CES Weekly Buzz March 7, 2016

From the Desk of Mrs. Proskey


Dates & Meetings to Remember...

  • 3/1- ISTEP+ TESTING (3/7-3/11)
  • 3/7 11:40 AB (ACR) Proskey, Young, Risner, Schwenk
  • 3/7 3:30 Textbook Selection Meeting @ H.S. 6th-12th Grade
  • 3/7- School Board Meeting @ Admin Building @ 7:00pm
  • 3/8- 1:45 LC (ACR) Thompson, Proskey, VnaDePutte
  • 3/9- STAT Team Meeting @ 7:30 in Conference Room
  • 3/9- 6th grade girls Bball game @ home @ 4:30
  • 3/10- Kindergarten Round-Up in CES Cafeteria at 6:00pm
  • 3/10- Book Discussion @ 3:15 in the DLL
  • 3/11- BoxTops Due
  • 3/11- End of grading period
  • 3/11- 3:00 Proskey Meeting
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This Week's Menu (Mar.7-Mar.11)

  • Breakfast-Mini Cini/ Cereal with Cracker
  • Lunch- Corn Dog w/Fries/ Potato Bar
  • Breakfast- Oatmeal w/toast/ Cereal with Cracker
  • Lunch- Chicken And Noodles w/ Mashed Potatoes / Salad Bar
  • Breakfast- Pancake on a stick/ Cereal with Cracker
  • Lunch- Garlic Cheese Flat Bread with Green Beans/ Bologna Sandwich
  • Breakfast- Dutch Waffle with fruit
  • Lunch- Cheeseburger Deluxe Sandwich w/ Tater Tots/ Salad Bar
      • Breakfast- Sausage Bagel/ Cereal with Cracker
      • Lunch- Pizza Calzone with Broccoli/ Fish Sticks

      This Week's Sporting Events

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      ISTEP+ Schedule for March

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      This Month's CES Girl's Basketball Practice/Game Schedule

      6th Grade Girls Basketball INFO:

      If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Coach Chris Stevens at 574-216-5007.


      • (3/14) 3:15-4:45 6th Girls BBall
      • (3/1) & (3/8) 3:15-4:45 6th Girls BBall
      • (3/2) 3:15-5:00 6th Girls BBall
      • (3/10) 5:00-7:30 6th Girls BBall
      • (3/4 & 3/11) 2:45-4:15 6th Girls BBall

      Game Schedule

      • 3/3- 5:00 @ Home VS. North Liberty
      • 3/7- 5:00 @ Rochester
      • 3/9- 4:30 @ Home VS. Argos
      • 3/12- 9:00 @ Tippy Valley (Tourney)
      • 3/15- 5:00 @ Home VS. Bremen
      • 3/16- 5:30 @ Home VS. OD

      Recycling Club

      Recycling Club will be collecting plastic bags through April 21st and will meet in Mrs. Cultice's classroom after school until 4:00 on the dates below.
      • March 10th & 22nd
      • April 12th & 21st
      • April 28th -- Final Party

      6th Grade Future City Competition

      Future City Engages Kids in Engineering and so Much More....

      The Future City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience where students in 6th grade imagine, design, and build cities of the future. Students work as a team with an educator and engineer mentor to plan cities using SimCity software: research and write solutions to an engineering problem; build tabletop scale models with recycled materials; and present their ideas before judges.

      The teams will meet on Tuesdays from 3:05 to 4:15 in the Science Lab with Mr. Daugherty.

      Dates of the Meetings will be 3/1, 3/8, 3/15 & 3/22.

      Shakespeare Play Practice

      If you have any questions about "The Taming of the Shrew" or play practice please contact Mr. Shafer at 574-842-3389.
      • Practice- March 3rd
      • Practice- March 10th
      • Performance- March 17th @ 6:30pm
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      Blessings in a Backpack Needs Packing Volunteers!!!

      If you would like to help volunteer packing Blessings Backpacks, please see times and dates below.... (it usually takes about an hour)

      Please mark or update your calendars to reflect the following times and change of time:

      Sunday, April 3 set up @ 12:30 p.m.

      Wednesday, April 6 packing @ 4:30 p.m.

