Curriculum & Instruction Newsletter

Second Edition - February 2017

Mass Customized Learning (MCL) The Latest Educational Buzz Word or a Transformative Way of Thinking? by Ms. Tracy Fasick, Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Have you heard the term Mass Customized Learning or MCL recently? If you have, you may be tempted to think of this term as the latest “Educational jargon or buzz word.” However, Mass Customized Learning is much, much more.

Mass Customized Learning or MCL is a way of thinking about school, a mind shift, and a viewpoint about how students learn. Mass Customized learning is about “Preparing responsible citizens to be lifelong learners!”

The premise for Mass Customized Learning comes from the book, Inevitable, by Charles Schwahn and Beatrice MCGarvey. The book is built on the idea that students learn in different ways and in different times. The authors argue that everything is changing as we move from the Industrial Age to the Information Age and that schools are seriously lagging behind. The basic ideas discussed in the book center around tailoring learning to better meet the needs and interests of students. As schools work to implement “Mass Customization” they work to identify what components of a more individualized instruction structure will look like for their own students.

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“If we teach today’s students, as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow”

– John Dewey

There is not a diagram or a program or a model to spell out the way to implement “Mass Customization.” Districts across the state of Pennsylvania are embracing the fact that schools need to work differently to meet the needs of students and to prepare them to be ready for life in the 21st century.

Pequea Valley, Central York, Downingtown, Ephrata, Elizabethtown, Big Springs, and several other districts are implementing components of “Mass Customization” in order to meet the needs and interests of their students. What will “Mass Customization” look like in Manheim Central? The possibilities are endless and exciting!

The graphic below identifies ten “weight bearing walls” referred to in the Inevitable book. Terms such as grades, grade levels, class periods, textbooks, learning within a school building, and report cards conjure up familiar images. Memories—and emotions—come rushing back from one’s own school experiences. Via the metaphor, the authors of Inevitable, acknowledge the essential function of "weight bearing walls" in schools. At the same time, they present compelling arguments for updating—actually replacing—"weight bearing walls" with support structures which empower schools to respond to the needs of today’s learners and incorporate 21st Century “building materials.”

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As you have thoughts, ideas or suggestions about the possibilities of “Mass Customized Learning,” I encourage you to share those ideas with your colleagues and administration.

One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is: “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” As Manheim Central School District works to enact our vision of “Preparing responsible citizens to become lifelong learners” it is inevitable that we embrace components of “Mass Customized Learning.” For we know that “students are only 20 percent of our population, but 100 percent of our future.”

Employee Spotlight

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Byrnes Health Education Center Addresses Timely & Relevant Topics for Manheim Central Students

Byrnes Health Education Center joins Mrs. Wise’s Concepts of Health class for a series of dynamic presentations that are not only informative but student engaging. The program titled “Driven2Distraction” is sponsored through a MCFEE grant.

This program is designed to educate students on the dangers of driving distracted, whether it is distraction by use of electronic devices or impaired performance by drug or substance abuse. The students are engaged through hands-on activities, media presentations and focusing challenges. The desired goal is to have more informed students who make wise choices while operating a vehicle.

This presentation also incorporates a driving simulator that allows the student to drive while the simulator applies distraction techniques.

The Manheim Rotary along with the Manheim Central School District sponsors three additional programs that support the health curriculum. Programs include: Life Begins, Risky Business and Drugs: Dilemmas and Decisions.

Life Begins and Risky Business cover topics such as: sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS: what it is – what it is not, specific disease characteristics and what is considered risky behavior.

Drugs: Dilemmas and Decisions covers gateway drugs, prescription drug abuse, and illegal drugs.

In all three of these programs, there is a strong emphasis on empowering informed students to make wise decisions for themselves.

Concepts of Health is a required class for graduation that is offered in grade 10 and is taught by Mrs. Lu Ann Wise, Health and Physical Education Department.

Sports Medicine Classes Gain First-Hand Experience from Videoconferences - by Mr. Matt Schwartz

Mr. Schwartz's high school Intro to Sports Medicine class was exposed to a different type of learning this term.

Surgical Suite – Total Knee Replacement Surgery

This videoconference is through the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, OH. In the activity we are connected via live video and audio feed with Mount Carmel Hospital, also in Columbus, OH. Students have the opportunity to view a total knee replacement surgery from start to finish.

