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Talk of the District is a place to share thoughts, comments, and observations with the Superintendent and our community.

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Parents, we want to connect with you.

date 06/15/2016 author ISD #318 category Communication comment Leave a comment

 

Once again, the summer is just flying by. Here we are, already halfway through July. As your thoughts turn towards the end of another summer and the beginning of another school year, we have an exciting new avenue of communication we want to share with you.

 

We realize how busy parents are today, but we also recognize that it’s important for you to stay in touch with what’s happening in your schools. That’s why we’ve introduced the Parent Connection, a new email newsletter just for ISD 318 parents. Every month we’ll bring you a summary of what’s happening in our schools. Just sign up for the Parent Connection, and you’ll receive the very first issue with the start of the new school year. After you sign up, be sure to check out our print newsletter too. You can always find the latest issue on our updated website. You’ll find a link to the newsletter right in the News & Information box in the middle of the page.

 

While you’re checking out the shiny, new website, be sure to take a look at out our News Around the District section too. We post all the latest news articles from technology updates to news about the summer learning academy to activities and achievements right on our website.

 

The Parent Connection and our website aren’t the only ways to stay up-to-date. Did you know that we’ve also developed a new Social Media Directory? When you visit the directory, you’ll find a listing of district, school, and activity social media pages. Just follow your favorites and you won’t miss another update.

 

We’re working hard to bring the information you need right to your inbox and mobile devices, because together we are teaching and learning for life to achieve excellence.

  

 

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Questions, comments, and observations can be shared by posting a comment below. Please note that there may be a short delay before your comment is public. Comments on this blog are subject to our Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy. Please see the Social Media Comment Policy for complete details.

 

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ISD 318 Schools are Safe and Supportive Schools

date 06/15/2016 author ISD #318 category Policy comment Leave a comment

The topic of bullying has been in the news and on all of our minds. With the passage of the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, Minnesota has shown its commitment to student education.

 

At ISD 318 we believe that a safe learning environment is crucial to highest student achievement.

 

Our goal is to provide a safe and positive experience for all children, and an anti-bullying policy is one facet of that policy. ISD 318 has never tolerated bullying, and with the focus on the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, we wanted to take the time to share our policy with you.

 

The biggest change with new legislation is the definition of bullying. The definition can be broken into four parts.

  1. Bullying is intimidating, threatening, abusive, or hurtful conduct

  2. It is objectively offensive and

  3. The conduct involves an imbalance of power and is repeated or

  4. The conduct material and substantially interferes with a student’s education or ability to participate in school activities.

 

Bullying falls into two categories:

  1. Bad behavior that involves an imbalance of power and patter, or

  2. Bad behavior that significantly affects a student’s ability to participate in school, classes, or events.*

 

This makes it easy for all of us to identify bullying and make a difference in our schools. However, it should be noted that there is a difference between bullying behavior and behavior that is simply rude or mean. Singe Whitson, a national educator on bullying, wrote an insightful article about recognizing the difference between the behaviors and the importance of classifying them.

 

In ISD 318, all students will receive information on our anti-bullying policies in their Student Handbooks. Students will also receive education on identifying bullying, and problem solving and social skills will be modeled for all students. District 318 students are encouraged to stand up for each other and to report any instance of bullying. Our bullying prohibition policy is also posted in every classroom.

 

Parents, we encourage you to get involved too. If you suspect your child is bullying or being bullied, talk to them and to your child’s teacher or principal. If you believe that your child is engaging in acts of bullying, make it clear that you will not tolerate that behavior. Talk about how it might feel to be bullied.

 

If your child is being bullied, teach them to say, “Stop,” and find an adult. Help them to be assertive. In both cases, emphasize your child’s good qualities. They don’t need to bully or be bullied. Encourage your child to stand up for others who are being bullied and to report any acts of bullying that they witness. You can teach your child to be a superhero to others.

 

We will continue to make information available on the Bullying section of our website. Updates to the policy will also be posted on our website in the Policy Manual after they have been approved by the School Board.

 

*This summary was provided by the Minnesota School Boards Association (www.mnmsba.org).

 

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Questions, comments, and observations can be shared by posting a comment below. Please note that there may be a short delay before your comment is public. Comments on this blog are subject to our Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy. Please see the Social Media Comment Policy for complete details.

 

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Thank you to ALL of our hardworking staff!

date 06/15/2016 author ISD #318 category In Our Schools comment Leave a comment

Here we are. Another school year completed. Another glorious northern Minnesota summer is upon us. Before we move on to thoughts of summer and dash off to the lake and the woods, let’s take a moment to recognize the hard work of our staff throughout this past year.

 

We like to think that we have some of the most dedicated employees around and we applaud them for all they do.

 

We also want to recognized the staff who reached a milestone of 25 years of service this year! Quite an accomplishment, we’d say. Those staff members include:

 

Anne Bulkas

Suzan Drobnick

Jerold Meininger

Robert Metzer

Kathy Miller

Polly Podpeskar

Lyn Rajala

   
 

We have a number of employees that we’ll be saying wishing good luck to this year as they move on to retirement. These employees reached the end of their service during the 2013-2014 School Year. Congratulations to:

    

Carol Arola

Michael Bakke

Yvonne Bolster

Annella Collier

Ellen Edvenson

Randy Erickson

Jil Fideldy

Frank Ferraro

Harvey Frisco

Jennifer Fulton

Ralph Hanggi

Cindy Hietala

Connie Kotonias

Lora Mathison

Eileen Menefee

Sharon Oja

Kathy Overend

Sharon Peters

Diane Pierce

Joe Silko

Janet Sparen

Bruce Verke

   
 

We are so proud to be a part of the careers of these employees (and all our staff)! Thanks again to all the hardworking staff, volunteers, and parents that helped to make this such a wonderful school year.
 

