Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Internet and Our Students

Family support entails paying close attention to how much time your children are spending on the Internet. Here are some tips for balancing online and offline time:
  • Look for signs of declining school performance, health and relationships.
  • Balance your own behavior; do not spend too much time online.
  • Place the computer in an open area, and monitor your kids to develop their self-control.
  • Help your child socialize offline. Encourage him or her to participate in hobby groups, computer classes or get-togethers with kids with similar interests, especially physical pastimes.
  • Don’t ban the Internet, but develop rules for its use and stick to them.
  • If your child likes to play online video games, encourage similar board games or get him or her to read books.

Encouraging a healthy balance between entertainment media and other activities in any child’s life can be a challenge for parents. The Internet makes this more difficult. Monitoring children’s computer use can help them develop discipline and accountability that can carry over into adult life.

As today’s youth age, their ability to research and chat online, talk on their cell phone, watch TV and listen to music all at once may increase their communication skills beyond that of the previous generation. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Superintendent Chronicle: A Week in Review

To stay consistent with our focus on transparency, I believe that it is important to keep district staff and the community up-to-date on the decisions that are being made. I will be reporting each Monday, through this blog, on the important events that occurred the previous week in a series titled “The Superintendent Chronicle: A Week in Review”. This blog reviews what was a high priority for me the week before and explains the “why” behind important district decisions.

·        Attendance at the Forward Janesville Banquet
This provided an opportunity to network with strategic alliance partners for the District.

·        Conference call with Abu Dhabi to discuss International plan
I connected with the U.S. Commercial Services in Abu Dhabi Wednesday night to discuss their government’s interest in k-12 curriculum and schools from the U.S. They primarily have British schools; however, there is a high demand for American schools, with a number of investors wanting to start an American school there. Someone from their government will be following up with me shortly.

·        Professional Development
On Thursday, Licensed Administrators and Academic Learning Coaches were trained on evaluating teachers through CESA 6. This was the first of four training sessions.

·        JEA Meeting
The JEA met on Thursday to provide an opportunity to listen to teachers and others in the JEA and discuss their thoughts regarding professional development, supervision and evaluation.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Communities Building Community: Make a Difference Today

Have you ever received a package wrapped up so beautifully that you can’t imagine the gift inside is equally awe inspiring? Today’s blog is a “wrap up” of National Volunteer Week. This package of words is about the “priceless gifts” in our schools - the volunteers that help to make Janesville’s public schools thriving environments for learning.  The employees of the School District of Janesville work tirelessly to provide more than 10,000 students with an excellent education and a quality learning environment. Our schools achieve more because they are bestowed the gift of volunteers.

The hundreds of volunteers engaged in our schools demonstrate to our community that by working together, Janesville has the fortitude to conquer our challenges and accomplish our goals. The Janesville Area Council - Parent-Teacher Association (JAC-PTA) celebrates the impact and power of volunteerism by recognizing outstanding volunteers at their Annual JAC-PTA Banquet, to be held on May 23, 2013. Here is a sneak peek of a few of the nominees and why they are considered true “gifts” to our schools, students and community.

Volunteers like Jack and Sharon Torpy are especially needed because resources and time sometimes limit the amount of individual attention each student can receive. Every first grader at Roosevelt Elementary gets at least one chance to read with the undivided attention of an adult, but more importantly a chance to connect with someone who cares. Principal Stacy Mattson speaks from the heart, “For the past 10 years, Jack and Sharon Torpy have been spending their retirement with selfless, loving, and generous dedication to making a difference in the lives of students at Roosevelt School.

Volunteers lead projects that put our students in a position of growth and opportunity. Principal Stephanie Pajerski, Van Buren Elementary, describes Tami Carlson as an advocate. Pajerski adds, “Through Tami and our PTA officers, enough money has been raised…to purchase 3 smart boards for classrooms.”

Volunteers like Leslie Wente, Edison Middle School’s Volunteer of the Year, help provide individualized instruction. Mary Orley, State of Wisconsin PTA Secretary, applauds Wente for helping Wilson Elementary 5th graders learn deductive reasoning skills, and leading Jr. Great Books groups - even though her own children attend Edison Middle School & Lincoln Elementary.

