Thursday, May 31, 2012

How to Be a Homework Hero

Many parents encounter frustration when they attempt to help their children with homework.  Here are some great ideas to help reduce student/parental stress related to homework. 
Set up a Workable Homework Schedule
Study time should depend on your family’s schedule.  Decide, with your students, on a time for them to do homework.  Maintain the schedule as much as possible.
Encourage Students to Complete Class Work at School
Some students put off doing their work at school if they know they have the option to complete it at home.  If time is allowed during the school day to complete homework, students should take advantage of the opportunity to have the teacher available for questions.
Monitor Students While Completing Other Tasks
Keep an eye on the situation, but don’t encourage helplessness and dependency by always sitting with students as they study.  Homework is their obligation, and they should begin to take responsibility.
Check Completed Homework Assignments
Checking to make sure homework assignments are completed and accurate is extremely important.  Simply asking students if their homework is finished does not always ensure that it is.
Contact the Teacher with any Questions or Problems
If students do not understand a particular assignment, concept or process, the teacher should be made aware of the situation.  Parent/Teacher communication is vital to the success of students.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What’s Right in the School District of Janesville

What’s Right in the School District of Janesville (SDJ) is a forum to recognize outstanding performances and achievements by SDJ employees, students and schools.
Marshall Middle School Takes First in Orchestra Competition
On Saturday, May 12 the Marshall Middle School 7th and 8th grade orchestra students attended the Great America Orchestra Competition in Gurnee Illinois. Both 7th and 8th grade placed first in the competition. Congratulations!

Janesville Parker Student Athletes Qualify for State Competition
Good luck to the following Janesville Parker Student Athletes participating at the 2012 WIAA State Track and Field competition this weekend!
 Ashley Hartwig
Miranda Slaback
Erik Albeck
Kyle Amundson
Shawn Bohler
Brad Money
Michael Money
Max Monson
Ben Ramsdell
Noah Seichter
Trever Steinke
Adam Vesterfelt

Janesville Craig Student Athletes Reach Milestones
Two Janesville Craig varsity softball players have reached career milestones - Haley Bayreuther collected her 106th career hit, surpassing the previous record of 105; Paige Weber has now won more games than any pitcher in Craig history and she also broke the career strikeout record!  Great Job!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Inspire Your Children to Learn all Summer Long

Although the school year is coming to an end, student learning can continue throughout the summer.  There are many inexpensive ways to inspire young minds!
  • Help your children appreciate musical styles.  Tune into a classical station and encourage kids to move to the music.  Then switch to jazz.  Keep switching stations, and when you are finished, talk to your children about how the music made them feel and move!
  • Take children to a story hour at the Hedberg Public Library or check out a local book store!
  • Visit a state park or zoo. 
  • Buy some seeds.  Ask your child to keep a plant journal, and do the same thing yourself as you watch the plants grow.  Compare your observations!
  • Go outside at night and look at the stars.  Help your child pick out constellations.
The School District of Janesville is still accepting students for summer school as well.  Summer School can be a great way to supplement learning during summer!  Classes are filling up, so enroll soon!
Check out these websites for other ideas to keep children active and discovering all summer long:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A "Mob" Flashes at Janesville Craig High School

 This is just another example of teachers and staff going above and beyond for our students.  Janesville Craig administration, faculty and staff “surprised” students today by performing a “Flash Mob” during an assembly.  What a great experience for our students at Janesville Craig!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What’s Right in the School District of Janesville

What’s Right in the School District of Janesville (SDJ) is a forum to recognize outstanding performances and achievements by SDJ employees, students and schools.

Edison's "Carnaval Latino" Draws a Crowd
Edison's "Carnaval Latino" was created to increase cultural awareness & celebrate the some of our students’ Hispanic heritage.  The “carnaval Latino” was held on Friday, May 18, 2012 at Edison Middle School.  Events included:  Authentic music, carnival games, piñatas, face painting, a dance performance by the Even Start Dancers of Beloit, and a recreational soccer game(s) for the families/students.Great Job!

Kennedy School's Morning Announcements Reach All Students
E-mail from Caroline Campbell to Superintendent Karen Schulte

"I just wanted to send out an exuberant “Kudos” to our Kennedy Student Council for their Monday morning announcements!  They presented the school announcements in Spanish - then translated them into English, switching back and forth each paragraph.  It sounded wonderful! How fun for our Spanish speaking students to hear the morning announcements in Spanish!  Way to go Kennedy Student Council!"

Parker Relay for Life was a Success 
From Kristin Hampton, Parker High School Spanish Teacher

“Relay for Life was a success!  Student Leadership Council organized a fantastic event!  Thank you to the custodians for their great help!  Thank you to the Phy Ed teachers for letting us invade the 4plex during 7th hour!  Thank you to the track coaches for working around us!  Thank you to the staff that stopped by to walk!  Thank you to the staff that chaperoned teams and stayed up ALL night!  There were 22 teams that participated and $15,000 was raised for the American Cancer Society!” 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

“Bag Haiti’s Hunger” Event Illustrates Janesville’s Compassion

On Saturday, May 19th, students and teachers at Craig High School as well as local volunteers packaged 203,256 meals for the group Kids against Hunger.  The event, called "Bag Haiti's Hunger" packaged meals to be sent to Haiti to help starving families.   

