The Buzz 1/18/16

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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In case I failed to mention it...

Thank you all for the time and work you dedicate week in and week out to make our students lives better!


On Thursday I attended a Indiana STEM conference at Purdue. This was a time of new learning and planning, and the team of 5 who went were already thinking about how we can share our new learning and involve the rest of the staff. Knowing we are just beginning our journey, we were thinking about what are next, manageable steps that we can take. As we plan, here are a few things that we feel are critical to know, and action steps:

1) A central theme was knowing that when STEM is is the lens through which we view instruction we must be willing to take risks, get messy, and understand that sometimes our best plans will fail...and when they do IT IS OK!!!! Just as we encourage our students to have a growth mindset, and be able to learn from mistakes, we will do the same throughout this process!

2) Teachers are intellectuals not just technicians! This will not be a program that we implement, but a shift in our mindset about instructional planning and implementation. You are the experts in the curriculum, your students, and instructional best practice. PD will help us understand the foundation and theory, provide some examples of what it could look like, but ultimately our staff are the experts that will plan how this will look at Chandler. We have hands down the best talent around, and we can depend on each other to make this transition happen.

3) Teamwork and collaboration are the key to success. No one has all the answers, and we all have different abilities and strengths. The ability to structure teams where each member brings a specific skill set, and be willing to be real, take risks, and truly collaborate are key.

4) It takes everyone! STEM cannot be just for homeroom teachers. Everyone has a role to play in fulfilling a culture of STEM at Chandler. Everyone will have to take part, contribute their skills sets, communicate, and collaborate!

As for next steps:

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Our goal is to start small so everyone can see what this is about, and if this is something they can envision themselves being a part of...

Our goal will be to find some good models to visit, for instance Lake Hills in Michigan City has a 90% Free/Reduced Lunch population and is 5 years into their transformation. They have become STEM certified by the state by working with the local community, implementing PLTW as possible, and a lot of elbow grease. Washington Elementary in Warsaw is another STEM certified school that we could learn from. There are others within a short drive. Hopefully we will be able to spend time taking teams of teachers to see first-hand how this can look moving forward.

Another small step is to create a leadership team of multiple teachers, parents, and community members to create a vision, help plan next steps, make connections, locate resources, etc..

We want everyone to take part, and everyone to work together on a common theme. STEM and project based learning is all about embedding real life problems into the curriculum. As a school, this semester, we will begin by identifying real problems at Chandler and our community, then create a small project based unit around your area. For instance, controlling the noise level in the cafeteria, identifying bug populations at Chandler and finding ways to attract populations that we want (Such as monarch butterflies), or mapping out the garden spaces on our property and devising a way to use these to help create a sustainable food source that can be used in the cafeteria or community (or even creating sustainable gardens in our classrooms), what about finding out about composting to help our gardens grow. The options are endless really! If you can dream it, and tie it to curriculum, then it'll work! Our goal for this project is to do some initial PD, begin planning sometime in March, then implement the unit in late May. These again are initial thoughts, but something that we feel would be a good first bite!

One thing is for sure, to make this vision a reality it will take all of our ideas, feedback, and hard work. I would love to know what you think, if you would like to be a leader in this area, or any thoughts you might have about how to move forward!

February Staff Meeting

We will have our next staff meeting on February 10. More info on what will be discussed to come soon. Just wanted you to be aware so it's on your calendar!

Simply STEM

You can visit the IDOE STEM Education page here. This trip has details such what it means to be STEM certified, a rubric that all STEM certified school complete, sample curriculum maps, and a variety of other resources. I would encourage you to take a few moments and explore this page.

Lexia Training Participants

If you are scheduled to attend the Lexia Training Thursday morning, you will need a internet access capable device or Ipad with Lexia Core 5 App installed. Please see Kevin M. if you need access to one of these devices.

Testing Continues

Thank you all for your flexibility and teamwork to make WIDA and NWEA a success thus far! We look forward to wrapping this round up in the next couple of weeks!

STEM Project Grant

UPDATE: Need additional ideas for a unit check out:

About half-way down the page you will find Curriculum Maps with other sample projects aligned with Indiana Standards.

If anyone would like to take the plunge on trying a STEM activity, Mr. Kauffman and I would love to help you find or plan a project to try with your kids. To help cover costs there is a grant available for those interested. Here is the grant information:

We are thrilled to announce that the 2016 Winter EnablINg STEM teacher grant cycle has kicked off!

