Manheim Central School District

Curriculum & Instruction Newsletter - First Quarter 2016

Introduction of Tracy Fasick, Director of Curriculum & Instruction

My name is Tracy Fasick and I am very excited to serve the Manheim Central School District as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

Prior to coming to Manheim Central in July, I worked in the School District of Lancaster as the Coordinator of Professional Learning. Professional learning and literacy have always been areas of interest and passion for me. My belief is that there is no greater gift we can give to our students than helping them to become proficient readers and writers.

Prior to School District of Lancaster, I worked as a Literacy Consultant for IU 13 serving the 22 school districts in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. Before the IU 13, I taught in a multi-age classroom of first and second grade students for over sixteen years in the Elizabethtown Area School District. I continue to see myself as a teacher and believe there is no greater profession.

My education includes a degree in Elementary Education from Grove City College, Reading Specialist Certification from Millersville University and an Educational Administration Master’s Degree and K-12 Principal Certification from Temple University.

Shortly after I first arrived in Manheim Central in July, Dr. Aiken sent me to a presentation at Northern York High School that continues to monopolize my thoughts. The presenter put up a slide that looked like this:

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The presenter then asked the group: Which did you go to school under? Almost the entire group of nearly one hundred educators stated that they had experienced school as Student A. The presenter then asked the group: Which student makes the better worker, employee, or citizen? Nearly everyone in the room agreed that Student B makes the better worker, employee, or citizen. Of course the next question was: Why do we continue to structure our schools for “Student A” when we know that “Student B” makes the better worker, employee, and citizen? Content Mastery, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity are all 21st Century Skills that will prepare our students to be successful in college, career, and in life.

In a recent meeting with the District’s Instructional Facilitators, I shared this slide and challenged the group as we work together to write curriculum to think about these two students.

How will we ensure that our students become “responsible citizens who are lifelong learners?” How can we continue to raise up the next generation to be critical and creative thinkers? How can we encourage our students to be collaborative communicators who have mastery of content knowledge?

As educators, we must continue to rewrite curriculum and instruct so that we teach our students how to think, how to be innovative and how to be collaborative communicators.

George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, states: “If we want to get to the idea of ‘empowering’ our students, we are not going to have to be the ‘sage on the stage’ or the ‘guide on the side,’ but ‘architects of meaningful learning opportunities.’

Let’s work together this school year to empower our students and provide them with meaningful learning experiences. Let’s provide our students here in Manheim Central, “Student B” experiences so that they are equipped to be successful in work, career, and in life!

“Our task is to educate their (our students) whole being so they can face the future. We may not see the future, but they will and our job is to help them make something of it.”

–Ken Robinson

Spotlight on New Staff Members

Agriculture Education at Manheim Central - Heather Anderson, Ag Ed Instructional Facilitator

Agricultural Education students at Manheim Central use the Manheim Community Farm Show as an authentic learning experience. Who doesn’t love petting peeps and piglets, or plowing a toy tractor through piles of corn?

For over 20 years, students in the Agricultural Education department have designed and staffed the Children’s Farm Show Exhibit, teaching preschoolers about responsible animal husbandry.

Students in introductory Ag classes develop their skills in evaluating livestock so they can participate in the Freshman Livestock Judging competition. They learn to evaluate animals objectively, as well as comparatively, and defend their opinions against the judge’s official placing. The livestock students develop sharp marketing skills as they show and sell their project animals at Friday night’s auction, working hard to bring top dollar for their sale animals.

Finally, all of the agriculture students run a small business selling pizza for the week where they earn money to support FFA chapter activities. From set-up to clean up, agriculture students play a starring role in the Manheim Community Farm Show where they share their passion for Agriculture with the community. It’s a week of authentic service learning that they will never forget.

‘STEMing’ Away from Tradition Education - Laura Cropper, Second Grade Teacher, HCB

‘I never attempt to teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.’ –Albert Einstein

Of the 20 fastest growing jobs, 15 of them require a background in math or science. Students need to have certainly mathematical and scientific skills that connect to real-world applications. However, are we properly preparing our students for the real-world and these jobs? Enter STEM.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This is done in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning experience based on real-world applications.