The students view a video that details the pre-op process. Once this prerecorded video is complete, the class is immediately patched into a live feed in the operating room. During the next approximately 45 minutes, students observe the surgical team work through the entire process from initial incision, bone preparation, implant insertion and closing sutures. The orthopedic surgeon describes the entire process to the viewers.

Near the surgery’s conclusion when they are closing the incision, the entire surgical team introduces themselves and describes their education and role during the surgical procedure. Students are able to submit questions during the surgery to the surgical team via Twitter. Sometimes the surgeon answers over the video feed. Other times we receive answers back through Twitter.

Prior to the surgery, students engage in an online animated activity where they perform their own surgery, acting as the surgeon to complete a simulated knee replacement. In this way they are a bit familiar with the steps and types of instruments and prosthetic parts to be used and inserted into the joint during the live event.


This videoconference simulation comes to us through the Challenger Learning Center at Wheeling Jesuit University (Wheeling, WV). CyberSurgeons puts students into emergency medical teams aboard a mercy ship headed up the Amazon River, a key region for medical research. Students are divided into four teams and work together to solve emergency medical cases through the use of a computer database of conditions/illnesses, signs & symptoms, treatments and medical research trials.

The class was divided into 4 teams of 7 students. Each team consisted of a Case Manager and three specialty areas: Diagnostics, Med-Surg and Clinical Intervention.

The Case Manager is responsible for overseeing their teams progress throughout the simulation. They check in patients from the waiting room, begin their patient chart, and brief their team on the new patient they would be working on. Case Managers also are in direct communication with the “Chief Medical Officer” via webcam, confirming their team’s diagnoses, treatment plans, and eventual patient discharge.

The Diagnostics Specialists look at the patient’s chart and examine the patient’s history and signs & symptoms. From this information they identify a logical initial diagnosis and order tests aimed at confirming this diagnosis.

Med-Surg Specialists review the results of the ordered tests to determine the validity of the initial diagnosis. If tests are inconclusive, or actually rule out the initial diagnosis, the team determines a new strategy and orders new tests. Eventually the team settles on and enters a final diagnosis into the online system that links all specialists from all four teams.

After the final diagnosis has been confirmed with the Chief Medical Officer, the patient moves on to the Clinical Interventionists. It is through these specialists that the patient’s treatment plan is devised. Additionally, in an attempt to aid the research by the National Institute of Health (NIH), patients are matched and placed into appropriate medical trials. In this way, students also learn about the importance of trials for the research and development of new prescription drugs, surgical procedures and other treatment protocols.

The entire process requires quick thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to work well as a team in order to expeditiously move a patient from the waiting room through treatment and discharge.

Many students finish the marking period stating this simulation was the highlight of the class. In fact, a couple years ago one student’s post-mission feedback form included, “This was the coolest thing I did in high school.”

This link takes you to the Challenger Learning Center website for additional descriptions of the event.

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Project Lead the Way, PLTW, Promotes STEM in the Manheim Central School District - Mr. Tom Bechtel

In educational circles, you hear the acronym STEM used to describe the skills that students need to be contributing members in society. In our everyday lives, we are dependent on technological innovations and inventions to make our lives more productive. It is important that we have everything readily available at all times at least we think so. We have a desire to use and understand how these developments can change and make our very existence better, easier, or more connected. After all, our society is built on science and technology. In order to prepare responsible citizens of the world in the 21st century, everyone needs to know and understand the basics of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Manheim Central wanted to give our students every opportunity to learn about STEM careers. In 2011, we submitted and received a grant from the Cargill Company to implement Project Lead the Way, PLTW, at our High School. The journey began with the offering of Introduction to Engineering Design, IED. In this foundation course, students use 3D solid modeling design software to help them design solutions to solve proposed problems. This course is designed for 9th or 10th grade students; however, 11th or 12th grade students with a desire to investigate Engineering can elect IED. The major focus of the IED course is to expose students to the design process, research and analysis, teamwork, communication methods, global and human impacts, engineering standards and technical documentation.

