The Education Profession

One of the most critical and important assets we all possess is our Education!  It is through quality education of all people that this county will grow economically, feel secure in our protected freedoms, and be a global leader.  This country’s success begins with the education of our youth.  As cliche as it is, “our youth is our future.”  Children ages 0-18 make up 25 percent of our present and 100 percent of our future!

If our youth are a critical component to our world’s success, when will the education profession be recognized as the most important career in our country?  Without well-educated youth, our nation cannot grow and become stronger.  When will we recognize that our teachers create our future through the minds of our youth?  We want and need the best, brightest, and most dedicated to teach our children.   It’s pretty simple, treat the profession with respect and reward our teachers for committing their lives and spirit to education and the best and brightest will enter and stay in the field.

East Noble School Corporation is in the middle of teacher negotiations.  I find the process extremely frustrating.  Not negotiating with the teachers.  My frustration is the laws that have been created that make providing a fair, not grand, raise to our teachers nearly impossible.  Did you know, the district cannot give a raise to a teacher based on their classroom instruction/performance only?  There must be additional factors included to earn a raise.  Some of these include holding district/building leadership roles, earn a masters, demonstrate meeting the needs of students above and beyond their classroom, school or district grades, and a year of experience can be thrown in there under some circumstances.

There are uninformed people who get hung up on the number of days a teacher works.  What they often miss is the number of hours above and beyond the classroom that our teachers dedicate to their students and profession.  Five nights a week, teachers are grading papers.  Sundays are dedicated to grading and preparing for the next week.  They return to school many evenings for literacy night, math night, science fair, music programs, parent conferences, special education case conferences, fund raiser events, athletic events, and many others.  They also stay after school for numerous staff meetings all directed to improving instruction for our students.  When school is out for break, teachers struggle to “turn off” school.  They continue their planning and adjusting of lessons.  When summer break arrives, they spend many days closing out their room for the summer and then returning early to prepare their room for a new school year.  In between, they attend numerous professional development events held at the district office or in the area without being paid.

There is a legislative study group that is meeting in October to discuss the declining pool of teachers. The answer is pretty simple:  The demands placed on teachers, impossible and unfair accountability, an overt lack of respect to the profession, and a pay structure that prevents a person from earning a decent salary long term.

As the superintendent, I have one resource that I can use with no financial or governmental restrictions.  That resource is my ability to say “Thank you.”  Thank you to our teachers for all you do for our students and families. You are creating our future and I have the utmost respect for you and the impact that you make every day.  Thank you!

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If you are a Twitter user, and follow administrators in the district, you most likely have seen the hashtag #ENSCBecause…. This hashtag campaign is a way for students and staff to tell our story of the great things happening in the district.

Some examples that have been already been tweeted:

#ENSCBecause….teaching NS kindergartners to read is the best!

#ENSCBecause…our community supports our kids.

#ENSCBecause…school makes my kids happy!

Mrs. Bodeker is ready for her science students. #ENSCBecause we have awesome teachers!

#ENSCBecause…our maintenance staff is incredible!

#ENSCBecause..Principal_P just walked in on my ENL class doing the chicken dance, and he joined in.

#ENSCBecause the football players left the marching band some popsicles.

Please feel free to use the hashtag #ENSCBecause… whenever you want to share good news with our communities.

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Welcome Back to School

Every East Noble School Corporation school year promises our students and staff an outstanding year of joy and rewards. The 2015-2016 school year will be no different.  As everyone returned last week, they were greeted by clean rooms, building upgrades, new laptops for 5th and 9th graders, and many smiling faces.  The start of the year is very exciting for everyone.

During opening day for our staff, I laid out my vision and beliefs for the district.  I am going to share parts of my speech in the space for others to read.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Welcome to another school year.  Not just any school year, but a new year that offers hope and excitement for our students.

We are all here for this new school year to serve our students through a challenging, rigorous, and relevant education and ensure they are successful after high school and in life!

Every district in Indiana has their own set of priorities, values, and strategies to reach their goals.  It is important that we focus on East Noble priorities, and that our progress is assessed on our students’ performance throughout an entire school year rather than nine hours of a “one size fits all” mandated test that continues to show limited to no reliability.