Though the United States has historically been a leader in these fields, fewer students have been focusing on these topics recently. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16% of high school students are interested in a STEM career and have proven proficiency in mathematics. Thus, schools across the nation are beginning to incorporate more STEM activities into classrooms K-12 on a daily basis.

Manheim Central has been putting a great deal of focus on STEM. For several years, STEM has been prevalent in the middle and high school. However, this school year, MC is ensuring that our youngest learners at the elementary level are acquiring a love of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

STEM education at the elementary levels focuses on the introductory level STEM courses, as well as awareness of the STEM fields and occupations. This initial step provides students with inquiry-based and real world problem-based learning, connecting all four of the STEM subjects. The goal is to pique students’ interest into them wanting to pursue the courses, not because they have to. There is also an emphasis placed on bridging in-school and out-of-school STEM learning opportunities.

What separates STEM from the traditional science and math education is the blended learning environment and sow students how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life. It teachers students computational thinking and focuses on the process of solving the problem and not necessarily the solution.

Several teachers at the elementary level are having STEM Breaks. Teachers prepare and provide students with a STEM learning experience on Friday afternoons. Students in Mrs. Lease’s third grade class do just that. For example, they completed an experiment on chromatography. Chromatography is the act of separating mixtures of different chemicals. Students use a tool on a daily basis that is composed of different chemicals: a marker. Pen inks are often made up of a range of different colors. Students completed an experiment with a coffee filter, plastic cup, water, and markers to see how to separate the different chemicals.

Students in Miss Cropper’s second grade class have been working on STEM challenges since the second week of school. A big mathematical focus in second grade is measurement. Students were given a piece of construction and told that they had to create the longest paper chain possible from just that one piece of construction paper. Students were allowed thirty minutes to discuss how they should cut the paper/assembly the paper chain and actually complete the challenge. Students were having great discussions about length of the individual pieces, as well as their width. Needless to say, no two paper chains were alike!

Even kindergarten students can participate in STEM. Second grade teacher Colleen Reiner found a great read-aloud book, What To Do With A Box by Jane Yolen. This book can be read aloud whole group to students, followed by giving each group of students a box and allowing them to create anything!

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Art Department Welcomes Guest Speaker During August In-service

During August’s professional development, the K-12 Art Department was excited to welcome Dr. Leslie Gates, an art education professor from Millersville University’s Department of Art and Design.

Dr. Gates received her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Maryland College Park. Gates’ professional inquiries include postmodern education, choice-based art, art assessment, and professional learning. Her work is documented through various presentations and publications.

Dr. Gates provided the MCSD Art Department an insightful professional learning opportunity regarding the newly released National Visual Art Standards. The Art Department learned how to incorporate the National Visual Art Standards as a foundation for curriculum development, as well how the new National standards fit a postmodern education model and 21st Century Learning in comparison to the Disciplined-Base Art Education (DBAE) model.

The DBAE model has been the guiding force for art education and state art standards since the mid 1980’s without much change. The new National Visual Art Standards continue to prove their success as many states have begun adopting them as their standards over the last two years.

George Couros, Keynote Speaker of the August Opening Day In-Service

On August 23rd, the District hosted George Couros as part of the Opening Day Celebration. Mr. Couros shared his concept of the Innovator’s Mindset using the following graphic representation:

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Encouraging the entire audience to think differently about the way in which we educate students, Mr. Couros stated that “the only constant we will ever have in our profession is change” and encouraged us to think about how we will clasp onto this change concept. He shared that “if we learn to embrace the change and see it as an opportunity to do something amazing, it shapes our thinking to not only survive, but thrive in our world today.”

