Fort Thomas Independent Schools Employee Newsletter
Volume 2 Issue 4
As we approach the midpoint of the 2014-15 school year, it seems like only yesterday we were all gathered at NKU for the annual opening day breakfast. Time definitely flies when you are having fun!
While sometimes fun and work don’t seem to fit together in the same sentence, this is not the case in Fort Thomas. It is fun to work in a school district that has such amazing talent and tremendous community support. It is fun to witness firsthand the incredible accomplishments of both students and staff. It is fun to know that we work in a district that is admired and respected by others across our region and state.
Indeed, learning should be both engaging and fun. When that is what our students experience each day, we can rest assured that they will continue to amaze us with their achievement.
As we move toward the holiday season, let us commit ourselves to sharing with our students a most precious gift, the love (and fun) of learning!
TECHNOLOGY BITS & BYTES
INTERNET CONNECTIONS - Focus: Literacy
Encourage budding poets with Shel Silverstein-inspired games and lesson plans. Students can go online to create their own versions of Silverstein’s quirky poems or download the Poetry Kit to practice their rhyming skills via personal poetry puzzles, a word search and more.
This website offers more than 40,000 questions for helping students improve their vocabulary. The site creates a model of students’ knowledge with which to track their progress.
This interactive Web site from the Adult Media Literacy Alliance will help users improve reading skills by providing strategies for reading between the lines, making predictions and identifying main ideas.
This site takes great works of literature and breaks them down into easy-to-digest 60-second video clips.
In this movie, students learn how to infer, or use what they know or see to come up with ideas. They’ll explore ways to observe and find clues that can help reveal the message of a book, essay or paragraph.
Literacy Lesson for a Digital World
Standards met: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3, SL.4
What to do: Take book reports to the next level with Book Talk Podcasts. Show your students the video “Podcasting in Plain English” at https://www.commoncraft.com/video/podcasting. Tell students they will create podcasts to share books they have read during independent reading or literature circles. Review the Book Talk Podcast expectations for what the book talks should include. Then, provide time for modeling, prewriting, drafting and editing podcast scripts. Demonstrate how to use podcasting software and allow a minimum of two to three days for students to podcast. You can upload the complete podcasts as MP3 files to a class site or blog or save them to a flash drive.
AFTER SCHOOL TECHNOLOGY PD SESSIONS
Sessions will be held from 3:30 to 4:30pm in Room 209 at Highlands High School, unless otherwise noted. All participants are asked to register in advance through PD Express.
Session: Office Live Tools
Date: Wednesday, December 3
Standards: 6.2, 6.3, 6.4
Description: The statewide switch to Office 365 moved our email services to “the cloud”. But what does “the cloud” really mean? And what other tools are available in “the cloud”? This session will focus on the new collaborative tools in Outlook Live such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Lync and OneDrive Pro.
Session: Exploring the World with Bing Maps and Photosynth
Date: Thursday, December 11
Standards: 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4
Description: Bing Maps is a powerful tool that allows students to explore the outside world and for teachers to create a "borderless classroom". It allows students and teachers to see the world in a new unique interactive way. Bing Map Apps can increase student engagement in fun and immersive ways. Take your students on virtual field trips to historic places using the three-dimensional photo experiences of the Photosynth Map App.
Session: Digital Storytelling with AutoCollage and Photo Story
Date: Wednesday, December 17
Standards: 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4
Description: You can use the creative powers of AutoCollage and Photo Story to develop a learning activity which supports 21st Century Learning.
EDUCATIONAL STUDY SEMINARS
All Educational Study Seminars will be held from 3:30 – 5pm in the Central Office Conference Room. Please register for each module online via PD Express.
Module IV: Using Data to Ensure Individual Student Growth and Differentiate Instruction
Presenters: Patrick Richardson, Keith Faust, & Donna Schulte
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 OR Thursday, January 22, 2015
Module V: High-Quality Classroom Practices
Recommended Reading: Danielson FfT, Madeline Hunter, Rick Stiggins
Presenters: Dawn Laber, Jon Stratton, & Tonya Brummer
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 OR Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Module VI: Utilizing Technology to Transform Student Learning
Presenters: Diana McGhee, Jody Johnson, Brian Mercer, & Mark Goetz
Thursday, March 19, 2015 OR Tuesday, March 24, 2015
BE IN THE KNOW
UPCOMING DECEMBER CALENDAR EVENTS
December 8 - Board Meeting
December 19 - Last Day Before Break
December 22 - January 4 - Winter Break - No School
MANDATORY ENROLLMENT FOR VOLUNTARY BENEFITS (Cafeteria Plans)
American Fidelity will complete their meetings with all employees to review their benefit plans. Representatives will be in as follows:
- December 2-4 - HHS
- December 5 - CO
- December 8-9 - HMS
Employees can meet with the benefits coordinator at any school or the Central Office. Please contact Mary Turner at 815.2001 or Mary.Turner@fortthomas.kyschools.us with any questions.
Take a minute to check the information on your pay stub. Making sure that your name, address, social security number, etc. are correct can avoid potential problems with your W-2 at tax time.
Contact Mary Turner or Peggie Hughes before the end of December with any corrections.
FORT THOMAS HOLIDAY WALK
The Fort Thomas Education Foundation will again host the Fort Thomas Holiday Walk for our district this Sunday, December 7, from 5:30-8pm. Stop by the central office for cookies and to see what’s happening in the Fort Thomas Independent Schools. Information about Phase 4 of the Highlands High School Renovation Project and the annual Foundation dance will be available. As always, we’ll have brochures and materials about our schools.
FACULTY & STAFF NEWS
Our Sympathy to...
Tracie Malone (MES) on the loss of her father-in-law, Ron Malone, on November 7.
Nikki Everett (Elementary Art) on the loss of her grandfather, Richard Mallery, on November 10.
Bev Pelle (HHS) on the loss of her husband, Dennis, on November 17.
Ethan Shuley - 2014 KY 2A Cross Country State Champion! Ethan is the first HHS boys cross country state champion and also set a state record! See more about Ethan's win in the YouTube video below.
Lexie Gabbard, Matthew Gray, Natalie Neace who have been accepted to participate in this year's KMEA All-State Choirs. The audition piece and sight-reading this year was extremely challenging, but all of our students performed very well. Lexie was only one of four Northern Kentucky students to receive a perfect score on the sight-reading portion of the audition!
The District’s STLP organizations For the first time ever, each school has an STLP group advancing to the state showcase at Rupp Arena in March 2015.
· Johnson – Julie Bolling
· Moyer – Julie Dashley
· Woodfill – Michelle LaMantia
· HMS – Brian Mercer
· HHS – Bill Poff
Woodfill STLP Team
The team learns that they are on their way to the next level - state competition!
Shelby Graybill squats 325 lbs!!
HHS softball player Shelby Graybill squats an amazing 325lbs during her workout in the Fitness Center.
Read to a Dog Program
Johnson Elementary students read to Wilma during the "Read to a Dog" program.