 

*****

 

Questions, comments, and observations can be shared by posting a comment below. Please note that there may be a short delay before your comment is public. Comments on this blog are subject to our Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy. Please see the Social Media Comment Policy for complete details.

 

Stay up to date on the Talk of the District by subscribing to the blog. New posts appear twice a month.

 

Like the District on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ISD318

Follow the District on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ISD_318

Watch us on YouTube: ISD 318 Schools

 

Why we love Reading Corps too!

date 06/15/2016 author ISD #318 category In Our Schools comment Leave a comment

Did you know that Minnesota is home to the nation’s largest AmeriCorps program? The work done by these AmeriCorps members contributes daily to the success of our state. From conserving Minnesota’s natural resources to empowering community members to ensuring that every child in Minnesota is a successful reader by third grade, to name just a few important programs.

 

Minnesota Reading Corps and ISD 318 are looking for people like you. Dedicated people interested in making their community a better place. This year there are Reading Corps Tutors who will be serving all of the elementary schools in our district. More than a volunteer, these tutors receiving training on literacy interventions and make a difference in a child’s life by guiding struggling students toward becoming successful readers. Besides the knowledge of being a positive influence on on a child's life, tutors receive a living stipend, an education award of up to $5,645, and professional development opportunities.

 

But why Reading Corps? “It helps you learn to make your brain smarter.”
 

 

 

Let’s bring that impact home to Bigfork and Grand Rapids Schools. Meet some amazing kids and know that you’re making a difference to our community, to our schools, and in yourself. Just like our community, Reading Corps volunteers are made up of all kinds of people from all walks of life.
 

Apply to become a Reading Corps tutor today.

Technology and iPads in the classroom

date 06/15/2016 author ISD #318 category Technology comment (2) comment(s)

As the school year starts to wind down here at ISD 318, thoughts are naturally turning to summer. Beyond summer, though, is the promise of a fresh and exciting new school year ahead of us. The 2014-2015 School Year also means the implementation of 1:1 devices in our district.

 

There’s been a lot of talk about 1:1 

devices and the 1:1 Initiative. Let’s start by defining just what the 1:1 Initiative is. This initiative will place mobile technology in the hands of every student in ISD 318 in grades 2 through 12. For grades 2 to 4, this means a classroom set, but for grades 5 through 12, it means mobile technology that they are able to take home. So then, what do we mean with the word device? The device is any tablet or mobile computer that kids can use to learn both inside and outside the classroom. For now, device means iPad, but as technology becomes more powerful, the type of tablet may change.

 

Forget changing the technology, just the incorporation of iPads may seem like a drastic change in teaching and learning to some people. We recognize that for some of us adults, using the iPad as a learning device does seem quite futuristic. However, many kids in our schools have already had access to these iPads or similar tablets and are using them for learning, for communicating, and of course, for entertainment.

 

We are pleased to be able to bring this technology to our students. Allowing children access to and use of iPads will greater prepare them for life after high school, a life increasingly  requires comfort with different forms of technology,whether in college or work. We’re giving all students a “leg up.” This technology won’t replace teachers or textbooks. Our purpose is to enhance learning, to give children in our district every tool they need to succeed.

 

How will it help them succeed? 7th grade students at Robert J Elkington Middle School are happy to tell you how it will make learning better for them. You can see the presentation they created about iPads below. This video about iPads was actually created on an iPad.

By no means are we pioneering digital learning in schools. Before and during the implementation phase, we have been closely examining the work of other districts for a best practices model. Schools that have been extremely successful in the utilization of mobile technology include the Spring Lake Park and Minnetonka districts. You can also find a list of other schools innovating with iPads on the District Technology Plan page of our website, which is found under the Teaching & Learning tab. Perhaps one of the most exciting things learned comes from a study done by Hove Park School in England. They found that before use of the iPads only 4.7% of students enjoyed the lessons, but after implementation of the technology, 47.8% reported finding the lessons enjoyable with iPads.

 

We firmly believe that these iPads will support our goal of highest student achievement. We invite you to learn more about the iPad rollout by visiting the FAQ page under the Technology Plan page of our website or attending one of our parent meetings. Information sessions will be held next week at RJE Middle School on May 19, 20, 21, and 22, all at 9:15 am. There is also an afternoon session on May 19 at 4:00 pm at RJE Middle School. Like us on Facebook to have additional meeting times delivered right to your newsfeed. Additional meetings will also be listed on our website at www.isd318.org.

 

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Questions, comments, and observations can be shared by posting a comment below. Please note that there may be a short delay before your comment is public. Comments on this blog are subject to our Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy. A complete description of our comment policy is available here.

 

Stay up to date on the Talk of the District by subscribing to the blog. New posts appear twice a month.

 

Like the District on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ISD318

Follow the District on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ISD_318

Watch us on YouTube: ISD 318 Schools