Volunteer efforts at Washington Elementary School enable teachers to become more effective. Retired teacher Roberta Blazkowski facilitates the Junior Great Books Program for students in third, fourth, and fifth grades. Third grade teacher/Instructional Team Leader Jennifer Fieiras says, “Students in my classroom ask each week, with enthusiasm on their faces, whether it is a Junior Great Books week.”

2013 JAC-PTA Volunteer of the Year Award nominees

The 2013 JAC-PTA Volunteer of the Year Award nominees are:

Nancy Bennett, Adams Elementary School
Leslie Wente, Edison Middle School
Theresa Vellella, Jackson Elementary School
Tami Troeger, Jefferson Elementary School
Kyla Raupp, Madison Elementary School
Ann Walsh, Marshall Middle School
Denise Molidor, Monroe Elementary School
Jack and Sharon Torpy, Roosevelt Elementary School
Tami Carlson, Van Buren Elementary School
Roberta Blazkowski, Washington Elementary School

Thank you and congratulations!

If you are a parent, business leader, retired senior, student or member of our community with a desire to help children and a willingness to give of your time, talents and knowledge, please, volunteer! Bob and Joan Waier were reluctant volunteers who were “voluntold” to participate in Edison Middle School’s Intergenerational Day by their grandson. Joan said, “I underestimated the students — I assumed that what I had to offer might not interest the kids or might be above their heads, but my husband and I were pleasantly surprised! We hope to be “voluntold” again!” 

Bring your passion and turn it into action!  Your energy, time, ideas, or donations will make a difference.

To get started sharing your skills and resources to help your local school, fill out and return the volunteer application or contact:

Brett Berg, Coordinator of 21st Century Learning and Public Information
527 S. Franklin Street
Janesville, WI 53548

Thursday, April 25, 2013

News from the Schools

Van Buren Elementary to Raffle All-Expense Paid Getaway to Destination Kohler

The students of Van Buren Elementary kicked off their spring fundraiser on April 15, 2013 with the city-wide sale of raffle tickets for three fantastic Wisconsin-based prizes. Proceeds from the fundraising event will enable the PTA to purchase technology-based learning systems for the classrooms. The PTA’s goal is to purchase six Smart Boards for K-5 classrooms.

Students will be selling the raffle tickets for $10.00 each through May 11, 2013 with the prize drawing to take place on May 18, 2013 at 11:15 a.m. at the school’s Walk-a-thon at Van Buren Elementary. Students will be selling tickets the mornings of April 27 and May 11, 2013 at Wal-Mart from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and at Sentry on Milwaukee Street from 9 – 11 a.m. on May 4, 2013.

Tickets will also be for sale the day of the event, winners need not be present.

The Grand Prize for the raffle is an all-expense paid getaway to Destination Kohler, the only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond resort destination in the Midwest. Kohler is the perfect vacation destination for championship golf courses, fine dining, unique shopping experiences, and exquisite spa services. This prize is valued at $950.00 and includes two nights at the Inn on Woodlake, a $500.00 gift card to use at any of the Destination Kohler properties, and a $50.00 Kwik Trip gas card. Kohler is located two hours and fifteen minutes northeast of Janesville.

The first runner-up prize is a Wisconsin Dells package that includes four tickets to Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park and four tickets to Top Secret, a family adventure tour. The second runner-up prize is a $50.00 gift certificate to the Whitewater Young Auditorium.

For additional information, please contact: Melissa Wardy, Van Buren PTA, 1515 Lapham St., Janesville, WI 53546, call her at 608-201-3311 or by email at melissawardy@hotmail.com

Roosevelt Elementary hosting 2nd Annual “Rock’n with Roosevelt” Walk-A-Thon

Roosevelt Elementary will be hosting their 2nd Annual "Rock'n with Roosevelt" Walk-A-Thon, on Saturday, April 27, 2013.  Registration/check in begins at 8:30 am. at Monetary Stadium.

