In this issue...
Together... even when we are apart
Read Across America
Evening of the Arts
New school resource officer
In case you missed it...
Together... even when we are apart
The past few weeks have been unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. Our lives are changing every day… it can be difficult to know what to do or what will happen next. We find ourselves living in a “new normal” – in our work, in our relationships, in our daily activity, and in the way we’re helping our children learn.
There are many emotions that surround the things we’re experiencing, but in our school district there’s one that’s bubbling to the top. It’s pride. We’re so proud of our teachers for jumping in with both feet and finding valuable, meaningful ways to stay connected with our students. We’re proud of our parents for their flexibility and understanding, stepping up without hesitation to take an active role in their children’s daily learning. We’re incredibly proud of our students for their hard work, resilience, and never-ending smiles. The creativity we’ve witnessed, the outpouring of support we’ve seen, and the spirit of unity we’ve felt makes us so proud to be part of this remarkable community. We’re together, even though right now we are apart.
The district’s Nutrition Department has stepped up to ensure no student goes hungry during this time away. Because many students are accustomed to having their breakfast, lunch, and dinner at school, that’s exactly what they continue to provide. “Grab and Go” meals are prepared for pickup at lunchtime each day and are available for any child in the community, ages 1-18. The school district provided more than 2,400 meals in the first week alone.
Our Family Resource and Youth Service Centers continue to find ways to provide families the support they need to get by, including making deliveries from the district’s food pantries to those in need.
Our district’s librarians have been finding creative ways to keep students involved in the reading and creating opportunities they participate in while they’re at school.
A stellar example is Mrs. Ryan Elmore, librarian at Miles Elementary, who opened a Google classroom called “Library with Mrs. Elmore” In her “classroom,” she’s posted nearly 20 videos of Miles teachers and even the Mayor of Erlanger reading stories for children to enjoy. She’s shared links to celebrities and famous authors reading books and other resources such as Lunch Doodles with beloved children’s author Mo Willems. She’s even posted books read in American Sign Language and challenged students to learn 10 ALS words and send her videos of them introducing themselves in ASL.
To help keep kids creating, she’s added her own read-aloud videos that include crafts related to the book. In addition, she’s posted spring-related STEM challenges, which students are encouraged to complete, then share a video of their completed work. Once they share a photo or video of their completed work, they’re entered into a weekly raffle for free new books!
Special Education teachers Mr. Kristopher Berry and Ms. Katie Hils have worked along with Ms. Jen Berry, the district’s occupational therapist, to support students with occupational therapy needs.
Together, this team has assembled additional content that supplements each student’s academic work and continues their specially-designed instruction. They’re also using Google Hangouts to meet with students virtually in an extra effort to ensure they have the academic support they need.
These are unusual times, but like our school communities, the arts community has done a formidable job of sharing resources and providing support with creative ideas. Not all students have a plethora of art supplies at home, so Ms. Dana Smith, art teacher at Howell and Arnett Elementary, has shared these resources with her students and encouraged them to be resourceful in working with the (sometimes non-traditional!) materials they have around their house.
And, she’s been impressed with their creations, which range from drawings on the inside of cereal boxes to collections of natural materials from outside and items pieced together to create a new image.
“Art can be such a useful tool during this departure from normalcy to help stave off boredom and to express their feeling about what is happening in the world around them. I feel lucky to be able to connect to my students through their NTI art assignments and the photographs they send me, where they are smiling, and proud of the work they have created.”
Bartlett Educational Center's teachers and staff wanted to be sure their students knew how much they miss them!
In addition to his regular check-in on schoolwork and general well-being, Mr. Tony Montague is sending a daily “Montague Musing” to his Bartlett students to encourage them to communicate directly with him or the class as a whole about the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in.
“Our world has recently been turned upside down or at least given a good shake. Don’t let this moment in world history escape your notice. Pay attention. Think about everything that’s going on. What are your thoughts? What are your feelings? What are your questions? What are your predictions? These are all questions you should be asking yourself. And as you go on asking, or when you’re finished, type or write it all down. Years from now, you may be interested in reading about this crazy moment in your life and the life of the United States.”
Going into these days of non-traditional instruction, Mrs. Madison Trammel, wasn’t sure who would be helping her students (1st graders at Howell Elementary) with their work or even when they’d be completing it.
“I understand that some parents are still working and aren’t home with their students throughout the day. Some parents have multiple children, and it’s hard to help them all at the same time. So, I wanted to make sure I provided directions and some sort of explanation on how to complete the assignment,” Mrs. Trammel said.
She uses Class Dojo, a secure social sharing app geared toward classroom communication and connection, as her primary source of communication. On the classroom page, Mrs. Trammel posts a picture of that day’s schedule for both printed packet work and online assignments. She also publishes a photo or video for each task that day.
“Posting these examples and read aloud to the class story makes it easy for the parents to access the material at any time, and they can look at it or watch it as many times as they need to.”
Kindergarten teacher Ms. Ashley Cooke wanted to create a daily video to stay connected to her students’ families… but decided to do something a little more fun! She found My Talking Pet, a free app that uses a photo of a person, animal, or toy to make it look like they are talking. So, instead of listening to Ms. Cooke, they hear from her dogs, Tido and Milo!
