May
14
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 14-05-2012

Each even numbered year NDCC requires school boards to hold a long term planning meeting. It is governed by the following:
15.1-07-26. School district demographics – Long-term planning process.
1. Between January first and June thirtieth of every even-numbered year, the board of each school district shall invite the public to participate in a planning process addressing the effects that demographics might have on the district in the ensuing three-year and five-year periods, and specifically addressing potential effects on:
a. Academic and extracurricular programs;
b. Instructional and administrative staffing;
c. Facility needs and utilization; and
d. District tax levies.
2. At the conclusion of the planning process, the board shall prepare a report, publish a notice in the official newspaper of the district indicating that the report is available, and
make the report available upon request.

Ellendale School is holding our planning meeting on Monday night to comply with this meeting. Here is a link to the presentation. I also want to point out that all this information and more are annually published for the board in the Superintendent’s Annual Report. These can be found here.

May
01
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 01-05-2012

The twitter hashtag for todays event is #NSUStudentSem

• What types of technology do you use to communicate with your constituents? Twitter, Facebook, Email, SchoolReach (broadcast service), blog, newsletter, newspaper – in todays world you can hardly have too much.  With that said make sure you keep a consistent message in each.

What is the most interesting situation that you have had to face as an administrator? Oh my.. there are almost way to many.  The most enjoyable part of my job is that it is different every day.  **Bomb Threat  **Sprinkler Story

• How are you improving student performance in your school district? Improving performance is a step by step process.  There are no silver bullets for this one.  It takes well trained teachers, detailed diagnosis/diagnostics, pin point interventions, attention to detail, blood-sweat & tears.  At EPS the process that I give the greatest credit for our improvements is RtI implementation K-12.  This has implemented the appropriate diagnostics and provided resources to teachers to remediate student needs right away.

• What do you want first year teachers to know? 1.  How to ask questions  2. Remember you are the students TEACHER not their PAL.

• How did Northern prepare you for your future? Exceptionally well.  It provided me with the foundations that I still use today.  Just as importantly as my coursework were the leadership roles I had with the student Education Association, Resident Assistant in Kramer Hall, and the friends I made while at NSU.

• How do you encourage students to improve their motivation to improve their performances? Wow you hit on a hot topic here.  Student motivation, in my opinion, is falling dramatically.  I dont know why but it concerns me.  The sense of apathy by students is greater than I have ever seen it.  What to do?  I am not yet sure, but first and foremost we need to talk to students, we need to keep the doors open.

• What programs do you implement to help current and first years catch up to the technology level you prefer in the district? I would not say we have a program, but we are going to expect you to take part in 2-4 days of tech training before you even begin.  On our list: Promethean technology (2 days); Google Tools (docs, sites, email, etc), Viewpoint (student data warehouse), PowerSchool (grade book and student data system), Phones/voicemail, and possibly some more.

• If a teacher goes into a school without technology (smart board) is it appropriate to ask for it? Yes

• Write grants? Research? Not sure what this question meant?  Yes that is good.  Go for it!

• What is your opinion about teacher websites to keep parents/students involved and up to date? This is an absolute must.  Parents are expecting this service and at EPS we require them to have a web presence.

• Do you have 1 to 1 technologies in your classrooms? No we do not.  We have discussed the idea several times and at this time we are strongly considering the implementation of the iPad or Chromebook 4-12.

• If so, have you found higher levels of learning achieved by students? In all honestly the implementation of technology and direct correlation of it resulting in increased student performance are not strongly correlated.  With that said, I believe technology is not a cure for ailing test scores but simply a realization of the world we live in today.  A laptop, tablet, smartphone are now the same as a planner or calculator were 15 years ago.  It is just a tool.

• What tech skills are you looking for in first year teachers? DONT TELL ME YOU CAN USE POWERPOINT!  That is not the tool of today.  Tell me you can use tools (whatever they may be) to connect students, connect students with resources outside your classroom, or use technology to make yourself better.  Do you have a PLN (professional learning network)?

• How do you work to improve student performances specifically? Strategies? Again RtI, good diagnostics (NWEA MAP, Dibels), strategic remediation (Read180), and watching the data (Viewpoint).

• How do you get teachers to implement technology? Ask them – then empower them – then acknowledge their success!

• Do you get students to use it as well? Yes

• Do you believe in Skype? “Such as if a student is absent, being able to have the opportunity to review the day with the student through Skype for a limited amount of time and if they are able to. This could help the student in not falling so far behind, especially if they are gone for multiple days”.  Yes this has been done.  Most recently though the new tool is a robot.  We are partnering with DRN to provide a robot that can be controlled from home and replace the student in class.    For the limited 1-2 day absences I believe education is heading more to the Kahn Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/) model where lectures/information are recorded for later consumption.

• What piece of technology would you say is the most effective in the classroom? A GREAT TEACHER

• What do you feel is the best technological resource that teachers should use? A STUDENTS BRAIN! I dont believe there is a best.. Simply if you use technology in your classroom make it meaningful.  Why are you using it?  Is the activity relevant to the students learning.  Dont get too caught up in the buzz of tech, it should not dictate what you are doing with your students.  In contrast the technology should compliment the learning.  It should be a precision tool.

• What is better ipads or laptops? Either

• Do you use technology to communicate with the parents of your students or encourage your staff to do so? Yes most definitely.

• If so, was it or has it been an effective way of communicating? I believe our communication processes with parents is better than most and our parents appreciate it.  On repeated parent surveys they have said our web presence is valued and they would not change it.  We have active Twitter and Facebook followers that not only get the news but pass it on to others.  — When our Google Calendar or Twitter feed is down they let us know, so they are watching.

• What would be the best way for a first year teacher to request more technology in the classroom? (if not already present in the classroom) Just ask, then validate why you want it.  Be specific and be realistic.

• What technology do you use the most in your programs? The PC is still the dominant tool but that is changing so rapidly with web 2.0 applications, chrome and google apps, cloud based storage and applications.  Everything is moving off site, to the cloud, which I am excited to see.

• Do you feel that technology has allowed your students to achieve at higher levels? No

• What are some easy ways to incorporate technology other than for notes? Oh My!  Better break away from notes.  If you are using tech to simply show the same old overlays that your old teacher did, now only on PowerPoint, we need to talk!   Again, technology should be connecting your students to a broader scope of resources then ever imaginable.  Technology must be providing student access to a deeper understanding than what the teacher says or basic KNOWLEDGE questions.  Technology should be: Asking for insights from professionals outside the classroom; allowing students to manipulate information and repeat experiments; allow students to share their learning and become producers not just consumers.

• Where on the internet would you find some good interactive websites or activities? Google – The lists are out there.  Here is one http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/pages/listweb20s.html

• Do you like ND better than SD? I love them both for different reasons.  How is that for a political answer?   You get better at this the longer you are as Supt!