Approximately 380 students and community members took part in this event, the largest in Craig's history! The meals were packaged in assembly lines, after which they were boxed, palletized and loaded onto a container to be delivered.

Craig High School's event was led by Teacher and Amnesty International Club Advisor Albert (Fritz) Elsen and John Wong of the Rock County Rotary.

Members of Kids against Hunger chose to help the country of Haiti for several reasons:

  • One third of the population of Haiti (about 3 million people) is lacking sufficient quantities of nutritious food.
  • 75% of Haiti's population lives on less than $2 a day; 50% on less than $1 a day.
  • It's a country with a 70% unemployment rate.
  • Donors pledged $4.6 billion in funds to help Haiti recover from their earthquake in January, 2010…but only half of the pledges were actually paid.
Congratulations Craig High School, The Janesville School District and the City of Janesville for this incredible accomplishment!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chores at Home Can Be Beneficial to Families, Schools and the Community

Parents need all the help they can get when it comes to work around the house.  That means children help too.  But as kids complete their chores; are they helping themselves as well?  Research conducted at the University of Toronto indicates the answer is a resounding “yes!”
Dr. Joan Grusec, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, led a study of children’s involvement in four kinds of household work: family care (chores that benefit family members, such as setting the table or looking after pets), self-care (chores that benefit the self, such as making one’s own bed), routine work self-regulated by the child, and work performed in response to requests from others. The study of children aged 9 to 14 shows those with regular responsibilities at home showed greater sensitivity to the needs of others, were more responsible in other areas, and were more likely to spontaneously pitch in, both at home and school.
A 2002 study by University of Minnesota professor Marty Rossmann found children who began household tasks at an early age grew into more well-adjusted adults. She studied 84 young adults and looked at their participation in housework at three stages — as preschoolers, ages 9 to 10, and in their mid-teens.  Those who started doing chores at the youngest age were the most responsible, confident and able to take care of themselves in adulthood. 
The key to making kids more responsible is having them complete tasks that benefit the entire family. Doing things that benefit everyone gets our children in the habit of thinking of others.  Kids who complete chores at home have a tendency to become more responsible and considerate adults!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Adams Elementary School is Meeting the Needs of All Students

When asked the reason for Adams Elementary School’s success, Principal Parks and Academic Learning Coach, Mr. Connor, both pointed undeniably to teacher commitment to universal goals and meeting  individual student’s needs. To meet these needs, teachers make data driven decisions, create universal goals that are attainable for all individuals, and have created an environment that is positive and allows each student to focus and learn.
Data Driven Decision
Three to four times a year, teachers at Adams Elementary School have a Data Retreat, where they review and analyze data regarding student achievement. Teachers split into grade level teams and conduct a detailed examination of individual and universal instruction data. Through these retreats, teachers and support staff are able to hone in on students’ specific needs and construct the curriculum based on these needs. The data retreats provide evidence of student learning, which allows the teachers and staff to be more prepared to meet the student where he or she is at.
As a result of the data retreats and use of Response to Intervention (RtI) students are placed in flexible groups. These groups place students who are academically comparable, with similar needs, together so that they can receive the help and support that is necessary.  Data retreats also help teachers and staff to establish specific goals.
Focus on Goals
Goals are established that focus on areas of universal instruction. These are goals that are attainable by all students. Through item analysis areas of concern and necessary specific skills are determined. Teachers are able to adjust goals and make them more specific for each group of students; however, the overall goal is maintained across the grade level.
Positive Climate
This is Adams Elementary School’s first year using Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Through the use of PBIS, the staff encourages positive behavior by rewarding students. PBIS Coaches were brought in to develop a plan and a matrix of expectations. Students were taught the goals through videos and traveling to different areas of the building to learn different aspects. With PBIS students are rewarded for positive behavior. When students at Adams meet hallway expectations, they are entered into a raffle. Students are also rewarded by being able to pick out things from the school store for participations in Reading in Action, which encourages students to read at home, and for good behavior.  The positive climate allows students to focus more on learning and less on behavioral issues. It also enables the development of deeper relationships between teachers and students. Teachers become more of a support system. Students feel cared about.
The student service team, in an effort to meet individual needs, has specific plans for students who struggle socially. These students are allowed a transition time before school, so that they can adjust and be prepared to focus on learning throughout the day. Adams Teachers also utilize the lunch buddies system. Current or previous students, who struggle socially or emotionally, eat with their teacher. Again, this is to create a system of support and comfort for the student.
Commitment to Academic Vocabulary
Adams teachers are committed to making sure that students are prepared for learning by identifying necessary academic vocabulary, and expanding students general vocabulary to include a strong understanding of these words. Teachers and staff emphasize literacy, through making meaning of key vocabulary words.