Friday, February 21, 2014

February 21, 2014

Academics ~ Activities ~ Arts ~ Athletics
Crestwood Secondary Schools (7-12)
Twitter: @Crestwood_HS


Special Events for the Week of February 24 - March 2, 2014
Monday:        A.L.I.C.E. Training - Elkader
Tuesday:       1 Hour Early Out Schedule - 2:15 p.m. Dismissal
                      Parent/Teacher Conferences - 3:30-7:30 p.m.
                      Grand Meadow HS/NICC Visit
Wednesday:  3 Hour Early Out Schedule - 12:15 p.m. Dismissal
                      Iowa Youth Survey Data Review/Keystone AEA - 9:00 a.m.
                      JMC/PowerSchool Presentations - 1:00/2:15 p.m.
Friday:          Mountain Climber Nominations Due
Saturday:      District Individual Speech Contest
                     Tri-State Honor Band - Decorah

Anytime, Anywhere: Online Learning Shapes the Future
Schools and districts around the country are discovering the benefits of online learning.

Competency Based Education Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What does Competency Based Education teach students about the real world where it’s necessary to do one’s best?
In the world beyond the walls of the school, only people who master certain information or skills are able to receive certain privileges. This system puts more focus on student learning with multiple attempts for success. It is actually a more accurate reflection of real-world experience, where a person must meet a certain standard before receiving certain privileges.

Some “real life” parallels are the ACT, SAT, or professional exams—even the driver’s test. There are no penalties for the number of attempts on these tests, but failing them gets expensive and wastes time. A person who truly wants the privilege becomes intrinsically motivated to succeed because he or she wants the benefit that goes with passing the test, i.e., getting accepted into a good college, getting licensure in a certain profession—or driving a car.

If homework and practice do not count as part of the student’s grade, how will we promote the importance of homework? How will we motivate them to complete it and turn it in?

When teachers return homework to students with a grade, most students shove it in their backpack or binder and never look at it again. Imagine the enhanced learning opportunity for the student if instead, the teacher returned the homework with two or three meaningful comments rather than a grade?

As teachers, we realize that homework and practice tied directly to learning targets is an important component of student achievement. So when teachers use homework as a mechanism for extensive and timely feedback to the student, it conveys the message that homework is important and necessary.

Providing students with nonjudgmental written or verbal feedback enables teachers to formatively assess student understanding and provides the student safe opportunities to practice without judgment.

Why are we allowing students to turn in late work or re-do work without penalty of a zero? How does this teach responsibility and accountability?

In a standards-based system, the emphasis is on learning. When a student doesn’t do the work, the inherent consequence is that he or she doesn’t learn the content or practice the skill.

When we do not allow a student to turn in late work or re-do work, we deny that student the opportunity to grow character traits that are vital to student achievement, such as perseverance and persistence.

If a teacher doesn’t accept late work, the teacher sends the message that the assignment had little educational value. It’s as though the teacher is saying, “It’s okay if you don’t do the work, and it’s okay if you don’t learn the content or skill.” As professional educators working to prepare students to successfully navigate the 21st century world, we can no longer accept these messages.

Granting a reduced grade or zero doesn’t teach responsibility to students who are not intrinsically motivated. It actually allows the student to avoid the accountability of demonstrating what he or she has learned, and it teaches them to shrug off important responsibilities. 

How many school districts in Iowa are utilizing this system?
This map represents Iowa school attendees at the standards-based grading conference at Grant Wood AEA Spring 2013.
Growing Up STEM - As A Girl
Iowa State University Computer Science major Cassidy Williams was often the only girl in the room. She shares her story of pursuing her passion as a model for encouraging women in STEM.

Mountain Climber Nominations
Reminder: Mountain Climber Nominations are due on Feb. 28. This award seeks to recognize students who have overcome difficulties to succeed academically, behaviorally, or with overall citizenship. The award is focused not on students who necessarily achieved at high levels, rather students that have overcome difficult situations.

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