Educate to Excel Prepare to Compete Inspire to Serve Challenge to Lead
The State of Your Schools Annual Report 2012-2013
Table of Contents
District Leadership . . .
Superintendent’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Strategic Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Quality Teaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-6 Safety Efficiency and Effectiveness . . . . . . . 7-8 Strong Partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Your Neighborhood Schools . . . . . . . . . . .10-15 Student and Staff Success. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Building Leaders Scottsbluff Senior High • 635-6230 Mike Halley, Principal Matt Huck, Assistant Principal Justin Shaddick, Assistant Principal Dave Pauli, AP/Activities Director Bluffs Middle School • 635-6270 Dr. Andrew Dick, Principal Bert Wright, Assistant Principal Lincoln Heights Elementary • 635-6252 Jodi Benson, Principal Longfellow Elementary • 635-6262 Jana Mason, Principal Roosevelt Elementary • 635-6259 Galen Nighswonger, Principal Westmoor Elementary • 635-6255 Charlotte Browning, Principal
2012-2013 Board Of Education
Bob Kinsey - President, Paul Snyder - Vice President, Mark Lang, Ruth Kozal, John Selzer, Terry Gilliland
Thank You Kim Magana for your years of service to the SBPS Board of Education. Welcome new board member Terry Gilliland.
The Scottsbluff Public Schools’ Board of Education consists of six highly dedicated community members who donate significant time and energy for the sake of students and a quality educational program. These positions are uncompensated and require a lot of work beyond the monthly meetings that the public sees. Board members have ongoing conversations with their constituents about what is on others’ minds as well as soliciting input on upcoming decisions. They stay current on educational literature, relevant news events and the reams of performance data and communications that board service requires. They attend local and regional seminars and conferences to remain informed and respond to media questions and requests for interviews. They represent all walks of life in our community and do all they can to champion the needs of children and help to lead a strong, responsive educational system.
School Board Recognition week is January 20-26. Call a School Board Member and say “Thank You”!
2012-2013 Central Administration
Lake Minatare Elementary • 783-1134 Karen Johnson, Principal SBPS Bear Cub Preschool • 635-6293 Karen Johnson, Principal This publication was produced by Scottsbluff Public Schools. For more information, contact Melissa Price, Communications Production Specialist at 308-6356200 or email@example.com. Photos by Melissa Price, SHS Journalism Department, BMS Photography Club and SHS and BMS Activity Sponsors.
Rick Myles Superintendent
Wendy Kemling-Horner Director of Student Services
Mike Mason Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Lavon Hood Director of Finance
Superintendent’s Message numbers tell a good story, but only if they continue to grow. More and more of our students are being successful, but too many of them still are not. Those ugly stereotypes are still tragically prophetic for some. And some of our kids come in with so much stacked against them in their lives that learning in school has to compete with too many other challenges to get much attention. Our work needs to be about every one of them.
Superintendent Rick Myles The theme of this year’s annual report is Steps to Success. Consistent with an old minister’s words of more than a century ago, this publication will emphasize the “success” earned through the many determined “steps” of our students and staff. “It is not enough to stare up the steps,” he said. “We must step up the stairs!” And this past year, our staff and students certainly did step up! Embarrassed by past results that we were not proud to share, our staff and students took some determined steps together to take care of business and, in the words of another minister of sorts, “Get ‘er done!” Dramatic increases in our graduation rate and in State testing results have confirmed that what we do as parents and educators really does make a huge difference for our kids. An all too common tendency to buy into stereotypes and make assumptions about children’s potentials based on ethnicity or gender or poverty or disability is starting to recede, as one student at a time, able young readers, mathematicians and scientists are taking their own steps to success and proving otherwise. This annual report is a compilation of some of those results and some stories along the way. You will have a chance to read about some of our goals – with some long term plans and dreams thrown in, too. But what it all should mean to you as a parent or grandparent or to any of you who has a child somewhere in our schools that you love, is that this is a school district that cares very much about that child, too. And as a tax payer, I hope it also tells you that your money is being thoughtfully managed with transparency and accountability. And as a citizen, I hope it gives you just a bit more hope for our future because there are some pretty amazing kids coming up to lead the way some day. Our school staffs are doing fantastic work! They bring a determined focus and caring attitude with them every single day. But we still have a long way to go. The
Finally, a concluding thought about safety - as we look at the world around us and are too often reminded of the fragility and vulnerability in our lives. SBPS has implemented many policies and procedures intended to keep children safe. Our guarantee – the best that we can make - is that we will continue to prioritize the essential importance of being prepared and that we will be ready to respond should the unthinkable ever occur. A portion of this publication touches on some of our work and we are continually evaluating and implementing additional precautions and safeguards. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished in this area and do see our school district, in many ways, as a model - in part because we continue to work to get better all the time. In this area, as in all others, we welcome your ideas and questions. I continue to be honored to serve this school district as your superintendent and I thank all of you who play a role in the supporting those successful steps of our children. In a town like ours, theirs is a journey in which we all must share.
Success for All Students
of last year’s senior class took at least one college class while in high school.
