Friday, April 15, 2016

Terese Jurgensen ~ Director of Student Services ~ April 15, 2016

Mrs. Jurgensen & Ms. Montgomery - Iowa Alternative Conference
        Looking at the BIG Picture
I had a student this week ask me what a Director of Students did every day. I had to laugh and tell her, I look at the BIG picture. When she asked, "What does that mean?" I thought it might be an interesting topic for my weekly update. I have always been a systems thinker, and my husband always teases me when he says, "There goes Terese, planning the plan." To help explain this I would like to highlight W. Edward Deming, the author of Profound Knowledge and one of the most infamous Big Picture thinkers and planners in history. Deming is best known for his theory of Quality Continuous Improvement which models a Plan-Do-Study-Act philosophy that he shared with Japan after WWII. The foundation of this principal is that when producing goods and services, create quality products while continually reviewing the process in order to produce a quality product. Deming's principles have been "drilled" down to 14 points.  As a person committed to quality improvement in the public school system, I have utilized these points throughout my career and developed what I refer to as Positive Peer Culture or P.P.C. Years ago I took Deming's 14 points and related them to the public school system in order to enable students and teaching staff to see the Big Picture and partner together for a quality learning system. Here are a few of the 14 points that we are working hard to implement at HWCSD. 

5 of Deming's 14 Points - Let's Look at the BIG Picture to Transform Education:

1. Create constancy of purpose for improvement of product and service.
P.P.C. is a radical way of creating a school system that maintains that student/family voice is essential to quality management. It is not top-down authoritarian, but rather a system that’s purpose is to teach students to THINK, LEAD and SERVE.

4. End the practice of awarding business on price tag alone.
P.P.C. allows for multiple suppliers and customers with the goal of achieving the very best “product” and learning at high levels. The teacher is no longer the “one giver of knowledge,” but rather is a part of the process. Students, teachers, family, staff or community members at any given time can be a supplier or a customer.

5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service.
P.P.C. allows for constant review and improvement of the learning system. The continuous cycle of improvement is outlined by: Plan – Do – Study – Act. This same improvement cycle can be applied to a classroom, a school system, student projects, and relationships.

8. Drive out fear.
P.P.C. is not fear-based, but rather faith-based. Many students hate going to school due to fear of failing, of asking questions in class, being bullied or more tragically being seen as stupid because they don’t have the skills to be successful in school. Relationships are key!

14. Take action to accomplish the transformation.
P.P.C. is radical and not for the faint of heart. It is about throwing out the old way of thinking and partnering with your students, trusting them to be great! It transforms how we see ourselves, as educators, our students, their families and our communities. It is based on relationships and in teaching our students how to respect themselves, authority, and how to work effectively in teams. It also teaches students responsibility for personal educational progress and individual pride in their work (removes blame on others). Finally, it allows students’ to share responsibility to their team and responsibility as a successful member of society to the communities they choose to live in.

I presented this message last week at the state-wide alternative education conference.  Julie Montgomery, our alternative education lead teacher, attended the conference with me. She partnered with me during the presentation and after it was done, she stated, "I get it! I really understand what you have been talking about in regard to P.P.C." That statement made my whole day! As we move forward with the alternative program and revise it to allow it to be more student-centered, P.P.C. will be our foundation. If you would like to learn more about P.P.C., please send me an email.  I love to share!


Social Thinking Book Clubs 

The elementary Social Thinking Book Clubs are happening both in the upper and lower elementary grade levels. I was fortunate enough to walk through the library at the end of the day on Tuesday, April 12th, and was able to share with these ladies shown here: kindergarten teachers, Lois Leifeld, Julie Franzen (upper collage on the left) Michelle Timp (pictured right) and Jessie Cummings (collage right).  It was exciting to hear their feedback how even when the year started students from the preschool knew the Zones after learning them from preschool the previous year and were able to self-regulate by applying these principles to their lives. As a group we shared about plans for the upcoming year for incorporating the Zones into their social/emotional curriculum as well as teaching executive functioning principles of stop, wait, take turns, share, organize and work effectively in groups. We also watched the video of Megan Merkel which I shared in last week's blog. There are many powerful principles in teaching these life skills to students, but what is super exciting is that it takes challenging behaviors away from students as a part of "who they are" into the realm that this is their brain.  Students come to understand their brain is just like a muscle that they can make stronger and learn how to "work well and play well with others!" This helps them not only to learn more effectively at high levels but also to create positive, long-lasting relationships with their friends. The very thing they are created to do!

English Language Learners 
Gifted & Talented Students
Teacher Professional Development

On Monday, April 11th, the Howard-Winneshiek Community School teaching staff engaged in professional development on several levels. Our first session, began in the elementary and later in the secondary building, received professional development on English Language Learners by Sarah Brincks from Keystone AEA and Alicia Martin, our ELL teacher. As mentioned in previous blogs, we have received several new students whose English is not their first language. Of those students, we have 3 students (ages 11, 15, 17) who do not speak English at all and are in our New Comer Program. Several items were covered including ELL standards for grade level teams as well as how students feel and respond to a new culture. Several teachers commented on how helpful this training was, and it is the goal of our district to be the most welcoming, open and hospitable school to these new students and their families!  The district also received training on our Gifted and Talented program in the secondary building led by Rhonda Vobr our secondary GAT teacher. Mrs. Vobr will retire this year and Todd Knobloch will be the district lead in this area. 
                   Preschool teachers & Ms. Shekelton smile during professional development!

I have been reading and studying the affects of poverty and attendance throughout the school year as we have diligently worked on incorporating Social & Emotional learning supports as well as revising our Attendance Policy for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year. Some people believe that IQ is set and cannot change for a student's life. I can tell you, however, that IQ can and does shift. It can go up or down depending on many factors including but not limited to: specially designed instruction, increasing the executive function of working memory and increased school attendance. The attendance policy that we have worked diligently on throughout the school year through several student, teaching staff, parents and community partnership meetings is finally ready for its final stages. The goal is that it will be presented to the District Advisory Board in May and following that will go to the School Board for its final approval. Over the summer months, we will be releasing this new policy through news highlights in the local papers as well as on our weekly updates. If you have any questions or would like to provide input, please do not hesitate to call or email me. I will be happy to hear your voice!


Great Things Happening as Posted on Twitter!

Have a great week! Please email or call if you have any questions or comments!

Terese Jurgensen

(563) 929-6344

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