Invitation to the White House

The below was published in the November 15, 2014 Kendallville News Sun:

KENDALLVILLE — East Noble School Corp. Superintendent Ann Linson is among 100 educators from across the country invited to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s first-ever Future Ready Superintendent Summit Wednesday at the White House.

The event in Washington, D.C., which President Barack Obama is expected to attend, will recognize educators for their efforts in transitioning schools to digital learning, according to a Department of Education announcement. Those attending the summit also will share ideas with one another and the Department of Education about using technology in classrooms.

The DOE is sponsoring the Future Ready initiative, which will showcase “outstanding school leadership and strategies,” according to the announcement.

“It is an honor to represent East Noble School Corp. for this event,” Linson said in an email. “We have excellent teachers and staff who, through their commitment and dedication, are ensuring our students are ‘future ready.’”

East Noble is in its fourth year of providing all of its students with either tablet devices or laptop computers through its one-to-one technology program. The DOE said using technology inside and outside East Noble classrooms “allows students to be engaged in their learning at deeper levels, using strategies that better prepare them for the future.”

“This opportunity to go to the White House and share with other districts across the United States is amazing,” Linson said. “It certainly validates the hard work and vision of our staff and school board, and commitment from the community. Technology integration as a natural part of instruction helps students develop their 21st-century skills and in turn supports a growing economy in our communities.”

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said technology strategies such as East Noble’s can help improve learning opportunities for students throughout the United States.

“School districts across the country are helping teachers harness the power of technology to create personal learning environments for all students,” Duncan said in the DOE announcement. “We want to make sure every child — whether he or she is in the inner city, in a rural community or on a Native American reservation — has access to knowledge and the chance to learn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The department said the White House summit will be followed by 12 to 15 regional summits that will highlight the progress school districts are making in adopting technology. In addition, digital tools that facilitate school districts’ adoption of technology in the near and long terms will be unveiled.

“The Future Ready initiative highlights the critical role of district leaders in setting a vision and creating the environment where educators and students access the tools, content and expertise necessary for thriving in a connected world,” Richard Culatta, director of the DOE’s Office of Educational Technology, said in the announcement.

According to the announcement, Obama launched the ConnectED Initiative in 2013, the goal of which is to provide 99 percent of U.S. students access to next-generation connectivity within five years.

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Another Letter to the Editor from one of ENSC’s finest

The below letter was published in the November 6, 2014 Kendallville News Sun:

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, people came out and voted against what is best for our students. People may try and convince you that they said “no” to the property choice, or the building size, or the tax rate, but what they really said was “no” to my future students. They said “no” to a better education for my students. Yes, I believe that the environment you are in can affect your learning. The current building is not effective for today’s students’ needs.

I am a teacher at East Noble Middle School. I see daily the need for a new building. I shake my head when we have to bus a sports team all the way to Avilla just to practice. I wonder why our students never get to go outside for gym (the only outside space we have is a parking lot and a hill). I worry in the spring and summer when many classrooms reach 100 or more degrees, and I worry during the winter that the heater in my room might catch fire like one in another room did last year. I hate the fact that I have long power strips laid out all over because there are only five wall plugs in my room, and they are only on two of four walls (with 30 laptops that may need charged!). These are only a few of the many reasons a new building is required. This building was a great building. However, for today’s students and needs, it has lost its greatness.

I have a beautiful baby girl. My husband and I live in Kendallville, and are invested in the community and in its future. My daughter’s great-grandmothers graduated from this very building. I understand the nostalgia that people hold for a building that has been a part of the community for so long. However, I shudder to think that those people expect my daughter to use this building when she gets to middle school. Do people care more for bricks than students?

We aren’t done fighting for our students! We, the teachers at ENMS, believe with all of our hearts a new building on a new site is what is best for our future learners. I hope that with this delay, the extra time will allow people to see the truth, to see the need for the new building.

Please don’t give up on our students, we haven’t, and we won’t. See you at the next vote.

Samantha Jarrett


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Proud to Say This Teacher Teaches the Students of East Noble.

Below is a letter that was prepared by Bryan Munoz, ENHS Band Director, to be submitted to the Kendallville News Sun.

Meanwhile, the teachers teach.

