ENSC Family Notes

February 24, 2014

Early Spring?

Saturday afternoon was a beautiful day. The sun was shining creating a warmth we have not felt in a very long time. The snow continued to dissolve and the two inches of ice under the snow tried to melt but with little success. Parking lots were full of people who, like me, were anxious to get out of the house. In so many ways, it felt like spring was arriving, until......about 6 p.m. when a light snow began to fall and collect on the bare tree branches that had shed its harsh winter snow. I am now rooting for three more inches of snow! Darn it, the least we can get from this winter is the record for the "snowiest" winter.

Make Up Days

Monday is day 1 of 24 school days which extends the school day by one hour to make up four snow days. There is no perfect way to make up these days. Adding the hour will cause baby sitting issues for staff and families, athletic practices will run later, arranging the bus times has been a tremendous challenge for the transportation department, and I know there will be many other obstacles that we don't know about.

Adding the hour places much needed instructional time when we need it most. Now! During January, I received many emails, phone calls, Tweets, and Facebook posts from people asking not to add days into June! If we don't add days in June and we do not have substantial attendance to hold school on a Saturday, adding the hour to the end of the day seems like the best choice.

We do need to make up day #14. I am still working on finalizing that plan and should have the details to you soon. Wednesday night's Board meeting will be the latest the information will be released.

Thank you all for your patience as we get through these many make up days!

Potential FUTURE Make Up Day Plan

ENSC staff are discussing the idea and possible implementation of using eLearning days for snow make up days. Staff are brainstorming ideas on how we effectively can make this happen. Please understand ENSC is not ready to implement this option quickly. If we have to cancel day #15 (OMG), this may very well be the way we make up that day.

There are two ways that we can implement an eLearning day. One option is to use a Saturday or a weekend as a digital make up day. The other option is to use an eLearning day in place of cancelling school--on the cancelled day. I don't know that we are ready for that option this school year. If we are going to use an eLearning day as a make up day, lessons need to be rigorous, relevant, and engaging for students. Planning for success is critical for ENSC.

Many families have asked if we will be using technology as a way to make us cancelled days. It is our hope that we can say yes in the near future.

Board Meeting Agenda

Wednesday's School Board meeting will be held at East Noble Middle School beginning at 6 p.m. Agenda items include:

  • John Arnold will be giving an update on a milestone we have reached in energy savings.
  • ENMS teachers will be demonstrating Web 2.0 tools.
  • Our make up day plan needs to be approved by the School Board.
  • Discussion and approval to move forward with an ENMS facility plan.

Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend School Board meetings.

This Week's Super Hero is Wayne Center's Brittany Kuehnert

Brittany first joined the Wayne Center staff three years ago as a long-term substitute in fourth grade and kindergarten. She then moved into a full-time teaching position in kindergarten last school year.

Brittany is passionate about teaching and her students. In all that she does, her focus is on what’s best for her students. She strives each and every day to provide the structure and the learning experiences that children need to succeed. She is keenly aware of the various needs of her students and will go the extra mile to modify instruction or her approach so that all of her students are successful. Wayne Center is very fortunate to have her working with our students!

Have a great week!

Thank you for the support you give your child and ENSC.

Ann Linson, Superintendent

Curriculum and Building Notes

Curriculum Notes

Indiana Academic Standards Review 2014 Evaluation Process

In 2013, the Indiana General Assembly placed a pause on the Common Core in order to form a committee of teachers, parents, and community members to review the Common Core standards and create Indiana’s own college and career readiness standards. The first draft of the proposed new standards are now available for public comment.

The proposed standards are a mixture of Common Core, Indiana standards from 2006 and 2009, as well as some additions and deletions. I have begun the process of sifting through the pages of information that you can find at:

http://www.doe.in.gov/achievement/standards/public-comment-identified-k-12-content-standards-college-and-career-readiness . What you can access shows the proposed standards only in a grade level format. They have not provided vertical alignment (how a concept builds from grade level to grade level) or information about the origin of each standard.

I will be working closely with other districts to track back where each standard originated from and identify the new, the old, and removed. One thing right off the bat that I can see is that the number of standards seems very large, for instance 62 math standards for 5th grade. While at first I was a bit shocked, it looks like multiple component standards have just been broken down into separate parts thus creating the same information into more lines of standards.

Public comment can be made in general terms or related to specific standards. You will have until March 12, 2014 to make comments. Final adoption of the standards by the State Board is scheduled for April 9, 2014. Your input is needed now if you see items that need to be addressed with regard to bias, clarity, specificity or grade appropriateness. I encourage you to share your opinions. Use the same link above to access the comment area.

