Thursday, December 11, 2014

Twitter and Tradiciones

Mrs. Oelke's Spanish III students were provided an opportunity to engage in a Twitter Hashtag conversation regarding traditions in cultures.  Students were to review the hashtags and make connections.  Common core aspects were included into this assignment as well.  This is another fine example as to where JWP staff members utilize technology as a learning tool.  It is examples like this and any others that our district can boast a high quality education for all students.

You can see more specifics about this assignment by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Brick by Brick" at JWP - A Good News Article Submission

Head Coach Jerry Kill of the Minnesota Golden Gophers uses the phrase, “Brick by Brick”.  The intentions of those three words is to effectively and efficiently communicate the process in which the coaching staff is utilizing to build the Gopher Football program into a successful one.  At the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (JWP) Public School District we strive to be the best and do so “Brick by Brick”.

Over the past three years the JWP School District has experienced positive growth in student learning and the development of all staff.  To support these areas of growth, we will share quantitative and qualitative data.

The quantitative data includes test results of our school district and six surrounding districts.  In 2012 JWP was 7th in reading achievement.  Over the past three years we have realized positive growth and now rank 4th in reading achievement.  In the area of Math we were 6th in achievement in 2012 and were 1st in 2014.  We are proud of our students’ growth and look forward to a consistent upward trend.

Qualitative data will encapsulate the development of all staff.  This is the area where “Brick by Brick” comes into play.  At Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton we have set the following ‘bricks’ for a strong foundation:
  1. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) – 90% of our certified staff members have been through PLC training.  At these trainings our staff members have been provided with the knowledge to utilize collaboration in improving practice.
  2. Evaluations – This school year all staff members will experience high quality evaluations that will provide each individual with an opportunity to set a goal and develop an action plan to achieve that goal.  At the end of the school year, all staff members are expected to develop their professional capacity.
  3. Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports – This is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success.   Staff members at JWP have worked diligently to ensure this program is implemented with integrity.
  4. Curriculum Review Cycle – Teachers utilize curriculum as a tool to increase their skill set and to positively impact student learning.  We have implemented a curriculum review cycle to confirm our teachers have current best practice tools to do their work.
  5. Technology Development – As you all know, technology changes daily.  This leaves our staff with unique challenges to meet the needs of today’s learners.  At JWP we have started a process to explore the tools we need to embrace and implement practices that will prepare our students for the future.
  6. Strategic Planning – Our school board has created a strategic plan that sets a vision for what we want our district to be in the future.  Each year of this plan we recognize growth.  Our school board is committed to this vision and provides the resources to ensure we are a top tier educational institution.
  7. Staff Trainings – This year, our special education department has developed trainings to educate staff on the best practices of reaching the needs of all learners.  The information shared is taken into account when staff members plan their lessons to differentiate instruction.

As you have probably gleaned from this article, JWP is committed to doing what is right to provide a high quality education for all learners.  Considering this article is limited to a specified amount of words, we could not highlight all of the wonderful things we are doing.  With everything in life, there are areas for improvement and we strive to attain continuous improvement “Brick by Brick”. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cold Weather Decision Making Process

As you might recall, in the past, we had several school days closed due to excessively cold weather.  I am hopeful that we will not experience those extreme temperatures this year.  With that said, I would like to remind our constituents of guiding principles for closing school due to extreme temperatures.
  • Our school buses are housed indoors and are in excellent condition.  In the unlikely event that mechanical failure would occur during cold weather, there are back up buses that can respond to lend assistance in short order.
  • Wind chill temperature, actual temperature and frostbite time frames are taken into consideration when making a decision to stay open or closed. I utilize the NOAA Wind Chill Chart (see above or click here) as my guide.  If frostbite times are in the 30 minutes range, it will be my recommendation to hold school as planned provided other issues such as snowfall, visibility & road conditions are acceptable.
  • I believe that if we operate within the wind chill parameters set forth above, we are putting the safety of students first, but also providing opportunities to continue school on regularly scheduled days.
  • I ask that parents pay special attention to proper clothing for their children during the winter season and especially during these very cold conditions.  Whether a child is in Kindergarten or in 12th grade, all students should have proper winter apparel including mittens and hat before venturing out.
  • If the decision is made to hold school on days of negative wind chills, it is the parent's final responsibility to determine whether it is safe for their child to go to school.  Throughout our district, we have so many different circumstances with different families that a single decision by the superintendent may not properly respond to the consideration of a particular family.  If parents elect to hold their children home due to inclement weather, the absence will be considered an excused absence. 
Please make certain that your alert system information (Infinite Campus) is up to date as we rely on this system to communicate messages regarding school closures.  If you have any questions, concerns or compliments, please contact me directly.