Decatur Proud Newsletter

Winter 2019

Message from the Superintendent

Happy New Year to our Decatur Township families and staff! I hope that everyone’s 2019 is off to a great start. We were happy to see our students, teachers, administrators and staff return to school looking recharged and ready to fulfill our mission of fostering an environment of empowerment, growth and development. Between the School for Excellence securing a prestigious award to our students capitalizing on 21st century learning opportunities, our school district experienced many instances that truly made us all #DecaturProud. With such a strong and successful start to our 2018-19 school year, we are eager to see what our staff and students will accomplish in the new year. Be sure to stay tuned for more exciting news to come!


Dr. Matt Prusiecki

Why leveraging computer science is crucial to every classroom

By: Aimee Kroll, Computer Science teacher at MSD of Decatur Township


In the ever-changing technological world, computer science is not only becoming more prominent in classrooms, but a staple in education. Computer science combines the principles of technology and use of computers to educate learners on both the hardware and software of computer technology. The field of computer science is exceptionally diverse, as the skill sets are in-demand across practically every industry — serving as a lucrative and stable career pathway.


In addition, computer science can have many facets — meaning educators can leverage various components of the field to reach students across all levels and learning abilities. With technology present in almost every classroom, educators have a greater opportunity to implement computer science lessons with practically every curriculum. This provides students with the knowledge and skills required to help follow job market trends when they graduate.


Personalized learning.

Technology in the classroom has revolutionized the way students learn, allowing students of all learning styles to connect and provide the chance to move at their own pace for a more individualized approach to learning. It also increases the quality and quantity of students’ thinking and writing. With more access to resources than ever before, students now have the world at their fingertips and can apply this advantage to enhance their educational experience.


Often times, educators are intimidated by computer science, thinking it is a more complex subject for younger learners; however, similar to all core subjects, students at pre-K and elementary levels can easily master computer science by learning incrementally. By helping students develop skills of inquiry, ideating, creating, modeling, testing, and analyzing in the early years, it becomes easier to integrate computer science into the classroom in later years.


Enhanced efficiency.

The learning experience is evolving for students in order to keep up with an advanced and technology-centered society. Students are now expected to be both knowledgeable and comfortable with computers and various other communication systems. This expectation is leading to more productivity and efficiency in the classroom which translates to a more advanced education. By integrating more innovation in instructional techniques and delivery systems through use of technologies in the classroom, educators are achieving results faster than ever.


Between establishing a voice across social media channels, a professional identity throughout online networks and maintaining an educational portfolio, computer science is teaching students to multitask on a completely new level. Additionally, students are given access to online learning outside of the classroom today with the use of hotspots, which allow learners to stay connected at all times and provides teachers the flexibility to incorporate additional digital learning opportunities into their curriculums.


Abundance of opportunities.

In comparison to other fields of study, computer science skills are transferable across almost every industry. Coding, specifically, is considered to be one of the most invaluable job skills of the future as countless companies require it for its business infrastructure, software and online presence — making computer science professionals indispensable. In fact, employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026.


Computer science forces students to think critically and communicate in the digital world, while simultaneously giving them a competitive advantage in our ever-evolving technological world and help ensure future global stability and success.


About Aimee Kroll

Aimee Kroll is the computer science teacher at Decatur Central High School of MSD of Decatur Township, a nationally recognized school district that uses an innovative and personalized, small-learning community approach. Aimee believes educating young learners on the importance of computer science fundamentals will better prepare students for future career paths and opportunities. For more information, visit www.decaturproud.org.

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Meet the Clubs Embracing Computer Science

Each semester, new clubs and programs are implemented to better engage our students. This past semester, our school district introduced two new clubs to the vast, existing roster: The Coding Club and Innovation & Entrepreneur Club -- both incorporating forward-thinking skills.


“We decided to move forward with these clubs due to the interest and curiosity of the students. We are structuring them on two primary educational mindsets, computational and forward thinking,” said Innovation Hub director Brian Bulmer. “We want to get kids involved and develop pipelines for computer science mindsets, for whatever career path they decide to choose. No matter what field students plan to study, computer science will play a role.”


