The Buzz 12/14/15

What you need to know to be in the know...

Our Mission:

Chandler Elementary will create a safe and positive environment where all students and adults work together using 21st century strategies to achieve high academic growth.

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4C and STEM

The Importance of STEM

Our students have a long way to go before they can be successful in college-level courses in science, mathematics, and engineering. The Indiana Academic Standards (IAS) address, which guide our local curriculum maps, include the core academic knowledge and the complex thinking skills that are required for success in the 21st century. The IAS integrate rigorous core academic content mastery along with critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration (4C's). New science standards (coming next year), will emphasize offering opportunities for students to discover a love of science and help them understand the world around them. Using PLTW to teach the principles of engineering design that are components of the academic standards will enable all of our teachers (K-5) to promote students' development of non-cognitive skills (4 Cs) and continuing interest and pursuit of STEM education.

Non-cognitive skills can be developed starting in the primary grades by integrating STEM education; specifically, the engineering design process, which will enable teachers to focus on teaching standards while also working on students' non-cognitive skills.

There are many of you around the building who are already working to integrate hands-on STEM related activities into Chandler classrooms through PLTW, building and science projects, and out-of-the-box thinking activities!

STEM and Chandler

I would like to begin having conversations with all teachers about how we move from having STEM experiences to STEM integration being the basis for all planning and lesson implementation. I can envision Chandler becoming a leader in STEM education, where staff collaboratively create a total educational program where students are work through in-depth, cross-curricular, problem-solving units over multiple weeks, culminating with our students presenting to various groups of students, GCS staff, and a network of community partners. This will help us achieve our mission that we adopted last year. Achieving success will require staff and students to truly adopt a growth mindset, finding and bringing in support from outside experts, and total commitment to hard work and collaboration by all. Ultimately, I would hope that we could be recognized by the state as a Indiana STEM Certified school.

As we celebrate the successes of this year (Team Chandler has many), and as we set goals for the year to come, I am positive that Chandler moving towards a STEM school is one goal we can make progress towards together!

Thank You Mrs. Liechty!!

Jeanne Liechty’s last day is December 17th. To show her our appreciation for all she has done for us, we will be having bagels and coffee in the lounge on the 17th. If you see her in the hall please let her know how much we appreciate her.

Still Looking for 4 STARS staff

Students Together Achieving Reading Success (STARS, formerly known as I-Read Club) will begin January 25, and run through mid-March. We are again looking for staff to work with our kids. Certified staff are paid at $40 per day, support staff are paid an hourly rate. STARS will be 4 days per week, M-Th, until 4:00. Please let me know if you are interested in helping our third graders become more proficient readers!

Christmas Gathering this Week

December 16th will be the Chandler Christmas gathering! We will have an open drink tab at The Electric Brew. Come and grab your favorite beverage, then come upstairs to have a cookie and great conversation with colleagues!

Classroom Christmas Festivities - Caroling off the wall reminders

  • If you are having a shin-dig with students this week, please let the office know when and where so we can help parents who call!
  • Caroling-Off-The-Walls -- We will begin calling grade levels down around 9:30, beginning with grade 3-5.
  • There will be no Music on Friday morning due to setting up for Caroling off the wall.

Team Chandler

Welcome to the following new members of Team Chandler:

Megan Murray - Prime Time Para

Jill Hawn - Prime Time Para

These folks will join our team after Christmas:

Mrs. Debbie Flickinger - Half time Special Education teacher

Mrs. Tiffany Newbold - School Counselor (moving from Special Education Para)

EPIC Reading Opportunity

Here's a great opportunity for our students to experience over 10,000 books at their fingertips. INCLUDING many books that are current popular reads, read aloud in actual Chandler classrooms, and high quality!

A new program called Epic has now offered educators and librarians FREE use of their app and pc version for schools. The books are extremely high quality, some are even read to the students using online readers. You can keep track of pages read, and students can record their favorite books. Students receive a special code to sign in and the teacher can assign up to 36 students to their account. Here is the site so that you can check it out and see for yourself the amazing quality of books.

It's Coming...Wait for It....

Report Cards

You should be able to already have begun filling out report cards at your convenience. They will go home on January 11 in Monday folders!

Pop Machine Price Increase After Christmas

The money raised by this machine supports events/celebrations such as the staff Christmas party and teacher appreciation week among others. Now that GCS has settled their pop contract, it is apparent that we will have to raise the cost for a bottle of soda. After Christmas break the new cost will be $1.50.

Chandler Fall Fundraiser

Fundraiser items should be distributed sometime this week. We will deliver packs to your room for you to send home.

You'll know it when you see it...

TLT Update

TLT spent last week working on inter-rater reliability (IRR). This is critical due to having so many new TLT members on our team this year. We will meet on this topic multiple times throughout the year, and discuss examples of evidence collected for targeted rubric indicators. Here is a taste of some of the discussion that occurred:

Thinking: Many of the thinking indicators are closely related to teacher instruction, and the intro paragraph references this when it states: "Over time the teacher consistently and thoroughly teaches..."

Motivating Students: Organizing the content so that it is personally meaningful content can occur when the skills you are teaching (sometimes in isolation) into a meaningful context. For instance, when learning a grammar skills students are expected to incorporate it into their writing.

Beyond this, we also talk about how interconnected the rubric is. Ever wonder why you get done with an observation and think, Wow I nailed it," or, "Man that didn't go so well." This is due to how interconnected the rubric is. During these IRR meetings we delve deeper into these connections. As teachers and TLT members become more familiar with the rubric, and begin to use the rubric to help guide their instructional growth these become more evident. For instance:

A clear objective, will dictate the skill be assessed (S&O), will clearly define what you are modeling with your students (PIC), the model should teach one type of thinking (TH), guide which questions you ask (QU), and the specific/high-quality/academic feedback that you give your students (AF), and ultimately help them as they work through what is hopefully challenging activities that support the lesson objective and elicit a variety of thinking (A&M).

