Teaching & Learning

January 2021

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Message From Shanna

Happy New Year!

A new year brings new beginnings. While exciting for some, others may view it as scary. ‘New’ can be interpreted as changes, moving on, leaving behind. For those who prefer certainty, the thought of new can be unsettling. Undoubtedly, this year will bring new things both personally and professionally. The challenge we have is to keep an open mind about the new and view it as an opportunity for growth, for improvement. New does not always mean the old was bad; it just presents a ‘new’ way for consideration - Know Better, Do Better!

As a district, there will be new things that develop over the course of the spring semester. For instance, we will move away from giving STAR assessments and move to an assessment solution, FastBridge, that offers screeners for both academic and behavior. The reading screener will better meet the state requirements for struggling readers, and the program has built-in progress monitoring tools to aid our efforts in tiered intervention. This newness in assessment came about partially due to the assistance our district is receiving from a TASN external MTSS Alignment team. Strengthening our tiered system for intervention is an action step in our district Relevance KESA goal, so reworking our MTSS process helps meet that goal. This work will continue throughout the remainder of our KESA cycle, thru 2022-23.

So as this new year marches on, looking in the rearview mirror should give us confidence to embrace any and all new opportunities 2021presents to us as long as we continue modeling patience, grace, and flexibility!

~Shanna Dinkel

Upcoming Events

January 18th: Inservice

January 13th-26th: Interim Predictive Assessment Window

Tiger Teacher Nation Regional Professional Learning Day January 18th

Tiger Teacher Nation Regional Professional Learning Day

Sched Website: https://tigerteachernationmlkjan18.sched.com/

Items of Note:

  • 489 Staff will attend on-site at Hays High School unless they are listed to attend the Dyslexia Training or are quarantined or isolated
  • Look for social distancing instructions posted outside each room – follow them closely
  • Maintain six feet of distance
  • Classrooms will be available at HHS to participate in sessions that are only offered via Zoom – you need to bring earbuds (with microphone if at all possible) to participate as these classrooms will be open to people attending different Zoom sessions
  • Some sessions are offered simultaneously via Zoom and on-site: PLEASE attend in the assigned on-site room instead of Zooming even when that’s an option. (You’ll know the session is available on-site if the assigned room is blue on the map.)
  • Don’t move furniture or use items that belong to the classroom teacher in the Zoom participant rooms
  • Feel free to install the Sched app on your mobile device – search for “Tiger” to find our event
  • Conference Information page – blue tab at the top of the website or in the “Info” tab on the app – includes session filter information, conference schedule, color-coded maps of HHS
  • Color-coded maps will be available on-site at HHS that day
  • The 2:30 Pickleball session has too many registrations – the first 18 people to arrive will be allowed in. Other on-site sessions at 2:30 with available space are in the Cafeteria, Band Room, and Choir Room. Other than this one exception, please do not change your schedule on the website or in the app – if your schedule MUST change, please contact Marie Henderson
  • All room assignments will be made by the end of the day Monday and you are expected to attend the sessions for which you signed up.

~ Marie Henderson

Dyslexia Training - January 18th


Register in advance for this meeting:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

You will need the following materials for this day of professional development. You may not edit these documents. If you would like to take digital notes on these documents you will have to make a copy of the document and rename the file.

Slide deck:


Note-taking Guide:


Supplemental Handout with Glossary:


Building a Reading Brain - please print this prior to the professional development day as we will use this document for an activity during the training.


Congratulations Jessica Roe!


5 Tips for Sharing Online Learning Resources with Families

Teacher Wellness Practice: Breathe...Keep Breathing

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2020-21 State Assessment Dates

Kansas Assessment Program Overview

Interim Predictive Assessment Window Open

If interested in giving interim assessments, please email Shanna Dinkel and copy Amy Arnhold to let them know of your interest. TASC records need to be uploaded for the predictive as well as the interim mini-tests.

KAP Interim Guide linked here for more information.

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Curriculum Library: COMPLETE LIST HERE

Email gschmidt@usd489.com if you would like to check an item out!


Lincoln Elementary Apollo II School

Swivl Robots are Available to Check-Out

Please contact mhenderson@usd489.com if you'd like to check one out.
What is a Swivl Robot?

by Marie Henderson

Professional Development Opportunities

If there is an event you'd like to attend, please check with your building admininistrator.

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West Central KS Special Education Coop



Kansas Day 2021 is January 29th

KSDE is celebrating being a state for 160 years!
Kansas Day 2021 Teaser


Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission


Math Fluency Building Resources


In this 7-minute video, Dr. Matthew Burns with the University of Missouri demonstrates how to implement Incremental Rehearsal via Zoom with a middle school student.

IR Math Virtual



In this 15-minute video, Dr. Sarah Powell with the University of Texas at Austin demonstrates several quick fluency-building activities that can be implemented daily either during your core math lesson or small group math intervention sessions. Two of the strategies that she recommends are Cover-Copy-Compare and Taped Problems, both of which are strong, evidence-based practices for improving students' proficiency with computational fluency.

Fluency Practice ‖ Best Practice ‖ K-12 Math Instruction ‖ Project STAIR


KSDE Presents: Virtual ESOL PD!

Join our January remote PD series designed specifically for Kansas ESOL educators! Sarah Ottow, Founder and Director, of Confianza (www.ELLstudents.com) will facilitate four remote workshops as a professional learning community around the four topics below, each Wednesday after school in January. Each session will move through connecting, learning, applying, and reflecting on action steps to infuse in your practice. Come to any or all of the sessions with your ideas, your questions, and your reflections where we will engage in hands-on, collaborative learning!

#1- Co-Teaching – January 6, 2021 - 4:00-5:15 CT --- *CLOSED*

Learn ways to execute different ways of co-teaching so that students' needs are in the center and that both the language specialist and content specialist are part of a co-equal partnership.

Pre-Work Reading: The Building Blocks of Strengthening an EL Co-Teaching Partnership

Register here: https://events.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=959

#2- Culturally Responsive Texts – January 13, 2021 - 4:00-5:15 CT

Be more intentional about integrating diverse students’ identities in your classroom so that all students feel included and that all students have opportunities to learn about different cultures and perspectives.

Pre-Work Reading: Honoring Students' Identities

Register here: https://events.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=959

#3- Teaching with a Language Lens – January 20, 2021 - 4:00-5:15 CT

Create language goals to accompany content goals and learn how to have corresponding appropriate language expectations for different proficiency levels in your classroom.

Pre-Work Reading: Teaching Language through Content

Register here: https://events.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=959

#4- Formative Assessment with a Language Lens – January 27, 2021 - 4:00-5:15 CT

Integrate formative assessment “snapshots” to help students own their language development process and to have classroom-based data to guide your instruction.

Pre-Work Reading: Language Snapshot to Measure ELD

Register here: https://events.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=959

Supporting English Language Learners

January 2021 Newsletter - Packed full of information!!

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Kindergarten Readiness

Promoting fine motor and perception motor development by Melissa Ginther, OTR/I

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The Real Ritchie Valens - La Bamba
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New blog will be available February 2021!