ENSC Family Notes

August 24, 2015

School Calendar and Summers

As we begin the school year, there have been a few people question our start date and its timing. People are wanting to know why we start school so early and why do we continue to make summers shorter.

School this year and last year started on the first Thursday of August. This is four school days earlier than two years back which was five days earlier than the previous 8+ years. School released earlier both of the last two years than the previous multiple years. With eLearning in place for all cancelled school days, ENSC students will be dismissed one full week earlier (May 27, 2016) than this year extending the summer by one full week.

The driving forces behind the earlier start date are: State mandated testing and learning loss. For many years, the state testing was administered in September. The idea was to assess at the beginning of the school year and use that data to drive instruction for the remainder of that year. When testing was in the fall, our mid-August start date was about "right." This gave our district approximately 4-5 weeks before the test which provided a good window for reviewing, testing, and then moving forward with new, grade level instruction. In 2009, the state moved testing to two windows, early March and mid April with the assessment evaluating students for that school year. For example, the third grade test is assessing third grade standards in March and April when the school year isn't complete. Moving this high stakes test to the spring and assessing standards from the current school year forced districts to explore a variety of ways to ensure students have mastered the standards. A variable that can impact student success and mastery of their standards is time. The more time students are engaged in their learning, (instruction, practice, and mastery), the more successful they will be on the test.

As expectations and accountability have increased for schools, the rigor and intensity of instruction has increased for students and teachers. The standards have changed dramatically and hold students to higher levels of mastery. For example, kindergartners are expected to be able to read, and compare and contrast; first graders are to use a three dimensional shape to create a composite shape and compose new shapes from the composite shape. Obviously, as the grade level increases, so do the standards.

With this added intensity and higher levels of accountability, students and teachers find school much more stressful than ever before in the history of public education. East Noble School Corporation and many districts across the state of Indiana are beginning school earlier and eliminating the one day breaks in exchange for a one week fall break and a two week spring break. These extended breaks give students an opportunity to relax and return "play" to their lives throughout the school year rather than just in the summer.

In addition to the demands and expectations of state testing, another challenge schools face is the learning loss from a lack of engagement in their learning for long periods of time such as summer. When students end the school year, they basically "shut off" their learning for an extended period of time causing students to regress in their mastery of standards.

Other summer challenges are the many students who qualify for and depend on the school free lunch. This district has a high number of students whose best meal or perhaps only meal is the food served at school. Without school in session, these students are struggling to maintain a nutritious diet.

Time is a variable that can be adjusted to benefit students and ISTEP success. When you begin school earlier, students have more time to master the assessed standards before the test is administered.

When you compare the school calendar from 2010 to 2015, summer is about 1 1/2 weeks shorter; however, in previous years, students did not have time to decompress throughout the school year. ENSC believes starting school during the first week of August gives students more time to master standards for the State test, graduation exams, and advanced placement tests.

Some community members believe ENSC is trying to move to "year round" school. That is not the plan nor is it being considered. There is no need move summers any shorter. With continued use of eLearning days in place of closing school on snow days, ENSC will not need to add days to the end of the school year. This decision was made so that summers would be protected.

Board Meeting Week

This week's Board meeting has a few agenda items. This is the time of year that Brian Leitch, Business Manager, holds a public hearing for the 2016 Budget. He will review the proposed budget elements for the School Board members covering each of the major funds. In addition to the budget, the Board will be asked to approve the annual ENSC field trips, and the technology department will be revealing a telepresence robot. This robot could be used with home bound students as a way to keep them engaged in their classes.

Unsung Hero of the Week

Mr. Matt Bennett is the middle school’s unsung hero of the week. Matt is in his fourth year of teaching at the middle school and teaches 8th grade social studies. Matt volunteered over the summer to continue his own education and began the process of obtaining his ELL certification. This has become a high need for both the building and district and Matt has stepped up to help.

Matt’s knowledge of history and pedagogical skill is impressive for a younger teacher. He is always looking for new and engaging lessons to use in his classroom. Some of the student’s favorite lessons are the Salem Witch Trial mock courtroom, creating Native American artifacts, and the civil war day held at the end of school each year.

