Friday, October 16, 2015

October 16, 2015

Terese Jurgensen ~ Director of Student Services
Week in Review:

As I write this update, I have so many thoughts about all of the interesting opportunities the position as Director of Student Services affords me every week. In a very short time, I have met and worked with an array of students and families across the district in regard to student support services, attendance, special education and English Language Learners. Also, as an administrator, I work closely with our Success Team Members from across the District as well as our Special Education Team. This week, Individual Career Plans were due, and without naming any names, I would really like to share out some of these outstanding objectives and goals some of our staff are striving for this school year. As an educator, we are all "life-long learners" and at Howard-Winn it is not just words, but it is an action statement. All of the career plans challenged me and inspired me as well. Here are just a few: 

"Specific goals include serving as a liaison with community agencies and assist in fostering communication between home, school and the communities throughout the Howard-Winneshiek School District."

"Continue to focus on Positive Behavior Intervention Supports. Utilize PowerSchool data to identify trends, support targeted interventions, and communicate these needs out to teachers, parents and community support agencies."

"Two special education teachers are working collaboratively to create a K-3 Special Education Website to inform, teach, share and communicate strategies and supports that parents can utilize at home."

"During the 2015-16 academic school year, I will research and implement highly effective teaching strategies and techniques to [help] students who are diagnosed with dyslexia to increase their fluency rates." 

"Success Team Members will be visiting other schools to observe At-Risk programs, Alternative Education Programs, in order to document strengths of other programs in order to incorporate positive learning/behavior solutions at HWCSD."

NICC - Hosts PLTW Open House
Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Cresco Center held an open house on Friday, Oct. 9, to commemorate the college’s 50 years of service, from 1966 – 2016, to the community and for students of all ages.

The NICC Cresco Center event was held from 4 – 7 p.m. and offered community members an opportunity to tour the center, learn about credit courses and programs available through NICC, and see the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) classroom, computer numerical control (CNC) and welding labs.

PLTW courses use a design process to allow students to create, test and design, and the classes are hands-on in nature. The courses also have great appeal for students at all levels of academic ability because the format offers relevant lessons and helps students develop critical-thinking skills, innovation and real-world problem solving skills in a collaborative classroom environment.

 A Howard-Winn Student shares his thoughts about PLTW & his future!

The CNC and welding labs provide students with state-of-the-art training areas to earn college credit, explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and develop the skills they need to enter in-demand advanced manufacturing professions.

The Cresco Center is a partnership between NICC, Howard-Winneshiek School District and the community that provides college-level coursework for both high school and adult learners. From 2014-2015, one in nine Howard County residents were served by NICC, and 210 area high school students earned 1,877 college credits. Howard County high school students and families saved an estimated $687,662 in tuition through concurrent enrollment at the Cresco Center.                                                                                         

 Here is a cool example of what our students are doing at NICC!

Hands-On Learning Opportunities

Mrs. Watt, one of our elementary teachers, sent me this photo this week showing her students using a hands-on learning activity to teach reading to second grade students. One thing I have always appreciated about our teaching staff at HWCSD is that they use multiple modalities to teach multiple learning styles across all grade levels. It is a known fact that 85% of students today learn visually and by creating meaning with hands-on activities. Here is an interesting article taken from "Hands-On/Minds-On."

Busy Hands, Busy Brains

As students put projects together, create crafts, or use familiar materials in new ways, they're constructing meaning. "Kids learn through all their senses," says Ben Mardell, PhD, a researcher with Project Zero at Harvard University, "and they like to touch and manipulate things."  But more than simply moving materials around, hands-on activities activate kids' brains. According to Cindy Middendorf, educational consultant and author of The Scholastic Differentiated Instruction Plan Book (Scholastic, 2009), between the ages of four and seven, the right side of the brain is developing and learning comes easily through visual and spatial activities. The left hemisphere of the brain—the side that's involved in more analytical and language skills—develops later, around ages 10 and 11.

When you combine activities that require movement, talking, and listening, it activates multiple areas of the brain. "The more parts of your brain you use, the more likely you are to retain information," says Judy Dodge, author of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom (Scholastic, 2009). "If you're only listening, you're only activating one part of the brain," she says, "but if you're drawing and explaining to a peer, then you're making connections in the brain."

October is Bullying Prevention Month

At HWCSD we do not condone bullying and our efforts include prevention as well as information on what is true bullying behavior and what is not. It is important to know the difference, and this month our Elementary Guidance Counselor, Tiffany McCabe is educating all of our elementary students. Our focus at HWCSD is not "what is bullying," but rather, "What is a Hero and focusing on Character Counts." If however, you ever feel like another student or group of students is not being nice to you or teasing you to a point that you may not feel like coming to school, please tell your teacher, staff member or administrator. It is our goal to make everyone enjoy and learn at school. 
Be Strong!
Stand Up!
Use Your VOICE!
It is a proven fact that if someone stands up for another person who may not be treated with respect or kindness by another ~ within 10 Seconds ~ the person who is not being nice, will immediately stop! 

Have a great week!
You may reach me, Terese Jurgensen,
or by cell
(563) 929-6344

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