16 in 10 National Merit Scholars and Finalists in the past ten years at Scottsbluff High School
Our Strategic Plan
GOAL: Increase Student Achievement Quality Teaching and Instructional Programming • • • • • • • •
Aligned Curriculum Effective Classroom Strategies Advanced Placement, Vocational, and Dual Credit Opportunities SHS CHOICES Program Improved Staff Evaluation System Effective Interventions AdvancED Review Common Assessments
Safety, Efficiency and Effectiveness • • • • • • •
Site-based budgeting Sound fiscal management Internal Controls Threat Assessment and Crisis Management Comprehensive Facility Assessment Quality Food Service Safe and efficient Transportation
Strong Relationships and Equitable Schools • • • • • • • • •
Participative Decision Making Collection of Survey Data Effective Communications Diverse Staff Equitable Participation/Achievement PAWS Support Program Early Childhood Education Parent Education and Involvement Bullying Awareness
View the detailed plan at www.sbps.net/ strategicplan
Quality Teaching and Instructional Programming
To help accomplish the district goal of increasing student achievement and ensuring student success, Scottsbluff Public Schools provides focused instructional programs, high expectations, and accountability. District staff members strive to deliver a rigorous curriculum equitably across the district to ensure all students have an equal opportunity to receive the same rigorous level of learning. Quality instructional materials and the necessary resources are provided to help our students achieve the learning goals and create effective classroom learning environments. Scottsbluff Public School teachers are supported at the building and district level to align curriculum, instruction and assessments with state and national standards. Our district curriculum and learning guides in the areas of reading/language arts, math and science are continually being reviewed and revised to meet the needs of our students, as well as to ensure that it is consistent with the Nebraska Standards. The results of district common assessments, state tests, and standardized tests, are analyzed at the district and building levels to ensure our students are being provided the instruction and learning opportunities needed to be successful. Student performance is disaggregated based upon subgroups such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, and special needs. District staff members meet in grade level groups, or professional learning communities, as well as in curricular areas, to ensure that students are receiving the necessary instruction and intervention to be successful. Results of test items and indicators are reviewed to determine whether an instructional strategy, approach, or content area should be emphasized to improve student achievement. District School Improvement. In the 2012-2013 school year, the Scottsbluff Public School District continued the process of AdvancEd Accreditation. This process expands our school improvement efforts and provides for collaborative participation across our district. Professional Development Ongoing professional development and training based on best practices are integral to the District’s Strategic Plan and the goal of increasing student achievement. Certified staff members have the opportunity to attend a variety of opportunities for professional growth throughout the school year. During the 2012-2013 school year, a professional development component was added for classified staff members.
Significant Trends in Student Achievement
MORE STUDENTS graduated in 2012 compared to 2011. (Based on a four year cohort graduation rate of 85.78% up from 72.73% the year before.)
97.8% of last year’s fourth graders met or exceeded NeSA Writing Standards
Summer School As part of our district strategic plan goal of ensuring all students are making progress in their education, the Scottsbluff Public School District offered Summer School at each attendance center in the district. At the elementary and middle level the focus was on reading and math instruction. At the high school level a wide variety of credit recovery opportunities were provided to help students meet their graduation requirements.
Want to know more about what your student is learning about in Math, Science or Language Arts? Visit www. sbps.net/curriculum to view Learning Guides for each grade level and content area.
8.7% This Lincoln Heights Elementary Classroom was transformed into “Camp Learn-A-Lot” for Summer School.
MORE STUDENTS are meeting or exceeding NeSA math standards compared to the previous school year.
Quality Teaching and Instructional Programming
2012 State of the Schools Report Scottsbluff Public Schools showed significant growth and improvement in our NeSA test results and graduation rate in Spring of 2012. These results confirm the hard work and focused efforts of the district. The graduation rate of Scottsbluff Public School students increased from 72.7% in 2011 to 85.8% in 2012. This has been a primary goal of SBPS and represents a significant improvement in what we view as a most critical measure of student achievement. 2012 Cohort Four-Year Graduation Rate Year
Scottsbluff reading and math scores continued the trend of steady, significant annual increases.
of SHS 11th grade students tested proficient in at least one area of the NeSA Assessment
With NeSA tests relatively new to our State, these are the only two tests that have been in place with a consistent format for more than one year. Reading scores have increased over its three year history from 65% of all students meeting or exceeding standards in 2009-10 to 71.65% in 2011-12 and Math is up over its two years from 48.2% in 2010-11 to 56.9% of our students meeting or exceeding standards last year. Nebraska State Accountability: Scottsbluff NeSA Scores Percent Proficient: Meets/Exceeds Combined Combined Results for All Grades Tested Reading
Assessment Mondo Bookshop
Scottsbluff students’ writing performance (tested at grades 4, 8 and 11) shows strength at all levels. In 2012, 97.8% of fourth graders in SPBS met or exceeded writing standards with a new writing curriculum initiated for them. These scores increased from 73.6% two years ago to 85.7% in 2009-10. At grade 8, BMS students performed at the 35th highest level in the State at 83.5% proficiency and two-thirds of SHS 11th graders (66.5%) met or exceeded writing standards. Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) - Writing Grade 4 All students Overall Performance Percentages for All Students Meeting or Exceeding Standards Grade 04 2007-2008
ASVAB TerraNova Statewide Writing EXPLORE EXPLORE
Date September January May November
TargetAudience Grades1,2,3,4,5 GradesK,1,2,3,4,5 GradesK,1,2,3,4,5 Grade11
November Grade3 JanuaryFebruary Grade4,8,11
District StateReporting,District StateReporting,District
December March March March April
April April April
StateReporting(AYP), District StateReporting(AYP), District HALIdentification CollegeCredit;District
COMPASS (Optional) STARSSocial Studies
PLAN ACT NeSAͲReading
NeSAͲScience NeSAͲMath InView
Quality Teaching and Instructional Programming
Questions About Your Child’s Development? Does your child have trouble learning, speaking, hearing, seeing, walking or taking part in activities with other children? Or are you concerned about your child’s physical condition, learning or development in other areas? Scottsbluff Public Schools seeks to locate and identify all children who may have an educational disability. Any person may refer a child between the ages of birth and 21 years (who has not yet earned a regular high school diploma) for evaluation. The ‘Child Find’ requirements also apply to highly mobile children, homeless children, home schooled children, and children who are suspected of having an educational disability even though they are advancing from grade to grade. Referrals may be initiated by contacting the Director of Student Services for Scottsbluff Public Schools (635-6200). For school-age students, building principals or classroom teachers may be contacted to initiate a referral for special services. Students enrolled in any private school within the geographical boundaries of Scottsbluff Public Schools may also be referred to the Scottsbluff Public Schools regardless of where they reside. Students who attend private schools outside the geographical boundaries of Scottsbluff should contact the district in which the private school is located in order to make a referral for a special services evaluation.
