Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 29-08-2017

emperorsneI am not referring to my new clothes.  I am referring to the changes made last year as we dealt with looming fiscal concerns at the district and state level.  The difficult decisions that were made have resulted in obvious changes to the high school schedule, course options, personnel resources, and the fiscal standing of the district.

This year the district’s FTE count is down by 2 full time positions.  These were in the high school and resulted from not hiring to fill the vacancies left by Mr. Ulmer and Mr. Sykora.  Their courses have now been given to other teachers or in some instance the course is no longer available.  Options for students within the science department are experiencing the least flexibility as now Miss Moe teaches all courses in science (Physcial Science, Adv Bio, Biology, Earth Science, and Chemistry).  This leaves little room for additional sections or flexibility in students schedules.  Decisions like this have a ripple effect on all departments as you can predict.  Once a grade has to be in a required course in period 3 all other courses have to fit around that for them.  Mr. Herman has done an exceptional job at constructing a new schedule to accommodate the graduation requirements while still providing as many elective courses as we can.

Our teachers participated in a back to school training in cooperation with Edgeley and LaMoure schools entitled Top20 for Teachers.  You will surely see more about this wonderful experience in the school newsletter and in my blog as the topic was inspirational and moving.  Top20 focused on the top twenty skills needed for effective teachers.  But, along the way the training hit upon some key points that I believe EPS has been zeroing in on for some time.  The first, was the fundamental belief that one cannot teach to the brain until they have someone’s heart.  Since the inception of our Kiononia time in the fall of 2014 EPS has been striving to improve relationships between students and between student and teachers.  Top20 reinforced that and the need for us to continue to take opportunities to grow positive healthy relationships with our students.

captureTop20 also addressed long standing concerns about learning that I believe EPS started to address in earnest last year with the addition of ICU.  This concern is probably very common to us that are over 30 years old.  How many of us left school thinking, in some way, we were “stupid”?  This label was thrust upon us on many occasions.  It could be how we dressed, that we failed an assignment, or unfortunately even when others put the label directly upon us.  Top20 shown a light on how we all learn and how we commonly, but mistakenly, brand ourselves with “stupid” when in fact we are just learning.  Top20 demonstrated this as the mountain of learning.  In the picture shown, how many have seen the look of confusion on a baby as they learn to roll-over.  Yes, all of us.  But do we immediately label them as stupid because they could not do it the first time? Of course not!  Then why, in many ways within our society, do we put the stupid label on others as they are learning.  Somewhere after birth if we don’t understand something right away, or make a mistake, we are “stupid”.  We have to rip this word out of our vocabulary!  We must not let students think they are ——-.   We must reinforce that learning is a process.  When learning everyone is on a different timeline, and that if additional time or resources are needed we need to find ways to provide them.  This is why ICU is right for us.  We will not let a student simply fail, move on, and label themselves as ——–.  We must intervene.

Lastly, I want to share that our student count is up for the fall.  At this time we are up about 16 at Ellendale Public School and up 7 at the Maple River Colony.  This is good news.   Have a great week everyone.