We wanted to be sure you were aware that the TechPoint Foundation for Youth EnablINg STEM teacher program has kicked off a Winter 2016 grant cycle. Indiana teachers can complete a quick grant application for classroom dollars that support unique, hands-on STEM learning for students in grades K-8. The application and more information can be found HERE. The application closes on 1/31/15. Please share with your education network within the state.

Just for fun...

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Free Online Books

Hoosier students will have access to thousands of free online books in 2016. From now through December 31, 2016, students, families, and educators will have access to more than 5,000 free, online books through the myON Digital Library. Books will be available in both English and Spanish. Additional information about the Hoosier Family of Readers initiative and details on how students can access these free books can be found here.

From Central Office...

Today’s Focus: Growth

“Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.”
– Babe Ruth

What strategies do you use to recover from failure and try again?

What is it about failure that scares you? How can you overcome this?

How does your team help build your self-confidence?

How do you support others in overcoming their fears?

Principals, please post/share this information in locations where classified staff receive mail/school announcements. Thank you.

Attention Classified Employees:

The School Board approved wage increases for 2016. This is the first time we will make these changes in the New World payroll system. The new hourly rates will be realized on the January 29th pay check. Between now and then, our systems are being updated to reflect the new wages and experience levels. Please be patient as it will take some time for all of this new information to be rolled over. In the near future, you will be receiving an Employment Acknowledgement letter. You will not need to sign and return this to the administration office this year, unless there are inaccuracies. Please double check the information when you receive the acknowledgement. You may refer to the classified wage scales for 2016 on the GCS webpage in Staff Services, Benefits section. Thanks for your attention to these matters.

Strategic Planning:

All GCS Staff are invited to one the following meetings to learn more about the Strategic Plan (GCS 2025 Plan) on which the school district is currently working. We hope you can attend one of these!

Wednesday, January 27, 7:30 a.m. at GHS Auditorium

Wednesday, January 27, 3:15 p.m. at Parkside Cafeteria

Thursday, January 28, 7:30 a.m. at GMS Media Center

Thursday, January 28, 3:15 p.m. at GCS Board Room

The reason that we are not holding meetings at every school is that when we do that, it takes about six weeks to make it around to every building when coordinating schedules. This Strategic Plan has some urgency to it, as Marketing & PR, Academics & Programs, Facilities, and Resource Utilization are all topics that the plan will be addressing. We are really hoping that many of you will be able to attend one of the meetings. Thank you for your understanding.

Snow Days

An issue about designated snow days has arisen. The old contract stated that school had to be canceled 10 days prior to a designated make-up day in order for the corporation to use it. However, that is no longer the case. The snow day language is no longer in the contract. So, any day designated as a make-up snow day will be used in the order stated on the calendar. For example, if school is canceled on February 9th we will make it up on February 11th. This means all staff is expected to be available for the designated make-up day and vacations should not be planned for them.

School Calendars

Attached are the 2016-17 and 2017-18 School Calendars that were approved by the board. We are trying a different format that will hopefully be a bit easier to read.

TLT Update

TLT spent time this week thinking about how to follow up with teachers after an observation and post conference. Moving forward TLT members will be planning for targeted, intentional follow-up with teachers in their refinement area. To help make this successful, TLT members and you as the teacher, will be thinking about what action steps can be taken to help you grow in a refinement area. During the post-conference the TLT member will discuss some action steps, and timeline for completion of these action steps. The goal is to help facilitate your growth area through a partnership, instead of giving feedback and leaving the growth up to you!


Mrs. Jennifer Eldridge - Thurs., January 21

Mr. Brent Kulp - Sat., January 23

Calendar Items

WIDA Testing Window Open

NWEA Testing Window Open



Cluster 7:15 & 3:10

School Imp. Plan - Stakeholder Feedback Diagnostic Group Meeting 11:15 (Conf. Rm.)

Math Standards and Assess. Mtg (Mr. Hufford Out AM)

Chandler TLT 3:15

Orchestra - 3:45 (GMS)


IDOE Principals Meeting (Mr. Hufford Out AM)

Lexia Training 9:00 (conf. rm)
Orchestra 2:55-4:00 (Music Room)

Elementary District TLT 12:00 (Admin Bldg)


Success/Support Staff Meeting 8:35

School Imp. Plan - Student Data Group Meeting 11:15 (Conf. Rm.)

Just in case you forgot...

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.

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.

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