Matt’s passion and love of teaching spreads throughout our building. Besides being a leader in the classroom, Matt also has coached several sports at the middle school and is currently the head football coach. Congratulations Matt on being this week’s Unsung Hero!

Building Notes

East Noble Middle School

East Noble Middle School has been continuing its excellent start to the 2015-2016 school year. Students were given their fundraiser packets this week and hope to help raise money for their school. All sales are due by September 9th. Product delivery will be on September 30th and money due to the school will be on October 15th.All money raised during this sale go directly back to the students through activities, prizes, ice cream, t-shirts, lanyards, etc...Please help our students with this fundraiser!

In the 7th grade math classrooms, students in Math 7 finished Unit 1 with 3 fun activities: creating picture examples of the math properties, reading and creating a treasure map, and using arm span and height to create a scatterplot. Also, Pre-Algebra students finished their Cruise Project by presenting their displays to their peers! It was a fun week in math!

7th grade Language Arts classrooms have been working on new vocabulary words, pronouns, using text evidence, and writing narratives this week. During their vocabulary studies, students worked with affixes and root words. The root word this week was amo, which mean loves. One student decided to wear her amore shirt to promote the weekly root word! Students also read the eerie story of Three Skeleton Key.

Finally, in sports, volleyball finished their tryouts and are working hard to hone their skills. Football’s first game is next week at and the cross country is a week away from their first meet. This season the team will have 60 runners from ENMS, Rome City, Avilla, Wayne Center, Northside, and Southside! That doubles the number from last year’s team.

ENMS is a GREAT place to be!

Avilla Elementary

This past Friday the National Elementary Honor Society sponsored Hat Day. OUR students came up big with donations totaling over $150. The NEHS will be using these donations to send area veterans on Honor Flight’s to Washington D.C. OUR hope is to be able to send at least three veterans to D.C. this year to see the World War Two monument. Thank you to all that participated.

This coming Saturday, August 29 the 6th grade students will be hosting a free-will donation car wash from 9 am to 12 noon at the front of the school. Donations will be taken to Notre Dame and given to the Houses for Haiti program. OUR students will be visiting on Friday, September 11. OUR 6th grade will be touring the university, visiting the engineering labs, Houses for Haiti area, and attending a volleyball game! Please make plans to stop by and have OUR students wash your car!

Please remember to send appropriate shoes for gym class. There have been several students attending class in flip flops and/or sandals. Students without proper shoes will not be able to participate in the future because of safety issues. Thank you in advance for helping with this.

North Side Elementary

The Wildcats spent this week going through business as usual. The school year is now in full swing and new routines are beginning to make new habits. Students are reading and writing daily, each day making a little more progress, becoming a little bit better. The wildcats operate under the idea that “You can learn anything” as long as you work hard and keep a growth mindset. This is embodied through the constant effort put forth by staff and students. This shines through academically but also in other areas as the school community strives to meet the needs of the whole child. A perfect example of this is North Side’s PE teacher, Mary Getts, who gets students active in gym class through activities like Pacers but she does not stop there. Mrs. Getts began a program called Mileage Club last year that encourages students to walk miles and miles throughout the school year during their recess. Many young wildcats are voluntarily trading some of their beloved recess time to get active and be healthy. Mileage Club is up and “running” already this school year and participation remains high.

Rome City Elementary

What a busy week for learning something new! All Romans from preschool to sixth grade have been busy working this week on goals and standards. Here is a look into some of their AMAZING learning and accomplishments! First graders created a promise poem! Their promise poem is a daily reminder for how they should make good choices and to treat each other with respect. Each student got to “sign” the promise by creating their face to put next to the poem! What a great way for our littles to pledge to make good choices! During character counts second graders were reviewing what made respectful and disrespectful behavior. They made a chart with different examples of both types of behavior and talked through why using respectful behavior shows good character. Third graders have been learning and actively using the SeeSaw app this week. They are able to record themselves doing things like reading and spelling their words. They take their recording and are able to share their work with their parents. Parents are then able to see/hear the work that their child is doing on their technology devices. Our third graders even shared their goals and writing with their parents this week! What a great way for parents to see what is happening in the classroom! Lastly, our sixth grade cross country team started practice this week and have been racking up the miles! They headed over to the Middle School earlier this week for pictures and to run with the middle schoolers! Can’t wait to see them race in their first competition! What a great week to be a Roman!