As I was in the audience of a school board meeting this week I witnessed one of the most undermining statements from someone I have heard in education.  This human used words that were specifically chosen to cut to the core of individuals and strike fear in all those in attendance.  It cut to the core of me as well.  As I went to scold this individual, the stick was turned and I received a thrashing.  That’s right, I was SCHOOLED.  I was informed I’m uneducated, an idiot, and a follower.  I was told my opinions don’t matter in this community because I’m not a taxpayer to this county, and I’m not a millionaire (I didn’t realize who I was speaking with apparently).  Well, I have written today to say I do matter.  Perhaps I matter more than some want to acknowledge.  While it’s true I do not live in Noble County, I’m completely invested in its future.  I’m a teacher for East Noble and I’m teaching YOUR kids.  I work hard every day, just like the rest of the teachers, who do something miraculous–drive students to realize their full potential, even when they don’t see.  We wipe away tears when frustration sets in and sit down next to them to see it through.  We give that coveted “look over the slanted glasses” that we have all seen from teachers before when a student knows he or she could be doing better.  But, what we also do is inspire.  We inspire your children to reach for something greater than they realized possible.  We’re there through the successes and tribulations.  If I’m lucky enough, maybe even I’ll save just one life in my career.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to inform you (especially since you pay my salary): I am a millionaire!  I work with the most dedicated young students our community has to offer.  I spend 50-60 hours a week with them.  And through my classroom rigor, and our extra curricular activities, we learn more life lessons with each other than one could ever hope to learn in a business.  I love going to Noble County every day because of YOUR kids and what potential they HAVE and WILL achieve!  So while I may not vote on Tuesday, YOU WILL.  You’ll vote yes or no for a new middle school.  And you’ll vote to re-elect school board members or bring in a new crew.  It is this poor, unintelligent, uneducated, turkey  (was that what I was called last night?) that implores you to make a profound impact on over 3,000 students lives as well.  Vote yes to give our kids the absolute best they deserve.  Vote yes because we understand kids shouldn’t have to “earn” an opportunity in our education system:  That’s what makes America the greatest country in the world.  We offer our children the same start as everyone else, no matter what religion, race, or tax bracket.  Vote yes because you know that the people you re-elect into the school board have been putting our kids first and will continue to do so.  Meanwhile, EN teachers…we’ll just keep on teaching.

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Special Board Meeting Added

Wednesday, October 22, a special School Board meeting is being added.  Last week during the public forum, information concerning a gas line that runs along the southern border of the property selected for the proposed middle school was shared.  The School Board would like to further discuss this information and have added a Board meeting to do so.  The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and is held at the Central Office on October 22.

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October 31 eLearning Day

East Noble School Corporation was one of 12 districts in Indiana to be approved for eLearning days and we have scheduled October 31 as one of those days.  With our extensive and personalized technology use across the district, providing students with an opportunity to learn from home is something we believe is a valuable experience.  In addition, with this approval also comes approval to use eLearning in place of cancelling school due to weather.  While we will not use eLearning for all cancellation days, we may use eLearning for the times when we are aware of a large storm arriving and staff have an opportunity to prepare students for a potential eLearning day.  Before we do that; however, we want to use October 31 as a “trial run” to determine what we need to change or better plan in the event of using an eLearning day in place of a school cancellation.  

On October 31, your child or children will remain at home for their eLearning Day.  Teachers will be attending full day professional development at the high school during that time and will have contact with their students throughout the day.  Students will receive their assignments previous to Friday morning.  Students will receive more information from their teacher as we approach the day.  Our teachers have been planning and developing activities for the students using our experiences from last year’s eLearning day.  In our efforts to provide students with quality activities and academic engagement last year, we learned the amount of work provided was far more than what might be completed on a “normal” school day.  This is being considered as teachers plan for October 31.   As like any true eLearning student, not all schooling takes place in a traditional 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. time window.  Students will have the flexibility to participate in their learning at a time that fits their needs.  Completed work will be due on Monday, November 3.

Parents have asked how students will access information if they do not have Internet access. All teachers have been instructed to give students time during the day on October 30 to ensure students are able to download the materials they will need for the eLearning day.

As a part of our Indiana Department of Education approved eLearning day to be held on October 31, we must provide a lunch option to students.  The ENSC Food Service Department will be serving lunch to students who are interested.  Lunch will be served at North Side Elementary between 11 a.m. and 12 noon.  No transportation will be provided.  A reservation form must be completed and returned to your child’s home school.  The form can be found on the ENSC District webpage and on all of the building webpages.  A copy is also being send home with the elementary students.  

We believe this nontraditional school day will be a valuable opportunity for our students and our teachers.  From this experience, we will be better prepared to use an eLearning day in place of cancelling school if we have a rough winter similar to last year.  Leading up to October 31, teachers will be holding conversations with students and providing additional information so they are successful on this day. 

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. 

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