As I continue to evaluate the documents, I will share my future findings with you.

Wayne Center Elementary

This week preschool through fourth grade students attended the Officer Phil program with Magic Tom, Sergeant John Dixon, and the Kendallville Police Department as hosts. Students learned about safety regarding the internet, bullies, and strangers. The students especially enjoyed the magic element that Magic Tom incorporated! Magic Tom’s friend, Lucky Duck, helped the students learn some very important safety rules.

Students and their parents danced the night away at our Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance Friday night. They showed off their dance moves by dancing to fun songs such as YMCA, the Chicken Dance, and the electric slide. Students and their parents were able to get their photo taken to capture the evening fun, mothers and daughters were treated to a fresh carnation, and guests could munch on some refreshments donated by our Wayne Center families. The dance was a big hit with both students and parents. Special thanks goes to PAC for sponsoring this event for our families and to Mr. Mosely for allowing us to use his sound equipment!

Alternative Learning Center

The last week of “short” school days has been a good one at the ALC. We have been joined by a new student this week and will also have another one joining us next week. We look forward to being able to provide support to those students as they pursue their education. Our current students accumulated several more credits this week, raising the total for the Trimester to 80! What a great accomplishment!!! I am anticipating we will reach at least 90 credits before the end of this Tri. Speaking of the end of the Tri, I will meet with administrators and counselors from ENHS next week to discuss the students that will be attending the ALC next Tri. Third Trimester is an exciting time at the ALC as we always have students working feverishly toward graduation. It is enjoyable to watch them pour themselves into their studies in pursuit of their diploma. Stay tuned to Weekly Notes for updates on all the action at the ALC as we move toward graduation.

Avilla Elementary

The 2014 Avilla Science Fair was held on Thursday, February 20th. We had 28 students present projects this year and with the help from ENHS students Mary Tremaine, Katie Lane, Mackenzie Corbin, Karly Kandel, and Rachel Skurner we were able to pick 5 winners. These students will move on to the Regional Science Fair at Trine University on March 15. Congratulations goes out to Allyson Diehl, Eva Hallman, Bryce Millhouse, Louis Zelt, and Alexavier Cox for advancing. We wish them all the best at regionals! Science Fair participants will have the opportunity to share their projects with fellow classmates and the community on Tuesday, February 25th before OUR next Panther University. We would also like to thank Mrs. Kerr for putting the Science Fair together for OUR students. Great job!

This Tuesday evening at 6:30 will be Panther University. Students, parents and staff will be able to visit the science fair projects and see animals from the Ft. Wayne Zoo. Please feel free to join us for a very fun and exciting evening!

East Noble High School

The HS plan to utilize the additional hour of school February 24 – March 27.

On Mondays students will go to 1st period for that extra hour at the end of the day, Tuesday will be 2nd period, Wednesday will be 3rd, Thursday will be 4th, and Friday will be an additional hour of 5th period. Each day, students will have a double period for one of their classes. Teachers understand this schedule and will plan accordingly. The rest of the bell schedules will be as normal. We will have collaboration time on Mondays, IMPACT & ALC students will be released at their regular times, and lunches will be unchanged. If we need to have a two hour delay we will continue to follow the two hour delay schedule and we will add the additional hour at the end of the day.

IMPACT & ALC students have transportation worked out that will bring them back to ENHS at 3:00 on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday they will make up their extra hour at IMPACT or ALC.

Finals exams for Trimester 2 will be on March 6th, and March 7th. Even period finals will be on Thursday and odd period finals will be on Friday. We’ll have a bell schedule for those two days that will accommodate the final exams; it will include the extra hour and give students time to complete their finals.

Students were given this information and told to make arrangements for any after school obligations during this period of 24 days with the extra hour. We understand that some commitments cannot be changed, and students were to speak to Mr. Peterson, Mr. Stinson(s), or their counselor in those instances.

We know this is an inconvenience for everyone, however I think we can all agree that taking care of this now will be better than sitting in classes until June 12th.

East Noble Middle School

The students of East Noble Middle School have been diligently working to get caught up this week. With progress reports going home next week, students have been working on many assignments and projects. The 7th grade language arts classes continue to work through the novel The Call of the Wild, social studies classes are finishing up a section on Ancient Egypt, math classes continue to study slope, and science classes are studying formulas for velocity and speed. 8th grade language arts classes are reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, pre-algebra students are working on geometry and measurement with area of combined figures, volume, and surface area, algebra students are covering exponents, and social studies classes have been completing government trees and learning about the Constitution and amendments. Academic Lab classes continued the Acuity Challenge each afternoon in preparation for ISTEP.

