Bulldog Bulletin

March 18, 2016

The Foundation is In Place

As we get closer to the onset of our PD journey into project-based learning, it is only natural to feel apprehensive. Stepping out of our comfort zone and challenging ourselves to transform learning and teaching is scary, and there are many unknowns. When we are faced with transformation, there is a tendency to question our capacity and capability to pull this off. This fear, if left to simmer, turns into negative thoughts and parking lot conversations which are absolutely toxic to our culture. We need to be able to have open and honest conversations about our fears and concerns, but at some point we need to be able to move past them.

While there are many questions rolling around, whether we can do this is not one of those questions? How do I know???? I know from what is happening in our classrooms right now. Here are some examples:

  • Jassica Brown's class is studying seeds and plants. Students planted seeds and generated questions to investigate. the questions they asked drove the instruction and next steps.
  • Jodi Miller's class listed what they thought they knew, what they puzzled about, and what their exploration led to.
  • Lisa Younghans' Success group was using problem-based learning to address the standards. Students worked collaboratively to solve a real-world problem.
  • Amber Hochstetler's kindergarten class was learning about dental health. Students worked collaboratively in differentiated groups to create and share what they learned.

When I go in and out of classrooms, I see many practices that will enable you to be successful in a PBL environment. New Tech will provide the support to help us all move forward. We do not necessarily transform because the organization is broken. We transform so we can prepare our students for an ever-changing world.

Staffing for Next Year

All staffing decisions for next year will be finalized before we leave for Spring Break. If you have not let me know what your preference is for next year, especially if you desire a change, please do so by March 22. This is the time to revisit whether you are fully committed to moving forward with PBL. I will meet with you if your assignment for next year is changing, and I will send out next year's staff list with assignments in the Bulletin on March 30.

From Central Office

Today’s Focus: Talent

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou

Reflections to Guide Your Journey

Think back to one of your greatest achievements. Who helped support you and how did that make you feel?

What have you done recently to contribute to the positive feelings that someone has about themselves?

Who taught this to you? Have you had a chance to thank them for it?

The members of the EVALUATION COMMITTEE have been working with some challenging issues and it is now time to share information with you so that you can in turn share with staff. If you would like Regina and me to attend a future staff meeting to share this information in more detail, we would be happy to do so.

In 2011 there were several statutory changes governing teacher evaluations that became effective in the 2012-13 school year. Because Goshen Community Schools had settled a four year contract we were not held accountable for those changes. Prior to the implementation date, we had also adopted TAP and because it is an approved evaluation system, we were able to continue with our implementation of TAP without meeting all of the regulatory requirements until the contract ended.

During the 2014-15 school year, the evaluation committee (comprised of teachers and administrators) met to begin digesting the requirements and developing our district evaluation plan. Annually our plan must be submitted to the IDOE for monitoring and compliance. Following are the pieces of the legislative requirements which had to be addressed:

Objective measures of student achievement and growth must significantly inform the evaluation. These measures must include:

Ø Student assessment results from statewide assessments for certificated employees whose responsibilities include instruction in subjects measured in statewide assessments.

Ø Methods for assessing student growth for certificated employees who do not teach in areas measured by statewide assessments; and

Ø Student assessment results from locally developed assessments and other test measures for certificated employees whose responsibilities may or may not include instruction in subjects and areas measured by statewide assessments.

For the 2015-16 school year, the committee determined that we would use the TAP metrics that have been applied for the performance based compensation (PBC) and apply these same metrics as we factor student achievement measures into the overall effectiveness ratings for teachers. As you know, these metrics are only based on ISTEP and school letter grades. Thus, the first bullet point above is now included in our plan. However, we must address the other components for the 2016-17 school year. Failure to do so could result in the loss of significant revenue for the district that could be applied to performance pay in the future (through the Teacher Performance Grant).

In order to address the last two assessment measures listed above, we are considering two possibilities: (1) extending/expanding the use of NWEA as a growth measure for some grade levels; and (2) joining a Consortium of schools that have joined together to develop assessments for non-tested grades and subject areas. In the coming months, members of the evaluation committee will be learning more about both of these options and assisting administration in forming a compliant evaluation plan for GCS.

2016 TELL Indiana Survey

April 11 - May 16, 2016

The TELL Indiana Survey is a survey of school based licensed educators to determine if they have the supports necessary for effective teaching.

Teachers & Administrators: This is your chance to inform the district and school improvement planning processes.

Coming Up

Monday 3/21

7:30 am Staff Collaboration and Learning

Tuesday 3/22

2:50 -3:50 pm Chess Club

3:00 – 4:00 pm Reading Camp


Wednesday 3/23

2:45 – 3:45 pm Orff

Happy Birthday, Debbie!

Cluster 2nd-5th

Thursday 3/24

1:30 pm 4th Grade Tobacco Education

2:55 – 3:55 pm Happy Day Club

3:00 – 4:00 pm Reading Camp Celebration

K-1 Cluster

Friday 3/25

Good Friday – No School