In 2012, we applied and received a second Cargill grant to fund the training and implementation PLTW Gateway courses at the Middle School. The 7th grade offering is Design Modeling. This course utilizing the design approach, students understand how design influences their lives. Students also learn sketching techniques and use descriptive geometry as a component of design, measurement and computer modeling. Students brainstorm, research, develop ideas, create models, test and evaluate design ideas, and communicate solutions. In 8th grade, students are exposed to Automation and Robotics. Students trace the history, development and influence of automation and robotics. They learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation and computer control systems. Students acquire knowledge and skills in problem solving, teamwork collaboration and innovation.

The High School added Principles of Engineering, POE, in 2012 to the list of PLTW courses offered by the Technology and Engineering Department. Students employ engineering and scientific concepts in the solution of engineering design problems. They develop problem-solving skills and apply their knowledge of research and design to create solutions to various challenges. Students also learn how to document their work and communicate their solutions to peers. This course is designed for 10th or 11th grade students.

In 2013, Manheim Central High School added two additional course to the PLTW list to give students other Engineering options, Aerospace Engineering, AE, and Civil Engineering and Architecture, CEA. The major focus of AE is to expose students to the world of aeronautics, flight and engineering through the fields of aeronautics, aerospace engineering and related areas of study. Students are engaged in engineering design problems related to aerospace information systems, astronautics, rocketry, propulsion, the physics of space science, principles of aeronautics, structures and materials, and systems engineering. CEA focuses on completing long-term projects. As students learn about various aspects of civil engineering and architecture, they apply what they learn to the design and development of a property. Students work in teams, exploring hands-on activities and projects to learn the characteristics of civil engineering and architecture.

Manheim Central increased its STEM offerings in the fall of 2016 at the Middle School. The district received a grant from Godfrey Advertising to begin Project Lead the Way Launch curriculum to our 5th graders. Robotics and Automation allows 5th grade students to explore the ways robots are used in today’s world and their impact on society and the environment. Students learn about a variety of robotic components as they build and test mobile robots that can be controlled remotely. The sixth graders will join PLTW next fall with a Launch course entitled Robotics and Automation: Challenge. Sixth grade students will expand their understanding of robotics as they explore mechanical design and computer programming. This module focuses on developing skills needed to build and program autonomous robots.

World Languages Literary Center - Contributing Authors, Nate Campbell and Megan Flinchbaugh

Children’s books, poetry anthologies, short stories, novels and other similar texts are a fundamental part of any language-arts classroom. Language acquisition research shows an undeniable correlation to the use of literature as a crucial tool to expand vocabulary and contextualize learning. Real/authentic sources play an important role in the world language classroom for the same reason; however, it can be a challenge to locate and purchase authentic texts in other languages to support students in their diverse interests.

This fall the world languages department worked with members of the KtO grant to design a shared classroom library for all Spanish students from levels 1-4 and Advanced Placement. All books serve to enrich students’ understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures. Many times our books promote comprehension, analysis, vocabulary building, and grammar in context.

Literary texts intended for native speakers expose students to various linguistic uses, forms and conventions of the written mode (Collie & Slater).

The libraries are set up in a separate and defined section of the classroom. Comfortable reading chairs, a colorful rug, and small end tables where students can keep their belongings or rest their books make for an inviting, safe area where students are welcome to read during class, and before and after school. Students may choose to read after an assessment, during homeroom or enrichment, or outside of school hours. All books are clearly labeled and sorted to help guide students to select a text at their level and/or according to their interests.

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Manheim Central Perk - Mrs. Gail Troutman

The Manheim Central High School Life Skills Support class, taught by Gail Troutman, was honored by the Manheim Central School Board as January Students of the Month in recognition for the work they have done setting up and running their classroom based mini business.

At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, the Manheim Central High School Life Skills Support class decided to create a mini business to get themselves involved in interacting with the entire school. After much brainstorming, the class decided on a Cafe’ delivery service that would be offered weekly to the staff of the High School.

In order to get the word out, the students kicked off their business in November with an Open House. Nearly 50 staff members attended throughout the day to sample the menu items, and from there…Manheim Central Perk was born!

Since then the students have worked to create the name of the business, the logo, the uniforms and the menu. They are involved in every facet of the business: the advertising, taking orders, setting up and cleaning up the cafe’ station, filling orders, ordering the weekly featured baked good, delivering orders, managing the cash register, inventorying and keeping up to date the needed supplies.