We do not exist to chase school grades or district grades.  We do not exist to be an “A” district or have “A” schools. Don’t misunderstand, it is certainly nice to have “A” buildings; however, at what cost?   Being an “A” district or an “A” school doesn’t necessarily mean we are best serving our students and meeting their educational needs.  We are not going to remove a child from the arts or physical activity to make sure they are able to pass a test on a given day that, in fact, has a moving target every year just so we are able to “say” we are an “A” school or district.

Our priority is excellence!  We want to provide an outstanding and personalized education that meets the needs of our students and prepares them to reach their dreams or goals.  We want to provide diverse opportunities and academic choices that inspire our students to dream big, provokes curiosity, stretches them beyond their own expectations, and gives them hope for a safe and rewarding future.

It is time we return to the business of educating the whole child.  It is time to pass on continuous test prep and engage in more relevant, real life work that will lead to mastery of standards without compromising a quality education for our students. Our students deserve more than the “one size fits all” framework which the state continues to support.

I remember when…. teachers loved teaching and had more freedom and flexibility in what they taught.   I remember when students attended school and loved learning.  Rarely was part of their conversation about “Passing a state test” to move on to the next grade or be labeled as “passing” or “failing”.   Where did the state lose sight of the individual student and their needs?  How did we get to a place of being held hostage to a school grade?  Being an “A” school is not a goal… has become a threat.  No one works well under the guise of a threat.

Doing what is best for kids is our #1 priority.  However, when we speak to reality, test scores are an economic variable for our community and they expect our students to be prepared for a post-secondary education and to be successful in the workplace.

Students are 27 percent of our present community, but 100 percent of our future.   Roughly one in every four people in our communities are 18 years old or younger.  But every one of these youth shape 100 percent of our future, our community, our economy, and our world.

You have the most important career of all careers…and that includes the president.  Through teaching and supporting our students in their education, regardless of your role, all of you inspire, shape, and create a future for everyone.   I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a skilled, caring, dedicated, and passionate staff.

I know all of you made a conscience choice to be a part of ENSC.  You all have talents and passions that could be shared in other careers or other districts.  You have made many sacrifices personally and professionally to be a part of our profession and serve students.

Thank you for choosing to share your talents and passions with ENSC.    I have been a part of many school districts and there is no district with a better, more dedicated, more passionate staff than ours.    Thank you for making ENSC your home!   Like any home, it is filled with heart, fun, passion, dedication, spirit, and compassion every day!

Ann Linson, Superintendent

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Moving Forward With East Noble Middle School

During the May 13, 2015 School Board meeting held at East Noble Middle School, an overview of the next proposed ENMS building project will be provided.

While the last middle school project did not meet the vision of the public, the School Board has not given up!  The Board has continued to listen and learn what elements of the previous project were not supported by the public.  They have taken this valuable information and attempted to develop a  building plan and location that meets the requests of the community.  Please attend this meeting to learn about the proposed project.

Because we know you won’t have an opportunity to ask questions during and after the presentation, a public question and answer meeting will be held on Thursday, May 21 in the East Noble High School Auditorium beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Over the last six months, the East Noble School Board has been working diligently to learn what the public wants and create a middle school project that not only meets the needs of our students today, but creates a facility with room to grow.  Growth in student enrollment and also growth in education programming that our students may need 50 to 60 years in the future.  It is time to ask, do we want a “fix” or do we want a “future?”   Everyone is encouraged to attend these meetings to learn more about the proposed project.

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Where are we with ENMS?

As I am out in the community, I am often asked where the district is with the middle school.  Have we given up on a new building?  Are we going to renovate?  Are we looking to other locations?  When can “something” be expected?

The ENSC School Board is moving forward with plans for a new middle school.  What the design will be, where it may be located, when it may be started, what it may cost are all undetermined!  The School Board continues to evaluate any potential sites that are being offered to them.  They continue to consider design elements that directly benefit students and are future forward.  As for the start, the School Board must follow the same process as it did one year ago.  That includes a 1028 Hearing that notifies the public of an anticipated budget for a new middle school.    The School Board is hopeful that a 1028 Hearing can be held in May of this year.

Please attend school board meetings, read the newspaper for updates, email or call Ann Linson or any School Board member for additional information.  Always feel free to provide your input on this project.

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