The students at Roosevelt have collected donations and are now walking to raise money for their school.  They are also collecting empty aluminum cans the day of the walk and all donations can be taken to Roosevelt's stop and drop area from 8:30 am - 9:15 am the day of the event.  All money raised will go back to the school to help support staff and students. 

There will be pizza for purchase and many items being raffled off.  Many items have been donated by local businesses, a few of the items included in the raffle will be, a signed Janesville Jets jersey, 1 month membership to The Janesville Athletic Club, Free Oil Change from Fagan Automotive, Bowling Party from Rivers Edge Bowl, gift certificates for hair cuts from Sara's Sell-On, gift certificate for next year’s tax preparation from Steponkus Tax Service (Edgerton), free lunch/dinner buffet at Macs Pizza Shack, a basket of items from Texas Road House, bike helmets from Mercy Health System as well as others.  So stop out show your support. 

Raffle tickets will be sold the day of the event from 8:30 am - 9:15 am and then again from 11:30 am - 11:55 am. 

The raffle will take place at approximately Noon, and you must be present to win!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

US News Ranks Janesville Craig and Parker Two of Wisconsin’s Best High Schools

U.S. News & World Report has released its most recent list of High School Rankings.  Under the leadership of Superintendent Karen Schulte, Janesville Craig High School is ranked 18 in the state of Wisconsin out of 459 high schools, placing Craig in the top four percent in Wisconsin.  Janesville Parker High School is ranked 36 in the state, placing Parker in the top eight percent in Wisconsin.  Janesville Craig is ranked 1,511 out of 21,035 high schools nation-wide placing Craig in the top eight percent in the country while Parker scored a ranking of 1,980 and placed in the top 10 percent nationally.  U.S. News awarded more than 4,805 gold, silver, and bronze medals to the top-performing schools in the nation.  Both Craig and Parker received a 2013 silver medal.  Parker also received a silver medal in 2012. 

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Director Kim Ehrhardt attributed the success of both high schools to district efforts designed to improve student achievement for students identified in sub groups.  High school students identified in the low-income category placed nine percent better in reading when compared to the state average in that category and 12 percent higher in math.  African American students from Janesville high schools scored three percent better for reading and 10 percent for math.  Hispanic populations were 20 percent better in reading and 15 percent better in math.  Secondary efforts associated with the development of school improvement plans, data retreats, pacing charts and curriculum-based assessments are strategic tools that both Parker and Craig have embraced that help raise student achievement for all students in the School District of Janesville.

According to the U.S.News and World Report website, U.S. News partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research (AIR), which implemented U.S. News’s rankings methodology. To determine the Best High Schools national rankings, schools were first analyzed at the state level in terms of how well students in each school performed on state assessments, taking into account the test scores of disadvantaged students (low-income, Hispanic, and black), who tend to score lower on tests.  According to the Associated Press, Robert Morse, director of data research with U.S. News and World Report, said the publication gathers enrollment numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Common Core of Data database. “The federal statistics center, run through the U.S. Department of Education, collects and analyzes school data from state and local officials,” the AP reported.

U.S. News’s comprehensive rankings methodology is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college-bound; and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators. They analyzed 21,035 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This is the total number of public high schools that had 12th grade enrollment and sufficient data, primarily from the 2010-2011 school year, to analyze.

High schools that made it through this analysis were then eligible to be ranked nationally, in terms of college readiness. U.S. News determines the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work by analyzing student success in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, both of which include college-level courses. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The School District of Janesville is proud to announce that payments for lunch accounts made with e-Funds will now be credited to a child's account much faster. When parents make a payment with eFunds during business hours, we will credit the child's account within an hour - and parents will be able to see that credit through Family Access.  Payments made after business hours or during the weekend will be credited the next business day.

