ENSC Family Notes

February 17, 2014

REALLY???? WAIT, WHAT???

If you follow Nixle, you received this today.


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORTHERN INDIANA HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM MONDAY TO 3 AM EST TUESDAY.


Ahhhh..... When will it end!

Five Days of School in a Row!

The school district tied the 2014 record for number of consecutive days of school in session. That would be five. (ENMS men, did you shave?) If we attend school on Monday, February 17, that will beat the current record.


Since the plan for snow make-up days was posted and mailed, I have received a few questions.


1. If we have to close school again, when will that day be made up? We will add another seven days with the additional hour. Seven?? If the cancelled day is before spring break, we will lose that day's hour we were making up. Add that hour to the six we need for the additional day and you have seven.


2. Will we return graduation to June 7. No. Regardless of snow make-up days, graduation had to be moved. IHSAA moved their tournaments and June 7 will have several different IHSAA events that seniors will be involved in.


3. How many more days will we add into the week of June 9? That will depend upon how many more days of school we miss. Hopefully, that is zero!


4. Will we be changing the time of the activities bus. Sorta'. The 5 p.m. bus is temporarily suspended. The 6 p.m. bus will be the only bus running between Feb. 24 and spring break.


5. Were any of our other waivers approved. No. The only days waived for make-up by the state were the original two on January 5 and 6.


6. Are we going to host any virtual/eLearning days as make up days. Perhaps! This is much easier to do with secondary students. What we are asking of everyone right now is to be thinking about the logisitics of a virtual day. How can we effectively host an eLearning day? What needs to be in place? How do we serve our K-4 students? How many families have internet access at home? etc. This is very important. If we can work though these challenges, we could use an eLearning day where we know a storm is arriving. Similar to what happened on February 5. We knew for several days it was arriving and thus could have been able to host an eLearning day.


7. If we have a two hour delay, will we still dismiss an hour late. Yes, we will dismiss an hour late and that hour will count toward the 24 hours we need.


8. If we have a three hour delay, will another hour be added to the day? No. It will only be the one hour added on that is to be added for a three hour delay.

School Messaging System

We are changing messaging services!!!! We are actually returning to School Messenger . Individuals shouldn't notice too many differences other than improved reliability!!! Here is the first difference I noticed: On the current system, it took me approximately 3+ minutes to load all of the email contacts. School Messenger was less than 2 seconds!


Parents/guardians of students either have already or will receive information in the mail on getting "signed up" for School Messenger. Please pay very close attention to the directions. To receive messages from School Messenger, you will need to "opt-in" for text messaging and also activate your account to receive phone and email messages. You will need to have this completed by February 28. After that date, we will begin using School messenger. If you have not set up your account and "opted in" for text messages, you will not receive any messages.

Food For Thought From Beth Lash

Beth Lash is ENSC's Behavior Specialist. Beth prepared the below information for our staff in preparation of the additional hour added to the day. This information is being passed along to families so you are aware of what ENSC staff members will be doing to best serve our students. Families may also find ideas that will help with this transition.


Change is difficult!

The addition of an hour to the daily schedule will impact all of our students and staff. Many of us will be hungry and tired before the end of the day. The additional hour will rock the world for some of our general education students as well as many of our special education students, especially those with Autism, OCD, Bipolar….. When their world gets rocked they communicate their frustration and confusion with behavior. Behavior is Communication. It is important for staff to be very aware of how these changes effect kids and to not look at the behavior as bad or to take the behavior personally. Behaviors are a way of communicating your feelings. Since the change is not immediate there is time to do some ‘front loading’ to prepare for added hour.


‘Front loading’ is not just telling a student that something is going to happen or sending a note home. ‘Front loading’ involves changing visual schedules, having reminders in agendas, electronic reminders (visual and auditory), letting students know exactly what will be happening during that extra hour, practicing the new schedule, communicating directly with general education teachers about what they might see, communicating directly with parents so they can help prepare their student.


