"Who are we?" When it comes to web presence, the CRSD hasn't had much to look at over the course of the past several years. We have made a concerted effort over the course of the last several months to really consider "who we are" in terms of our online presence and personality. Much time and energy has been spent to develop a professional, organized, and "with-it" online persona...not just for the main district website, but for our department and school sites, as well. I am excited about our "look" so far. Feedback from parents and students has been positive, and I believe we are well on our way to communicating more effectively with all stakeholders, thanks to a new and improved website!
Assessments: It is definitely "that time of year!" In the coming months, students will take Terra Novas, district writing assessments, NAEP tests, AIMSweb assessments, and SBAs. In addition, we have quarterly CFAs that will gear up again at the conclusion of Quarter 3. Our second quarter CFAs took on a different format as a result of conversations with Discovery Education, our CFA provider. Teacher feedback quickly told us the new assessments weren't going to feasible for our classroom settings. Instead of powering through with assessments that weren't doing what we intended, we took a step back and will reconsider the format of CFAs for Q3. The goal of the quarterly common CFA is to inform teachers. Our upcoming in-service and early-release days will provide us with opportunities to evaluate our new CFAs prior to Q3 administrations. COMING UP are NAEP tests, required at certain grade levels and schools by the U.S. DOE, Terra Nova tests, and a return to our district-wide writing assessments.
e-Learning: We have a full semester of e-learning with PLATO Virtual Academy (PVA) under our belts, and we have (once again) learned a LOT! For the most part, students who took e-learning classes during Semester 1 are sticking with classes for the second half of the year. A few students have dropped their e-learning classes, and a few new students have enrolled. We seem to have resolved nearly all of the "tech" issues that were encountered during the first semester of learning. Students who have decided to drop courses are, for the most part, seniors or students who indicate the e-learning course was "too hard." In many ways, this is a GOOD thing. Questions related to rigor have been associated with e-learning in years past, and current courses are definitely not "too easy." We are pleased to know that classes are providing students with challenge. Students who have an especially easy time with traditional classes are the ones who seem to be most happy with e-learning classes, specifically because they find the classes require them "to think and write" in ways they have not been asked to do before.
The Arts: Kenny Lake School hosted an artist-in-residence in late December and will host the same artist for a second week of learning at the end of January. Performing artist Ryan Connaro engaged students in grades 2-6 in drama activities and hands-on interviews with Kenny Lake community elders during the first week of his residency. Week Two will include more performance-based activities and a finale event showcasing the interviews and student learning. Glennallen students involved in Future Educators of Alaska (FEA) will participate in a digital storytelling project with nationally-renowned digital storyteller Katie Basil in late January, as well. The documentary produced with Ms. Basil will be featured at the FEA state conference in April.