Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Student Council President Ashley Clark

 I would like to thank our Student Council President, Miss Ashley Clark, for being my guest blogger. In her post below she shares one of the great events sponsored by the Centerburg Student Council.

Everybody can relate to being put into an unfamiliar situation where they feel scared or sometimes nervous. Many kids have similar feelings when it comes to changing school districts and starting in an environment where they have to start fresh. The small village of Centerburg is a small community where the people are close and the environment is friendly. In such a small community, the Centerburg Student Council hosted a pizza luncheon to welcome all new students and faculty into their school. This is a great event that we do every year after planning our homecoming
activities and consider very important. 

On October 11, 2013, our Student Council hosted their annual luncheon! It was a great time for the new students to connect with each other, as well as the new teachers to become more familiar with their students. This year I presented the students and faculty with red bags with the Trojan mascot on the side. This was a nice little gift that was also very appreciated. Great relationships, good behavior, and positive attitudes come from this simple, but warming welcome! 

 Thank you Ashley!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

High Tech, High Touch, High Performance

High Tech, High Touch, High Performance. You may have heard these words if you attended one the orientation meetings or our opening day staff meetings. The Centerburg Middle/High School staff has embraced these terms and they are adjusting to the new direction very well.  But what does all this mean?

High Tech – This past summer Centerburg invested in new computer equipment to meet the growing demands of the PARRC - the next generation of online assessments.  Our computer labs were updated with new Mac minis as well as continued improvements were made to the network infrastructure. Switches and hardware were replaced to create a more robust wireless network. Students are now permitted to bring their own device and connect to the wireless network. Each teacher will communicate with the students when it is appropriate to use their devices and when they should be put away.

Many would ask the question, “Why computer labs?” With the growing use of personal devices, why not invest in personal devices for students or ultimately a 1:1 initiative.  We believe that personal devices are just that, personal. We must meet the demands of the online testing requirements as well as provide technology to support pedagogy and ultimately student learning. We felt the Mac minis would meet our needs well.

But there’s more…

Creating a wireless network capable of handling the amount of devices carried by our students was very important to our decision. Students will be able to use their devices, when appropriate, to support their learning. This is a huge step to changing the traditional learning environment into a modern collaborative environment.  The addition of Google Apps for Education has increased the amount of opportunities our students have to collaborate on papers, projects or even just basic notes from class. These tools combined with available networks and devices will transform our instruction and benefit student learning.

High Touch – To become a high touch school we need to embrace and always work towards personalizing learning. We are attempting to do this in a number of ways. First in the Middle School we have created an intervention period for every student. This caused a bit of confusion at first due to the negative connotation of the word intervention. Our plan for intervention is this; we need to support our struggling students as well as support or advanced students as well. We will accomplish this through flexible grouping. Teachers will plan activities and divide students based on their needs at the time. The groups are fluid and may change as the activities change. Students will have opportunities to work on topics they are passionate about or have interest in exploring.  Second, the high school will be exploring the K-12 online curriculum to create blended learning opportunities. The online curriculum will allow students to work at their own pace as well as have face to face classes everyday with their teachers. This is an exciting opportunity funded entirely by our Educational Service Center. 

High touch also means that we want to communicate more and communicate better. We are working to increase communication from myself to our staff, from our staff to our students and from our school to parents and community members.  There are many tech tools that will help with this but it’s really about taking the initiative to communicate. We need to be communicating and sharing information daily – not just when there is a problem.  We have created a district Facebook page and Twitter feed. Please follow and like us. On our webpage middle school parents now have access to homework assignments all in one spot. You can access the link by visiting the middle school page and looking for the homework link under Quick Links.

Families – We want to partner with you. Working together we can create great learning opportunities for your children.

High Performance – Everything is changing. Ohio now has a new state report card to evaluate district performance and students will be taking the new next generation of assessments. The new assessments are not about memorizing facts and regurgitating information. Students will need to apply what they learn, solve complex problems and use higher level thinking skills. We expect to continue  Centerburg’s tradition of high test scores. To do this we need to be ready and adjust our instructional practices to meet the demands of the Common Core.  Our teachers are working very hard to stay on top of all the changes.

High Tech, High Touch, High Performance is more than a direction, or idea. It’s what we need to become to be successful as a district in the future. It is an expectation of our students and of ourselves.  This is going to be an exciting journey and it’s an amazing time to be an educator.

We are preparing students for tomorrow, today.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Working to Improve Communication

In order to increase our communication with the community and parents, Centerburg Local Schools has created a Facebook page and Twitter account. Please follow and like our social media channels. We will use these tools to share information about activities and events in the district.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ohio Department of Education Video

The video below was created by the Ohio Department of Education. It was shared with all the schools this year to help parents and community members understand the numerous changes to our education system. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why is my kid in intervention?

Middle school parents -  I'm sure you are asking yourself the question, "Why is my kid in intervention when he/she scored so well on the Ohio Achievement Assessment" The past few days many of you have stopped in to pick up your child's schedule for the upcoming school year. Yes, there have been a few changes. First, every student in middle school has intervention on their schedule. But, it's not the intervention you are used to. It's different for a number of reasons.

Before I explain the new intervention I must say that I should have used a different name. Intervention can have a negative connotation. Think of it from now on as Trojan Time.

Trojan Time will be a fluid and ever changing grouping of students based on the needs of students at the time. What this means is that teachers will have the opportunity to schedule different groups or rotate students to reinforce and reteach concepts the students are learning. By creating Trojan Time I have tried to empower the teachers to push our highest performing kids forward and also provide assistance to any student that stumbled on a particular concept. There may be times when students have two periods of math to catch up and there may be times when students are working on a digital project.

Please understand that learning is messy. As we transition to the Trojan Time/Intervention for all model there will be snags along the way. But we are creating and working very hard to do what is best for our kids. In the past intervention was created to help struggling students. Now it is so much more. We will leverage technology to create opportunities for kids to be creative, accelerate and connect. 

Starting with a one cohort from each grade level in middle school I will be personally involved in creating a student blog as a portfolio. Don't panic... we can make it as public or private as you like. Students will create a variety of items that demonstrate their understanding of concepts they are learning and share them on their own blog. By categorizing and tagging each post they will have a record of everything they have learned. The ultimate goal would be that each student maintains their blog throughout their school career. The blog will be a positive digital footprint for each child and a wonderful resource to share when applying for scholarships and job opportunities.

This will be an exciting journey as we start the new year. Trojan Time will be what separates us from everyone else. I look forward to the opportunities we can create for our kids to be highly successful!

If you have questions or concerns do not hesitate to ask.

Mr. Gallwitz

Heartland 5K Huge Success!

Huge thank you to Heartland of Centerburg for their help putting together the Heartland 5k Run/Walk for Education. Approximately 80 individuals participated in the event. Between registration fees and sponsorships over $4,000.00 was raised for Centerburg Schools. This money will be combined with an early grant awarded to Centerburg Schools from the Knox County Community Foundation of $3,000.00 to help purchase computers. Thank you to everyone who participated and made this possible!

Here are a few photos from the event.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Run Walk For Education

Heartland of Centerburg's 5K Run/Walk for Education!

Saturday June 29th, 2013

Race will begin at 9:00am.

The cost is $20.00. All proceeds will go to Centerburg High School to support our technology initiatives. Registration begins at 7:30am.

Register Online by Clicking Here!