ENSC Family Notes

December 8, 2014

Indiana Department of Education

Last Wednesday, December 5, Becca Lamon, Assistant Superintendent, and I attended the Indiana State Board of Education meeting to provide support for the agenda item of eLearning. Wow! What an experience. For nearly four hours, we listened to members of the School Board and the State Superintendent struggle over whose role it is to make decisions on various topics? Superintendent Ritz or the School Board? Both sides wanted to exert their power to show who is in charge. Each month, this group seems to appear in the news more for their antics than their accomplishments toward improving education for the students of Indiana. In fact, when I was in DC, several superintendents from other states were well aware of the conflict between the two. It is unfortunate that the news created by these two groups is more about adult issues and less about educating Indiana students.

In the spring of 2013, just a few months after Superintendent Ritz took office, Governor Pence created the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI). This unit received a larger budget than the IDOE and quickly earned the nickname "shadow DOE" due to the many DOE similar education related tasks they were assigned. Since the inception of that group, Superintendent Ritz has attempted to protect her role and the role of the IDOE. At the same time, the State School Board has spent their time trying to help Superintendent Ritz understand the true role of the School Board by exerting their powers. While both groups have similar goals, the ongoing conflict prevents them from making true progress toward improving education for students.

The day following the IDOE School Board meeting, Governor Pence announced he would be dissolving the CECI as of February 1, 2015. He has indicated it is time for the IDOE to heal and removing this group is a beginning step. However, when Gov. Pence announced the disbandment of the CECI, he also announced his attempt to remove Supt. Ritz as the Chairperson of the School Board.

So, what next? That is an excellent question. As we have done many times for the past two years, we will need to stay informed and wait to see how all of this plays out. From my observations of the State School Board meeting last week, there are two groups that are working toward the same goal of placing students first; however, their personal issues are creating adult challenges that are taking valuable resources away from students. Rather than using their expertise, passions, and resources to serve students, they continue to slow the process and Indiana students and teachers are left on the outside trying to guess.....what is next?

eLearning on Weather Cancelled Days

East Noble School Corporation applied for the eLearning option on weather cancelled days when the waiver was provided to school districts in September and quickly received approval. However, the State School Board has mixed feelings about this option and now wants the legislature to weigh in. They do not believe this is a good substitution for a day of instruction. During the January 7, 2015 School Board meeting, there will be a vote....a vote for???? The State Superintendent does have the power to offer waivers for "emergencies" and that was the basis for her original approval. So, the vote could simply be to place the decision of eLearning in the hands of the legislature.

Regardless of the outcome, I have been notified that since we had received approval from the IDOE before December 5, we are officially approved to use these days as needed during the winter of 2015. Please understand, the ENSC plans to use these days when they have advance notice of a storm, teachers have time to plan appropriate eLearning lessons that correlate with current lessons, and families have advance notice for planning purposes.

It is certainly hoped that we do not miss many days this year and we do not need to use eLearning days. ENSC has already cancelled one school day and that will be made up on February 16. That leaves three Fridays in May for future make up days.

All Star of the Week

Our all-star nominee for this week is Mrs. Tami Housholder. Mrs. Housholder is our Mild Disabilities teacher at South Side Elementary School, and has spent 25 years in special education—the last 14 of which have been with East Noble School Corporation. Tami services over 50 special education students here at South Side; she is a tremendous support for them and their families. In addition, Tami is an incredible support for our staff. Teachers know they can go to Mrs. Housholder for advice on implementing an IEP in a general education classroom, providing classroom accommodations, or simply for advice on building a classroom intervention or behavior plan. Tami also sits on our RTI team and is valuable member in this capacity as well. For Tami’s hard work, tireless dedication to our students, and open support to our staff, she is our all-star nominee for this week.

Have a Great Week.



Change (again)…

I have written several times over the past years about change. The gist of those thoughts were that change is necessary, change should be embraced, and change is a constant in our lives. Today, I want to share a new perspective on change.

Change improves the brain.

When we change a pattern or routine, our brain must respond by making different neural pathways, while at the same time growing dendrites. So, just by sitting in a different seat at a meeting, changing the order of your morning, or taking an alternative path to your classroom are all examples of how you can stimulate brain growth.

As we approach the new INCCR standards, students, parents, and teachers will be asked to approach material in a new way. This change is felt by each person along a spectrum of frustration to acceptance. While supporting the need for these changes, it becomes our duty to also help each stakeholder understand that we are improving brain growth, even if it feels uncomfortable at the moment.

