Friday, January 24, 2014

January 24, 2014 Shirley Sovereign

PK-1 Principal/Director of Teaching & Learning
Shirley Sovereign
Twitter:  ssovprincipal
SKYPE:  shirley.sovereign

Task Force Howard County:  Grow Howard County
A large group of citizens from surrounding communities met on Jan. 18th at NICC- Cresco. The purpose of the meeting was to build an alliance in order to attract businesses and families to this region of NE Iowa. Those who attended expressed a sense of urgency surrounding the opportunity to organize and draw people to move to this area. Current realities, opportunities and challenges were discussed by the group centered on two main topics on the agenda:
  • Broadband Internet Capacity-Connect Iowa
  • Home Base Iowa-Recruiting and welcoming Veterans and their families to the area  

Iowa Competency Based Education (CBE) Collaborative
The Howard-Winn Team attended the monthly meeting in Des Moines on Jan. 22nd. The theme for this meeting centered on the differences among Standards Based Grading, Competency Based Education and Personalized Learning. Discussion included these questions: What do we want students to learn? How do we help students learn it? How does grading relate to how we help them learn it? Is there a distinction between proficiency and mastery? How do we develop a calibration of the mastery process?

Educators from the 10 school districts in the collaborative were divided into 12 work teams, each with different charges. I am on the Personalized Learning work team, and our discussion was on the 4 design principles of personalized learning:

1.  Students advance to higher level work upon demonstration of proficiency of competencies rather than according to age or seat time.
2.  Explicit and measurable learning objectives guide student learning, which occurs at the student's own pace -- in school, in the community, in workplaces, and through online experiences.
3.  Skills or concepts are assessed in multiple contexts and multiple ways with attention on student learning and performance, not grades.
4.  The relationship between student and teacher shifts to co-designers, where students have voice and choice in developing their learning pathway.

Preschool News
Mrs. Tieskoetter's class has been reading books by the author, Jan Brett, following the preschool field trip to Vesterheim Museum. Last week, the students read The Mitten and acted out the story to develop story retell skills. Here is a photo of the class with animal masks pretending to be inside the "mitten".

The Cresco Preschool Family Fun Night will be held on Jan. 28, 2014 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Families are encouraged to attend this event with their preschooler to enjoy special centers. Centers will be set up in each of the four classrooms.

Mrs. Marr's class in Lime Springs/Chester is beginning their study of snow. Great timing! Students were excited to go outdoors and make tracks in the snow as in the book, The Snowy Day. After whole group work, students go into their choice centers in preschool. Play is the work of preschoolers during choice time!

Whole group discussion
Developing fine motor skills
Pre-reading & writing skills on the iPad
 Creativity & problem solving at the sand table 

First & Fifth Grade Partners
The 1st graders are beginning their LEAD 21 literacy theme on communities. Mrs. Kuhn's 1st graders were getting a little help from their friends in Mrs. Sorenson's 5th grade class this week. They were creating movie trailers on community topics of farms, cities and towns with help from the 5th graders.

EduCare SES Tutoring Program Begins 
The after-school tutoring program began this week. There are about 30 students at Crestwood Elementary in grades K-5 receiving extra instruction in the Discovery Center during the hour after school. The Supplemental Education Services (SES) Program is offered to meet the requirements of schools identified as SINA (School in Need of Assistance). The tutoring program is part of the plan developed by teachers on the Crestwood Elementary SINA Team. A big shout out to the teachers who have agreed to tutor, and to Lynn Murray, who is serving as director of the program! 

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Conferences will be held during the evenings of Feb. 18th and 20th. Scheduling for elementary conferences will soon be underway in each of the PK-5 centers. At Crestwood Elementary, a letter with directions will be sent home on Jan. 27th informing parents how to sign up for conferences online. The online scheduler will be open to parents during the first week of February. If parents need assistance with electronic scheduling that week, they may call the elementary office. 

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