Through Family Access, parents have been able to see the balance in your child's lunch account, but not able to make an online payment - until now. Parents can now press "Make a payment" to be redirected to the eFunds login screen where payment can be made using an electronic check or credit card (subject to eFunds fees-see below). The payments will display within minutes in Family Access as "Pending" and the credit will be processed within an hour.
Instructions for setting up a new eFunds account are available on the eFunds login page and on the School District of Janesville website, under the menu For Parents - eFunds Tutorial:  www.janesville.k12.wi.us/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=7P1iAwWyeRE%3d&tabid=2498
While the School District of Janesville does not charge any fees for the use of electronic payments, the company that processes the electronic payments, eFunds, will charge a fee.

The fees are:
$1.00 for electronic check payments with a maximum amount of $650 per transaction
$2.45 for credit card payments per $100 (e.g. $2.45 fee for transaction amount of up to $100, $4.90 fee for transactions between $101-$200, $7.35 for transactions between $201-$300, etc) .

We are proud to offer this improved service for students and parents.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Superintendent Chronicle: A Week in Review

To stay consistent with our focus on transparency, I believe that it is important to keep district staff and the community up-to-date on the decisions that are being made. I will be reporting each Monday, through this blog, on the important events that occurred the previous week in a series titled “The Superintendent Chronicle: A Week in Review”. This blog reviews what was a high priority for me the week before and explains the “why” behind important district decisions.

  • Conversations with the Janesville Education Foundation for a potential merger with the Excellence in Education Foundation
    • The Janesville Excellence in Education (EIE) Fund was established in 2010 with donations from local businesses, alumni, and supporters of the School District of Janesville. The Fund's mission is to enhance educational programs, extend educational opportunities, encourage innovation, and recognize the achievement of students and staff. The Fund is independent of the school district operating budget.
  • Worked with Alumni Association to put website, video and logo contest in place

  • Worked closely with JIEP (Janesville International Education Program) to implement Summer Academies
  • Attended Meet and Confer session and discussed Handbook items with the Superintendent’s Cabinet
    • “Meet and confer” is a process that is designed to allow unions, non-represented staff, school boards, and administrators the opportunity to discuss important issues concerning topics related to working conditions.  “Meet and Confer” opportunities are not required by law nor do they provide a mechanism for employee groups or unions to insist upon particular proposals or to resolve disputes. The “Meet and Confer” meetings may not necessarily lead to a decision on a particular topic.  What they will provide is an opportunity to share information, exchange ideas, receive input, and ask questions. The outcomes of the “Meet and Confer” meetings are increased awareness and greater understanding for all parties involved including those who have the authority to make decisions.  
    • Meet and Confer meetings are posted as Open Session meetings. This means that anyone can attend the meeting.  However, it is important to note that the meetings are not open forum.  There are individuals invited to represent groups and to act as a spokesperson for those groups.  There may be times in the meeting that public comments will be accepted.
  • Worked on a compensation plan for non represented staff members.

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Meet and Confer" - What Does it Mean?

“Meet and confer” is a process that is designed to allow unions, non-represented staff, school boards, and administrators the opportunity to discuss important issues concerning topics related to working conditions.  “Meet and Confer” opportunities are not required by law nor do they provide a mechanism for employee groups or unions to insist upon particular proposals or to resolve disputes. The “Meet and Confer” meetings may not necessarily lead to a decision on a particular topic.  What they will provide is an opportunity to share information, exchange ideas, receive input, and ask questions. The outcomes of the “Meet and Confer” meetings are increased awareness and greater understanding for all parties involved including those who have the authority to make decisions.

Meet and Confer meetings are posted as Open Session meetings. This means that anyone can attend the meeting.  However, it is important to note that the meetings are not open forum.  There are individuals invited to represent groups and to act as a spokesperson for those groups.  There may be times in the meeting that public comments will be accepted.

If you do not know who the representative is for a specific group, please contact the Superintendent’s office at 743-5055.  Meet and Confer meetings are one of many ways the Superintendent and the School Board are using to communicate with employees.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Are We “Hard Core” about the Common Core?

By Dr. Kim Ehrhardt, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

The following article is a second installment concerning the unpacking and implementation of the Common Core Standards and potential impact on teaching and learning in the School District of Janesville. This article is adapted from commentary by Denise Smith Amos.