PAWS - Pride and Attitudes With Style The Pride and Attitudes With Style (PAWS) program is an intensive behavior program for those students whose behavior is the primary disruption to their learning. The program’s main goal is to help the students build the skills necessary to be successful to be transitioned back into the general education classroom. Stationed at Lincoln Heights Elementary, the program serves K-5 students across the district. PAWS programming includes a strong emphasis on the development of social and emotional skills which are taught daily. These skills are based on research-based behavioral and cognitive theories of intervention. Academic needs are met through instruction planned in conjunction with the home school and designed to fit the student’s individual instructional needs. Students’ progress is monitored through a data collection system with students receiving a daily progress report indicating desired behaviors. Students graph their progress every day and a report is sent home and returned with a parent’s signature. The collection of this data determines targeted behaviors for the student to meet in order to transition back into the general education classroom with the necessary supports to ensure success. Parent involvement is a necessary component of the program. Communication with parents is encouraged through home/school reports, emails, phone calls and/or personal conferences. Parents are offered training and activities on a regular basis including a monthly family night where students and their families gather and participate in a fun engaging activity together. Students attending PAWS are part of the Lincoln Heights student body and participate in various activities such as assemblies, lunch, recess and field trips.
Bluffs Middle School to be Designated a “No Place for Hate” School The No Place for Hate Designation is a program of the Anti-Defamation League designed to provide a model for combating intolerance, bullying and hatred, leading to long-term solutions to these problems in schools. This spring, students at Bluffs Middle School will receive their official “No Place for Hate” designation by the Omaha chapter of the Anti-Defamation League at an all-school assembly. In order to receive the designation, schools must do the following: 1. Form a committee to oversee anti-bias activities at your school 2. Sign the “Resolution of Respect” 3. Choose and complete within the school year three or more activities that celebrate diversity and promote respect At Bluffs Middle School students have participated in many activities that promote respect and discourage bullying. Led by the BMS Student Council, students participate in an annual Unity Day where students wear Orange as a way to unite against bullying. Students who wear Orange have their names entered into a drawing to win prizes. Homeroom classes participated in an Anti-Bullying Slogan Contest with the winning slogans being featured in posters throughout the schools. Thanks to the generosity of Jim and Ruth Kozal and AJ and Kim Magana, all students were able to attend a special showing of the movie “Bully” at the Midwest Theater. Nebraska State Trooper Chuck Elley presented to all students on texting and online safety. Students have also seen two motivational speakers Laymon Hicks and Milton “Bigg Milt” Creagh whose messages to students were to make the right choices, respect themselves and others and always try hard at everything in life. Thank you to the Nebraska Anti-Defamation League and the Scottsbluff Elks Lodge for helping to fund these speakers. Students from BMS attended a Cyber Ally training by members of the Omaha Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League. This interactive training program provides practical information and opportunities for skill-building that will support students in developing personal strategies for protecting themselves against cyberbullying as well as acting as cyberallies—preventing and taking action against cyberbullying and social cruelty in online forums. Additional activities at Bluffs Middle School include “No Place for Hate” lessons with class pledges, “Tolerance of Differences” activities, a Circle of Friends weekly lunch group, and a Student Council T-shirt fundraiser BMS students wear orange to celebrate to fund these activities at Unity Day as a way to unite against bulBMS.
Safety, Efficiency and Effectiveness
Safety is Always a Priority at Scottsbluff Public Schools The critical importance of school safety outweighs all other priorities for Scottsbluff Public Schools. Parents must be able to send their children off to school each day with confidence that they will return “safe and sound” to them each afternoon. Many initiatives and enhancements are in place and in process as we examine safety components of our school district’s safety and security planning. The following are some of the most significant: •
• • • •
• • • • • • •
Standardized Emergency Response - Training and implementation of an action-based emergency response protocol (SRP) in all of our schools so students and staff know what to do in all emergencies. • These procedures were developed by John Michael Keyes and his “I Love U Guys” Foundation after the loss of John’s daughter, Emily, in a school shooting at Platte Canyon High School in 2006. • All district employees have been trained with new employees trained annually and a community presentation was held. • All schools conduct drills in lockdown, lockout, evacuate and shelter in place. • Training and co-planning have occurred with Scottsbluff Police Department and, along with the City, we have presented on this collaboration to other officials throughout the State. • The SRP is also being used in schools throughout the country. Two Campus Supervisors (Security) Personnel at Scottsbluff High School support the presence of our full-time Scottsbluff Police Department Resource Officer. New cameras have been installed at elementary schools to record traffic in and out of main doors in addition to those already in place at SHS and BMS. A districtwide hand radio system has been established utilizing the latest technology to support effective emergency communication between the 911 Center and SPD and all district schools. Emergency “Go-Bags” have been assembled for all schools to support safe evacuations. Kits include items such as school maps and floor plans, first aid supplies, critical records and other helpful items that might be needed by students, staff and emergency responders (and are often otherwise forgotten). Continued districtwide CPR, AED and First Aid Training are planned for all staff. Building and District Emergency Response Teams (BERT’s and DERT) including all individuals’ roles and responsibilities are developed and updated districtwide. Specific reunification plans are established at all schools to efficiently and safely reunite students and parents after an emergency. All school buses have GPS and updated cameras and video/sound recording devices. Clear student and adult threat assessment protocols are in place to determine appropriate response. A 24-hour phone and web based reporting system, TIPS Prevent Hotline, is in place for anyone to anonymously report any “non-911” concern about a threat or other potential danger at any of our schools or involving any of our students. All buildings are now protected by electronic, alarmed key-pad access and, as needed, motion detectors to ensure that nobody enters any school when it is closed. Connectivity with 911 Communications is being finalized at all sites.
