December 7, 2015

Thank you Imagine SPS team!!

Many, many thanks to Ben Hackenwerth and his team: Becky Ash, Christine Jones, Nichole Lemmon, and Melody Netzer, and to Teresa Bledsoe and Dave Schmitz for their tireless work in designing and implementing Imagine SPS. These people worked many, many hours to bring forth the very powerful learning our secondary teams experienced this past week. Ask your building attendees about their week.

Also, many thanks to the participants. All of these people took time from their very busy schedules to immerse themselves in work that will help ensure that learning for all students is ERP, engaging, relevant, and personal.

Well done!


Who knew Dr. Cauldwell and Mr. Kemper had this kind of talent?

This is the link to Dr. Cauldwell's and CSI Greg Kemper's rendition of Jimmy Fallon's "Musical Morning Announcements with Gabrielle Union." They even tackle ID badges and hats!!

GHS announcements


From Dave

How focused is your school in preparing students for their futures?

David Conley wrote extensively about the knowledge, skills, and dispositions students need as they enter the postsecondary arena. He stated, “The fundamental assumption of the comprehensive high school model…is that students have different interests and abilities and that high schools should offer a range of programs in response to these differences”. Students who understand their personal interests and passions are often drawn by natural curiosity and intrinsic motivation to engage in active learning in those areas. Aligning school experiences for each student to their individual interests and passions has a profound impact on their learning.

The transition from high school to college and career endeavors requires a degree of focus on behalf of each student. Absent a sense of individual identity and interests, aspirations may be poorly aligned with postsecondary plans. Students benefit from early and ongoing exposure to experiences and information necessary to make informed decisions about future aspirations. Active exploration exposes students to a variety of opportunities and experiences that support a growing sense of who they are and what they aspire to become. Reflection on experiences in light of personal interests and aspirations supports quality decisions related to college and career options. School cultures that support students in both personal and career exploration best equip them to make decisions about their future aspirations and goals. The process of supporting student discovery of their individual interests and passions poses the question of how we support the development of their interests and how successful have we been in facilitating this discovery.

The following articles on college and career readiness may shed additional light on these ideas!

A Complete Definition for CCR

College and Career Readiness – Same or Different

Adolescent Development and the Transition to College

Blended, Ch. 2, Part 2

Hybrid models vs. disruptive innovation (DI):

Hybrid models for blended learning preserve the function of the traditional classroom, with students seated in rows for the mandated number of minutes. Performance is improved, but it is measured on traditional metrics. Just because these are not DI models, it doesn’t mean they aren’t good models as they meet the needs of many existing systems.

DI does not use/challenge the existing structure, but finds an alternate market and meets that market’s needs. Disruptive blended learning models have variable seat-time based on students’ needs, and they allow students to work through material at their own pace. They naturally maximize personalization and cost control, while also encouraging maturity and independence. The RAND Corporation studied 18,000 students who took algebra in the traditional face-to-face setting vs. a rotation blended learning model; students in the blended setting doubled their math learning when compared to the sit-and-get kids.

While there isn’t a prescribed look for a DI class, one indicator that you are in a DI classroom is that you may not be able to figure out where the front of the room is. Flex rotation and individual rotation are examples of these learning “studios.”

According to the authors, there are two caveats for DI taking over hybrid blended learning models:

  1. Middle and high schools have greater potential of being impacted by disruptive innovation because of the variety of courses offered. For elementary schools, the nearest they come to DI is with year-round and extended day school.

  2. Our “egg-crate” shaped buildings lack the physical space for true DI. (Hence the FIs some principals submit to have walls leveled.)

As blended learning takes hold, what happens to some of the traditional roles held by adults in the system? Educators should be able to spend more time mentoring students, conducting enriched learning sessions, getting students involved in community service...the possibilities and the needs are endless.

SLT followed by combined Middle and High school Job Alike

Wednesday, Dec. 9th, 9am-2pm

KAC meeting rooms

We will have a holiday lunch with elementary leaders at 12:30. Bring your appetites, as we are having ham, brisket, taters, Italian steamed veggies, salad, rolls w/ butter, and cake. YES!