Some educators believe that reading achievement has been declining in our nation’s schools for more than two decades, but some experts say, the new Common Core Standards for English and Language Arts might halt that slide.

The Common Core’s standards are currently being rolled out in forty five public and many private schools with Common Core tests soon to follow in the 2014-15 school year.

The standards for English Language Arts and Literacy are supposed to change what students read and how they read it.

The reading requirements will get tougher, with students in every grade expected to read more nonfiction/informational texts. Teachers also will be expected to push students to become more engaged in the text, stretching their reading levels and showing them how to glean more than just the facts from their reading.

For instance, for fourth graders the Common Core recommends a 50-50 split between reading fiction and nonfiction in the typical student’s school day. The recommended ratio of nonfiction is supposed to grow with each grade, so that by the senior year in high school, students will read about 70 percent nonfiction texts each day.

Some teachers believe they’ve figured out how to get more nonfiction reading in without discouraging, overwhelming, or boring school age readers.

Katie Isaacs, a teacher at Princeton High in Sharonville, is planning lessons now that will pair nonfiction works with relevant, classic fiction in each lesson unit.  For instance, Isaacs’ plan for ninth graders includes a four-week unit on Of Mice and Men. The students will explore “what determines one’s ability to achieve his/her dreams?” by reading the John Steinbeck novel about two migrant farm workers in the Great Depression.  The students will also read informational texts such as excerpts from the New Deal, propaganda, and articles about the American Dream and the roles of women, African Americans and people with special needs.  “The material is not a drastic shift for us,” Isaacs said. “These works (are) the same works colleges tend to focus on and expect their students to be able to analyze and understand.”

Students may write an essay focusing on the American Dream, discrimination, or symbolism. They also may research and present an argument in a mock criminal trial of one of the book’s main characters.

Students need to practice reading nonfiction, especially complex, technical writing because if they get a job or go to college, chances are good nonfiction reading will be the bulk of what’s required, said Karen Brewer, a teacher who runs Discovery Education’s Common Core Academies for educators.

“It is a huge shift, especially for third and fourth-grade teachers,” said Danielle Pankey-Wallace, a Common Core and literacy coach for Cincinnati public schools. “We’re so used to reading stories and talking about story elements…. This time we’re going to dive deep into informational texts.”

But will students like reading more nonfiction?

Two students in Isaac’s sophomore class said they’ve already started to balance fiction and nonfiction reading and they like it, especially the contemporary articles about subjects they’re interested in.  Johnny Rosa, a 15-year-old sophomore, is usually a sci-fi and mythology fan, he says. He calls the Star Wars books “classic” fiction. But he recently enjoyed reading news accounts of people who consider themselves vampires in Serbia.

“I like reading fiction, but I get into nonfiction, too,” he said. “I like to read fiction adventures and compare and contrast: could this really happen or could this not happen?”

Cristina Valdiva, a West Chester sophomore, said she loved reading MacBeth because “it was a little twisted,” but she also enjoyed recent articles on President Obama and the recently injured basketball player Kevin Ware.

“I like reading nonfiction because you get to know what’s actually happening,” Cristina said. “Fiction kind of lies to you.”

In recent weeks, a growing chorus of critics like political commentator Glenn Beck and less well known education pundits have sounded alarms, claiming Common Core’s nonfiction emphasis means less poetry or classic stories in schools.

That’s ridiculous; say others who’ve read the Common Core standards. The nonfiction emphasis is supposed to include all of a student’s reading each day, not just what’s assigned in English class.
“If we began to spend far more class time on authentic forms of literacy—on close reading, analysis, discussion and writing—there would be enough time for us to greatly increase both fiction and non-fiction reading. We’d have more of both, hands down,” said Mike Schmoker, an Arizona-based education author and consultant.

At any rate, what’s wrong with introducing students to what they might encounter in college or at work, some ask.

“No one is saying ‘Do away with the Classics’,” said Karen Naber, Sycamore schools’ director of academic affairs. “But it is imperative, as a worker in our global society, that you are able to glean new information from complex texts.”