Additionally, all schools are “one-entrance” only and all other doors are locked during the school day. Visitors are required to sign in through the main office. Electronic panels now confirm that doors are secured and staff may only enter the school using personalized, programmed access cards during designated times. Ongoing consultation occurs with national experts regarding school safety and a number of trainings and presentations have included district staff and Scottsbluff Police Department learning and planning together. For more information visit www.sbps.net/safetyandsecurity
Have a safety concern? Use TIPS anytime to make a confidential report
Safety, Efficiency and Effectiveness The SBPS Business Department Uses Strategic Planning, Forecasting and Best Practices to Fund Instruction The Scottsbluff Public Schools Business and Finance department’s goal is to meet the instructional needs of students in the most effective and efficient way possible. We constantly work to manage the costs of operating the “district” in the most efficient way possible, and do everything possible to eliminate or lessen the impact of financial challenges on or in the classroom. The Statewide economy has a significant impact on funding local PK-12 education. Nebraska is constitutionally required to maintain a balanced state budget so when state receipts are down the Nebraska Legislature will balance the budget by making cuts, which can include state aid to education. The Nebraska Legislature has a two year state budget process which will occur during the 2013 legislative session and will include the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years. At this time the Legislature may choose to either fully fund the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act (TEEOSA) or to make legislative changes in order to adjust the calculation impacting state aid to local school districts. Many factors are considered in determining state aid including student enrollment, local property values, poverty levels, English Language Learners, instructional time and teacher education. Some items the Legislature will be considering during the budget process are instructional time, local choice, technology needs, special education and early childhood education.
Where does State Aid Funding Come From?
With state aid comprising approximately 40% of the District budget, and the variables related to the state funding process the need for sound budgeting practices, long range fiscal planning and the ability to project future funding levels plus forecast expenses accurately is more important than ever. In addition, the decrease of available grants and federal funds have caused districts across the state to begin to rely more on local funds. Scottsbluff Public Schools spends approximately 75% of its budget on employee wages and benefits, so a significant change in year to year funds would have a dramatic impact on instruction. In order to add stabilization to the budget and minimize any impact in the classroom, SBPS has strategically built a cash reserve fund with the intention of allocating those funds to instructional needs during years when state aid and other projected funding receipts are less than anticipated levels.
Source of State of Nebraska General Fund Dollars 2.1% 3.0%
Excise Taxes Corporate Income Taxes
Individual Income Tax Sales and Use Tax
Source: State of Nebraska DAS Accounting Division Fiscal Year 2010-2011
In addition to strategic budgeting, in order to operate the school district in the most efficient way possible, the district allows for site based decision making when allocating funds to best meet the needs of each individual school building and its’ students. The business department is also working with the board of education to establish a wellinformed and fiscally sound facility improvement plan. Internal controls and effective policies and procedures across all areas of the district are implemented to ensure maximum efficiency in all day to day operations. To learn more about the district’s budget, audit or tax levy information visit www.sbps. net/finance.
Strong Relationships and Equitable Schools
District Advisory Council
Roosevelt Elementary After School Program
Scottsbluff has a long tradition of excellence in its schools and the involvement and support of the community has been an essential component of that success. In an effort to ensure that community dialog is consistently recognized, SBPS has established a District Advisory Council.
When school lets out each day at Roosevelt Elementary, instead of quiet halls and an empty building, the afternoons are filled with learning and activities at the Roosevelt After School Program. The program is funded in part by a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant and students take part in a wide variety of academic activities and community based enrichment opportunities. Each afternoon tutoring is available for students who need extra assistance with their schoolwork. Time is also available for students to complete any homework assignments. Students who do not have homework can participate in activities such as buddy reading, math facts and science activities. The students also participate in physical fitness activities including swimming and rock climbing on Fridays thanks to a partnership with the Scottsbluff Family YMCA. A healthy snack is provided each day for all participants. Students also take part in a variety of different enrichment activities including arts and crafts, community service and visits from community members such as the WNCC Volleyball Team. This fall students in the program made blankets that were donated to patients at the Regional West Medical Center Oncology unit as a community service project. If you have a student who attends Roosevelt and you are interested in having them participate in the After School Program, please contact the Roosevelt office. Tuition is required to participate in the program with scholarship opportunities available. There is also an After School Program available at Westmoor Elementary serving Westmoor, Longfellow and Lincoln Heights students.
The purpose of the Advisory Council is to have a diverse group of people from all around our community meet and discuss issues facing the District and contribute a variety of perspectives and experiences. Agenda items are generated by both council members and school district staff and leadership focusing on a common mission of serving the needs of all students. The council meets monthly and meetings include an educational portion focusing on topics such as curriculum, budget, and the Strategic Plan. The meetings also include time for group discussion on timely issues facing the district and opportunities for two way communication. Members have been selected based on recommendations from school staff and administration, Board of Education members and other interested members of the community. Membership is currently full for the 2012-2013 school year, but any member of the community interested in serving on this council in the future may contact the SBPS District Office at 308-635-6200. For more information on the District Advisory Council visit www.sbps.net/DAC.
Student Opinion Survey Scottsbluff Public Schools conducts a biennial survey of students in the district to receive feedback on student opinion of subjects such as school safety and equitability, teacher engagement and availability and student learning. Students in grades 3-12 took the anonymous survey in the spring of 2012 using online surveying software. Overall, students in the district feel very positively about their school experience with results showing that students are developing useful skills in the core subject areas, and find their work challenging. Students reported that they feel safe at school including in the classroom, the halls and outside on the school grounds. A large majority of students felt that teachers believe they can learn, are available for additional help, and that teachers listen to what they have to say. The most promising of information was that students believe that graduating from high school and attending college is important with 99% of students stating they want to graduate from high school and 95% of students wanting to attend college after graduation. Students also had the opportunity to provide open-ended suggestions on how to make their school a better place. For additional information or to see complete results view the full report on our website at www.sbps.net/communications.
of all students agree “My teachers challenge me to do my best.”
of all students agree “What I am learning in school will help me in the future.”