“My kindergarten students are very familiar with my dogs because I’ve told them lots of funny stories about them,” Ms. Cooke said. “After the first pet video, a lot of parents wrote to tell me how much their child loved watching the daily updates because they were excited to see my dogs, and they made them laugh!”
Mrs. Lauren Stewart and Miss Jessica Holleman are keeping their work as routine as possible for their kindergartners at Howell Elementary.
Almost every student is connected to their classroom through the Class Dojo app, so they utilize that to stay connected through videos of themselves talking through each day’s “assignments,” links to relevant websites for the day’s activities, or daily calendar time. They also call a few students each day to check in on them and catch up on conversations they would typically have in the classroom.
“Our kiddos thrive on schedule and routine, and we figured the best way we could do that would be to continue giving work they would normally see in the classroom and model that work much as we would if we were still in school,” Mrs. Stewart said. “We have tried to maintain some normality for them during this time!”
At Lindeman Elementary, teachers are engaging students in a variety of ways, using Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Class Dojo, Facebook, Infinite Campus, and any other means possible to stay connected to families and students. The school has held two drive-through “pickup” opportunities, providing families a chance to obtain essential learning materials and share a bit of cheer while following social distance guidelines. As a bonus, the Erlanger Branch of the Kenton County Public Library was able to provide books to send home for students with their work packets, and best of all, students will get to keep the books!
Lindeman’s leaders and teachers have been firmly committed to ensuring spirits stay high through a number of fun events, including a virtual spirit week, lots of photo sharing, and even a community parade!
Mrs. Tiffany Gildea has a good description of this unprecedented teaching challenge that has come their way: they are taking off, then learning to fly. And Mrs. Gildea and Mrs. Danielle Braun, first-grade teachers at Miles Elementary, are certainly airborne.
Inspired by best practice and proven approaches and backed by supportive administrators, they developed learning packets for their little learners, which were sent home with families early in the learn-from-home experience. Because their first graders don’t typically rely on technology to complete daily tasks in the classroom, the teachers thought the packets would create a sense of continuity with the classroom experience.
Beyond the prepared work, they Mrs. Braun and Mrs. Gildea stay in touch with their students and families through Class Dojo, where they post daily videos of work instruction, storytime, and more.
“The support that we have from many of our parents is overwhelming, Mrs. Gildea added. “We are asking things from them that they have never had to do before, like taking and sending pictures of their child’s work, watching daily videos from us, and balancing work and school at home.”
Mrs. Braun summed up what so many are feeling right now, saying, “It’s definitely not the same, but we’re making it work.”
Ms. Stacey Cooper and Dr. Kim Asbrock are keeping their fifth graders engaged – academically and socially. Through daily videos, they provide academic support and give kudos to their students who do a great job completing work, whether it’s the regular assignment posted in Google Classroom, math problems on the website IXL, or analyzing historical documents for social studies assignments on Zoom-In.
The students are also participating in a book club, reading two chapters each week from River Between Us by Richard Peck. Some students are reading independently, others are reading with their family, and many enjoy listening to Dr. Asbrock read the book aloud on Flipgrid. Students then have an opportunity to respond to questions, which Dr. Asbrock reviews with the class, highlighting exemplary student answers.
And, they keep it personal. The teachers both share details about what’s going on in their lives, and they encourage peer interaction by encouraging students to comment and pose questions on pictures parents have shared of students completing various school activities.
Mr. Josh Jackson, principal at Miles Elementary, shared a fun video with his school families… and had an unexpected – but entertaining – response! Several students sent him joke videos in reply to the video he created.
Check out the video here… https://tinyurl.com/s4az5gd And if your child has a joke for Mr. Jackson, email him a video at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Tichenor Middle School has worked hard to keep learning alive, no matter a student’s access to technology.
Tichenor’s teachers are using Google Classroom to share assignments and activities, and many students are continuing their school year by following along online. For those students without reliable internet access, Tichenor created an initial learning packet a calendar of assignments for the time students are out of the classroom. The calendar provides flexible ideas for learning experiences in the expected areas, such as reading, writing, science, and math, but also encourages students to participate in art, phys ed, and even social-emotional learning.
Mr. Mac Cooley, Tichenor’s principal, is also providing prompts for students to push their creativity, including a challenge to create a self-portrait in any art medium or style, which yielded impressive submissions.
Tichenor's faculty and staff made a video to encourage their students and express how much they miss them.
Check it out!
Mr. Mike Key, principal at Lloyd High School, and his dedicated team of teachers and administrators are continually refining their processes to provide support as they gain more and more experience on ways to approach this unique educational environment.
Teachers are using three methods to check on student progress and ensure accountability for student participation, including Google Classroom, email communication, and phone calls. And, in typical Lloyd style, Lloyd’s teachers and administrators are going above and beyond to support and empower their students.
“We are checking on students daily and making contact with them,” said Mrs. Jen Glass, guidance counselor at Lloyd. “We are assisting with any situation that arises, from help with assignments to concerns about the current situation to meeting basic needs.”