South Side Elementary

We have wrapped up another great week at South Side, and it’s time to start updating our parents about what is happing in our classrooms each week! Our first grade-level update of the year comes from 1st grade:

We are off to a great 2nd week of school. We had our first fire drill of the school year. We are learning all about what good writers do and learning about our writing traits. We are learning good fit books and building our reading stamina every day. Pete the Cat is helping us identify the settings in our stories. Students are still practicing their procedures; and we use the app, Pic Wall, to show and tell what we are supposed to be doing in our school shoes. Using the apps SeeSaw and Class Dojo, we are connecting with our parents. With the Seesaw app, students have been posting their iPAD creations so Mom and Dad can see. Parents are then able to comment and give encouragement to their child. Class Dojo also helps us inform parents of students behavior both positive and needs improvement. Another great year is up and running for the class of 2031!

Wayne Center Elementary

Kindergarten students are having a fantastic time learning. It has only been 12 days of school and procedures are coming right along. Our transitions have come a long way since our first day of school. Students have been engaged in learning how to hold books and read. They are starting to learn letter recognition and writing their names. Students are gaining knowledge on our various shapes (square, circle, triangle, etc), days of the week, and months of the year. They are learning the importance of numbers and why we use them. They ended the week with playing a roll and color activity with numbers 1-6. They had a great time rolling the dice, counting the dots, and finding the number to match. Students have also practiced procedures with iPads and used several apps to help with letter recognition and handwriting. They really enjoy using this technology!

Alternative Learning Center

It felt like the week flew by at the ALC. Attendance was up this week and students were working hard to earn credits. For the students who have missed over 4 days of school, attendance letters were mailed out this week. Attendance is a crucial part of school success. The only path toward graduation is being present to do the work. It’s exciting to share that this early in the school year and the students have already earned 20 credits. Starting this week, students who are working on a school credit in Community Service, began volunteering at Northside Elementary in the Library. If there are other schools or businesses interested in having volunteers for a couple hours each week please feel free to contact Belinda Justus at the ALC. The students enjoy the opportunity and it helps out the community at the same time.

East Noble High School

Students at ENHS have access to a variety of STEM experiences. STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. As Science is the first letter of STEM, it’s important to have a great Science Department with teachers who provide students with engaging hands on rigorous learning opportunities. The exposure students receive now will perhaps inspire the next generation of scientists, and there are many opportunities in and around Noble County for students to put their STEM background to good use.

Project Lead the Way Engineering- Students in Engineering I are currently learning “What is an engineer? What does an engineer do? What kind of fields there are in engineering? Engineering II are studying simple machines. They are currently trying to build a compound machine out of simple machines to accomplish a given task. Along with this project they are working in teams, creating Gantt Charts, calculating mechanical advantage and will finish it with an essay explaining how it works and what they have learned.

Biology – Classes started out doing different scientific method labs and lab write ups. These ranged from cockroach strength assessment and also lab experiments that assess the body’s response to an external stimulus. Students have been using a variety of Vernier software to test body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Currently the students are conducting activities focusing on biochemistry topics. Some students have been learning about enzymes found in their cells and how those enzymes break down poisonous chemicals.

Project Lead The Way BioMed – Principals of Biomedical Science-Students are conducting various labs which revolve around forensic science. One lab was done to find out what happens to the body temperature of a dead body based on the ambient temperature. They are trying to figure out what happened to Anna Garcia (our victim who was found dead in her home). Students are also preparing to test blood spatters. Human Body Systems has been working around the idea of Identity in Humans. They are finishing a forensic anthropology case study where they had to identify the age, race, gender and height of a person based on skeletal evidence they measured.

Anatomy/Physiology is wading through the volumes of information on tissues. A thorough study of histology is topped off by the upcoming organ eating day. This is a traditional favorite of staff and students. If you are up for brains and eggs or even eyeball stir fry, put in an order for 8/28.

Integrated Chem/Physics- Students are learning about speed, velocity and acceleration. One way students are doing this is by using some bubble gum physics to intro speed topic.