Your Neighborhood Schools Scottsbluff Bear Cub Preschool Expanding to Serve More Students The Scottsbluff Public Schools preschool program is designed to help to lay the foundation for academics, social interaction skills, as well as build self-esteem and self confidence in a child and prepare them for Kindergarten. Thanks to a $125,000 received from a Nebraska Early Childhood Education Grant the preschool is now expanding to serve more students. The preschool currently has two classrooms and approximately 40 students and the expansion will add two additional classrooms and the ability to double the student capacity. In addition to expanded capacity, the grant allows the district to offer the program at a more affordable price of $35.00 per month for students who meet free lunch income guidelines, $90.00 per month for students who meet reduced lunch guidelines and $165.00 per month for all other students. The Scottsbluff
A Small School Means Big Learning at Lake Minatare Elementary
With 75 students K-6 at Lake Minatare School, the students, parents and staff members take a small community approach to learning. Everyone knows each other, home to school communication and support are strong, faculty meetings take place at one table, and the school uses our staff to the best advantage for kids.
During the school day at Lake Minatare students and staff members collaborate in many ways. During breakfast the kindergarten para teaches the older students Latin, while younger students play games such as vocabulary bingo. Older students partner up with younger ones to read together. LMS’s cook and secretary both work in the first/second grade room each morning during reading while students individually practice reading and talking about what they’ve read. The school custodian acts as a mentor for students who need extra adult support and encouragement throughout the day. The kindergarten and library paras team up to teach keyboarding to 5/6th graders. One of the school’s neighbors has volunteered to come a few mornings a week and work with any students who need practice in Math, Reading, or just a good listener. These many one on one
experiences provide an opportunity for children to form relationships with adults who are not their teachers, giving the student a person who believes in and encourages them. Often these volunteers provide teachers a new and important perspective on a child. It also underscores our belief that “all are teachers and all are students”. When children are helped in reading or math by the custodian or cook they are able to see that many different jobs require some of the same skills they are learning in school.
In addition to using all staff resourcefully, the school boasts many activities in which participation is earned to teach the students responsibility. Whether it is something as small as having a 2:00 recess, joining the 3-6th grade basketball team, going to an SHS musical, or going on our annual 5th grade exchange trip to North Carolina, these rewards are privileges that must be earned. The Parent Club has been a strong contributor to the funding of such rewards. A strong work ethic and a confident, respectful, can-do attitude are equally important and these attributes, like phonics and multiplication, are modeled, taught, practiced and repeated until they become the automatic habits of thoughtful, contributing citizens.
Bear Cub Preschool is has immediate openings for students and preschool registration for the 2013-2014 school year will be held in the spring. The program provides an outstanding developmentally appropriate environment for preschoolers as well as a strong foundation for kindergarten. All teachers are certified in Early Childhood and participate in continuing education. The curriculum guides academic instruction and allows for individualized skill support. The Preschool Parent Club is involved in the funding and planning of monthly field trips and guest speakers. Having preschool students participate in these shared experiences enriches their learning, expands their vocabulary and allows for common discussion with classmates and teachers.
Your Neighborhood Schools Lincoln Heights Kinder Parent Camp Teaches Skills for Lifelong Learning The question most often heard during Parent Teacher Conferences regardless of a student’s grade level is “What can I do at home to help my child at school?”. With this question in mind, kindergarten teacher Lori Blehm held the first ever Kinder Parent Camp at Lincoln Heights this fall. Families were invited to attend during conferences and signed a contract stating they would participate in all six weeks of the program. Each meeting focused on ways to teach kindergarten students reading and math skills. The teaching staff modeled a learning strategy, then parents practiced together, then finally the parents practiced the strategy with their kindergartener. Each family received a kit to use that contained the supplies for each week’s activity. Parents then took the kit home and spent ten to fifteen minutes each day working on the learning activity with their kindergartener. At the next week’s meeting the group evaluated their experiences and then added a new learning strategy. Students whose parents participated in the camp were assessed on a bi-weekly basis in order to monitor their
Partnerships Enrich Learning at Longfellow Elementary Math interventions have been an area of focus this year at Longfellow Elementary and the teaching staff is collaborating and forming new partnerships to bring hands on learning and active engagement strategies to students. Teachers have created strategy groups to analyze assessment data and determine student skill mastery and when reteaching is necessary. Teachers utilize Checks4Learning which is a statewide teacher collaboration tool and test question bank aligned to NeSA standards. Math teachers from both Scottsbluff High School and Bluffs Middle School have partnered with Longfellow teachers to provide support, evaluate instructional practices and share tools and ideas designed to teach math skills that will provide the foundation to prepare students for success in middle school and high school math classes. Title teaching and support staff now are available to provide math support for students in addition to reading intervention which helps classroom teachers provide necessary reteaching, additional practice and enrichment. Students also practice collaborative learning at
Longfellow with National Honor Society members from SHS spending time in the classroom working on math facts with students and enrichment clubs for students in grades 3-5. Another partnership vital to Longfellow’s success is its very successful and active PTO. The PTO hosts a variety of fundraising activities throughout the school year including the Festival of Trees and themed basket raffle and has secured a $2,000 grant from the Oregon Trail Community Foundation to be used for new playground equipment. Funds raised by the PTO are used for school projects such as new playground equipment, a new digital sign, supplemental classroom materials and educational opportunities for students such as the Summer Workbook program. Whether it is students, parents, teachers in the building, in the district or educators across the state, Longfellow Elementary benefits from partnerships and shared learning experiences.
progress and all students who participated saw significant growth in reading and math skills during the camp. Research has shown that parent involvement is correlated to student achievement and the benefits to the camp were greater than just the new skills learned by the students. “At the first class, parents received a key on a lanyard to signify that they have the power to unlock their child’s learning,” said Blehm “We started the program because parents are the first teachers in a child’s life and we hope to see parents continue to be involved and teach their students long after they complete kindergarten.” In addition to reading and math skills, the camp includes strategies on engagement, time management, creating routines and other skills students need for success. “This camp shows families that they don’t need to purchase expensive curriculum to work with students at home,” said Blehm “All it takes are some simple strategies, creative thinking and a few common household items and parents can be teachers too.”