The purpose of the Coding Club is not just to create and design, but also to inspire and stimulate. Computer science is at the forefront of most technological advances today, and in effort to give our students a competitive advantage in today’s world, Decatur Township felt it only necessary to provide this extracurricular engagement to the students. Each meeting involves introductions and coding practice using the Swift Playground software. The long-term goal of the coding club is to create an app prototype, using the necessary skills developed. If students or parents are interested in learning more or have any questions, they can contact computer science teacher Brian Belch.


Our Innovation & Entrepreneur Club encourages students to seek and ignite change in a common problem or social issue they’re facing or noticing today. After just one meeting, students have already begun crafting their own innovations and ideas! The group will not only work together to establish long-term goals, but they’ll also participate in soft-skill workshops, such as short elevator speeches and lessons on building their personal brand. Contact Innovation Hub Director, Brian Bulmer to learn more about the Entrepreneur Club!


As technology and innovation become increasingly influential in our world, Decatur Township schools proactively seek out opportunities to incorporate them into our education system. Together, these clubs will work in unison to ignite change in our community, and promote the use of problem solving for everyday situations. We are confident the addition of the Coding Club and Innovation & Entrepreneur Club will prove beneficial and better equip our students for successful journeys after graduation.

Fine Arts Features

In December, Decatur Central’s Band, Color Guard and over 350 Fine Arts students came together to put on the truly spectacular 12th Annual Holiday Spectacular! The two hour show featured sublime Mass Ensemble numbers as well as magnificent individual group performances that brought in a packed audience each night. Check out the calendar to catch their next performance!
The Decatur Central Marching Band had quite the season, winning the school district’s first-ever Bands of America Regional Championship that took place in Ohio over this past Fall. This hardworking group of students also earned several other awards, including Best Music, Best Visual, Best Color Guard and Outstanding General Effect. That’s not all though! In addition to these achievements, the Band Department also helped to produce a World Class Musical this year for the "Wizard of Oz." This was a very difficult show but the students continued to exceed expectations by doing a great job! We look forward to the next time this group dazzles us!

Hawk Highlights – Winter Athletics

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

This season, the girls varsity basketball team is proving they are a force to be reckoned with! After starting off the season with a tough loss against Bloomington High School North, the girls found their footing with multiple wins under their belts so far. The Hawks set the tone with their first win of the season, defeating Perry Meridian High School 55-50. This was a fantastic comeback after they fell 77-35 the previous year. The Hawks were also able to secure their first conference win since 2013 after beating Franklin Community 44-41. Vanessa Wilson’s leadership was key in the early success of the team and in maintaining a hard fought lead throughout the entire game. The Lady Hawk’s eleventh win came after their most efficient game of the season against Southport High School, finishing the game shooting 45 percent.

“In my 3 years coaching at Decatur, this game was the most complete game a Decatur Lady Hawks team has played for me. They were focused, precise and determined.” Coach Gibbs said. “The team coasted through another game, lead in scoring by Ajulu Thathu, to defeat Providence Cristo Rey High School 61-23.”

Come out and support your Lady Hawks as their season continues!

Student-Athletes of the Month

In partnership with corporate sponsor Marion Adams Flooring, we are happy to recognize the commitment, determination and success of our student-athletes. The Marion Adams Flooring Athlete of the Month Award is given to one female and one male student-athlete who displayed athletic excellence in all areas of competition during the previous month.

November’s female student-athlete of the month was senior Izzabella Decker. The four-year varsity cheerleader has displayed excellent leadership skills on the team during both practices and performances. Junior Kenny Tracy was selected as the male student-athlete of the month for November. Tracy was a key football player, both offensively and defensively, leading the Hawks to their first ever regional and semi-state titles.
December’s female student-athlete of the month was junior basketball varsity player Vanessa Wilson. She had a standout performance against Manual early in the season, recording 20 points and five steals during the game. Wilson averaged 12.9 points per game with a shooting average of 42 percent through the first 16 games. Ryan Bostic was the male student-athlete of the month for December. His offensive contributions to the basketball team have been an integral part of their success. His most impressive performance during the first portion of the season included him scoring 23 points versus Tri-west.
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Ashton Vogel – Blue Academy

I am Decatur Proud because the teachers at the Blue Academy are always respectful.

