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Geneseo CUSD #228

Issue #8, November 2012

In the



Teacher and Administrator Survey Results: Walkthroughs and Evaluations The DLT would like to extend a huge “thank you” to all who participated in our recent walkthrough/evaluation survey. Here are some talking points we’d like to share after looking at the data:

up with a written response. To add to this, all teachers may wish to consider, if they haven’t already done so, creating an email folder for the apps and document all conversations. Of the 108 teachers polled, 52.9% have not responded to a walkthrough app, 38% responded either in person or by email, and 11% responded by both email and conversation. There were also three responders who shared they’ve not had a walkthrough this year. 4. It is still too soon to gather sufficient data showing that walkthroughs have made an impact on summative evaluations, but so far, feedback has been positive from administration and teachers. 5. Questions administrators have fielded from teachers in their buildings were mostly directed to when student performance will become part of their evaluations. At this time, it will be 2016. The SB7 Committee, along with the DLT action team for walkthroughs and evaluations will be attending some sessions through our local IEA office starting in December that will explore student growth and performance options. If anyone has any questions they would like to see in the next survey, please contact a DLT member or email:

1. An overwhelming number of those responding felt that posting daily objectives has created an awareness for students, teachers, and administrators. Staff overwhelmingly shared that walkthroughs should be a “snapshot” of the classroom resulting in many positives: discussions with administrators to confirm good teaching, assistance with areas of weakness, affirmation on a more consistent basis rather than just one time every two years, and also to generate dialogue among other teachers as it relates to best practices. 2. Providing a list of verbs to use when writing objectives was appreciated at some buildings. 3. Some walkthroughs are quick and often any feedback provided to the teacher is clear and concise. Several administrators stated they just like being in the classroom and often don’t complete an app but will have a quick conversation with the teacher. If a walkthrough comment on the app requires clarification, teachers should talk with the administrator and follow

In this issue… DLT Survey Results 1 District Updates for All 2-3 Building Shout-Outs! 4-6 Retiree / New Teacher Perspectives - Round 1 6–7 Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

In the LOOP

NEW GO MATH SERIES K-5 Teachers in grades K-5 in all elementary buildings are now fully implementing the new Go Math curriculum that is aligned with the Common Core Standards. These very challenging materials provide a deep exploration of mathematical concepts while increasing higher order thinking skills. “Math talk” is encouraged as students work individually and in small groups to solve problems. Students become actively engaged in their learning when they use the dryerase mats, manipulatives, and the Grab and Go center provided for each grade level. In addition to the Tier 1 materials, Go Math offers activities for Tier 2 support and a Tier 3 Intensive Intervention Pack. Many options for assessment, including lesson checks for understanding, midchapter reviews, chapter tests and beginning, mid-year and end of the year assessments, will help teachers tailor instruction to meet the needs of all learners. There is also an online component available for students and their families to access lesson support materials and reinforcing games and activities. All teachers seem to agree that meeting in grade level teams is and will continue to be an important part of transitioning to this new series. There is a lot of material to cover and creative ideas are already being shared as how to best get it all in. The road to success should only get smoother from here as teachers, students, and parents become familiar with this new series.

Issue #8, November 2012

GENESEO COMMUNITY DIALOGUES BEGIN On October 9th the Geneseo Community Unit School District hosted a community focus group and round table discussions. Parents, community members, and local business owners were invited to engage in conversation surrounding the following three topics: Talented and Gifted Programs, District Facility Needs, and High School Business Vocational Programs. These community discussions were the first rounds of a series of conversations and dialogues that will take place in the near future. One representative from DLT will be present at each of the meetings in the future, and for more detailed information, go to our blog, to read more about the first community dialogue. Why weren’t teachers asked to be a part of this yet? As a Board initiative, involving the community was the first step in their plan to gather feedback. There will be opportunities for teacher and staff involvement in the near future.

Watch for the Middle School perspective on math curriculum changes in our next edition!


In the LOOP

New Unit Office at a New Location! Over the summer, the Unit Office moved locations to 648 North Chicago Street. The new building allows everyone working there a better working space; there are many new offices, conference areas and better storage, as there is a full basement. The new building has better accommodations for both small and large group meetings. There is also much better use of technology for presentations. The Unit Office staff is very pleased with their new spacious building. If you have not had a chance to see the new location, stop by for a visit.

L.E.A.F.S. Nominees Since the beginning of the year, ten teachers have been recognized by fellow colleagues as LEAFS nominees. Congratulations to Deanna Bott, Alyson Anton, Michelle Schneden, Jen Monaco, Logan Hamilton, Deb Wagner, Jill Schauland, Jill DePauw, John Versluis, and Andrea Hogue. These teachers were credited for many reasons, including outstanding teaching, creating rap videos, incorporating new technology, and providing meals for new teachers, but most importantly, for offering extra time and guidance to our students. We are fortunate to have so many caring and giving staff in District #228. Please continue to nominate those individuals who go above and beyond in service to our students.