Your Neighborhood Schools Roosevelt Elementary Provides Learning Opportunities Beyond the Classroom A high school Spanish teacher is enhancing the knowledge and skills of monolingual Spanish speaking parents in the Roosevelt Elementary community. Twice a week SHS Spanish teacher Mr. Colbert teaches English as a second language, with the help of other adults and SHS student volunteers, in the Roosevelt library to improve parents’ ability to understand and communicate in English. We are very proud of our parents who are participating in this program and believe that what is learned will also help their children improve their classroom performance. There are many additional strategies staff is using to increase student performance at Roosevelt. A Math specialist was brought in this fall to work with teachers and parents on simple strategies and activities to improve student knowledge and skills. Teachers are utilizing Checks4Learning, a statewide test bank resource, to determine areas of weakness so in order to concen-
Building Good Citizens, Family Involvement and Staff Development Make the Formula for Success at Westmoor Character and relationship building skills are an important component of learning for elementary school students. At Westmoor Elementary building these skills in all students starts with the Westmoor Academic Pledge “I pledge to set my goals high...to do my best when something seems too hard. I will not quit. I will ask my teachers or my friends for help. I refuse to take the easy way out because I am a Westmoor Wildcat.” This pledge, begins the school day at Westmoor as does a short morning classroom meeting. The morning meeting is a short, focused time meant to challenge the students’ minds and to begin the day as a community of caring and respectful learners. The students share news of interest to the class and respond to one another in a positive manner, and the class does a brief activity together. This time helps build class cohesion through active participation and students build speaking and listening skills necessary for classroom success. Students also benefit from learning about each other building relationships and creating an environment where students treat each other with kindness and respect.
Parent and family involvement has been another focus at Westmoor this school year. Family activities have always been available, but the school is now experimenting with offering activities at different times such as during the school day, hoping to provide the chance for all families to connect with the classroom regardless of their schedule. Each grade level will be holding a different family activity during the school day throughout the year in addition to evening events. Westmoor staff members have been working to introduce new instructional strategies to students. Teachers have been analyzing test data to determine areas of need and have been applying new classroom strategies learned during summer professional development opportunities to math centers to help students develop conceptual understanding and skills, and connect big ideas to meaningful independent exploration and practice. These exciting new practices taking place at Westmoor will help enrich the learning process and provide the components for both student achievement and exemplary citizenship.
trate on instructional tactics to ensure all State Standards are met in Math, Language Arts, and Science. Data from many assessments is helping to provide a focus for teachers on where to improve student skills and understanding. Another area which is helping everyone focus on student achievement is the regular meetings between Content Area Specialists and teachers each month. Important strategies are discussed along with implementation of District learning guides. A key benefit from these meetings are the discussions regarding how the CAS’s and reading coaches can be of assistance regarding curricular issues, student needs, or in finding resources which will help teachers be more effective. Every student is important so our goal is to have every student at or above grade level by the end of each school year.
Your Neighborhood Schools Bluffs Middle School Counselors play an Important Role in the Success of All Students The goal of the Bluffs Middle School Counseling Team is to give students opportunities to grow and to help make the school an inviting and comfortable place for families. This process begins before students even reach the middle school with the counselors visiting 5th grade classrooms to acquaint upcoming students with the middle school and make them feel comfortable with the transition. Each of the three person counseling staff, consisting of Colleen Hoff, Glenda Ehler and Sharon Walker, is assigned to an incoming 6th grade class and stays with that class for the duration of their years at Bluffs Middle School. This gives the counselors the ability to get more familiar with the students and their families and help meet the needs of a specific grade level. The counselors are an important part of the students’ academic success meeting weekly with academic teams to discuss student performance. These meetings allow the counselors to provide insight on the students to help teachers devise intervention strategies to fit the individual needs of students. The counselors also handle scheduling of all students and provide orientations for all new students who attend BMS. BMS hosts a variety of successful activities
New Support and Enrichment Opportunities at SHS Beginning this year SHS implemented new support and enrichment classes in the middle of the school day. These classes, referred to as “CATS Period,” have proven to be extremely beneficial in both providing extended help for at-risk students or students that need further instruction, as well as providing extended opportunities for clubs and activities. This quarter SHS will offer NeSA test prep to help students with study and test taking skills and to prepare students for the upcoming NeSA exam. In addition to support classes that assist with reteaching and credit recovery, many CATS classes offer enrichment opportunities amongst a wide variety of offerings such as Film Literacy, Design, Nutrition, Basics of French and many others. In addition, SHS has implemented a 70/30 grading scale that places strong emphasis on assessment over daily work. The scale allows teachers to identify the key areas where students may need further instruction or reteaching. Teachers from
all departments have been creating and issuing common assessments aligned with state standards and learning guides for classes shared by more than one teacher. Through these measures, students are assured they are receiving a consistent curriculum with high expectations throughout the high school. SHS continues to look for areas of offering dual credit and AP offerings. In the spring semester dual credit classes were offerd for Construction Trades classes. In the fall dual credit classes will be offered in the areas of Personal Finance, Business Math, Micro-Computer Applications, Introduction to Business, and Biology. In the areas of career readiness, SHS is holding Career and Technical Education advisory meetings and working to align classes and instructional methods with the new Nebraska Career Education standards. With a focus on achievement and high expectations, Scottsbluff High School will continue to strive to give our students the best preparation possible for life beyond graduation whether college or career.
that would not be possible without the counseling staff such as a variety of bullying awareness activities and speakers throughout the year. The Student Council hosts Unity Day, and Mix It Up Day each year and students have seen different motivational speakers such as Laymon Hicks and Milton “Bigg Milt” Creagh. Each year the counselors host a Summer Activity Fair where organizations who host summer activities share information with students and parents alike on their programs. The counselors also help coordinate the TeamMates mentoring program at BMS and the CYFAR program, a program that provides support for families whose child will be the first generation to attend college. Eighth grade students also get assistance in preparing for high school from the counseling team who facilitate students participation in the WNCC Career Fair for 8th grade students, teach career connection classes and assist students with determining the classes they will take in high school to best fit their individual needs. Whether through activities, academic intervention, or just being there for students when they need an adult to talk to, the counselors at Bluffs Middle School make an impact on the lives of all students who attend BMS.
