The Cougar Connection

A Corporation Wide Newsletter

*From Mr. Gaff's Desk*

Who is failing, the student or the system?

If a student fails to pass the 10th grade ISTEP+, who is at fault? Is it the student? Is it the parent? Is it the student’s high school teachers? Is it the elementary and junior high teachers that he or she has had previously? The answer is yes, it is all of these.

Why would I ask this question? Because, it is reality for over 50% of our current juniors. I would argue with that high of percentage, that it is more than a student-effort issue. It is more than a parent-involvement issue. It is a system issue. Obviously, some changes need to be made. Status quo will not help these students. Changes at the Jr/Sr HS may address the issues for this year, but will likely not solve the problem in the future.

The recent change at the elementary to standardized grading is a great start, but it is not the end-all solution. Teachers have done an excellent job identifying the specific standards that are in need of additional practice. Now that they are identified, how do we address them? Simply identifying the areas of concern is not enough. We must find instructional time to address non-mastered skills. Moving on and leaving the deficiencies unaddressed does nothing but begin the downhill slide. By refusing to address the concerns early, you may be setting the student up to fail later. This process does not end with the elementary teachers. As students transition to the Junior-Senior High, a system needs to be in place to identify and remediate areas of concern. Even the highest achieving students have some areas of weakness that need addressed. In the big scheme of things, it is not about passing the test. It is about meeting student needs and ensuring they have opportunities to graduate. As the waiver process changes, we will likely see a decrease in graduation rates. Failure to graduate not only impacts the opportunities available to the student, but also impacts the district and the teachers through state accountability scores, potential future enrollments, and ultimately teacher incentive pay.

At the beginning of the school year, I discussed the need to take the “We are 1” mentality. The mentality that it may take a little extra effort from each individual in the group to make the students successful and ultimately the district successful. What is best for kids, usually, is not what is most convenient for adults. Please take time in your collaboration to discuss what can be done to better meet the needs of our students. Can schedules be modified? Could we be using staff differently? Could instructional methods be improved? Are there opportunities before or after school to address student needs? Are there voids in the school day that could be utilized more efficiently? Are there summer opportunities that we are not currently offering or taking advantage of? Is PD needed? The answer to each of these questions may differ by building and situation. We must be open-minded and willing to change. Staying stagnant or making excuses is not an option. If we do nothing, students will be negatively impacted. There is not time to wait to make changes to the current system and the instruction we are providing. We are responsible for our student’s future.

Thank you for your help addressing district deficiencies and keeping the students in the forefront of your decisions. I appreciate all you do for Central Noble and look forward to seeing you at Graduation on June 3.


*Student Spotlight*

Just a reminder that at each month's school board meeting, we are recognizing 4 students for their achievements in a "Student Spotlight". You will receive a link to an online form each month to make your nomination via email. Each nomination is put into a random draw by Building to select the monthly winner.

The goal of the Student Spotlight is to shine light on those students who may not otherwise receive recognition for all they are doing in and out of the classroom. Nominations should be for students who are making big improvements, have had a major accomplishments in the classroom, are going above and beyond to help others succeed, etc...

It's been a great success and rewarding to see the family support for each student. Be sure to check your email and make your nomination!

*2018 bond issue*

At the January 15, 2018 School Board Meeting, the board approved moving forward with a $1.7 million bond issue. With minimal tax impact, the bond will allow us to update 19 sections of roofing, including the Albion Elementary Gym, the Jr/Sr HS Auditorium and the 4/5 grade wing at WL. In addition, it will also allow us to upgrade the 30+ year old HVAC system in the JSHS Gym, allowing us to more efficiently heat and cool the gymnasium.

The hearing for the Bond Issue will be held at the February 20th School Board Meeting. If approved, the bids for the project will be accepted in early March with a start date for roofing immediately following the current school year. The roofing projects should not impact any activity within the buildings. There may be days when there are fumes from tar or adhesive that may circulate throughout the building. If you have questions about what sections are going to be completed, please contact your building administrator and they will be able to answer questions.

The HVAC install dates have not yet been determined. The hope is to have the HVAC units installed prior to the start of the school year. The board is considering a later install if it would result in significant savings. The install will not impact athletic events, but may cause restrictions during the school day. More information will be available following the bid process in April.

*athletics update*

GOOD LUCK to the Wrestlers at sectionals this Saturday Jan. 27th!!

Central Noble has 7 number 1 seeds entering the sectional meet. The Cougars are coming off a great regular season and a third place finish at the NECC Conference meet. They are looking to make a statement at this weekend’s sectional meet at Westview, which starts at 9.

Next week is the start of the 43 IHSAA Girls Basketball Tournament. Central Noble will be this years host of Sectional #35. Games start Tuesday night at 6, with our Cougars not playing until Friday night at 7:30. The Class 2A #10 Cougars will face the winner of Tuesday nights Prairie Heights/Whiko game.

GOOD LUCK to our Lady Cougars as they are primed to repeat as Sectional Champs!!

*E-Learning Update*

Thank you for the great start to the second semester… minus the weather. The weather has allowed the opportunity to utilize and evaluate the e-learning process. The feedback from parents, students, and teachers on e-learning has been very positive. In an attempt to continually look for ways to improve, we have begun to evaluate the current system and look for areas of concern.

At the last board meeting, there were two key components that were discussed. The first was the length of time that is needed for Jr/Sr HS students to complete the assignments. The discussion was to reduce the number of days to 3 school days. The board felt that the reduction would still give students the opportunity to ask questions or utilize the school Wi-Fi to complete the assignments. It was also discussed to distribute assignments at the elementary level on the day of the cancelation to reduce the confusion and concerns with attendance. The board agreed with the changes and asked that the changes be made for next school year.

*From Payroll & Benefits*

**W-2's have been completed! They have either been delivered to the buildings or went out in the mail today.

Please look them over for any issues. If you have questions or concerns, please get with Jewel.

**The new tax tables have been uploaded and changes should be reflected on the February 9 payroll.

**Please keep an eye out in your email for a group insurance meeting. A tentative date has been set for February 7th, but this will be confirmed next week. This meeting will be with Denny Wright, our Representative from Employee Plans, to cover general health plan coverage and will take questions from staff as needed.

*Tech Work Order*

Don't forget, if you have a tech issue, make sure to submit a work order. This is easily done online! Either go to the CN website, click on the Tech tab and then choose Help Desk to submit the form OR just follow this link:

Submitting work orders will help the Tech Department prioritize and see to your issues more efficiently. Thanks for your understanding!

*We care Clinic*

Don't forget the clinic has new hours!

Monday & Friday: 7am-11am

Tuesday: 11am-5pm

Wednesday: 7am-1pm

Thursday: 8am-5pm (closed from 12-1 for lunch)

*Upcoming Events*

*February 19, 2018: No School

*February 20, 2018: School Board Meeting @Wolf Lake Elementary

*March 30, 2018: Good Friday, No School

*April 2-5, 2018: Spring Break!!

*June 3, 2018: Graduation