ENSC Weekly Notes

January 11, 2016

Standards Based Grading

Last fall, Standards Based Grading was introduced to the staff and a direction this district is moving. What is Standards Based Grading and when will ENSC begin to implement this change?

Standards Based Grading is fairly simple. It means we will be assessing and assigning grades based on the level of mastery of standards. If you read that sentence, you will see, the word "grades" is being used. Standards Based Grading does not mean we no longer assign grades. What it is does mean, grades will reflect what students know and are able to do. Grades will not be inflated through the use of attendance, extra credit, effort, participation, or other such concepts that do not have anything to do with mastering standards.

Want to know more about Standards Based Grading? Participate in the the Knights In Training Standards Based Grading module, attend the once per month Thursday professional development activity (next meeting 1/21), or talk with your principals. There is also a group of volunteer staff members who are actively involved with the district wide development of Standards Based Grading and are a very good resource for you. They are as follows:

Avilla Elementary - Dave Pine

North Side Elementary - Deaneen Pashea

Rome City Elementary - Heather Green, Kari Ruse

South Side Elementary - Deaneen Pashea

Wayne Center Elementary - Kari Ruse

East Noble Middle School - Kathy Longenbaugh, Amanda, Munger, Angela Ratliff, Sara Stein

East Noble High School - Amy DeWitt, Nick Maksimchuk, Alison Schlotfeldt, Melissa Shotts, Jake Swartz

If you would like to be involved with this committee, please contact Becca Lamon.

Here is an excellent video with Rick Wormeli, an expert on Standards Based Grading. This video discusses grading scales and the use of 0-59 as an F vs. 90-100 as an A. Thought provoking and aligns with our direction of assessing students on what they know and are able to do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-QF9Q4gxVM Rick has many other videos discussing standards based grading on YouTube. Also....Mindy Hoffar and the All Right Consortium are bringing Rick Wormeli for a one day workshop on October 4. Look for more details later.

I strongly urge you to learn more about Standards Based Grading. You will see early signs of implementation during this school year!

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Legislation Update

No vote yet on 2015 ISTEP legislation! However, the direction is still to "hold harmless" teachers and schools from the 2015 results. All kinds of data are being released and the public is now seeing the information. Student passing rates were released last week. If you reviewed the data, the state average drop in scores was 20 percent. ENSC dropped, as a district, about 19 percent. This is fairly similar for most districts in our area. On January 19, the State Board of Education will accept the school grades and release the information to the media. Senate Bill 200 and SB 4 are both pushing for schools to be assigned a grade that is the better of 2014 or 2015. The unknown at this point is will the SBOE release the 2015 school grades or release only the better of the two grades. House Bill 1003 is also asking that the better of results for 2014 or 2015 determine the school grades. In addition, this bill is asking the same for the calculations for Performance Grant funds.

I will keep you posted.

School Board Meeting

This week's School Board meeting is a list of 15 annual organizational items. For example, the Board will need to select a president, vice president, and secretary. Other items for approval include selection of a newspaper for advertisements, banking institution, school attorney, treasurer, deputy treasurer, etc. These organizational items are the only thing on the agenda this week.

ENSC Vision and Goals

ENSC will begin a lengthy process to assess and change, if needed, our vision and goals for the district. As we begin this journey, something I would like all of you to think about: What do our graduates need to know and be able to do to meet the expectations of our future work place and life?

Curriculum Notes

Below is a partial schedule for the District PD for the second half of the year. Please join us on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Thursdays of the month to improve and strengthen our skills and practices to improve student learning. The full file can be accessed anytime at http://tinyurl.com/enscpd .