      Wednesday, May 11 set up @ 4:30

      Thursday, May 12 packing @ 4:30 pm

      All set up and packing is done at Culver Bible Church, 718 S. Main Street in Culver.

      THANK YOU!!

      Dianne, Stephanie and Tracy
      Blessings in a Backpack Coordinators

      Current Educational Articles

      RITZ State Superintendent Talks at EDC Dinner to Employers, Educators, and Policymakers

      Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 6:00 am | Updated: 8:09 am, Wed Mar 2, 2016.

      By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com | 0 comments

      School headmasters and business leaders broke bread Monday night with council members and commissioners at the 2016 Local Elected Officials Dinner. The annual dinner was hosted by the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation.

      Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz served as the event’s guest speaker.

      “It’s my favorite group to talk to because education and economics literally go hand and hand,” Ritz said. “Education policy should be linked to very strategic, intentional economic strategies.”

      Ritz gave the EDC a brief rundown of what the Indiana Department of Education does and drew attention to several pieces of education legislation that are currently before the general assembly.

      The recent ‘hold harmless’ laws will protect communities from the negative results of the 2015 ISTEP assessment, Ritz said. Low ISTEP grades can lead to low school ratings, which can have lasting impacts on the economic health of the community. Ritz pointed out that ISTEP results are also tied to teacher evaluations and compensation.

      “Assessment, in my personal opinion, should not be a flat pass/fail approach like we have,” Ritz said.

      Ritz explained that the current state testing standards are dictated by federal guidelines. Changes to the federal ‘No Child Left Behind’ act give state lawmakers the freedom to come up with new tests. In past years, school funding has also depended on ISTEP scores. Ritz said this can create a cycle of overtesting as lawmakers and state departments try to anticipate how the students will perform on the one test that actually matters.

      The room erupted in applause when Ritz told the EDC members and guests that Indiana is working to get rid of ISTEP.

      “Every fifth-grade teacher who gives ISTEP can tell you before we ever spend millions of dollars giving it who’s going to pass it,” said Ritz, who spent several years as a fifth-grade teacher. “Why? Because they know their children, and they know their curriculum. And that’s what they are trained to do.”

      Ritz suggested that Indiana adopt a more “streamlined, individual assessment” that measures how a student is growing over the year, rather than a snapshot of what they know at the end of the year.

      State lawmakers have been working on House Bill 1395 ISTEP Matters (HB 1395) since January. If HB 1395 is passed into law, the state would set up a 22-person committee before May 1 to evaluate Indiana’s current system for measuring kindergarten through grade 12 performance. The committee would also be tasked with developing a new assessment tool to measure K-12 performance that would replace the ISTEP. The new system would go live beginning in the 2017-2018 school year.

      “This is the most important committee that we’re going to have. It informs everything else that we’re going to do,” Ritz said.

      According to the proposal, the final report of the committee will be due to Gov. Mike Pence, the State Board of Education and the Indiana General Assembly before November 1, 2016. Ritz said this will give the state lawmakers time to review and process the report before the 2017 legislative session gets underway.

      The Indiana House of Representatives voted Tuesday to move forward without the Senate’s proposed amendments to HB 1395.

      Ritz talked about the Department of Education’s Paths to Quality guidelines that have helped influence the direction of New Castle’s early childhood education programs. She also discussed how the DOE is working to recruit, train, and retain high quality teachers in Indiana. Legislation to explicitly create Ritz’s “Blue Ribbon Commission” have failed, so she plans to implement several sections of the commission through executive action.

      “We cannot afford to not have quality educators in front of our students in all of our schools,” Ritz said.

      In response to a question from Henry County REMC CEO Shannon Thom, Ritz talked about the new high school diplomas that the DOE is introducing. The Workforce Ready Diploma will replace the general diploma, with an emphasis on mathematics. The College & Career Ready Diploma will replace the Core 40. Both diploma paths will generate “Preparing for College & Careers” and “Personal Financial Responsibility” courses. Ritz said students will also be able to earn a “work ethic certificate” so potential employers will have a better idea of what type of worker they will be.

      The 2016 Local Elected Officials Dinner was prepared by the New Castle Breakfast Optimist Club and served by New Castle sophomores from Susan Delay’s speech class.

      Katie Pierce was one of the students serving dinner Monday night. Pierce and her classmates started the 2016 ISTEP Tuesday. Pierce is not looking forward to the next week’s worth of testing.

