For the parents and patrons of the Fulton School District
March 4, 2016
A message from the Superintendent
Dear Parents and Families:
The word engagement is used frequently in education literature and in our district. What does it mean? Typically, most may think of the term in relation to marriage or perhaps two opposing sides in some type of battle. However, a definition from the Student Dictionary at wordcentral.com defines engagement as, “the state of being meshed into a working arrangement in which one part drives another.” An interesting definition, yet I think we implement engagement in this manner for the benefit of your student.
Look back at the February 19, 2016 Focus. The elimination of study hall and establishment of Response to Intervention, RTI was reviewed. As elementary parents, you know the RTI strategies as focused instruction your student might receive; middle school parents know RTI as What I Need Time; and the high school uses similar strategies known as Intervention time. Yes, these are activities focused on curriculum; yet we know successful students are involved with school in other significant ways.
Involvement is generally defined in each building. Perhaps the most notable are music/band programs at all schools and interscholastic competitions. As I thought about school involvement, a few activities came to mind: math and science nights, history nights/famous Missourians, tech night at McIntire, movie night at Bush, McIntire, and the FEC, family fitness nights, McIntire musical, theater productions/plays, sports night at FMS, following Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, assemblies at all schools, STEAM night at McIntire, father/daughter dance at Bush, blood drives, classroom newsletters and school-wide newsletters to name a few.
The trend is to provide a lot of opportunities to interest students and their parents. Observational data indicates that those individuals who are comfortable in a school building seem to have better academic performance, help create a positive school culture, and generally have an enjoyable academic career.
Your opportunity as a parent is to find your niche in supporting your student! Not sure what step is next? Call your building principal or my office. Your student needs positive parent involvement.
Thank you for sending great kids for us to work with!
Jacque A. Cowherd, Ed.D.
Come out tonight and support the Hornets!
Chrome Book Update
Administrators and teachers see the benefits of having 1:1 technology in our schools. Fulton High School principal, Chris Mincher, says "the 1:1 initiative has proven very valuable to our students. We have students that are able to monitor their own grades and work on class work when they are not in school. I have observed numerous students in the commons before and after school using the Chrome Book and educational online programs to complete assignments and work."
Fulton Middle School ELA teacher, Josh Howard, uses the Chrome Book in his classes daily. The Chrome Book opens up so many new and exciting ways to teach and learn which in turn, makes the students want to learn. Mr. Howard says, "when we are discussing a topic that they don't have much background knowledge, I can say "Google it" and suddenly they all have a connection to a topic that they didn't have before." Students have the ability to have lessons on the go all the time! If they miss a class, they have the capability to catch up and see the same lesson they would have if they had been there. This is because Mr. Howard can create a lesson in Google Slides and record a video to send to students. The students can go through the lesson before getting to class.
With 1:1, Mr. Howard is "able to give students a variety of outlets to show their understanding. One student might make a Google Slides presentation, another might create a YouTube video, and another might like to compose their thinking in a more traditional way by written composition in Google Docs or concept web in Google Drawings." Providing different avenues to demonstrate learning, gets to the heart of differentiation. This allows students to learn the way they learn best and share what they've learned. Using 1:1, individualized instruction and proof of learning is much easier to achieve.
Ryan Krankowski, FMS Social Studies teacher, also uses the 1:1 Chrome Books every day in his classroom. Mr. Krankowski writes, "I see kids more actively engaged in the learning process in Social Studies because the digital resources we utilize require students to explore the information independently and share their findings with the rest of the class. The level of accountability for each child has had a positive effect on their learning experience and has shaken up the traditional method of requiring students to look to the teacher for all information."
Using 1:1 technology in the classroom has required teachers to learn how to use the Chrome Book effectively. Professional Development for teachers is key so they can learn how to use the technology to benefit students. To further the effective use of technology in the classroom, a job description is being written for a newly created Instructional Technology Coach position in the District. Workshops on using the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model of instruction have been offered and will be again this summer. While it takes a while to hone techniques, the use of 1:1 has been positive for Fulton Public Schools.