Issue #8, November 2012

ELEMENTARY TECH COACHES A new program was introduced this year at the elementary level. Bill Eaker and Stephanie Rickman are working as technology coaches. Technology coaches work collaboratively with teachers to plan lessons that incorporate technology into the curriculum. The position includes team teaching in the classroom, working on small group activities, and direct instruction of technology to the students. Some of the other responsibilities of the technology coaches include providing technology support, application research and implementation, and professional development opportunities for the teachers.

WELCOME TO OUR NEW DISTRICT SECURITY OFFICER Darren Jaros is the new School Security Officer for the district. Officer Jaros grew up in Port Byron Illinois and is a 1994 Graduate of Riverdale High School. After graduating high school he worked as a machinist and truck driver. Officer Jaros attended Black Hawk College and obtained his EMT-A License. He has worked in Law Enforcement for almost 10 years and have previously served as a Patrolman for the Galva Police Department and Chief of the Woodhull Police Department. In addition to his duties with the Geneseo Police Department he also works part time for the Atkinson and Annawan Police Departments. In his free time Officer Jaros enjoys walking and playing Frisbee with his dog, fly fishing, and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He replaces Offier Ray Cotty, who served our District for the last three years. Welcome to Darren and thank you for your service, Ray!

Let’s Express Acknowledgement For Success!


Building Shout-Outs!

In the LOOP

Issue #8, November 2012



Staff and students at Millikin initiated “Character Education” lessons during the 2011-12 school year. With a bit of tweaking, those multi-aged, group lessons have continued into this year. We have talked about Teamwork and Courage so far this year. We have also taken advantage of our new intercom system and are reading from the book Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness: Three Rules for a Happier Life each morning. Different staff members and students have taken turns reading a positive message to start each day. Students are recognized weekly for “bucket filling acts” as well.

In observance of September 11th students at Southwest Elementary School formed a man made American flag. Students lined up in the grassy area behind our school, held either red, white or blue strips of paper and made a beautiful flag. While Mrs. Kashner took our picture all students and staff said the Pledge of Allegiance.

The first graders at Millikin visited Tanner’s Orchard earlier this fall. It was a beautiful day and incredible learning experience for our first graders. Art students in fifth grade recently explored the color wheel while enjoying a sweet treat. Frosting in the primary colors was used to mix all 12 colors on the wheel.

Southwest Healthy Initiatives coordinator, Kelley DeBaene, has been busy this year organizing our Walk on Wednesday events. Each Wednesday students are encouraged to walk to school to promote exercising and living a healthier lifestyle. On Wednesday, October 3 students at Southwest participated in the National Walk to School Day. With parent permission students were dropped off at the city park and walked to school. For those who couldn’t be dropped off, students could walk around the playground on the walking school bus! We had nearly 300 students participate in this event! A big “thank you” to Pinks Bus Service, all the volunteers and our coordinator, Kelley, for making this event a huge success. Students and teachers rallied around our superhero, Carter Yackley, a first grade student in our building. In early September Carter underwent his 3rd open-heart surgery. We all welcomed him back to school on Tuesday, October 9th. Welcome back, Carter!

We send out our congratulations to Chrissy Dewey and her husband Andrew on the birth of their daughter Allie. Also, congratulations to Janelle Hickey, formerly Janelle Stoner, on her recent marriage to Scott.


In the LOOP

Issue #8, November 2012



High School ASAP Period


One change at GHS this year is the Academic Student Assistance Period (ASAP) time between third and fourth periods. ASAP is intended to help a variety of students in a variety of ways. The Learning Centers were created to help reinforce skills that are necessary in English, math, science, and foreign language classes. Besides teaching skills, the Learning Centers review current material and preview upcoming material so that the students have more and different exposures to the course curriculum and content. The ACT prep class has students spend eleven days in each of the four ACT test areas (English, reading, math, science) to help them better prepare for the high stakes ACT test this spring. The special education teachers use this time for working on different aspects of their IEP’s. The students work on skill building, homework assistance, transition planning, and more. If students are not in one of the ASAP programs they are in a Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) room.

Here are some observations shared by GHS teachers: •

My students used to grumble when they first had to leave SSR to come to my learning center for IEP transition work. However, I've had two students share with me that they actually understand their IEP so much better now and can articulate what their disability is and what they need to accommodate for it. I do not hear any grumbling from my students now that they see the value in what we are doing during ASAP. The students have responded in a very enthusiastic manner to the ACT Prep. The exit cards we have got back have been very positive. There are a lot of juniors who have indicated that the students plan on taking the ACT earlier. There are seniors who want to take part in this program before re-taking the ACT.

A young man that is in English 9 learning center usually struggles with some basic language arts skills, but the supports from the classroom teacher and the learning center have helped him achieve success on the quarter exam. The kids are reading from before the bell to the very end, and we are noticing that the students and the staff are reading just as constantly, and more. SSR has been very beneficial. Two students indicated that they had not finished a complete book since 6th grade and now they have finished a couple books. Many of the students in my ASAP are not in love with school. My true success during ASAP is the number of smiles that I have seen on student's faces while we work on deficit area material. I have tried to turn every ASAP into a competition amongst students to truly achieve more. Whether it is a mental math battle or reading comprehension show off, we are having fun in ASAP! I had some concerns about Learning Centers going into this. But many of my students have given me feedback and suggestions. This has led to more buy in on their part, and the learning center has given them more confidence.


