ENSC Weekly Notes

January 13, 2014

Welcome to 2014 - Part II

Last week certainly presented many challenges that ultimately led to ENSC cancelling school for the week. I did receive a few inquiries from community members asking why we cancelled Friday. As you know, delay and cancellations are based on the ability of 84 passenger busses to safely transport students across our district roads. While most people were able to get out and about on Friday, the main issues were narrow, snow covered county roads and large snow mounds at intersections that prevented a safe line of vision for the driver. Fortunately, all is a go for school on Monday.

We did have a few winter related issues last week. ENHS and ENMS both experienced frozen water pipes which broke and caused water damage. A huge thank you to our custodians, maintenance staff, Bill Knox, Brian Leitch, Sandy Scare, Kevin Alison, Lisa Laur, Andy Deming, and Steve Peterson for their help in cleaning up the areas. Help provided by Kendallville Fire, Police, and Parks and Recreation is much appreciate also!

Enjoy your return to school!

IDOE Waiver

As you all know, State Superintendent Ritz authorized school districts to apply for a waiver to penalties for missing school Monday and Tuesday of this week. As I indicated to you earlier, ENSC did apply for the waiver; however, we have not received official approval at this time.

We do have five make up days built into our current calendar. We will use January 20, February 17, and May 9 as make up days for Wednesday - Friday of last week. IF (and that is a huge IF) we do not miss any other snow days this school year, we will use May 16 and 23 to make up Monday and Tuesday of last week even if our waiver request is approved. It is highly unlikely that we will not have any additional cancellations. But....you never know.

I am sure you are asking why we would consider making these days up. I believe every day of instruction is valuable for our students and if we are able to make up these days without adding days on to the end of the school year, it is beneficial and impactful for our students. When we begin to extend the school year for make up days, students are less focused and attendance is lower. The best time to make up snow days is before testing is complete! By the time we reach June, all testing is over (ISTEP, iREAD, ECAs, AP). In addition, other issues are created as we near the June 7 graduation date.

In my opinion, it is highly unlikely that we will not experience additional cancellations!

January 15 School Board Meeting

This week's Board meeting is the legislatively required annual reorganization. Officers will be elected, Board meeting dates and locations will be set, appointment of treasurer, appointment of newspaper, etc. The only other agenda item will be discussion of the "winter" challenges of last week. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at the central office.

Superintendent Ritz Welcome

Below is a link to a Welcome Back to School video from State Superintendent Ritz. Many of you may have already received this.


This Week's Super Hero

Avilla Elementary is proud to honor Amy Mosley as this week’s Super Hero! Amy assists teachers and students in the area of technology and oversees our lab, as well as working with teachers to enhance the use of technology in the classroom. The lab no longer is a “standalone” place where kids “do” technology, but a place where students bring their own equipment and use it to create! A current project she has undertaken is teaching code to Kindergarten thru sixth grade students! It is very exciting to see students using these tools to create their own work! Additionally, she collaborates with each grade level to infuse the use of technology into the classroom so that students are using available technology on a daily basis as a part of the leaning process. Amy also sends out a weekly update as to what is occurring with Avilla students and the use of technology. We are very appreciative of her efforts and congratulate her on being named the Super Hero of the week!

Winter Storm of 2014 Heros

A big thank you to our maintenance staff and custodians for all of their effort and dedication to keeping our buildings warm, dry, and ready for students. Each day they were addressing issues created by the extreme temperatures or excessive snow. Thank you all!

Notes from Becca

Clean Up After the Storm

Ahhh…it looks like the weather is finally changing and we will be able to get back to normal operation on Monday. As part of the clean-up process, we also have to clean up some educational items that were delayed or will need to be addressed quickly as we return.

mClass Testing ( Grades K-2) and IRI (grades 3-8)

Due to inclement weather and the issues this has caused for mCLASS Reading 3D (TRC and DIBELS) MOY testing, the IDOE is extending this MOY testing window a week and two days for all Corporations and Schools. Please complete the Reading 3D MOY testing by February 14th, 2014. Also, keep in mind that the math window has not moved, so please do not wait to complete this testing or you will have both to complete at the same time. IRI follows the mClass schedule so days will be added there also.

ISTEP Readiness Test (grades 3-8)

Students with laptops need to update and clear their machines in preparation for the Readiness Test on January 28th. Patch Tuesday is the name given to the day each month that Microsoft releases security and other patches for their operating systems and other software. Patch Tuesday is always the second Tuesday of each month. The next scheduled day is Tuesday, January 14th.

So, wait until Wednesday, January 15th and then all students will need to run all updates, possibly install the test client, and clear unwanted and unneeded program. The tech staff will provide more details. Please use Monday and Tuesday to talk to students about saving what they would like to keep offsite, i.e. flash drive. Also remind students that machines will need to be kept clear from now through May. We learned last year that students who kept their machines clean of games and downloads experienced less problems with the test.

Students with iPads had a system upgrade over break. We will learn more about these when we return.

Anxious to Return!

See you all Monday morning! Surely there is nothing that will get in the way of returning to school. I know we have some very anxious students, teachers, and staff members who are ready for school to begin. We also have some very anxious parents who have been asking for school to begin since last Sunday night!

By the way, the school year is just a few days short of half over!