So, when students may be frustrated or parents verbalize that they don’t understand this “new math” we must repeatedly share with them that there are multiple ways to do anything in life. There is no one correct way to drive to the grocery store or put on a pair of pants. There is also no one correct way to solve problems if the answer is still arrived at successfully. And, these new methods are improving our brains as we learn them.

South Side Elementary

Students returned this week from Thanksgiving break ready to learn! Our grade level update this week is from our first grade team. This week, first grade has been working on Authors Purpose. Do you know what P.I.E. is? Our first graders sure do! P.I.E stands for persuade, inform, or entertain. First graders have also been reading various versions of The Gingerbread Man, comparing and contrasting the different versions and voting to find their favorite. Our first graders are also working on what jobs are, and students are writing about what their teacher does. Mrs. Becker came in to show us the Popplet app, and first graders made one about their favorite things at school. First graders are also looking forward to their Christmas program next week on Tuesday evening!

Wayne Center Elementary

A Wayne Center tradition continued the day before Thanksgiving break. The whole school came together and watched as the teachers and staff bowled with a frozen turkey. Students cheered and held up their signs each time the turkey was tossed. The student council helped with the event. The winner was Mrs. Mettert, our music teacher! She won a turkey to take home (not the one that was bowled with though).

The second and third graders had the opportunity to attend the play, Honk, on Friday, December 5. This was a great opportunity for the students to see a type of event that they might like to get involved with when they are older. The students really enjoyed the show!

“How is a couch like a turkey?”

“I don’t know. How?”

“They are both full of stuffing!” HA! HA! HA!

Ms. Abbee’s third graders put on a smashing performance for their families on Tuesday, November 25th. They told Thanksgiving jokes, shared readings from the book, If You Sailed on the Mayflower, and performed the play called, “Give Thanks to the Pilgrims.” Over 40 family members came to the play and feast. For the “feast,” they had pumpkin bread, popcorn, and orange drink. What a fun way to learn about the first Thanksgiving!!!

Second grade students through sixth grade students have begun a program called Study Island. It is a program designed to strengthen reading and math skills. The program is completed on the student’s iPads and laptops. Kindergarten students through second grade students are starting a program called Waterford in their classrooms. This is also designed to strengthen reading and math skills. It will be completed on the classroom computers as well as the students’ iPads. Also, Mrs. Jackson’s class has been working to strengthen their math facts by using Xtra Math. Students have been very motivated to improve and to see more green squares after they “race the teacher”.

This past week our school has come together to share the giving spirit. Together students and staff brought in donations for the Humane Shelter in a drive sponsored by National Elementary Honor Society. This has been a great opportunity for all to get involved in our community and make a difference.

Alternative Learning Center

This week seemed to fly by. It doesn't seem like the winter break is two weeks away. It took some adjustment to get back in a routine after the long Thanksgiving break, but we managed to be productive and had students earn some credits. The population doesn't normally change too much during the semester, but on occasion we have students move out or graduate early, so we have room for new students to join. There is already a waiting list at the high school to attend the ALC, so we might see some transitions this trimester. The staff and students are going to try to stay focused and work hard until the last day before break.

Have a great week!

Avilla Elementary

Congratulations to Kalli Cox, Caden Anderson, Brant McKinley, Landon Strohm, and Anna Becker for winning the Avilla Elementary Elk’s Hoop Shoot Free Throw contest. They will be competing Saturday at East Noble Middle School. Good Luck!

This week the PTO will be hosting the Claus Closet. Classes will be able to visit on December 9, 10, and 11. Your child’s teacher will pick what day the class shops. We have items from $1-$3 for the kids to shop for Christmas gifts for family members. The PTO is in need of volunteers who would be able to work 8:30-11:00 or 12:00-2:30. We need help with wrapping presents and helping the little ones shop. It is always a good time. If you can only work an hour just let us know, the more the merrier.

Mr. Smith will be leading grades k, 2, and 4 on Wednesday evening at the annual Christmas Music Program. The program begins at 6:30 in the gym. For those that have difficulties with “bleacher seating” we will have chairs available on the floor. Panther University will take place after the program in the MPR. The NEHS will be providing an opportunity for OUR younger students to make a “snack” for Santa’s reindeer! Please plan on joining us!

Spirit Wear will be available at the Winter Christmas Program this Wednesday night. We have t-shirts, dry fit t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, headbands and beach towels available. Spirit Wear makes great Christmas gifts.