In the LOOP

Issue #8, November 2012



Northside has had a wonderful addition to our building…no, not just sweet little Addison Kashner, but her dad, Alex Kashner. We are all settling in and Mr. Kashner and his wife Laura even spent the evening as guest speakers at our Reading Night this year along with retired teacher/principal, Mr. and Mrs. Bill and Dee Menendez. We had a wonderful turnout as children and their families listened to our guest speakers and enjoyed the book fair.

2013 GMS “On the Same Page”

Our 2nd annual STOMP was Friday, Oct. 19. The students walked around the high school track to raise awareness to stomp out bullying and to help raise funds for the circus to come to Northside this spring. We have been able to be a part of our community as Mrs. Ellen Nelson and her second graders read and play bingo monthly with the residents of extended care at Hammond Henry Hospital. This week they put on a play of their favorite storybook, Big Pumpkin.

After much success these past three years with Elephant Run, Savvy, and OneHanded Catch, the GMS “On the Same Page” (OSP) committee of students, staff, and community members have chosen A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park as the 2013 OSP book. As well as reading and integrating the book into classroom lessons and community forums, the OSP committee plans to raise money for Salva’s organization, Water for South Sudan. The OSP teacher committee will be meeting later this month to finalize plans. Watch this coming January for the official kick-off when distribution and book talks commence. The culminating activities will occur late March/early April. Please join OSP organizers in this community and school-wide literary event!

In both editions of In The Loop this year, look for perspectives from our retiring teachers and what they recall from their first teaching jobs compared to some current first-year teachers and their perspectives on year one in District #228! DLT would like to recognize those retiring at the end of the 2012-13 school year. Jan ZumMallen HS Physical Education Sally Eberhardt HS English Diane Olson MS English Janet Hintz NS Special Education Jack Schlindwein District Business Manager


In the LOOP

Issue #8, November 2012

My first few weeks of teaching have been going really well! I can't believe that it is already week 10! Where has the time gone? Some of my highs from this year would be the welcoming and supportive staff members here at Southwest Elementary. They have all been really helpful every step of the way. My group of students is awesome! I have twenty-three super second graders! I couldn't have asked for a better class to have as a first year teacher. I'm finally getting into a great routine, so planning is becoming second nature. With all the highs there has to be a low and my low is definitely being sick, again! I've been sick twice and this is only first quarter. Although, some may say this is also a high since I'm sure my immune system will be even stronger next year. These first few weeks as a first year teacher have been a whirlwind, but I've loved every minute of it! Danielle Kittl

SW – 2nd Grade Teacher

The highs and lows of our first days and weeks of teaching are always memorable--especially in 1979! The highs for me were: signing my first contract for $8,000.00, feeling pride in the achievements of my students, sharing the content of the subject I loved. The Lows: Grading. Grading. Grading. I wasn't prepared for the paper load and figuring grades with a pocket calculator! Sally Eberhardt GHS English Teacher The first quarter of teaching has been a challenge just like it was advertised to me. It is tough to learn the ins and outs of a school and keep up with lesson planning, however, it has been worth it. The help that I have received from everyone around the school has been incredible, including not only other teachers, but administrators, custodial staff, secretaries, and other support staff have helped to make me successful so far at Geneseo. But, I think my favorite part of teaching so far has been the interactions with the students. I enjoy learning what students are interested in and try to play off of those interests in my classroom with examples

that would pertain to their daily lives, and I think they appreciate me trying to make those connections. I look forward to the rest of the year and am happy to be a part of the GHS family. Matt Deets GHS Physics Teacher This first quarter of teaching has been amazing! I have had so many fantastic experiences that have made me love my job. One of the biggest challenges I have had so far this school year was adjusting to and learning all of the little day-to-day details of school-wide organization, such as how students are dismissed at the end of the day. An amazing moment for me thus far was the morning a student who was struggling came in early to say how excited he was that I had called home the night before to talk with his father about all of the things he was doing well. Seeing the excitement in his face has definitely been one of the best moments of the school year so far. The first quarter flew by for me and I am looking forward to the rest of the year! Callie West SW 5th Grade Teacher I started teaching in the fall of 1980 at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the Chicago suburbs. I didn’t interview for the position until 48 hours before I began coaching swimming. School started within days, so it was a whirlwind of activity! H-F had a very well-established curriculum for all units of instruction. While I developed my own lesson plans, quizzes and tests, I was grateful for the guidance of colleagues and the structure of great unit plans. I remember loving my students (they were only 5-8 years younger than me)! “Real” teaching was so much less stressful than student teaching! I felt like I had struck gold finding a physical education teaching position in such an awesome school system so close to home! Jan Zum Mallen

GHS PE Teacher


In The Loop {Issue 8} November, 2012  

Looking Out for Opportunities & Progress. A newsletter written by and for staff of District 228.

In The Loop {Issue 8} November, 2012  

Looking Out for Opportunities & Progress. A newsletter written by and for staff of District 228.