Hiawatha Elementary School

Junior Hawks

A Season Of Change

Wow, what an unexpected way to begin the 4th quarter of our school year. I don't think anyone could have predicted that our farewell at Spring Break would last until the end of the school year. That being said, it is not a farewell, but a change in how we are together. One of the statements I've heard is that we're not necessarily staying home, we're staying safe.

That is the thing we must keep at the forefront of our minds. While it is sad to miss the field trips, events, and great learning that happens at the end of the year, it is encouraging to know that our community is embracing the habits needed to ensure that our families reduce the risks from COVID-19 to themselves and others.

The Hiawatha Elementary Continuous Learning plan relies on two primary systems to continue our instruction. The first, for our younger grades (K-2), is a program called Seesaw that works well with the iPads students can use. This is an online portfolio. Teachers can assign tasks, upload video lessons and receive feedback from students. The program limits how comments and media are shared. Each post is reviewed by the classroom teacher before it is visible. Our older students (3-4) use a resource called Google Classroom. This pairs well with the Google Chromebooks each student has access to. The closed classroom enables teachers to add links, videos, and resources that students can work with. Teachers can then add assignments that each student completes and uploads for the teacher to grade.

While this is certainly not an ideal way to teach, it has showcased the excellence we have in our building. Our teachers were tasked to not only modify a quarter of teaching, developing a sustainable and effective plan in under a week, they also had to box around 400 students' belongings and any educational materials our families may need for the remainder of the year. Aided by an outstanding crew of classified staff, this was accomplished and, in under two days, our students have the supplies they need.

I want to thank our community for the patience, understanding, cooperation, and most importantly the support as our school responds to an unprecedented situation. I am proud to call Hiawatha, home. I'm proud to be an administrator in a district that has excellence at all levels. I know the coming weeks will be challenging in ways we can predict, and some we can't, but I know going forward we will persevere together.

WIN Time Update

This year we implemented our new MTSS model. This included FASTBRIDGE tests and WIN Time.

While we were unable to see the full effects of these new efforts, we did learn how these benefited our school. We were able to evaluate each student's needs for reading and math. The students were given direct instruction based on their needs. This leads us to the end of the first semester.

After the first semester, each grade level's teachers began Data Dives. Every week our intervention teachers would meet and look at our progress monitoring data. This helped us get a good picture of how the students were progressing in their targeted skills. We were then able to regroup students on an individual basis to continue to meet their needs. At conferences in March, parents were given winter scores to show how their student was progressing.

Looking ahead to next year, we will evaluate what was beneficial for students and teachers. It is the plan to have teachers attend professional development this summer. This will allow us, as a building, to reflect on our MTSS model and make changes that will help us progress even more next year. It is our hope that we will continue to see student growth.

Horizon Award- From Mrs. Hanf

Earlier this year I was named a 2020 Horizon Award winner. As a new teacher, this experience has been so rewarding and very humbling. I was invited to the 2020 KEEN State Education Conference in Topeka, Kansas in mid-February. I was joined by hundreds of phenomenal and innovative Kansas educators.

Over the course of two days, I had the opportunity to brainstorm with some of the most inspiring and intelligent teachers I’ve ever met. I listened to presentations from former Horizon winners, Teacher of the Year, and Dr. Randy Watson the Commissioner of Education in Kansas. I soaked in the words and teachings as best as I could. After looking back at my (many) notes, I wanted to share some of my biggest takeaways.

  • Great teachers don’t look out the window, they look in the mirror.
  • If you don’t feed the teachers, they’ll eat the students. (Ha! I thought this one was funny.)
  • Don’t enter situations as a firecracker. Go in with small intensity, backed by compassion.
  • We win when we don’t care who gets the glory.
  • Things you are passionate about are NOT random. They are your calling!
  • We as teachers need to market our profession better.
  • The world is changed by your example, not your opinion. (AMEN!)

Those are just a few of the insights I took away from the conference. Being surrounded by positive, uplifting people has had a significant impact! Thank you to my awesome team for helping me during my first year and continuing to support me each and every day.

Here is what I wrote the night I got home from the conference. I hope it gives you some encouragement:

"My heart is so full. Being surrounded by some of the best educators in Kansas has inspired me and re-ignited my love for teaching. What we do matters. This is what makes it so amazing. But that is also what makes it SO challenging. It is up to us to change the message we send about teaching and education. Whose voice is most important? We become the stories we tell. Hurt people, hurt people. We must first take care of ourselves before we can care for others. We need to believe in ourselves and each other. We are doing champion work."

-Scotti Hanf, 2nd Grade Teacher