Eighth graders had several meetings this week with Mrs. Salway, one of the high school counselors, to begin the scheduling process for their transition to East Noble High School in the fall. The athletics department remained busy with wrestling meets. The week concluded with a belated Valentine’s Dance in the school gym on Friday evening.

North Side Elementary

This week 3rd grade students celebrated all of the hard work that was done over the snow days. The students all received “Blizzard Bags”. Inside the bag there was a packet of reading, writing and math activities, a book, online assignments and instructions. Each child then completed the work during the snow days. Each day that the work was completed, the student earned a class coupon or special treat. We had over 70% of the 3rd grade students participate in the snow day activities! All students who participated were invited to a special popcorn party to wrap up our celebration.

Third grade students have also been working hard to prepare for the ISTEP test. This week we learned test taking strategies for taking the open ended part of the test. The teachers spent many lessons modeling these strategies. After modeling, there is a gradual release of the skill. Students are also pulled in small groups to continue to hone in on the newly learned strategies. There is a lot to learn as this is the first time students will take a high stakes test.

We also completed the Acuity C testing. We will take the data from this test to form groups for additional instruction. This additional instruction will take place during Success, Tier 2, and the additional hour starting next week. We plan to use every minute of the day as we start our 20 day countdown to ISTEP on Monday!

On Thursday, North Side held their annual National Elementary Honor Society Induction Ceremony. The evening began with the welcoming of the crowd as the 20 current members and 23 new inductees entered the cafeteria. Ms. Lawyer followed up with a warm welcome commending the students for their hard work, dedication, and strong character that is exhibited every day. Five of the current members read the five qualities held in high esteem for the member of NEHS including scholarship, service, leadership, citizenship, and character. In attendance were parents, grandparents, other family members, and North Side teachers all in celebration of the achievements of these students. At the conclusion of the ceremony, attendees were invited to continue the celebration with cake and punch.

On Friday evening at North Side it was raining meatballs as we hosted our second annual Family Movie Night. This year the movie shown was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. The cafeteria was cleared of tables and chairs so parents and kids could bring in their own comfy seating and enjoy a free screening of the movie. While enjoying the movie families snacked on popcorn and candy then washed it down with an ice cold pop.

Rome City Elementary

Romans are very giving community! Second grade is having a huge success with their penny wars for Muscular Dystrophy. The second graders are learning a lot and the students throughout the building are having fun racing to each classroom in the morning to swap change. The following link is one of the commercials the students created to share with the school http://youtu.be/fahhM5L44QI

First graders are loving indoor recess! Students are dancing to Just Dance videos for indoor recess. The first graders have a favorite song call “What Does the Fox Say?” It is so fun to watch the students sing and dance during indoor recess.

Rome City Kindergarten students are also enjoying indoor recess. Students are using an exercise app on their iPods. The app is called Ta-Ba-Ta. This is a ninja exercise app that students are given different exercises to complete every 20 seconds. The students love it!

South Side Elementary

ISTEP, ISTEP, ISTEP… 6th grade is getting ready for ISTEP!

We are approaching our testing dates at warp speed, and the 6th grade students are gearing up with ISTEP preparation along with our curriculum instruction. Students are analyzing and evaluating their own work as well as responses from others to determine strengths and weaknesses of responses in order to better their own skills. Students are also setting ISTEP goals and determining target strategies based on Acuity results and last year’s ISTEP results. Our big question that we are teaching our 6th graders to ask themselves: “When you reread your response, does your answer make sense?” This is true for reading, writing, math, and science, as these are our ISTEP focus areas this year.

In reading and writing, students are learning how to better organize their thoughts using two-column notes. This allows them to focus on big ideas as well as details for greater retention and a smoother writing process. We are also focusing on ways to add amazing vocabulary words correctly in order to demonstrate skill with our words. With some motivational music from the movie “Rocky”, the students have been warming up our writing hands with exercises prior to writing and working to extend our writing stamina.

In math, we are focusing on problem solving strategies in order to decode the steps in word problems. We are also working on follow-through on multiple step problems.

While the push at this moment is ISTEP readiness, our goal is to ensure our students have the necessary skills to bridge the gap from the last year of elementary school into their future in secondary education.