missouri Learning Standards Presented to State Board

The Department has issued the following news release:

The State Board today (March 15, 2016) heard updates to the proposed Missouri Learning Standards. Since the February Board meeting, Missouri educators and the public submitted more than 600 additional comments, and Department staff members have considered that feedback for incorporation into the proposed standards.

The State Board is scheduled to take action on the proposed standards at its April meeting. The action was postponed from the March meeting to provide Board members with adequate time to review and consider the standards with the latest feedback included. Once approved, implementation of the new standards will begin in the 2016-17 school year.

“We appreciate the attention that Missourians have given to revising the standards,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Producing challenging standards designed to prepare students for post-secondary success is clearly a priority for our state.”

The Department will next develop assessments to measure student progress toward the new standards. The new assessments for English language arts and math will be administered in spring 2018.

Thank you,

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education | Communications | 573.751.3469 |

District Updates

CIA News & Events for Week of March 21-23 & March 28-April 1

Tuesday, March 22nd ---K-5 Vertical Teams: SS-AM & Math-PM

Wednesday, March 23rd ---Monthly Board of Education Meeting, 7:30pm

---Para-professional Appreciation Day

Enjoy your Spring Break Thursday, March 24-Monday, March 28, 2016

Tuesday, March 29th ---PDC Committee Meeting (District Curriculum WILL NOT meet in March)

Wednesday, March 30th ---PBTE Committee Meeting

Friday, April 1st ---Teacher Academy 2016-2017 nominations are due to CO by end of the day

The next Thursday Thoughts on Learning will be sent on Thursday, March 31st.

PBTE Committee

The District MVR-III PBTE Review Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, March 30, 4pm-5pm, to discuss and review the impact that the Teacher Evaluation System is having on student learning. Discussion items will include: impact of SLOs, district and building teacher standard attainment and growth, and the overall process. Not on this committee? Send your feedback comments to your building principal prior to the meeting.

PDC is taking nominations for the 2016-2017 Teacher's Academy

PDC pays for up to four MVR-III teachers to attend the eight session professional learning Teacher's Academy each year (*option of EdPlus OR Rolla-RPDC). Teachers must be nominated by the building principal (Teachers with 6+ years experience are considered first) to MVR-III PDC in writing no later than April 1, 2016.) Teacher of the Year candidates are trained to grow teacher leadership and to support development of level 6-Proficient and level 7-Distinguished teachers.


The latest MVR-III book study began yesterday, but it’s not too late to join. There will be three face-to-face and five online sessions during the next eight weeks. For more information, check out the links below:

Listen to author Eric Sheninger speak about his book (less than 2 mins.)

Preview the book on

Grab course and registration materials from the PD Opportunities page

Follow the progress on Twitter at #MVR3learns

If you’d like to jump in, email Scott Kovis.

Complete your Professional Learning Summary from the March 16th PD Day

Find the forms and processes that you might be looking for on the website. See the link below.

District Spotlight on Educator Learning

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Vanessa Kutz earns Professional Learning Leadership Certificate from Learning Forward

On March 6th-8th, the District PDC Executive Committee attended the state conference on Professional Development hosted by Missouri Learning Forward (state affiliate to the National Learning Forward Association, formerly the National Staff Development Council). Vanessa Kutz, District Special Education Process/Transition Coordinator and District PDC Secretary, decided not only to attend the three-day conference but to also further extend her learning. The Learning Forward Professional Learning Leadership Certificate was an option one could do in addition to just attending the conference sessions. The requirement was to attend pre-selected sessions (there were options available) that were specific to spotlighted professional growth programs. All professional learning leadership members then participated in an online discussion board with other fellow participants throughout the three-day event regarding the various mandatory sessions. Discussions centered on topics such as the new information that was obtained and how PD members could envision these topics being implemented at their local district level.

"It was a great way to collaborate with other educators throughout the state and get their input and insight on the PD topics that were presented. I found it very interesting hearing from other people’s points of views on the same topics." stated Mrs. Vanessa Kutz.

MVR-III School District

"Together We Make a Difference in Doing What's Best for Kids!"