Together with Mrs. Jen Bird, a fellow counselor, and Mrs. Maryann Moore, Youth Service Center coordinator, they shared a photo to be sure their students know just how much they care.
As always, our school district has been so fortunate to benefit from the generous support of dedicated community organizations.
The Freestore Foodbank provided Power Packs of food, which Lindeman Elementary and other district schools were able to distribute when families came to school to pick up work and supplies.
Similarly, 7 Hills Church assembled a drive-through for “Go Packs” of appealing food to help relieve some of the pressure families are feeling at this time. They went to appropriate steps to ensure the facility where they packed and cleaned the bags was cleaned and disinfected, and all volunteers were sanitized, gloved, and symptom-free.
Crayons to Computers recognized that as the landscape of COVID-19 continues to change, the need for school supplies has become more apparent. So, they delivered mixed pallets of 20 different school supplies, including pencils, pens, glue, and Clever Crazes workbooks to three schools in our district.
As always, the Kenton County Public Library has been a wonderful partner, providing books that students can not just take home – they can keep!
And officers from the Erlanger and Elsmere Police Departments have read books to children on Facebook.
In addition, the Erlanger Rotary Club, Go Pantry, and many other organizations have stepped up to support our students in big ways and in small. We are so grateful!
Schools celebrate Read Across America
Schools in our district did many fun and creative things to commemorate Read Across America Week, held in early March. Celebrated each year to coincide with Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Read Across America is an initiative of the National Education Association designed to develop children’s love of reading.
Miles Elementary held a door decorating contest, challenging each classroom to embellish their door based on a diversity book. Mayor Jessica Fette of Erlanger chose two winners – one from the upper elementary and one from the lower. Ms. Taylor’s 4th-grade class and Ms. Robinson’s kindergarten class were selected as the winners and enjoyed a pizza party celebration. All the doors were a spectacular celebration of reading!
At Arnett Elementary, the cafeteria staff went all to honor Dr. Seuss, decorating the cafeteria in red and white stripes like the iconic Cat in the Hat and preparing a delicious breakfast of green eggs and ham!
Lindeman holds Evening of the Arts
Lindeman Elementary School showcased a variety of impressive student talents at its Evening of the Arts. The celebratory evening featured a science fair, art show, and choral performance.
Mrs. Kelly Marshall organized the science fair, which included many insightful projects. Grace Stickrod was awarded first place for her project, “Go Bananas.” The art show featured a wide range of student pieces that displayed an incredible collection of effort and creativity. There were even Lego models on display, created by the school Lego club! The evening ended with a beautiful choral performance, directed by Mr. Michael Bishop.
What an excellent evening!
Howell and Arnett welcome new school resource officer
Howell and Arnett Elementary Schools recently welcomed a new resource officer to their school families. The transition came about when Officer Scott Nottingham took another position on the Elsmere Police Department, and Officer Travis Nunn filled the vacated spot.
Whether it’s monitoring the parking lot, covering lunch duty, coloring with a kindergartener, or sharing a game of hoops with a fifth-grader, Officer Nunn is settling in quite nicely.
Officer Nunn opens car doors during morning drop off, mentors students, plays games of basketball with students, eats lunch with them, and simply talks to them in their classrooms or around the school.
“The role of an SRO is a fine balance,” said Mrs. Amanda New, Arnett’s principal. “Presenting a warm, friendly face that students can trust while maintaining a high level of safety within the school isn’t an easy balance. And, sadly, many of our students have had negative experiences involving police officers. But Officer Nunn has shown initiative to be involved and goes out of his way to show he cares about our kids.”
Officer Nunn is building relationships with school staff as well. He has worked side by side with principals, school counselors, and other staff members in hard and challenging situations, including the loss of a student’s younger sibling.
“Officer Nunn has been continuously involved in finding ways to support the family by providing meals, financial support, and other details to help them wade through this very difficult time,” Mrs. New said.
“He has been a wonderful addition to our school and district family. I believe, when you see and experience good in your corner of the world, you should tell someone. I sure am glad Officer Nunn is in our corner.”
The Juggernauts track and field team closed out their indoor season at the state championship in March.
The boys’ team finished in third place and celebrates the following top performers:
2nd place in shot put
1st place in pole vault, 4th place in 55-meter hurdles, 5th place in triple jump
Hunter Belville, Lucas Cooley, Joey Weber, Lennon Stolz
3rd place in 4x800 relay
Jake Davidson, Joey Weber, Hunter Belville, Lennon Stolz
4th place in the 4x400 relay
6th place in long jump
6th place in pole vault, 7th place in 55-meter hurdles
4th place in Pole Vault
5th place in 3000-meter run
The girls finished 4th with the following top performers:
1st place in high jump, 8th place in triple jump
2nd place in pole vault, 5th place in high jump, 4th place in 55-meter hurdles
3rd place in pole vault
5th place in the 800-meter run, 7th place in 1600-meter run
Congratulations, Gabe and Jayla!
Congrats Gabe Vogelpohl and Jayla Labordeaux, who were named to the 34th District All-Tournament for their respective boys and girls basketball teams!
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