Avilla PTO is organizing a Christmas Carol next Friday Night December 12th @ 5pm. We will meet at Avilla School. Bring your family, bring your friends and “Let’s Get Our Merry On”. (Parents Must Be Present) We will be singing: Jingle Bells, Silent Night, Joy to the World, Deck the Halls & We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Please remember a flash light because it will be dark. We hope to see you there.

East Noble High School

Mrs. Arnett’s seniors are working on improving Word Choice and Voice in their 1st Senior Essays. They are using peer editing and www.paperrater.com to help accomplish these two goals. The Senior Essay is a personal reflective essay which is used to help express how each senior is Career/College/Life prepared.

Some of Mr. Rickey’s students had creative writing posted in the News Sun and the Knightly Scroll. See attached and the link to the Knightly Scroll:


Some 9th grade English classes have completed an introductory project for To Kill a Mockingbird. This allowed students to teach the class on their chosen topics from the 1930s. Students were creative in creating Prezi’s, PowerPoints, videos, posters, and audios to educate the class on civil rights, the causes/effects of the Great Depression, the author Harper Lee, women’s roles in the south, and how production changed in that time period.

Gearing up to read Black like Me, some 9th grade English students have been working diligently to understand the Bill of Rights and other US codes. We have represented each amendment with a picture, written them in our own words, connected them to current events/trials, and are now working on creating our own Student Bill of Rights. Groups are writing what they believe are student rights and presenting them to the class persuasively. After presentations, the class will discuss, motion, and vote on which ten should be the final Student Bill of Rights.

Miss Atz's freshman honors class is also reviewing the 6+1 SUPER Traits of Effective Writing for the new trimester, correlating the traits to well-known super heroes. Iron Man sure knows his Ideas and Captain America is all about Organization!

The Knightly Scroll (www.knightlyscroll.net) finished up their Christmas board for Bixler Lake this season. Drive though this December to see it!

East Noble Middle School

This week we welcome our newest staff member, Jennifer Parry. She joins us as an instructional assistant and will be working with our 8th grade special education students. Jennifer has over 6 years of experience working with middle school students. We look forward to her joining our middle school family.

In the classroom, 8th grade students have been actively working in their language arts classes on a poetry research project. Students chose their favorite musical artist, and are required to do background research on that musician as well as find 9 different figurative languages within their music. It has been fun to see the students put what they’ve learned about figurative language into practice.

Seventh grade students are working together to teach their classmates a chapter from the book, Chain Reaction. Each group is taking one of Rachel Scott’s code of ethics and is focusing on the main idea and details to support the main idea. Students have taken on leadership roles and are actively participating in the presentation process by working on a google doc.

As the temperature gets colder, athletics continue to heat up at ENMS! Both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will be in action this week. Wednesday our Band is having their annual Christmas dinner and concert. And to end the week, our students will be enjoying their Christmas Dance.

North Side Elementary

This week at North Side began the countdown to winter break as instruction of the new standards continue at full force other signs of the the approaching holiday. Second and third graders went to see a wonderful performance at the high school while daddy's and daughters enjoyed a fancy dance Friday evening. The dance was a huge success thanks to the many volunteers provided by the North Side PTO. Pictures are being gathered still. Be sure to check out the North Side and PTO Facebook pages for photos.

Rome City Elementary

Kindergarten hosted their own invitational Thanksgiving gathering before break. Each class constructed invitations to deliver to their counterpart classroom inviting them to share lunch. The students enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal spent in the company of their classmates gathered together in Mrs. Owen’s classroom. The afternoon was filled with festive activities to celebrate the holiday with friends.

Our 1st and 4th grade classes are prepared to show their creative side with the public by revealing an amazing holiday card they spent countless enjoyable hours preparing. Please admire the artistic display of our RC students as you drive through the annual Community Christmas Greetings located in Bixler Lake Park. We are proud to continue supporting the Christmas spirit in our community.

December is the month of caring and RC is doing all we can to share our caring Christmas spirit with the community. So far, we have collected 638 food items for the Helping Hands Food Pantry under the guidance of Mrs. Krebs. Our goal is 1000. All items collected are organized into baskets that service over 100 RC families who would not have a Christmas dinner without our help. To kick off the event Mrs. Krebs coordinated a Turkey Bowl convocation where all grade levels competed in exciting and challenging games for the championship title. The winning class will receive a pizza party in January to celebrate their achievement. The food drive will continue through December 11th.