Please keep in mind:


  • Anxiety can be brought on by changes in routine
  • Anxiety can negatively impact communication skills both receptively and expressively
  • Anxiety may impede social/ emotional / academic performance
  • Anxiety can negatively impact self-management skills
  • Anxiety can cause or increase meltdowns


Helpful strategies:


  • Provide / shape / accept calming strategies (these may be things like, twisting hair, asking the same schedule related question every day, needing additional movement, rocking, clearing throat…..) Remember the action / activity needs to be calming to the individual.
  • Visual schedules are essential in preparing for change.
  • Visual schedules increase independence, help prepare for changes, improve flexibility and improve transitions.
  • Depending upon the students you are working with post changes in multiple areas and provide multiple reminders of the upcoming changes and once the new schedule begins.
  • Be prepared to follow the same process after Spring Break when we return to a typical schedule.

This Week's Super Hero is South Side Elementary's Janelle Owens

Mrs. Owens teaches 6th grade here at South Side Elementary School. That’s only the beginning: she also sponsors Yearbook, Math Bowl, is a Mentor Teacher, and Department Wing Chair for grades 3-6. She also serves on our Character Counts Committee, helping to organize our Trailblazer University Celebrations each month and other character celebrations throughout the year. In addition, Mrs. Owens is an important member of our Reading Leadership Team. Always willing to share strategies and best practices, Janelle is dedicated to growing not only her own professional practice, but helping all of us grow in ours as well. She has hosted groups of teachers in her classroom to observe her writing practices, and recently completed Keys to Comprehension Training to help train our staff in these practices as we move forward. Janelle is a force for positive energy in our building. Regardless of the pressures of ISTEP, snow days, or to-do lists associated in any one of her roles listed above—South Side can always count on a smile from Janelle. Her smile and her poised professionalism and dedication to our students are a true inspiration. She also has a very fashionable wardrobe and great hair—true signs of a woman who can do it all!

Public Education

This past week, I attended a conference where the conversation was focused on public education and the numerous opportunities that are provided to our students. During this conference I listened to many outstanding superintendents and supporters of public education. It was an excellent reminder of the dedication, commitment, and passion that public education teachers and staff demonstrate everyday in and out of the classroom. While we continue to be criticized by many, public education IS about serving ALL students regardless of their cognitive and physical abilities, providing all students opportunities for life long success, and meeting their individual needs all within the constraints of limited funding.


I appreciate and respect the staff of ENSC. They are the backbone of this district and a hero to our students.


Have a great week.


Ann

Curriculum and Building Notes

Curriculum Notes

NEA’s Read Across America Day is Monday, March 3

Get involved! NEA’s Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place on March 3 - Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too! Incorporate these guides and activities to celebrate reading with young people.

http://www.randomhousekids.com/brand/dr-seuss/activities/

http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm

South Side Elementary

Winter has granted us a brief respite, and South Side is off and running! Grades 3-6 have all implemented after school study groups to help make up for the lost instructional time, and we’ve had excellent attendance from our students and great support from parents. In addition, our food drive is back on track, sponsored by our National Elementary Honor Society. Our families have donated almost 1000 pounds of food so far! Our goal is 1700 pounds, and we have one more week to meet it! A number of staff members have agreed to take a pie to the face should we meet this goal!


Grade level update this week comes from 5th Grade: Fifth graders at South Side will get to experience a little of what it might be like to live on Mars – sort of. Students first will get to hear from Ron Williams, a neuropsychologist from Fort Wayne, speak to them about his project in which he is going to spend four months living in a space station in Hawaii, simulating life on Mars. Dr. Williams was one of six people selected by NASA and the program’s sponsors, the University of Hawaii and Cornell, who will live together for four months in the space station, and will live exactly as people may if actually on a station on Mars. This includes wearing space suits with oxygen when exploring outside of the station. He will be responsible for doing a lot of the psychological work on the project. The program is called Hi-Seas and begins in late March. After the program begins, our students will have to have a chance to communicate with Dr. Williams through email and Skype. As part of the simulation, all electronic contact will be delayed about 20 minutes, just as it would be if communicating to someone on Mars. Click the link below for a featured article on the beginnings of this adventure!