As you can see, by clearly defining your objective (that one chunk that will further your students understanding) multiple areas then can be improved and planned.

Please talk to a TLT member if you have questions, or want to engage in similar conversations. A good conversation can lead to many answers along many different paths, and can only do good things to help build the whole of Team Chandler!

From Central Office...

Today’s Focus: Teams

“Being a leader is not about you. It’s about the people that are on your team and how you can help them be successful.”

Susan Vobejda

TLT Meetings

On Friday December 4, we held two different district wide TLT meetings on the topic of interrater reliability, with both master teachers and administrators; AM was the elementary session and PM was with the secondary teams. I must say this was a very valuable district wide meeting.

There were excellent conversations with each group scripting two separate lessons and intentionally focusing in on specific indicators on the rubric:

· Elementary – PIC, Academic Feedback, S&O, Activities and Materials, Assessment and Student Work

· Secondary – Expectations, S&O, PIC, Academic Feedback and Problem-Solving (These areas for focus were identified based on district needs and/or identified by the team members)

As a part of their new learning and in their pursuit of the outcome, the elementary group (with all seven schools represented), were very tight in their scoring and in the identification of evidence, as well as in alignment with NIET reviewers. Likewise, the same was true for our secondary TLT members from GMS, GHS & Merit.

Out of all 11 indicators in two different lessons, only one performance area had a range of scores greater than 1. In that case, the scores were as follows: 11 scored it a “4”, 1 person scored it a “3” and 1 person scored it a “5” – the National raters scored it a 4,….Thus, although there was a variance of more than 1 with internal raters, it met the threshold of IRR established by NIET and the national raters.

AASA Commends Senate Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act

Alexandria, Va. – Dec. 9, 2015 – Today, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) took a step closer to reality as the U.S. Senate passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by a strong, bi-partisan vote of 85-12. Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement:

“AASA, The School Superintendents Association, welcomes the passing of the Every Student Succeeds Act in the U.S. Senate. We commend Congress for its collaborative work on this bi-partisan legislation, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We applaud both the House and Senate for maintaining steady momentum for ESEA this summer and fall, and applaud Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray and Representatives John Kline and Bobby Scott for their leadership throughout this process.

“Reauthorization is critical to providing the nation’s schools with relief from the current law, which is both broken and lacking in the flexibility states and local school districts need to support student learning and achievement. Though not perfect, ESSA represents a strong step in the right direction because it restores a more proper balance on all levels. The legislation provides schools with workable federal education policy that supports state and local innovations. Our students deserve nothing less.

“On behalf of more than 13,000 school system leaders, today’s vote represents a major move forward in our commitment to support the success of every student, school and community across the United States.

“The next stop for ESSA is the President’s desk, where we expect Mr. Obama to sign the bill into law.”


For specific questions about ESEA reauthorization, please contact Noelle Ellerson, AASA associate executive director, policy and advocacy, at

**This new Federal bill replaces the No Child Left Behind bill. DW


  • Mrs. Cindy Hire - Monday, Dec. 21
  • Mr. Vance Stees - Saturday, Dec. 26

Calendar Items

Assessment C - Const. Resp.


Cluster 7:15/3:10

Chess Club 3:00


Chandler TLT 3:15

Ornament and White Elephant 3:00


Staff Gathering @ The Brew 3:00-5:00

Orchestra - 3:45 (GMS)


Fire Drill

Coffee w/ Superintendent for Parents (admin)

Orchestra 2:55-4:00 (Music Room)


End of 1st Semester

Success/Support Staff Meeting 8:35

Off the Wall Caroling 9:45 (We will call to dismiss you to gym by grade levels)

Those 3 Memes made it worth reading to the end didn't it ;o) Thanks for reading!!!

Just in case you forgot...

Color Coded Communication Key

Did you know that there is a color coded method to our flyer madness?!?! It's true!! The color of paper a message is on indicates the sender.

Orange - PTO

Blue - Office Communication

Green - Nurses office

Pink - Cafeteria

White - Classroom

Yellow - Outside entitites

If you have a flyer or information to send home, please keep this in mind.

Safety Packs

These two safety packs will be in the closet as you exit the playground doors, and should be picked up when you take a group of students outside for recess (in addition to the radio you find there). Included are gloves, kleenex, bandages, and other emergency related materials. If you notice that some materials are running low, please send it with a student to the nurses station so she can refill it.
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Growth Mindset

Nate Shenk in 3rd Grade has been using a mountain climbing analogy to teach growth mindset. Check out his visual in the front of his classroom. After talking about what a mountain climber needs to do to accomplish the goal, each student copies their own “mantra” promoting growth mindset to post on their locker. Here are some of those statements you can see in the 3rd grade hallway. Thanks for sharing, Nate!

I will try & try again.

Do my best!

Good thing the alphabet has 25 more letters!

I will not give up even if I don’t know!

Be awesome.

I need to try harder.

I will try again until I get it!

I will try my best next time.

I will never give up!

I’ll try my best!

If I don’t succeed, I must try & try again.

Have courage.

Don’t give up. You can do it.

Stay on track. It’s your only chance.

If I don’t get it, I will try and try.

Even if this is difficult, I am going to try again, I AM!

Look how far I’ve come.

I made a mistake. Let me try it again.

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