Friday, February 12, 2016

Terese Jurgensen - Director of Student Services - February 11, 2016

Terese Jurgensen - Director of Student Services
Fantastic Day of Learning!

What a beautiful day we had this Thursday, February 11th! I don't know about you, but I needed some sunshine! Today, we had an awesome opportunity today to visit METRO: Mastering Educational Tasks Regardless of Obstacles in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. METRO is an alternative high school that is progressive in meeting the needs of all of its students, but more importantly is integrating amazing opportunities for STEAM based learning in a Competency Based Educational environment. Julie Montgomery, alternative high school teacher, Denise Headington, Family Social worker, and 2 amazing students joined me in this trip today, and we were truly inspired to go above and beyond for our students here at Crestwood! We learned many things today, but one of the highlights for me, personally, was to see firsthand STEAM educational learning. STEAM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. We have these same incredible opportunities for our students, but alternative high school students historically are gifted artists, hands-on learners, and creative thinkers. At METRO, students who come from diverse educational, social, cultural and economic backgrounds are viewed as gifted and given opportunities to embrace their passions. Here is a brief article about STEAM: 

What is STEAM?

In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future. Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. Science, Technology, Engineering , Art & Math = STEAM!

A few years ago, I read a book by Daniel Pink - "A Whole New Mind."  I highly recommend this book to anyone who is concerned about the economy, the educational system or are interested in the role of technology in and its integration at the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District. Daniel Pink writes about Education and the World of Work. We are living in an Age of Abundance and that the new MFA - Master of Fine Arts has replaced the MBA - Master of Business Administration in its role of importance in the new world of work. Creative and innovative schools of the 21st century such as Howard-Winneshiek and what we viewed today at METRO, are schools that are preparing its students to being innovative in the 21st Century. 

For example, the other day an advertisement came to our home from a 4 year university. My daughter, Emily, who is a junior at Howard-Winn, stated, "Isn't it funny? People today actually think you have to go to a 4 year school to get a job. I am going to create my future and utilize all of the skills I am learning in V-Rep to do something I love!" Another example is Tristan Bohr, who I wrote about last week who is going to play football for the Hawkeyes. His career path, "Entrepreneurial
Business." He wants to have the 4 year business degree with the purpose of creating his own path! This is exciting and the creative mindset of Howard-Winn and something I saw again today at METRO high school. 

Comments from our students pictured below are: "My favorite part of the day was seeing a real alternative school where kids like us matter." "My favorite part of the day was meeting Mary and Dr. Grant and having lunch with them."  "I loved the fact that kids can really do passion projects like learn to play guitar or make art projects with science tools." 

Inspiring Pictures of METRO High School!

Excellent Learning Adventures at Howard-Winn!

Tiered Intervention of Supports

The secondary building, grades 7-12 will be working on Tiered Intervention of Supports during the last few months of school during professional development time. These Tiers are sometimes referred to as RTI - Response to Intervention or MTSS - Multi-Tiered Intervention of Supports. Our elementary school, grades K-6th have a good base of interventions, much of it commanded by SINA, or Schools in Need of Assistance for both academic and behavioral supports that students may need to be successful in school. At the secondary level, this may become more difficult because of a lack of common planning time and multiple teachers across grade levels because of our school size. I have included here a document I created for our SUCCESS Team in grades K-12 in looking at Challenging Behaviors that could be Skill based or WILL based - emotional and social concerns. 

MTSS or RTI – Challenging Behaviors
Skills Based Interventions

Tier I – 100% of Students & Families will receive -
Sufficient for about 80% of our students
All students & parents can expect a Safe, Productive, Fair & Ethical learning environment. Parents are regularly contacted – ongoing behavior & academic communication sent home through notes, emails, phone calls...

TIER II – Students w/Challenging Behaviors Need Additional
 Skill-Based Supports - Relevant for about 15% of our students
Student has had regular Office Referrals & at times Office Referrals may escalate – Teacher Needs Additional Insight/Collaboration (4 weeks +)
Fill Out MTSS Behavior Referral – include all data/progress monitoring from intervention(s) 
Building Principal & Teacher will collaborate & set up Child Study Team Meeting
During Team Meeting – Collaboration:
Lagging Skills, Executive Functions, Social Thinking for student supports
Critical Component – Student Input Prior to the Meeting!
Critical Component – Student Input After the Meeting!
TIER II – Interventions 3 times a week – 20 minutes each time.

Tier III - Challenging Behavior Continues/Escalates  5% of Students
Child Study Team Meeting Reconvene – Collaboration:
Consider Inviting Parent, AEA, Outside Agencies, Nursing Staff…
Child Study Team Meeting is Reconvened to Discuss/Review Data
Tier III – 30 minutes daily – 5 X’s a week – Progress Monitoring
Critical Component – Student Input Prior to the Meeting!
Critical Component – Student Input After the Meeting!
Progress Monitoring Completed by Classroom Teacher

Where does Social-Emotional Learning 
fit into Curriculum?
by Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan and Shelley Neilsen Gatti

For the past decade schools have been faced with increasing pressure to enhance student academic achievement. Thus, schools can become focused primarily on preparing students for tests, and hesitant to attend to other areas of student development, including social and emotional development. However, it is possible to attend to both academics and social-emotional learning (SEL) for students with and without disabilities. In fact, such attention can improve academic performance and the overall school learning environment.

A strong connection exists between SEL, school behavior, and academic performance. Researchers have found that positive social behavior in the school setting is linked to, and predictive of, positive academic achievement (Haynes, Ben-Avie, & Ensign, 2003; Malecki & Elliott, 2002; Welsh, Park, Widaman, & O'Neil, 2001). In a meta-analysis of school-based programs to promote social and emotional development, researchers found an 11% gain in academic performance in programs that measured SEL and academic effects (Durlak, Weissbert, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011). 

Even a number of the national K-12 standards for various academic disciplines recognize development of specific social skills as necessary for successful participation in education and employment beyond K-12 schooling (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010).

Though there is mounting evidence of the importance of SEL for the success of students in school and beyond, teaching these critical skills may be viewed by many educators as additional duties instead of integral and necessary for learning. So what is the solution to this tension between recognition of the importance of attending to the social and emotional development of students with and without disabilities, and the need to maintain the highest possible levels of student academic achievement? One approach is to integrate SEL into the daily curriculum and routines.

At Howard-Winneshiek we are integrating Social & Emotional Learning into the daily curriculum. During the course of this school year, common language that is partnered with our Positive Behavior Intervention Supports are the words: Expected & Unexpected Behaviors, What Zone are you in? or Use Your Words. We know, realize and believe that all students are at an individual place in their social/emotional lives, maturity of their brains, and want to create a learning place where everyone is safe, welcome and with the belief that all "Kids can learn at high levels." 

Have a Wonderful Week!
Thank you everyone, for making a positive impact
on the
life of a child today!

Terese Jurgensen
(563) 929-6344

Please do not hesitate to call or email me!

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