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Unsung Hero

This week’s unsung hero is Ms. Lindsay Bentz, School Counselor at South Side and Rome City Elementaries. As counselor at two schools, Ms. Bentz provides services to more than 700 students. Coaching them through everything from struggles at home to academic challenges to peer conflicts. In addition, Ms. Bentz plans and executes lessons at all grade levels, visiting every classroom for each of the six pillars of character. She develops and coordinates peer support groups, helping students new to our building make new friends and transition to their new learning environment. Last year, Ms. Bentz started an Elementary Student Council at South Side for students in grades 3-6. Under her guidance, these students learn leadership and organizational skills coordinating school events and giving back to our community. This student club has become a great asset to our student body. Ms. Bentz also provides support to our staff as they work to meet the needs of our students. She serves on our RTI team and coordinates assessment for 504 and ELL students. We are very fortunate to have Ms. Bentz on our staff as a fellow Trailblazer and part of our Knight family!

This Week's Cookies Go To.....

East Noble Middle School are the cookie recipients this week. Thank you for all you do for ENSC!

The top schools this week are:

East Noble Middle School with just a 1/2 absence, Rome City Elementary with just one absence, and North Side Elementary with three absences.

Have a great week!


South Side Elementary

South Side’s National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) recently coordinated a shoe drive sponsored but the Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District. The shoes will donated to those in need within the United States as well as around the world. Shoes used around the world are purchased, and the money raised is donated right back to our neighbors at the Noble County Humane Society. South Side Trailblazers donated four overflowing barrels and three large boxes of shoes. Way to go Trailblazers! NEHS also gave back to the community by ringing the Salvation Army bells at Wal-Mart on Tuesday, December 8th. It was a beautiful night to ring the bells.

December was an exciting month for our fourth grade Trailblazers! On Friday, December 11th, the fourth graders celebrated their hard work in multiplication fluency with an ice cream sundae party. Students earned ice cream scoops and toppings by passing timed facts tests. On Monday, December 14th, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo visited through their “Zoo to You” program. Students met a blue-tongued skink and a poison dart frog. They also practiced classifying animals by habitat. On Tuesday, December 15th, a few students from Ms. Roberts’s class rang the Salvation Army bell to spread cheer through smiles and song.

January has started out just as exciting. Angie Mapes Turner, granddaughter of state poet Arthur Franklin Mapes, visited the fourth grade classes to share some Kendallville history, information about her grandfather’s life, and a few of his many poems. Students also had the opportunity to share their poetry with Mrs. Turner. She encouraged them to keep writing because they too could be a future poet laurate.

Wayne Center Elementary

Tiger 6th graders came back to school after the two week break refreshed and ready to get back to work. Students have moved towards more algebraic thinking in Math as they are solving problems involving order of operations, writing algebraic expressions, learning about properties of math, as well as beginning to explore equations and inequalities. In Science, the students are exploring the planets and smaller bodies in our solar system as they work their way towards a project in which they will create a travel brochure inviting visitors to make a trip to one of the planets. In Language Arts, students are finishing their argument essays in which they presented a claim and provided evidence to support their reasoning. They will be evaluating claims in their reading as well. The students will begin reading our next novel, Out of the Dust in the coming weeks. During this novel we will be focusing on figurative language. The students are doing a great job discussing their reading and improving their stamina!

Alternative Learning Center

It took a little longer to get started after a nice long break, but as the week went on the students settled in and got a lot of work completed. Progress reports were completed this week and should arrive home soon. Students should be close to finishing their second credit by this point to stay on track for the trimester. Earning credits is a requirement at the the alternative school. Students need to be making progress toward graduation. The only way to reach the goal of graduation is to be present each day.

Winter weather is finally here, so please listen for delays and closings. If school closes e-learning days will be utilized and students will be expected to complete Apex from home.

East Noble High School

Finding the right balance between preparing kids for the state assessments versus preparing them for life beyond high school is a priority at ENHS. Our English classes are getting students ready for our upcoming testing by teaching reading, vocabulary, writing, and language skills. However, there’s more to school than tests. The English department at ENHS has been creatively working with literature, writing, speaking, and technology. We have students producing videos for a variety of topics, such as reviewing grammar to teaching others about the 17th century.

Some freshman classes are focusing on the Freedom Riders in preparation to read Black Like Me while others are studying the Civil Rights Movement in preparation for To Kill a Mockingbird. Other classes are reading Into Thin Air and gathering facts about Mt. Everest and the possible disasters of mount climbing. A poetry unit has also encouraged students to analyze poems by their favorite poets.