      “I’m kind of biased because I don’t want to take the test, but I know that for me and other people we don’t like to sit down and just take a test over and over again. And we’ve done it multiple times,” Pierce said. “So [Ritz] finding an alternative for it, I think it’s better because it’s going to open up more opportunity for people.”

      The New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Commission will have its annual meeting April 20 at Hoosier Gym in Knightstown.

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      Schools Respond to Flawed ISTEP Question

      A flawed question on this year’s ISTEP exam is affecting some Indiana schools and shows continued problems with the test despite a move to a new vendor.

      The Indiana Department of Education alerted schools Wednesday to what it flagged as “extremely important” information. A question on the sixth-grade math test could confuse students and cause scoring issues. The state decided Thursday the question would not count toward a student’s score — but not before some districts spent time reviewing test booklets as advised by the state.

      Greenwood Schools reviewed approximately 250 test booklets. Other school officials say they didn’t complete their reviews before the state muted the impact of the test question.

      According to a Department of Education email obtained by IndyStar, here was the problem with the question: “In the Part A portion of the item, students are asked to indicate two missing numbers in a table. The spaces for student responses contain an ‘X’. Some students may recognize ‘X’ as a variable, and other students may be confused at seeing an ‘X’ in the area where they need to respond.”

      The state told school administrators Wednesday morning to review all student answers to the question. If the student didn’t respond in the correct area, then the adult could move the answer — an authorization that one administrator described as “unusual latitude” for schools.

      The flaw affected only schools giving the first round of the ISTEP by paper and whose students had already completed that portion of the test. Students will still take the test question. It just won’t count toward their score on this year’s high-stakes exam, which began Monday.

      Greenwood's testing coordinator conducted the review Wednesday with two other administrators.

      “Needless to say, it took an immense amount of time from three administrators. There have been mistakes before, but in my memory, none that were quite so immediately found that required attention from the schools prior to sending in the tests,” said Rebecca Rinehart, the district’s technology director.

      Administrators say hitches with the test are a normal part of the process, but issues identified with the question were more serious because of the impact it could have on results.

      “(The Department of Education) recognized that and took appropriate action … (the department) has always indicated that there’s enough content on these assessments to eliminate an item or two and still make an accurate determination of student proficiency,” said Scott Smith, testing coordinator for Brownsburg Schools.

      Cari Whicker, a State Board of Education member and sixth-grade teacher in Huntington, said she experienced issues with the test question as her students took the ISTEP this week.

      “It appears the Department of Education and its testing vendor caught the problem and told schools how to correct it, but I wonder why they couldn’t fix these issues before they end up in the hands of teachers and students in the classroom,” Whicker said in a statement.

      Questions also remain on whether schools should keep checking booklets, said Missy Zimmerman, testing coordinator at Bartholomew Consolidated Schools in Columbus.

      “For our students, we know it is difficult when you are looking and there doesn’t seem to be a place to write something,” Zimmerman said. “A lot of our kids took the assessment before the guidance was released.”

      The flaw with the test question comes after the department ditched its longtime testing vendor, CTB/McGraw Hill, and started using Pearson Education to administer the ISTEP this year and in 2017.

      Under CTB, the administration of the test experienced a series of technology and scoring issues that grew to the point the Indiana General Assembly is poised to officially dump the ISTEP exam and adopt an alternative standardized test. The action is necessary, supporters of the overhaul say, because ISTEP is a brand damaged beyond repair.

      Rocky Killion, superintendent of West Lafayette Schools, said he remains concerned about whether this year’s test is valid and will produce reliable results.

      “Just because we have a new vendor does not remove the errors and the issues still attached (to) ISTEP+,” Killion said.

      The guidance to schools was “sent to ensure that all students receive accurate scores and also provide additional information (when needed) about items, whether they be sample, practice or operational,” according to Department of Education spokeswoman Samantha Hart.

      As of Wednesday, Pearson had “administered nearly 117,000 successful ISTEP tests, with no major problems reported and low call volume,” according to company spokesman Scott Overland.

      The Department of Education also alerted schools to a typo found in a question on the sixth-grade science test. However, the typo "does not impact the answer," according to the department.

