Friday, December 18, 2015

Meeting with the Commissioner @BCassellius - December 16, 2015 #JWP

Dr. Brenda Cassellius engaged in a conference call with various stakeholders throughout the great state of Minnesota to discuss a variety of educational topics today.  We discussed the following topics in which I have evaluated for our district:

ESSA - Every Student Succeeds Act
This provides the opportunity for our districts to embrace innovation and engage in more innovation zone classifications.  As these innovations are rolled out, they need to be assessed for efficiency/effectiveness.

In terms of assessments, it sounds as though we will maintain utilization of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments.  Some folks have been lead to believe that we would no longer need to take these assessments as we could transfer to the Northwest Evaluation Association's Measure of Academic Progress and other such tools.

The ESSA is a four year reauthorization that will be revisited.  Although this may be a step in the right direction for school districts, we still have progress to make.  For more information on ESSA, please click the below picture.

Celebrating Reauthorization
Higher Education Learning Commission Ruling
The Higher Education Learning Commission set standards for teacher qualification in teaching these courses.  Post Secondary Education Options (PSEO) provided services to 20,000 students last year and continues to grow.  This is an excellent opportunity for students and families throughout our state.

Although the HLC came out with their ruling, we were able to be granted a waiver until 2022 to remain with current programming while becoming compliant with the HLCs compliance rules.  Folks are working diligently to provide guidance to districts throughout Minnesota.  Programming is also being developed to make this process reasonably attainable for existing staff members.

For the JWP school district, it is absolutely essential to develop a plan of action to ensure our students continue to receive college credit offerings in house.  To do so, we'll need to take the recommendations and develop a plan of action.  By clicking the picture below, you can view an article from the Star Tribune regarding this process.

Full House at the HLC Hearing
World's Best Workforce
Our current report on the World's Best Workforce can be located by clicking here.  We will be meeting on January 7, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 pm to revise and update our current plan.  The members of this team are as follows:

Mike Berding - Technology Staff Development and Curriculum Coordinator
Nicole Olsen - 7-12 Counselor
Scott Kaminski - Director of Buildings and Grounds
Dawn McGregor - Parent
Amy Schmitz - Kindergarten Teacher
Julia Strand - Parent
Kelly Eustice - School Board Member
Kristine Eustice - Community Member
Ryan Eustice - Student
Grace Schlueter - Student
Kevin Babcock - High School Principal
Jeremy Erler - Elementary Principal
Bill Adams - Superintendent

I look forward to working with this group of stakeholders to revise and improve our current plan.

Graduation Rates
Districts were reminded to ensure all MARSS reports are up to date and accurate so that graduation rates can be calculated.  During the 2012-2013 school year, JWP began working with the Phoenix Recovery Programs to provide educational services for students receiving support.  In the past, all students were calculated into the JWP High School Graduation Rates.  Going forward, we have created two separate sites.  One sites is JWP High School and one site is Phoenix Recovery Programs.  This should provide a more accurate picture of how graduation rates look for each site.  If you have any specific questions about this, please contact me directly.

For more information, click the picture.
It was another great and informative call with the Commissioner.  Open lines of communication is essential in our educational development as a state.

Monday, December 14, 2015

#TIES15 Monday version = SWEETNESS

Sylvia Martinez - Keynote

The #TIES15 weekday version kicked off on Monday, December 14, 2015.  I attended the keynote with Sylvia Martinez in the overflow room.  This area started off looking desloate, however, it filled up quite quickly.  Sylvia Martinez (@smartinez) shared information on the "Maker Movement".  Click here for an article about the Maker Movement written by Tim Bajarin (@bajarin).

You can follow Sylvia's blog by clicking here.  I found its content to be rich with information to gain an understanding of the Maker Movement.  Five highlights I pulled from Sylvia's presentation are the following:

1. We want all kids to say, "I can do this..."
2. We need to get kids participating in global learning activities.
3. Get kids using 3D printers to create. @KehoeScience does this at #JWP.
4. The Amazon Dash Buttons are amazing...not sure I'd be ordering Tide Detergent
5. Use Makey Makey in the classroom.