It’s not just affecting language arts classes. The Common Core calls for more reading, writing and vocabulary work in social studies and science, too.

In social studies students in Ohio will read from historical documents such as the U.S. Constitution or Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. In science they’ll likely read lab reports and articles from scientific journals.

“We’re all going to be literacy teachers,” said Patricia Fong, a chief academic administrator for Lakota schools. “We’ll all be teaching students how to read, write, and how to listen and speak within (our) content areas.”

Students will get more time to read because teachers will direct them to read and reread passages to ferret out key facts and meanings. It’s a process called “deep reading” or “close reading.”

“No matter what it’s called, it’s about time,” says Timothy Shanahan, a University of Illinois -Chicago professor of urban education who specializes in literacy.

“There’s not enough reading going on at school. It’s something that has been … evolving over time,” he said. “Our kids need to be reading throughout the school day and throughout their existence.”

He partly blames the federal No Child Left Behind laws and various states’ low-level reading standards, which he said meant more students passed state tests though their reading skills may have stalled.
Some national studies bear that out.

In the 1990s and 2000s, several studies showed that as little as 7 percent of what children read in elementary school was “expository” writing – sometimes called informative nonfiction - while the rest of what they read was “narrative.”

For middle school, the percent of expository text was as low as 15 percent.

That’s not good enough to put students on track for college or career texts, experts said. A 2006 study by ACT Inc., the college entrance test maker, showed that students who scored below the college readiness threshold usually stumbled on questions linked to complex, nonfiction passages.

“The clear, alarming picture that emerges … is that while the reading demands of college, workforce training programs and citizenship have held steady or risen over the past 50 years or so, K–12 texts have, if anything, become less demanding,” the Common Core document states. The new Common Core tests, which Shanahan helped review and revise, will highlight reading deficiencies in time for students and teachers to fix them.

“These aren’t more rigorous tests; they’re more honest tests,” Shanahan said. “

The final question poised in this discussion about embracing the new common core standards is, will they really make a difference?  Some advocates believe the new core will (or should) change everything—from teacher education, to instructional materials, to the organization of schools.  Others are concerned that CCSS will overreach and still not change what really matters—whether students learn more.  Just as in the past, the effective implementation of the standards will greatly depend on the understanding and commitment of our instructional staff toward the change.   The instructional leaders of our district are working hard to realize this challenge.  Our work with the new standards-based report card, the new rigorous 4-3-2-1 grading scale, RtI, PBIS, and Project Redesign are all focused on making the tenants of the new Common Core part of how we approach the mission of quality teaching and learning in the School District of Janesville.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What's Right on 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.
On Friday, April 12th students at Jefferson Elementary School celebrated with a "Badger Bash" for all of their efforts with following "The Jefferson Way."  Over 3000 "Pawsitive Paws" were collected by students for being safe, responsible, and respectful.  Bucky Badger and the Wisconsin Badger Band visited the Jefferson students and staff.  They marched through the hall down to the gym and sang and danced to the legendary "5th quarter."

"The Jefferson Way" is the title of Jefferson’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program where students follow the ways of being safe, respectful, and responsible.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

National Library Week – 2013

Celebrating @ the School District of Janesville’s Library Media Centers

National Library Week is this week, April 14 through April 20. The perfectly named theme this year is Communities matter @ your library. April is also School Library Month. 

The School District of Janesville’s Library Media Centers are busier than ever serving the students and teachers in their school communities. 

Students @ the Elementary School Communities 

All Elementary School Library Media Programs provide reading motivation programs. As an example, Jackson Elementary School Library Media Specialist just completed a reading motivation program @ her school.  The students at Jackson teamed up with the Snappy Reading Program.  Each grade level had a set goal to read in order to reach each base.  The Snappy Baseball Organization provides the prizes. (First-base club a pencil, Second-base club a ruler, Third-base club a ticket to a Snappers' game, and Home-base a half-price Snappers ticket to a game and a Happy Meal from MacDonald's). Jackson students also participated in a school-wide program last fall for a chance to make homemade ice cream. Karen Forst, the Library Media Specialist @ Jackson is a wiz at homemade ice cream.

