Friday, March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014 Shirley Sovereign

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

Iowa Assessments
Students in grades 3-11 are taking the statewide assessments during  March 10-21. The results of these tests comprise our district's "report card" as it relates to school improvement and No Child Left Behind in the subject areas of reading and math. We have been fortunate so far to avoid weather cancellations the first week of testing. It seems students usually do better on these tests when we have routine. Let's hope for the same next week as students complete the testing sessions.

Music in Our Schools Concert
The bands in grades 5-8 did an excellent job in their concert performance this week! A large audience listened to selections by the 5th grade, 6th grade and Junior High bands.  The JH Jazz band also performed. A BIG thank you to band directors, Mrs. Polly Jones and  Mr. Jason Dobbs, for your work with these students!
Mrs. Jones conducting the 5th grade band.

Mr. Dobbs directing the JH band.

STEM Activities
A group of students in grades 5-7 attended two STEM days in Elkader this year. The students were involved in activities involving robotics, TinkerCad and 3D printer, Pixlr Express and Google glasses. A 5th grade student created a video of the activities from that day. The 5th grade students will lead STEM activities for the whole 5th grade class. Teachers working with this group are Mrs. Kelly Sorenson, 5th grade teacher in Cresco, and Mr. Todd Knoboch, teacher of Gifted & Talented students.

Trying out the Google glasses!

Northeast Iowa Family STEM Festival
Students and parents are invited to attend a STEM event which will be held on April 24, 2014 from 4:00-7:30 p.m. at the Wilder Business Center at NICC in Calmar. This event is open to students with an interest in participating in STEM activities. There will be over 50 exhibitors ranging from robotics to flight simulators. Here is a link to a video with details of this event:

NE Iowa STEM Funding
The grant applications for STEM Scale-Up projects for the 2014-2015 school year is available. The deadline for applications is May 2, 2014. 

There was a great deal of excitement going on this week in the Discovery Center. A planetarium was set up, and classes had the chance to view the planets, stars and constellations during sessions held inside the planetarium. Mrs. Bohr arranged for this to be on-loan from the Keystone Media Center. Mr. Knobloch facilitated the lessons in the planetarium.
Students ready to learn in the Planetarium.
1st graders excited about stars and planets.

Competency-Based Education Update
The Howard-Winn CBE Team attended the State CBE Collaborative meeting this week. The main topic for this meeting was to learn how to develop competencies. We learned that well-designed competencies have these characteristics:
  • A competency describes knowledge and skills that can be applied to novel, complex situations.    
  • The skills described in a competency will be valuable 10 years from now even if the content knowledge has changed.
  • Learning objectives are accompanied by clear performance criteria that help students identify their performance level(s) and what they need to do to improve.
  • Learning objectives are accompanied by effective rubrics that help students understand themselves better as learners.
  • The competency and the learning objectives allow for personalization and opportunities for deeper learning.  
The team received an overview of three competency-based programs: Quebec Education Program, Asia Society's Global Competency Goals and the New Hampshire Math and English Language Arts Competencies. The Howard-Winn Team had work time to continue planning for how CBE will be organized and articulated in our district.

Report Cards
These will be sent home with students in grades K-5 on Monday, March 24th. 

Student Data Management System
The committee met this week to hear a presentation on Infinite Campus. The committee has received presentations by JMC, Power School and Infinite Campus. Members of the team will visit schools to get a closer look at the functions of these systems and the different applications of office and student data in these products.   


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