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20140207/FEAT/302079973

Wayne Center Elementary

100 Days, Finally!
The Wayne Center Kindergarten classes finally celebrated 100 days of school. They started with a breakfast of one sausage link and two pancakes to “write” the number 100. The rest of the day was spent doing many fun counting, sorting and grouping activities.


Fusion Art Project - Mrs. Mossburg’s art students are finishing up their paintings for the FAME Fusion of the Arts poster contest. Students listened to the music The Hebrides Overture by Mendelssohn and interpreted it into a painting. Their paintings will compete with students from about 50 other northeast Indiana schools. Six works will be made into posters for the FAME Festival in March. We are hoping to do as well as last year when Wayne Center won two out of the six first place awards.

Adventure to Fitness - This week in PE with Mr. Starkel, the Kindergarteners, 1st and 2nd graders will be starting something new called Adventure to Fitness! During their adventures they will be learning about Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, the Colonial times, the Caribbean, China, and more! While they are learning about these places they will be running in place, jumping over obstacles, ducking, skiing, tucking and many more physical movements that are fun and aren’t a part of their normal day.


The Science of Sound - Wayne Center fourth graders are learning about the science of sound in music class. They played Sherlock Holmes and observed three bottles of water. We observed that each bottle had different amounts of water, but also air. They measured the amount of air in the bottles and observed that the bottles made sound when they were tapped or someone blew over the top. Next they observed that each bottle made a different pitch and they determined that the amount of air in the bottles determines the highness or lowness of pitch. So air molecules are vibrating and creating sound waves that reach our ear. We discovered that sound cannot exist without air, so sound cannot exist in a vacuum.

Alternative Learning Center

What a week at the ALC!!! New students, 5 days of school, credits earned, we hosted a school board meeting. Will the fun never stop!!! As you can tell by my intro, it was a big week at the ALC. We were happy to attend all five days for the first time in a long time. As a result of returning to a more regular schedule a number of credits were earned this week, pushing our total for the Tri to a whopping 74 credits. Just 4 shy of our total for 2nd Tri last year, and we still have 3 weeks to go in the Trimester. I am excited to see how many credits our students will accumulate over the next few weeks.


As most of you did not have the pleasure of joining us for the School Board Meeting on Wednesday I will share the highlights of my presentation. We have served 82 students this year at the ALC as compared to 102 for all of last year. Our credit total for the first 2 Trimesters last year was 148. Our credit total for the first 2 Trimesters this year is 162. We have serviced students from all but one school in the district ranging from 4th through 12th grade. Those are the highlights. Have a great week ahead!

Avilla Elementary

This past week several of OUR 6th grade students had the opportunity to work with OUR Functional Life Skills students. Ms. Holbrook and staff put together a really cool graphing lesson. The lesson was so involved that she needed a few extra hands. The 6th graders worked one on one with FLS students to complete the counting, writing, and graphing activity. The best part came at the end when the students got to eat what they were graphing. Thank you Ms. Holbrook for inviting OUR 6th graders to be peer teachers for the lesson. The students learned many life skills that cannot be covered in a text book or on a computer application.


Avilla would like to thank Mr. Ogle for his great work over the past two weeks. Mr. Ogle had to wear his “principal hat” several times to help Mr. Pine. Mr. Ogle has done a great job with students, staff, and the community. We are very lucky to have him here with us at OUR school.


Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held on Thursday, February 20, from 3:30-6:30. Letters, emails, and phone calls have been made. We are expecting a great turn out from all. If you were not aware of the conferences and would like to schedule one please contact your classroom teacher. We will be more than happy to discuss your child’s academics with you.

East Noble High School

The partnership between East Noble High School and Group Dekko was recently recognized with an award. Indiana INTERNnet honored excellence among interns, employers and career development professionals at their eighth annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College. Indiana INTERNnet, managed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, is a statewide resource for internship opportunities that has helped connect students and employers across the state since 2001.