      Among other errors, the department notes a typo in the teacher's manual for a sample math item for Grade 5 and Grade 7. On the Grade 4 science practice test, the department advises that artwork paired with one item might confuse students.

      This portion of the ISTEP test, where students answer open-ended items, runs through mid-March. The multiple-choice portion of the test begins in April.

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      Homework is wrecking our kids: The research is clear, let’s ban elementary homework

      “There is no evidence that any amount of homework improves the academic performance of elementary students.”

      This statement, by homework research guru Harris Cooper, of Duke University, is startling to hear, no matter which side of the homework debate you’re on. Can it be true that the hours of lost playtime, power struggles and tears are all for naught? That millions of families go through a nightly ritual that doesn’t help? Homework is such an accepted practice, it’s hard for most adults to even question its value.


      When you look at the facts, however, here’s what you find: Homework has benefits, but its benefits are age dependent.

      For elementary-aged children, research suggests that studying in class gets superior learning results, while extra schoolwork at home is just . . . extra work. Even in middle school, the relationship between homework and academic success is minimal at best. By the time kids reach high school, homework provides academic benefit, but only in moderation. More than two hours per night is the limit. After that amount, the benefits taper off. “The research is very clear,” agrees Etta Kralovec, education professor at the University of Arizona. “There’s no benefit at the elementary school level.”

      Before going further, let’s dispel the myth that these research results are due to a handful of poorly constructed studies. In fact, it’s the opposite. Cooper compiled 120 studies in 1989 and another 60 studies in 2006. This comprehensive analysis of multiple research studies found no evidence of academic benefit at the elementary level. It did, however, find a negative impact on children’s attitudes toward school.

      This is what’s worrying. Homework does have an impact on young students, but it’s not a good one. A child just beginning school deserves the chance to develop a love of learning. Instead, homework at a young age causes many kids to turn against school, future homework and academic learning. And it’s a long road. A child in kindergarten is facing 13 years of homework ahead of her.

      Then there’s the damage to personal relationships. In thousands of homes across the country, families battle over homework nightly. Parents nag and cajole. Overtired children protest and cry. Instead of connecting and supporting each other at the end of the day, too many families find themselves locked in the “did you do your homework?” cycle.

      When homework comes prematurely, it’s hard for children to cope with assignments independently—they need adult help to remember assignments and figure out how to do the work. Kids slide into the habit of relying on adults to help with homework or, in many cases, do their homework. Parents often assume the role of Homework Patrol Cop. Being chief nag is a nasty, unwanted job, but this role frequently lingers through the high school years. Besides the constant conflict, having a Homework Patrol Cop in the house undermines one of the purported purposes of homework: responsibility.

      Homework supporters say homework teaches responsibility, reinforces lessons taught in school, and creates a home-school link with parents. However, involved parents can see what’s coming home in a child’s backpack and initiate sharing about school work–they don’t need to monitor their child’s progress with assigned homework. Responsibility is taught daily in multiple ways; that’s what pets and chores are for. It takes responsibility for a 6-year-old to remember to bring her hat and lunchbox home. It takes responsibility for an 8-year-old to get dressed, make his bed and get out the door every morning. As for reinforcement, that’s an important factor, but it’s only one factor in learning. Non-academic priorities (good sleep, family relationships and active playtime) are vital for balance and well-being. They also directly impact a child’s memory, focus, behavior and learning potential. Elementary lessons are reinforced every day in school. After-school time is precious for the rest of the child.


      What works better than traditional homework at the elementary level is simply reading at home. This can mean parents reading aloud to children as well as children reading. The key is to make sure it’s joyous. If a child doesn’t want to practice her reading skills after a long school day, let her listen instead. Any other projects that come home should be optional and occasional. If the assignment does not promote greater love of school and interest in learning, then it has no place in an elementary school-aged child’s day.

      Elementary school kids deserve a ban on homework. This can be achieved at the family, classroom or school level. Families can opt out, teachers can set a culture of no homework (or rare, optional homework), and schools can take time to read the research and rekindle joy in learning.

      Homework has no place in a young child’s life. With no academic benefit, there are simply better uses for after-school hours.

      Heather Shumaker’s new book It’s OK to Go Up the Slide (Tarcher/Penguin Random House) will be published March 8, 2016.

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