Personalization: Creating a Culture of Learning
This session was presented by Jason Berg (@bergjaso) and Beth Humbert (@BethHumbert) from Farmington Public School District in Minnesota.  Personalization stems from the Farmington Strategic Plan, such as, personalized learning environments through the purposeful use of technology.
  • Prepare students for post secondary success
  • Develop independent learning skills
  • Time is the variable, learning is the constant
  • You're not done...yet
  • TEA Time - Time Effort and Academic Support
Instructors ask the question, "How do we use our time?"  There is flexibility in learning spaces and time for instruction.  Teachers provide students with time and academic support.  The effort is the responsibility of the students.  This proficiency based model has motivated students to do well.

Leaders in the district ensure that power standards, learning targets, formative assessments and tech tools are provided and completed well.  Farmington Public Schools utilizes, "The Pencil Metaphor".

Click Picture to Learn More
Teacher responsibility includes the following:
  • Teachers and students giving feedback
  • Teaching on demand, not learning on demand
  • Moving students along as learning targets are reached
  • Teachers as coaches/facilitators
Proficiency Based Model in math class is 70% on assessments.

Road of Independent Learners
  • Interest and learn effectively in a variety of settings including independently and in groups
  • Set goals and make decisions about their learning needs
  • Responsibility for construction their learning, monitoring their progress, and assessing their outcomes
  • Ownership and control of their own learning
Quotes of the Session: "Secondary Schools are made for compliance."  This is great because it is true.  Farmington has flipped that upside down and has accomplished personalization.

"I have 30 different conversations with 30 different students, instead of 1 conversation with 30 students."

Design an Elementary MakerSpace Environment on a Limited Budget

Amber Schaefer (@schaeferinfirst) and Beth Sletta (@retrokitch) from New Ulm presented this session.  They got the motivation from last year's TIES conference, specifically, from Shannon Miller (@shannonmmiller).  These two folks have found several ways to finance this program.  Click here for their resources.

snap circuits.png

QR Code Projects (See resources for these excellent examples)
  • Tech Bulletin Board
  • Who Am I 
  • Fun Photo Booth
Other Examples of Work Done:
  • 3Doodler Pen (3D pen) You need to watch it because the kids can burn themselves.
  • Makey Makey 
  • Little Bits
  • Video Editing
  • Robotics
  • Cartoon Creation
Foster Communication through Student Broadcasting

This was presented by Samantha Schmit (@sjschmit86), Nancy Moore (@nancymooremn) and students of Sleepy Eye Public School District.  Students meet once per week to discuss their news broadcasting.

Their journey began as a PBIS Initiative - Teacher expectations, develop a sense of pride, and establish community.  Their first news broadcast was shared.  Click here for some examples.

There were six students present, they broke roles into the following:
  1. Reporter (Good speaking kills, good posture)
  2. Anchor (Good speaking skills, good posture, inform people, make the news exciting)
  3. Editor ("Nerdy" guy, on the iPad, put clips together, use apps)
  4. Tech (Behind the scenes guy - sound and video)
  5. Script Writing (write the news, edit, etc...)

Apps they Use:
  • iMovie ($4.99)
  • Intro Designer ($2.99)
  • Scroll Credits ($1.99)
  • Green Screen Do ink ($2.99)
  • Yakit Kids (Free)
  • Animoto (Free)
  • YouTube Capture (Free)
They meet once per week for about two hours and film a weeks worth of video.  Fridays are the days in which they film.

Not Just Pockets of Wow: How to get all Teachers on Board

This session was presented by Doug Johnson (@blueskunkblog), Director of Technology at Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District. We reviewed a variety of technology tools to start the conference.  One example was listening to the old dial up internet...don't miss that sound!


Great question to are your (our) students answering this question, "What did you do with your device today in school?"

Technology can support best practices that improve student achievement.  Technology use --> Best Practices --> Achievement

We need to articulate expected uses.  How are we expecting staff to use technology.  Do we pick three things that we are good at?  Do we encourage autonomy in that decision making, etc...

One point of interest that I found was the idea of aligning assessment to the SAMR model.