Employer of the Year (For-profit) - Simply put, Group Dekko offers one of the most innovative internship programs in the state. In 2013, the company partnered with East Noble High School to launch "Project Explore" – an internship program designed to expose students to the manufacturing sector and provide them with contacts in the industry that will mentor them through school and beyond. This approach allows high school students to see five departments within the company, and then spend two weeks in two of those that most interest them in a paid internship position.


As a culmination of their work, the students came together and used the skills they developed to create a product that was functional and could be sold to support a charity. This innovative approach to close the skills gap is one reason Group Dekko was chosen.”


East Noble HS and it students participated in the innovative program last summer and look to participate in the program again this summer.

East Noble Middle School

The middle school hosted the second annual “Give and Go” basketball game on Wednesday Feb. 12. The community and our students did a great job attending the event. Proceeds from admission and concessions went to breast cancer awareness. Over one-thousand dollars were raised through the event. Attendees were also treated to outstanding performances by the ENMS Dance Team and Cheerleaders. Overall, it was an outstanding event!


Academically, all engines are a go for ISTEP readiness. All classes are doing bell ringers and quick, daily practice questions to prep for the applied skills portion of the standardized test. The ACUITY competition continues to excited Academic Lab students, as ACUITY activity numbers continue to improve and grow every day. Many teachers have found creative ways to get students excited about completing ACUITY activities and practicing for ISTEP. Students are focused on reaching school wide ISTEP score goals, and are coming up with great ideas for rewards from achieving these goals.


Seventh grade social studies is studying African geography, as eighth graders are continuing to study the Constitution. Both grades of language arts are working through novels. Seventh graders are reading Call of the Wild, and eighth graders are reading Roll of Thunder Hear Me Cry. Math classes are focused on defining and finding slope. Pre-Algebra classes are focused on finding area, perimeter, volume, and surface area. Finally, algebra is working on solving polynomials.

North Side Elementary

North Side Staff came together before the snow storm to help get our students tested for mClass. Even with all of the snow days, 2nd grade students are pleased to see gains in mClass data. The Tincaps Reading Program is underway and we are looking forward to attaining our goals. Students have to read five hours during the month of February to receive a free ticket to the baseball game. We have recently begun reading the extended text Lilly and Miss Liberty by Carla Stevens. The students are eagerly learning about the history of the Statue of Liberty and her origin. To reinforce dictionary skills, students are learning the parts of speech with the vocabulary from the text. 2nd grade teachers are using Acuity Resources to prepare our students for next year. For example, we are using the Acuity lessons while studying pronouns during Success. 2nd grade teachers are also using Reading A-Z projectable nonfiction texts during Tier 1 time to identify nonfiction text features and work whole group on comprehension strategies.

Rome City Elementary

Hooray! We were back for a full week. I think everyone including students are glad to be back. Believe it or not we finally made it to 100 days of school. Kindergarten celebrated by reading 100 words (or more) during Read to Self. They sang a 100 Day song to celebrate the day. Students also had a Show-and-Tell of 100 things they brought in and counted them by 100’s. Kindergarten talked about the ways we can sort and count out Show-and-Tell objects brought from home. They also counted to 100 by 1’s, 5’s, and 10’s.


The 4th Grade classes at Rome City have been working with Mr. Yoder to bring more technology integration into their classroom. Below is a link to show what they have been doing.


http://www.edgaged.net/2014/02/blogging-power.html


Our 2nd graders having been working hard this week researching Muscular Dystrophy. Rome City second graders are sponsoring a Penny War next to raise money for MDA. Each classroom will have a collection jar where students can put their pennies. Other classrooms can add silver change to the collection jar to cancel some of the pennies that have been added. Rome City has selected to study Muscular Dystrophy and to raise money for the The Muscular Dystrophy Association because we have a personal connection to the disease. We have one of our own students with Muscular Dystrophy.