Elementary students from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade are also involved with demonstrating their 21st Century Skills @ their LMCs by exploring deeper knowledge - conducting research projects and sharing their knowledge in creative ways with a variety of Web 2.0 tools. Since these projects are occurring @ every school Library Media Center we will highlight a few. 

Kelly Manogue, Innovative Learning Specialist at Harrison and Kennedy, collaborates with teachers on Problem-Based Learning units in every grade.  Grade 1 students @ Kennedy Elementary School conduct research on animals and use Voki, a free online creation tool, to show what they learned. Kennedy’s 4th grade students have been conducting a year-long Rock River Timeline research project. They will use Microsoft Photostory to demonstrate what they are learning near the end of the school year. 

@ Harrison Elementary School, the 4th grade students are conducting a research project following the Big 6 Research Process. Famous Wisconsinites is the theme. They plan to use Glogster, a free online poster to show off their knowledge. The 3rd grade students @ Harrison are planning a “secret” Mother’s Day Technology Project . Shhh … It’s a secret!   
@ Madison Elementary School first grade students, with the guidance of Brenda Nolte the Library Media Specialist and their teachers, created a “Little Bird Tales” book about themselves on the computer and then shared the books with the first grade classes at Washington Elementary School.  “Little Bird Tales” is a free website that allows students to draw and write an original story as well as record their own voice telling their story. The students had a great time creating their tale and even more fun “meeting” new friends by watching Washington student’s “Little Bird Tales” books.

Students @ the Edison Middle School Community 

The LMC is the center of literacy and technology achievement. During and after school, students enjoy the freedom to read and pursue their academic and personal passions. Alyssa Holbrook, the newly hired Library Media Specialist, is actively involved with the staff and students to create an inviting environment where students are excited about learning, reading, and computing. All students check out books for recreational reading weekly. All the students are also involved in research projects in their academic classes. The 7th grade students just started creating their e-Portfolio in Google Sites to share their best work with their teachers and parents in a paperless environment. The biggest hits this year have been the addition of more graphic novels and Playaways. The Playaways are audio books on MP3 players. The middle school students love this type of technology. They are increasing their listening and reading skills by listening to popular titles, just right for middle school age students, while they follow in the book.

Students @ the Franklin Middle School Community 

Each month throughout the school year, Brenda Nolte, the Library Media Specialist at Franklin offers students the opportunity to have lunch in the LMC while discussing the Book Club selection of the month. Students read the book on their own time and then join the lunch discussion with fellow students and staff members. This lunch discussion provides a relaxed atmosphere for students to share their love of reading and collaborate with others. Oftentimes, we stray from the discussion of the selected book and end up discussing other great books students have enjoyed.

Students @ the Craig High School Community 

At Craig, Library Media Specialist Renee Disch & Craig English Teacher Rachel Ekblad co-taught a 5 week long research project for Ms. Ekblad's 10th graders at Craig. Students delved into their chosen topics, learned how to use databases, cite their resources and paraphrase/quote information. After writing their paper, students gave thought-provoking speeches based on their research topics.

Students @ the Parker High School Community 

At Parker, the LMC has been collaborating often with Alana Rankin's classes to support literacy, research, and Latin and Greek root words.  When the students' achievement was measured, these classes outscored all other classes in the building on related tests.  In addition, the LMC has fostered a link between the students and other adult role models in the building.

“One of Alana's classes was featured in an application for the Follett Challenge, and this group of students and the Parker LMC placed in the top 20 in the nation!” Stacci Barganz, Innovation Learning Specialist.

Students @ every school in Janesville are learning how to be digital age citizens and how to prepare for college and the work force through the collaboration between the Library Media and Innovative Learning Specialists and the classroom teachers. Stop by the LMC’s this week. Participate in the learning. Celebrate! You will find the LMC’s are places where active learning occurs and children abound.