District staff shared many positive comments concerning the presentation by Mr. Couros. Several staff were asked to share the one aspect of Mr. Couros’ presentation that continues to resonate with them even one month later. Their responses are below:

*"We need to make the Positive so loud that the Negative becomes almost impossible to hear" - George Couros. I am proud to be a Baron and I want others to know all the great things our district does for our students. - Liz Lubeskie

*How can we empower (not just engage) our students? #HCBurgard - Karen Hess

*Innovations come in all forms and sizes. - Sharon Brehm

*"When you surround yourself with passionate, intelligent people, that increases in yourself." - Stephanie Magaro

*Creating a culture of innovation that allows for creativity, collaboration, competency, and critical thinking. - Brian Peters

*The importance of fostering curiosity and creativity in schools, not just compliance. - Caroline Duda

*Food for (teacher) thought: Would you want to be subjected to 6 hours of your own teaching? - Raeshell Randazzo

*Much of what George Couros presented, spoke to me as an educator. Something that continues to resonate with me is to empower, not just engage students. I also ask myself, would I want to sit through my class if I were a student? This is what I think about when I plan my lessons. I also went home after our in-service and made my husband watch online videos of George Couros because I was so inspired. - Michelle Rennix

*The way we interact with, and teacher students is just as dynamic as the technology we all use. Flexibility is key as we all learn and grown together. - Kelli Hammond

*George Couros shared with us that when he was a principal, he would walk into classrooms to say hello to students and "jack them up (and then leave)." Couros wanted kids to see that he was excited about their presence at school and all that they would learn, as well as reinvent the school environment as one that is fun and non-threatening. I hope to emulate the same level of excitement for my students and their learning. If we show students how excited and engaged we are in their education, then it is only a matter of time before everyone in the school is fostering an environment in which learning is fun, meaningful, and empowering. - Keisha McCauley

1:1 Program

Over the course of the 2015-2016 school year, a team of teachers, administrators, and technology staff met to discuss and create a Technology Strategic Plan for our district. Out of these lively discussions, a set of “21st Century Skill” profiles emerged for Manheim Central’s graduating Seniors, 8th Graders, and 4th Graders. With these student-centered objectives in mind, academic goals were established, grade level skill sets were developed, and the technical resources needed to achieve these goals were identified.

The most visible element of this plan was a proposal to move from a “shared device” model in the Middle School and High School, to a “One-to-One” (1:1) program in which every student is equipped with their own dedicated laptop. Following School Board approval in May, the ball was officially rolling. Over the summer, 1,000 new laptops were purchased, 250 staff were trained in a wide variety of educational technologies, and many hours of planning and preparation took place in eager anticipation of the first day of school. On August 29th, nearly 2,000 students arrived to find their personal devices ready and waiting in classrooms and took part in the first ever Student Technology Orientation.

Feedback so far has been positive and wide-ranging. Kody Striver, a 12th grade student, reported that he loves how quickly he can log on in each class and how easily accessible his schoolwork is from home. Christina Gavala, another 12th grade student, noted the benefits of accessing resources and materials in Schoology, especially when absent, allowing her to keep pace within her courses. Both Kody and Christina also noted that with the processing speed and software selection, the district-issued laptop has quickly become their device of choice. Lastly, a number of students commented that they enjoy being able to submit more of their work electronically, reducing their paper and ink usage as they revise and re-submit assignments.

Students aren’t the only ones pleased with the new devices and programs. Julie Wash, a 6th grade Language Arts teacher, has been vocal about how awesome our new student monitoring system - DyKnow - works. This program allows teachers to monitor all student devices, run reports on student use, and freeze student laptops when full attention is needed. Teachers have expressed how respectful students have been with their own laptops, taking ownership and responsibility for the device in the classrooms and hallways. As one walks through the schools, you will find staff using a wide variety of engaging and meaningful educational technologies and instructional practices, such as SeeSaw, HSTRY, OneNote Class Notebook, Nearpod, and Actively Learn. Students appreciate this use of technology and seeing their teachers embody Manheim Central’s mission of lifelong learning by continually honing their craft.

Such a huge undertaking would not have been possible without the help and commitment of the entire Manheim Central community… whether it was Mr. Weitzel helping to push skids of new laptop cases through the halls of the High School, Mr. Lundgren assisting Technology staff with unboxing 1,000 laptops, or teachers and students helping one another with on the spot technology assistance, this willingness to help and serve is yet another example of Baron Pride.

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