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Connected Parents

Enjoying family style lunch at the Amazing Race

AUGUST 13, 2012

Amazing Race a fantastic success............

Year Begins with Lunch and Team Building On August 13, 2012 66 students at the School of Inquiry took part in the Amazing Race Student Orientation. Students first were served lunch family style in the cafeteria by the facilitators of the School of Inquiry.

Save the date

9/12/12 6-8 pm

After lunch, students were broken down into groups of 4 and then given a clue that would take them to 1 of 4 challenges around the building. The Toxic River, Read and Assemble, Dress the Part, and Top Chef. At each challenge students were required to utilize different skills and rely on their teammates to complete a task prior to receiving their final clue. The day ended at the

temporary home of the school with a discussion of what was learned by the students about working as a team.

Inside news: Grading at Inquiry The Echo System Director’s Dialgue Facility Update Upcoming Events

Parent Teacher Conferences

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School of Inquiry Students spotting strengths in their peers.....awesome experience!

Grading at the School of Inquiry Several parents have inquired about how the grading system works at the School of Inquiry. We are currently planning a workshop experience for parents who have questions to be held during Parent Teacher Conferences, but I wanted to take a moment and explain how grading is different at a New Tech Network School as compared to a traditional school. In a New Tech School students receive grades not only for course content, but also for their achievements in School Wide Learning Outcomes (SWLO). At the School of Inquiry these SWLOs are Written Communication,

The Echo System Echo is the student management system of the New Tech Network and the School of Inquiry. Below find information about logging on and features you can utilize.

Oral Communication, Problem Solving and Critical Thinking, Work Ethic, and Collaboration. For each culminating product students complete in the School of Inquiry they will be assessed not only on their content knowledge, but also on at least 1 of these SWLOs. The reason for doing this is that New Tech Schools are designed to not only provide students with content that covers the required standards for a course, but also to develop the 21st Century Skills that are so vital for future success. The combining of content and measurements of these skills gives a much broader and accurate assessment of student abilities than content alone.

Logging In: To log in to Echo go to Once their utilize the user name you used on your student’s application to the School of Inquiry. The default password is psoiecho, once you log in you can change your password to your preferred password. Kudos Kudos are utilized by the staff at the School of Inquiry to recognize student accomplishments. They can be given by staff to students or students to students. When your student receives one, you should receive an email notifying you of this. Course Tab On the main screen of Echo, after logging in, you will find the Course Tab. Clicking on this tab will allow you to see your student’s courses, and within each course see the daily agenda for that course. This will help you keep track of what is happening in class, when projects are do, and hopefully give you some good conversation starters for when your student returns home. Grade Tab The Grade Tab is also located on the Home screen after logging in to Echo. Until grades are reported by the school, all grades are kept in Echo by our staff. At the end of the grading period a letter grade will be transferred to PowerSchool to be placed on report cards. Inside the Grade Tab you can find your student’s overall grade for each course, the breakdown of each SWLO’s grade, and grades for specific assignments.

Building Students is a lot Like Building a School This is a reworking of a post from my blog ( from August, 26, 2012. As I thought about how to sum up the first few weeks of the School of Inquiry this analogy came to mind. In some ways this year is going to be like watching our new home being built. There will be

Director’s Dialogue

times when we see incredible changes in a few short days-in 1 week we have gone from an empty shell with an elevator shaft to having the atrium cut out and steel being put over the first floor to times when it will seem as if nothing much is being done to move the ball forward that is visible, but incredible work will be getting done in ways we don't see-putting in electrical and floor boxes, wiring for technology, creating the HVAC and other mechanical areas-that are just as important as the flashy stuff we can ew (sp?) and ah over. Recently I read a blog post by Cale Birk via Connected Principals titled “Eliminate Failure with Flow.  In it he speaks of the “flow zone”.  That place where new challenges are at the appropriate level of challenge.  Where learners are supported as they reach beyond what they think they can do and go further than they had ever dreamed.  It is the place where tasks are not easy, but are not overwhelming.  Finding this flow zone for our students, at all the various levels of expertise they have, will be one of our greatest challenges.  Much like building a school, we need to put the proper supports and infrastructure in place. At times it will seem like momentous change is occurring every minute, and at others it will seem as if nothing new has happened for weeks, but each day we will move closer to our ultimate goal. Whenever you begin to try something new  you are going to have those  moments of sure bliss, when everything is working and all seems right with the world.  Those moments when you say, "why I have I not been doing this all along".  You are also going to have those moments when you want to say, "why did I ever agree to try this.  What was I thinking!"  With either comment, I want my staff, and myself to focus on what is working, what needs improving, and most importantly to not lose sight of our ultimate goal, creating a great learning environment for students to excel in.

Construction Continues at Inquiry’s Permanent Home

Upcoming Events Parents: Parent Partner Meeting: September 12 5:15-6:00 PM All Parents Welcome Discuss Fall Fundraiser for School of Inquiry Discuss Parent Panel for LJHS PT Conferences Parent Teacher Conferences: September 12 6-8 PM Tour School of Inquiry Temporary Home Meet with Teachers Workshop on Grading 6-6:30 PM in room 109

School of Inquiry Facility Renovations continue at the School of Inquiry for the Spring of 2013. The girders have been placed for the 2nd floor, and the construction crews are getting ready to pour the cement that will be the flooring for the second floor. In the pictured above are workers putting brick to the elevator shaft and a view from the south end looking into the school.

Facility Renovation

The School of Inquiry donation booklet is available online. If you would like a hard copy to select an item to sponsor, please contact Mr. Daniel Tyree at or (574) 936-3115.

Speaking of the new facility, over the past month we have received donations totaling $31,350 from Barton, Coe Vilamaa Architects, Coca Cola Bottling, Drive Smart for your School, Oliver Ford, and Pioneer Seed. These donations bring our total fundraising efforts to $447,350 from grants and private donations. Creating a 21st century learning environment and training staff to prepare your students for success in the future requires a multitude of community resources. Investing in our community’s future can be accomplished through partnering with the School of Inquiry in a number of ways. The smart use of technology supports our innovative approach to instruction and culture. With access to Web-enabled computers and the latest in collaborative learning technology, every student becomes a self-directed learner who no longer needs to rely primarily on teachers or textbooks for knowledge and direction. Individuals, organizations, and groups may partner with us by sponsoring an item in our donation booklet, which can be found online.

School of Inquiry September Newsletter  
School of Inquiry September Newsletter  

Newsletter from the School of Inquiry