Your Neighborhood Schools
Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act brings Healthy Changes to the Bearcat Cafe
Scottsbluff Public Schools to Conduct Facilities Assessment
You’ve probably seen the national media reports in regard to the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act and the new meal standards for school lunch that have been implemented across the country this year. The new standards, full of food groupings, minimum and maximum servings, and caloric windows can be confusing and have left many students feeling they don’t receive enough to eat, according to the national reports. At Scottsbluff Public Schools, the Bearcat Cafe has worked hard to implement the new standards and still provide a quality meal that students enjoy and that hard work has paid off. This school year, at Scottsbluff High School, the amount of meals served has increased over last year. So what can account for this positive change? According to Janeen Pierce, Food Services Director, cafeteria staff have worked to remake popular entrees to meet the standards, offer additional portions of fruits and vegetables to make sure students get enough to eat, and offer as many choices as possible so the cafeteria can offer something for every student.
The SBPS Board of Education has authorized staff to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to solicit interested applicants’ submission of qualifications to perform a district wide facilities assessment. The last district facilities assessment was conducted in September of 1997 and information gained from that assessment was integral to the creation of district facility plans over the past several years. Although the assessment will include a cursory review of all buildings in the district, the plan will focus primarily on Scottsbluff High School. SHS celebrated 50 years in its current building and changes in technology, learning environment, and natural aging of the building can lead to the need for facility upgrades. As part of the assessment a professional design team of mechanical, electrical, and structural professionals will provide a thorough and complete report on all aspects of the building including plumbing, electric, mechanical and structural systems as well as functional, structural and architectural assessments. The team will conduct a site review, testing, inspections and will report on facility adequacies and efficiencies.
Even with all of the changes that have been implemented, additional changes are on the horizon. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told members of Congress that the department will do away with daily and weekly maximums of meats and grains. Several lawmakers wrote the department after the new rules went into effect in September, saying kids aren’t getting enough to eat, but changes will not go into effect locally until revised standards are released by the USDA. For more information on the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act visit the USDA website at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/.
The information received in the assessment will be utilized by the district facilities committee and the Board of Education in order to create a new long range facility plan which will meet the needs of the district, students and the community.
Kindergarten Admission Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, students must reach the age of five years on or before July 31 in order to be admitted to Kindergarten. If your child will reach the age of five on or after August 1 and on or before October 15, as well as being socially and academically ready for kindergarten, a parent or guardian may request Early Kindergarten Admission. Applications for Early Kindergarten Admission can be obtained at the District Office located at 1722 First Avenue. In order for the school district to provide the necessary student assessments required for early admission, applications must be received by March 1, 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year. This process will include a parent interview, two assessments the student must complete, the Young children’s Achievement Test (YCAT), and Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC-2). The process may also include observation of the child, and a recommendation from the current preschool or child care provider. Once the student has been assessed results will be provided to the parent/guardian and placement will be discussed. If your child’s birthdate falls under the Early Kindergarten Admission window, it is not too early to begin the process if you feel your child is capable of carrying the work of Kindergarten. For more information, contact Karen Johnson at 308-783-1134.
In addition to physical assessments of all buildings the report will provide a prioritization of any identified deficiencies, identification of potential costs and budgeting components for any necessary upgrades.
For more infomration on the Request for Qualifications visit www.sbps.net/facilities.
First Student Focuses on Safety and Training This year, Scottsbluff Public Schools has contracted with First Student to provide student transportation services. At First Student, the safety and security of the students is a core value that drives all company operations. First Student only employs highly trained drivers with the ability to pass comprehensive background checks. Their driver training programs are second to none with more than 40 hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel training including units on behavior management, defensive driving techniques, and bus operations. First Student buses offer a number of safety features such as Child Check-Mate®, an electronic reminder system designed to ensure that a child is not left unattended on a bus, crossing gates to allow children to cross in front of the bus at a safe distance, onboard digital video cameras, and GPS systems, which allow staff to pinpoint each bus’ exact location at all times. First Student Staff members also perform regularly scheduled and ongoing vehicle maintenance checks to ensure buses are in top operating condition. The First Student team knows there is nothing more important than providing children with safe and reliable transportation.
Your Neighborhood Schools
CHOICES will offer a new pathway to a meaningful diploma at Scottsbluff High School
SBPS Elementary Students Excited for New Library Books
CHOICES is a new Scottsbluff High School Program that will begin with the 2013-2014 school year. The Mission of CHOICES is to help students become critical thinkers possessing the tools to positively contribute to their communities and to the world. CHOICES will offer Scottsbluff High School students a smaller thematic environment with integrated curriculum driven by student interest that is relevant, real-world and project based. Through an application and interview process, the program will be offered to approximately sixty 10th through 12th grade students, who will be expected to make a long term commitment to the program. All courses taken by the students will be developed based on student interest and individual needs integrating one on one technology with instruction meeting all of the State academic and career standards.
Elementary school libraries across the district will be seeing thousands of new library books over the next three years thanks to funds received from the Scottsbluff Public Schools Foundation. The foundation committed $50,000 a year for three years to be split amongst the libraries at Lincoln Heights, Longfellow, Roosevelt and Westmoor elementary schools. These funds are part of $300,000 of restricted funds from the Swanson Sisters Trust which are restricted to the purchase of books for school libraries.