With that said, we need to rethink professional development (PD).  Do we use best educational practices with PD?  How are we modeling best teaching practices with teachers?  Are we flipping it?  Are we providing podcasts? Etc...  We need to answer the question, "How are we personalizing PD?"  This Essential Technology Skills for Teachers worksheet was created by Dihanna Fedder (@DLFedder) of Pine City Public School District.  This would be a handy tool to develop plans of action or as @BlueSkunkBlog calls it, a Tech IEP.

Action Research - Standard Work, Implementing Work, Learning Work (Teamworks/Dennis Cheesebrow).  "When anything is optional, someone will choose not to do it!"

Let's Go Shopping in the Chrome Webstore

This session was presented by Angie Kalthoff (@mrskalthoff) from St. Cloud Public Schools.  You can access the resources by clicking here.  You can use EDpuzzle as a video management system.  In essence, you can track which part of the video is being viewed and ask questions based on that.

Clearly - This cleans up screens/webpages so they are more easily read.
Tab Resize - Split Screen Layouts
1-Click-Timer - Timer to Add to Chrome
Extensity - Hides/Relieves the visual pains of too many extensions
Color Zilla - Color Copier to match presentations...
Google Docs Quick Create - Quick Access to Google Drive
Send from Gmail - Provides efficiencies for sharing information on articles, etc...
Google URL Shortener - Shorten URLs

How to create .gif?

Days like today are inspiring and uplifting, however, they are also exhausting.  There is so much learned and it becomes difficult to develop a plan of action for my personal use of this information.  In addition, application of this learning must be done in some regards to improving our organization's integration of technology.  At #JWP, there is no need to implement everything, we just need select a few things and do those well.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Why All Educators should attend TIES Conference - Weekend Version

My #TIES15 experience kicked off with a learning session on the utilization of TouchCast which is an iOS application that can be used as an interactive video platform.  The end product can then be distributed to engage and enhance communication in our school community.  For an example of the use of TouchCast please view the video below.

As I was learning from Chris Turnbull of St. Paul Public Schools, I developed a list of ways to utilize TouchCast for communication purposes.  Although this list is long, it is not all encompassing.
  1. Chromebook Deployment and Student Experiences
  2. Scarlet Letter Book Talk - HS English Class
  3. Math Mountains in 1st or 2nd Grade
  4. High School Social Studies Debate
  5. Paraprofessional School View
  6. Custodian Pride
  7. Kitchen Staff Nourishment
  8. Caring Clerical Staff
  9. Teacher Pride
  10. Upcoming Events
  11. Boastful Bits
  12. Board Happenings
Later in the day, Mr. Erler (#JWP Elementary Principal) and I engaged in a workshop that focused on the Chromebook Classroom.  We learned about a variety of extensions that make life easier for teaching, learning and leading.  Some of those extensions that I discovered were "Send with Gmail" and "1-Click Timer".  Each of these added efficiencies to my specific leadership.  Here was a nice google video shared:

On Sunday morning I joined a former colleague, Holly Christian (@hchristian) in a Blogger and Google+ workshop.  We learned a variety of techniques to improve our educational blogs and communication strategies.  The instructors also provided us with solid information in terms of improving efficiencies when utilizing social media to promote our work.  One Chrome extension they suggested was "Buffer".  For instructional leaders and innovators, you need to seriously consider downloading this extension and utilizing it when wanting to share articles discovered online.

Sunday afternoon's learning session was experienced with both Mr. Erler and Mr. Babcock (HS Principal).  This session was lead by Dr. Tony VonBank and was focused on innovative leadership in school districts.  The room was filled with outstanding educational leaders from the great states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Dr. VonBank shared several talking points regarding Innovation Game Planning.  He did a great job creating an interactive environment.  One of the points that I felt resonated the most with me was that we need to be the leaders of learning.  If we, as instructional leaders, are expecting staff to implement technology tools in classroom instruction, we must lead by example.  Period.

In addition, this guy was spotted in the classroom learning right along side us...

Nice to have you present @gcouros!

I can honestly report that I went four for four on the day which is not only great for Joe Mauer!  Each of the sessions I attended was outstanding and filled with rich content to inspire my work as an educational leader.