Braxton Gosser – Stephen Decatur Elementary:

I am Decatur Proud because I can make friends here.

Andre Galmon – West Newton

I am Decatur Proud because I like the teachers here, we have lunches that are good every day, we have special classes every day, and we get to switch classes like at the middle school.

Ivan Martinez – Gold Academy

I am Decatur Proud because we have really good teachers and a great principal at the Gold Academy. I learn something new here every day and I have really great friends that help me when I'm sad.

Jenna Perry – Valley Mills Elementary

To be Decatur Proud means you are in a community that cares about you and you care about them. You are willing to work together and are proud of the accomplishments you have made. You are always showing how to be a good person to build trust with those you are working with.

WINTER NEWS

Elementary school students in the MSD of Decatur Township received a headstart in coding through the International Hour of Code Program, an initiative created to give young students exposure to computer science in order to better prepare them for an increasingly technological society. Some Decatur teachers have even decided to continue coding efforts in their classrooms after seeing such a positive response from students who visited Hour of Code in the Innovation and Design Hub. Read more about our recent Hour of Code event in an article written by Inside Indiana Business.
For the second year in a row, an MSD Decatur Township School was awarded the Education Excellence Award from the Indianapolis Urban League. This year, The Decatur Township School for Excellence was recognized for its Student Transition and Enrichment Pathway program (STEP) during the fourth annual Indianapolis Urban League award luncheon. The STEP program is designed to give freshman students the tools and resources they need in order to set them up for a successful high school career. After it’s implementation, the graduation rate for the class of 2018 increased by 16 percent from the previous year. We are thrilled to continue to provide resources for our students’ success!
In December, a group of MSD of Decatur Township teachers gathered to attend a very special event where several of our students received gifts from Anna’s Celebration of Life to enhance their quality of life at home. As a tremendous surprise, a majority of the students received iPads, which will help them stay connected in this technological age. In addition, one student was given a beautiful recumbent bike, which will help relieve pressure and provide a better riding experience for our student! It was a wonderful event, with 15 families receiving gifts in total. Thank you to everyone who helped organize, nominate and execute this amazing event!
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Several of our teachers were quoted in expert articles, showcasing their vast knowledge and education goal setting that will improve their teaching ability and better our students. Decatur Central’s ESL teacher, Kameron Packard, was highlighted in TEACH Magazine on the effects of the shifting nature of the ESL population, while both Susan Keene and Aimee Kroll’s 2019 EdTech goals and resolutions were featured in eSchool News. We are very #DecaturProud of our staff!

The MSD of Decatur Township app for iPhone, iPod, and iPad allows student, faculty and parents to keep up to date with school and classroom communication.

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Decatur Township Upcoming Happenings

Cost of Poverty Experience

Monday, Feb. 18th, 1-4pm

5106 South High School Road

Indianapolis, IN

COPE offers a snapshot of the obstacles that are faced, the decisions that are made, and the consequences that impact families every day. COPE also reveals how the policies and systems within our community help, or hinder, the progress of these families.

TECH SHOWCASE

Tuesday, April 16th, 5-7pm

5650 Mann Road

Indianapolis, IN

The 2019 Technology Showcase is upon us! The showcase will take place April 16, 2019 from 5-7pm. This year as our digital transformation has expanded so too will our showcase. This year the showcase will be held at the Decatur Elementary Learning Center.

2019 Hero Dog Jog – Saturday, April 20

Summer of e-Learning – June 11-12, 2019

Did you know that A FREE HIGH SCHOOL FOR ADULTS is now physically connected to Decatur Township School of Excellence? The Excel Center-Decatur is a free public high school for adults to earn a Core 40 high school diploma, college credits and job certifications- all at no cost. To learn more or apply today, visit excelcenter.org or call 317.524.3770.
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