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Notes from the Principal’s Office, November 2012

 North Elementary Earns an “A”

The state of Indiana is now giving letter grades to all public schools.  These grades are mostly based on student growth on state mandated assessments.   In elementary schools ISTEP is the assessment while in high school the End of Course Assessments or ECAs are used as the assessment.  The high school graduation rates are also calculated into their letter grade.

We are extremely happy and extremely proud to announce that North Elementary has earned an “A” rating.  We want to congratulate all of the students who were here last year.  Their efforts during the school year and on the ISTEP test paid off in earning this “A”.  We want to thank the parents of these students for all of their hard work and assistance.  The teachers and the support staff at North have certainly helped in earning this “A”.  I think that most would agree that the teachers are the group who deserve most of the credit for this “A”.  I congratulate the teachers on facilitating this accomplishment.  The expectation at North is that we should always be an “A” school.  If that is going to happen we need your continued support at home. Your commitment to your child’s education does make a difference.

 

What we expect out of our students:

All students should read every evening for 20-30 minutes

All students should eat healthy meals and get 60 minutes of exercise each day

All students should get ten hours of sleep every night

All students should make academics a priority over athletics

All students should treat others the way they would like to be treated

All students should come to school clean and ready to learn

All students should do as they are told

All students should always do their best in all that they do

All students should earn A’s and B’s on their school work.  If they don’t, they are not putting enough effort into their own learning.

All students should maintain a good attendance rate

All students should arrive at school on time each morning

 

Academic expectations at North Elementary

North Elementary curriculum is guided by the Indiana Academic Standards.  By the school year 2014 – 2015 all schools in Indiana will make a transition to the Common Core Standards as the focus for curriculum decisions.  In a plan outlined by the Indiana Dept. of Education we have already begun this transition to the Common Core Standards in Kindergarten and First Grade.  Next year Second grade will make the transition and then in 2014 – 2015 all other grade levels make the switch.

Our corporation funds a remediation specialist who assists each grade level for approximately thirty minutes per day.  We call this our SSP time.  This time allows the grade level teachers to differentiate their instruction on specific standards.  It also allows smaller groups during this differentiation.

Students who see the resource teachers must qualify for that assistance.  This assistance is only available after the student qualifies through testing provided by the Daviess-Martin Special Education Cooperative.

 

K-2 Reading Instruction

In Kindergarten, First, and Second grade the focus is learning to read.  Daily classroom instruction focuses on the different components of reading.  Many strategies are utilized by teachers in an effort to reach all students and match their varied learning styles.  The ninety minute reading block is one strategy that our entire school has implemented.  The ninety minute reading block was first implemented last school year.  During part of the ninety minute reading block teachers are able to utilize learning centers where they are able to create more active learning situations.

To guide the K-2 Reading curriculum our teachers use DIBELS to assess and monitor student progress in the various areas of reading instruction.  The teachers send DIBELS reports home with the student report cards.

 

K-2 Other Instruction

For the most part, Science and Social Studies are taught as a part of the reading lessons.  Students see the Art and Music teacher once per week.  Classes have Physical Education twice one week and three times the next week.

3-6 Instruction

In 3-6 the focus shifts from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”.  This does not mean that students are not expected to continue to grow in their reading level.  Student Reading levels are monitored by an assessment called Star Reading.  This assessment is given three times per year.  It will give the teachers and students an idea of the current reading level for each student.  Our goal at North is that all students be on or above grade level in their reading level.  A student in 3rd grade in October for example should be reading at a 3.3 or higher reading level.  We use Accelerated Reader or A.R. to encourage students to read books on their own.  Library books are on the A.R. list and students may read those books and take quizzes over them on the computer at school.  Students can read books from home and take tests at school if there is a test available.  You can determine if there is a quiz by visiting ARbookfinder.com and entering the title of the book. This site will also tell you the level of the book.  All students are encouraged to read within their ZPD.

Third through sixth grade Science and Social Studies instruction becomes more of a distinct subject area.  By this time students are able to “read to learn” about Science and Social Studies standards. Students in these grades also see the Art and Music teacher once per week; have Physical Education twice one week and three times the next week.

In third through sixth grade our school uses ACUITY to guide the curriculum instruction.  The students take the ACUITY assessment on the computers and the grade level results give the teachers the information they need to make decisions about curriculum direction and pacing.

In third grade there is a high stakes assessment.  It is called the IREAD.  This test is required by the state of Indiana.  Third grade students must pass this reading test in order to move on to fourth grade.

In grades three through six all students must take the ISTEP assessment.  This is also a state mandated assessment.   All students take a pencil paper response test in March and then the end of April /first of May grades three and four continue the paper pencil multiple choice portion of the test and grades five and six must take it on the computer.   The ISTEP test is used to calculate growth for each student.  It is also now a part of teacher evaluations.

 

Bullying

Bullying is defined as repeated incidents of coercion, abuse, exclusion, or intimidation.  A single incident should not be considered bullying because there is not a pattern or repetition of coercion, abuse, exclusion, or intimidation.  Because an incident may not be bullying does not mean that it isn’t something that needs to be disciplined or corrected.

Bullying cannot be addressed at school if we don’t know about it.  Students are often told and need to be reminded by parents that they have to report these incidents at school when they happen.  It is very difficult to address these issues a day or two after they happen.  These issues can be reported to any adult in the building.  We always address these issues in some manner.  Often the students do not even realize what we have done to address the issue.

 

Breakfast and Lunch

School board policy requires that students who have a negative balance of more than -$25 be served alternate lunches (peanut butter sandwiches).  Please do not force us to serve peanut butter sandwiches to your child.  Please make sure your child’s lunch account maintains a positive balance.

 

School Attendance

The state of Indiana requires good attendance rates for schools.  Schools can only have good attendance rates if students are present.  The state goal is that students should be present ninety five percent of school days.  That means that any child who misses nine or more days of school is not meeting the goal.  When a student misses that many days it hurts our school.  We do not want students who are sick to come to school.  When students are absent we must hear from parents.  We prefer parents call before 8:30.  If we don’t hear from you, we will have to call you.  For the absence to be excused, a doctor’s note is required.

 

How can we contact you?

It is vital that we have current phone numbers.  If your number or an emergency contact’s number has changed please be sure to go online and update or call the office and we can update.

 

Colder weather and appropriate clothing

We will go outside for recess as long as the temperature is thirty-two degrees or warmer.  Please be sure that your children are prepared to spend twenty minutes outside.  They should wear coats, hats, gloves, etc.  It would be helpful if you would write their name inside their clothes so they can be claimed if they become misplaced.

 

Communicating with the Principal

Due to additional requirements of Principals in regard to new teacher evaluations, principals statewide will not be as readily available for unscheduled meetings as they may have been in the past.  Principals will be in classrooms more often and for longer periods of time than ever before.  If you have issues or concerns that you would like to discuss with the principal please feel free to schedule an appointment with the secretary, leave a voicemail, or send an email to jwildman@wcs.k12.in.us

 

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Nov. 4th            time changes

Nov. 12th          PTO meeting   6:30

Nov. 14th          In-Service        early dismissal at 2:00

Nov. 15th          Picture re-takes

Spell Bowl

Nov. 21,22,23  No School        Thanksgiving Break

Please, Please, Please, don’t call school to switch how your student is going home.  It is incredibly hard to keep up with the number of people who continue to do this on a regular basis.  Because we want all of our students to get home safely we would prefer that you have a routine and you stick to it.  If there is a day that is not routine a note should be sent to the teacher.   Thank you for your cooperation.