Through the consistent support of the staff at Manheim Central High School, the students have filled nearly 150 orders and have profited nearly $400.00. The profits from the mini business goes directly to support the students by helping to fund their classroom and community based independent living learning experiences. One such experience, included the students taking Red Rose transit from Manheim to Park City Mall, where the students participated in a comparative shopping experience, they also independently ordered and purchased their own lunches at the food court while keeping within a budget with funds provided from Manheim Central Perk profits.

The classroom based mini-business: Manheim Central Perk, has been successful in providing opportunities of growth for each of the student’s job training skills. The students have improved in their customer service interaction, their money calculating skills, their work ethic, as well as their ability to work together as a team. The mini business has also benefitted their confidence and the growth of their independent living skills including the understanding of budgeting, that is…”you must spend for what you need, but save for what you want”.

As the January Student of the month recipients, these students truly embody the qualities looked for in any Manheim Central High School Student. This group of students gives 100% effort as employees of Manheim Central Perk, when faced with challenges they persevere until they have successfully completed the task, they consistently demonstrate respect and they take great pride in their work.

New and Exciting Things Draw Students Back to the School Libraries at Manheim Central

Thinking Outside the Box with BreakoutEDU

Escape Rooms are all the rage, and now BreakoutEDU brings the concept to the high school. We start with a locked box, a mystery and a folder of clues--then the learning fun takes off! Students work in groups to analyze the clues, research some answers, solve problems and make the connections needed to unlock the box and solve the mystery. Mrs. Amber Friel and Mrs. Spencer used this exciting and engaging game to introduce Shakespeare to ninth grade language arts classes. BreakoutEDU games can be created for any subject area.

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KtO Grant Money Provides Creative Study Areas for High School Students

One-to-one technology has brought many great changes to the high school. Since we no longer need a computer lab arrangement in the library, we have redefined our space to be more flexible and comfortable for both class groups and smaller collaboration groups. We furnished the instructional area with tables and chairs on wheels. We can quickly configure the furniture for any situation. New booth-style window seats have been very popular for students needing a quiet place to study.

American Reading Company Reading Framework - by Tracy Fasick

The wise and well known children’s author, Dr. Suess, once said, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go!”

The Manheim Central School District’s Elementary Schools will be kicking off a new, independent reading framework in March where students in grades kindergarten through fourth grades will be spending time reading at their identified instructional levels for 30 minutes throughout the day. During the reading time, teachers meet with students in order to help each learner with specific skills and strategies that they can use to move their reading to the next level.

Teachers will be trained in February to use an assessment tool called the IRLA (Independent Reading Leveling Assessment) in order to identify each child’s independent reading level and then to be able to pinpoint what each child will need to do to move their reading skill to the next level.

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Did you know that children in classrooms without literature collections read 50% less than children in classrooms with such collections? (International Reading Association) In Manheim Central, each classroom in grades kindergarten and first grade will be equipped with around 300 new books and every classroom in grades second thru fourth will receive approximately 150 new books. All of the books are on a continuum and will provide reading materials to meet the wide range of learners that exist within any one classroom.

The books are being delivered to classrooms during the month of February and students are eager to begin get their hands on them! Each school will be having a kick-off assembly in March to explain the new framework to students.

In addition to the in-class reading component, there is a critical home reading connection. Students will be bringing home books at their level to read for a minimum of 15 minutes per day. Adults in the home serve as reading coaches or models for students. Students will have take-home cards that will also communicate to the parent or guardian exactly what it is that a child needs to work on in order to move to the next reading level.

During March Parent/Teacher Conferences, parents/guardians will receive additional information. Research tells us that “Kids who don’t read proficiently by 4th grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school” (The Annie E. Casey Foundation). Even more astonishing is the fact that two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade, end up in jail or on welfare (U.S. Department of Justice).

It is the vision of the Manheim Central School District to prepare responsible citizens for lifelong learning. Part of that lifelong learning is ensuring that our students are able to read proficiently and on grade level (especially by the end of fourth grade!) We are working hard to instill this culture of reading so that it permeates our classrooms throughout the district. Our students deserve it so that they are equipped for future success!