Collaborative problem solving will serve as the primary instructional tool for all learning. Personal portfolios, grades and transcripts will be used to record academic progress with the students receiving credit in six week “hectares” as opposed to the traditional semester credit system. The students will participate in a wide variety of service learning opportunities, internships, mentorships and dual credit and/or college level courses will be required. Students enrolled in CHOICES will be considered students of Scottsbluff High School and will be able to participate in extra-curricular activities, participate in many elective programs and attend school sponsored functions.
“The hardest part” said Shaw, “was trying to decide among so many of the great books available.” A consultant reviewed the current collection prior to the beginning of the project and made suggestions of what titles to add, which ones to replace and which titles to remove from circulation. Some of the books in the current collection were what Shaw calls “Timeless Classics”; books that have been timelessly popular and worn out over the years such as the Curious George series and books by Dr. Seuss or even more modern series such as the Harry Potter titles. These high mileage books have been replaced with durable library bound copies for students to enjoy for years to come. New titles have also been added to all four libraries and students helped suggest titles to add by providing lists of their favorite books, authors and series’.
CHOICES will be located right across the street from SHS at the former Administration Office at 2609 Broadway. Scottsbluff High School is currently seeking experienced teachers for this program in all curricular areas. Interested teachers may apply online at www.sbps.net/employment. Student applications will be accepted this spring. For more information on this program visit www.sbps.net/ choices.
Now in the second year of the project, the elementary school libraries have changed dramatically with each library adding approximately one thousand new titles in the first year. According to Angie Shaw, Media Specialist at Lincoln Heights and Longfellow elementary schools, the new books have been very well received by the students.“Our students have a variety of interests, and differing reading abilities.” said Shaw. “The additional books help us have the materials we need to meet our students’ reading needs.”
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Student and Staff Success Allison Stricker – National Merit semifinalist. SHS DECA had a record 18 students place at this year’s District Conference. The newly formed SHS Mock Trial Team placed First at Regionals and competed in the state competition. Team Members: Blaine Murphy Sarah MercerSmith Kayla Pierce Carly Slaght Sarah Poynter Megan Hayhurst Alternates: Micah Holloway & Anna Wiebe The Echoes Newspaper and the Bluff Yearbook– both received the Nebraska High School Press Association’s highest honor, the Cornhusker Award. This is the third consecutive Cornhusker Award for both groups. 50 Math Club members competed in the UNL Math Competition on November 15th. SHS Placed 4th out of 24 Class B schools. SHS had the highest attendance of any school! Individually Simon Deng placed 23rd out of 1,389 competitors. 75 Longfellow Elementary Students participated in the Summer Workbook Program and completed their workbook in its entirety. Anne Schmall of Bluffs Middle School was named Nebraska Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year in the 1-5 year teacher division. SHS Junior Terrisita Klemm was chosen as first place winner in the 6th Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest sponsored by the State of Nebraska Latino American Commission.
Matthew Mickey was accepted to the Macy’s Great American Marching Band. He performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The following students were selected for the NMEA All-State Chorus: Shane Petersen Adam Harris Tyler Mickey Michael Wright Ethan Kosmicki Mahalah Booth Hannah Kaiser Katie Taylor Breanna Stewart Kim Ward Megan Pilkington Malachi Belford Jake Hrasky SHS Hosted the Old West Choir Competition and all three vocal groups received high marks: SILVER Scottsbluff – Treble Makers GOLD Scottsbluff – 27th St. Singers GOLD Scottsbluff – Choralaires The SHS Marching Bearcats earned a Superior Rating in the 30th Old West Weekend Competition. The BMS 7th and 8th Grade Marching Band earned a Superior Rating in the 30th Old West Weekend Competition. Marissa Yonts and Kayla Schanaman were selected for the NMEA All-State Band. Javier Jimenez and Denali Ingram 5th graders from Longfellow and Kayler Soule and McKenzi Duncan, 5th graders from Westmoor were selected to the the 2012 Sing Around Nebraska Children’s Honor Choir. Boys Cross-Country Team Placed 2nd at State Individual Placers: Matthew Barraza – 1st Anthony Parra – 3rd Brendan Taedter – 11th Tayler James – 18th Ben Willis-Teff – 21st Justin Pritchard – 23rd Girls Golf placed 3rd in the District Tournament and Kim Moore placed 11th at State. Girls Cross Country - Taylor Muncie placed 8th at the State Meet.
SHS Football won a third consecutive district title and had an undefeated regular season. Scottsbluff High School Boys Basketball Coach Tony Siske was named 2012 Coach of the Year by the Nebraska Basketball Coaches Association. The Scottsbluff FFA Chapter took 20 members to the District Leadership Skills Event Contest. The Senior Parliamentary Procedure Team placed 2nd Katey Myers Taylor Russell Chrissy Peters Alexis Aragon Tevyn Baldwin Tylii Muncie Junior Parliamentary Procedure Team placed 1st Jarrett Ratliff Mikayla Fulk Jocelyn Bruner Jaime Carlson Kaldon Meininger Sam McQuistan Bailey Imel Tylii Muncie placed 2nd Cooperative Speaking. Colton Flower received a red ribbon in the Job Interview contest. Morgan Lease received a red ribbon in Senior Public Speaking. Chesney Walker and Paige Weborg both received white ribbons in the Creed Speaking contest. Curtis Welsh was awarded a red ribbon for the Extemporaneous Speaking Contest. Michael Koch, BMS Band Director, was honored by the Nebraska Music Educators Association with a “Career Teacher” award for his 25 year commitment to music education in Nebraska. Alisha Huynh, Gunnar Buchhammer, Ashleigh Charron, Joshua Hergenreder, Abby Tygart, and Adam Taylor were selected to the NSBA 8th Grade All State Band. Bluffs Middle School Students held their annual Canned Food Drive and donated over 3,000 items to the St. Agnes Food Pantry.