All sophomore classes focus on a variety culture throughout the year. Currently we have students study the Chinese culture through Bound Feet and Western Dress and the African culture with Things Fall Apart. Students also chose a culture to study and create a technological presentation for the class. We’re learning about the England, Egypt, Norway, and Ireland, just to name a few.

Some junior classes are studying how American literature was a reflection of American life by focusing on the 1910-1940s in conjunction with the recent study of The Great Gatsby and how that novel represents cultures experiences and the study of the Harlem Renaissance. Students are developing a cultural and literary analysis on one author of the time period and a 5-10 minute movie on that person and his/her contributions.

East Noble Middle School

Starting a new semester means that most students have new electives and new teachers. But in the core classes, teachers and students picked up from where we left off before break with their lessons.

Eighth grade language arts students are in the Prewriting/Planning stage of an expository writing. They have begun to create a 2-column chart in order to organize their ideas and supporting details about a ‘Memorable Teacher’. Classes are also reviewing text evidence and how to use it to prove answers.

Most eighth grade science students are continuing their exploration of chemistry. Students are learning how the elements of the periodic table are arranged, the family names, the chemical symbols, and characteristics of some of the common elements. Next week they will start designing and making paper lab aprons showcasing an element of the periodic table.

In American history, eighth graders examined the Articles of Confederation (America’s first constitution) and The Great Compromise.

Avilla Elementary

As part of their unit on the Revolutionary War, each of OUR fifth grade students created a newspaper about the war. Students researched and wrote articles about an important figure and an important battle in the war, interesting facts and quotations and put it all together in a newspaper – including headlines, photos, cutlines, maps, and charts – that were created on their laptops. Students then presented their newspapers to their classmates.

OUR 6th grade students have been working on book reports these past few weeks.. Students are required to complete five different components: summary, plot diagram, project, a writing piece (3 different options), and a verbal presentation. The students also have a choice on the type of project they would like to complete based on their own personal interest.

Mark your calendars!!! Friday, January 15th has been designated as “Avilla Night” at the East Noble/DeKalb Basketball game! We have been invited as a school to be the special guests and help cheer the Knights onto a victory. EACH STUDENT WILL RECEIVE A FREE TICKET TO GAIN ADMISSION INTO THE GAME WHEN ACCOMPANIED WITH AN ADULT. Additionally, Avilla School will also provide a ticket for free popcorn for each Avilla Student in attendance. Tickets will be sent home on Thursday, January 14. What a great opportunity for OUR students to visit East Noble High School to see what lies ahead in their educational career in the East Noble School Corporation. Please feel free to contact Mr. Pine with any questions!

North Side Elementary

This was an exciting first week of 2016. The Wildcats welcomed the Mad Ant of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and took the first step in reaching the goal of 30 minutes of physical activity outside of school every day. The Mad Ant spoke to the student body about the importance of being healthy and how a healthy lifestyle is more than just exercising. It can look like playing sports, working in the yard, and playing with friends. The key is to stay active. Wildcats also got together for an assembly to set goals as a school and learn about the importance of goal setting. Wildcats are starting 2016 focused on doing our best by following the motto: Work Hard Be Nice.

Rome City Elementary

Rome City 5th and 6th grade spent Friday gearing up for the Science Fair!! They spent the day going through the scientific method from start to finish to complete an entire science project. It was a fun filled day of questioning, researching, and experimenting. At the end of the day, all four classes came together in the cafeteria to present their finished projects. It was an amazing experience the students (and teachers!) really enjoyed!! We found out Friday how much Romans truly love science!!!

Third grade students in Miss Carpenter's Resource Room have begun working on snowflake stories. Students are telling stories from the point of view of a snowflake. Students are enjoying the challenge of writing in a different point of view.

Second grade Romans are working on their fictional narrative pieces. They have started sharing their rough drafts. Ava Morris had one of the most unbelievably written pieces from a second grader! Ava definitely has a creative writer inside her! The picture shown is Ava sharing you first draft of her piece.