Welcome to our New Staff for the 2015 - 2016 School Year!!!
Michael Cummings, High School Voc. Woods/Metals/Aqua,
WE NEED SUBS!!!
Onalaska Embarks on Writing Initiative
The school district is turning its focus this year on improvement of student writing. We have spent the last couple of years focusing on math and reading, and will continue to do so. However, writing is an area in which we found that explicit instruction is needed to improve our student’s ability to express themselves with the written word.
Last year, the Administrative Team began working with the Washington State Leadership Academy. Throughout the year, the team worked to define our “Problem of Practice”, which was student writing. The team also developed its “Theory of Action” on how this was to be implemented. We surveyed the teaching staff about their readiness to teach and score student writing. About half of the teachers had training previously, but it had been awhile. The others indicated that they could use some assistance in the teaching of the writing process and scoring of student writing using the state scoring rubric. During our two-day Summer Institute in August, ESD specialists were brought in to work with our staff. The first day, teachers learned about the teaching of writing and the different genre’s of writing. The second day, para’s were invited and participated with the teachers on how to score writing prompts using the state rubric.
Our writing initiative is cross-curricular, meaning that it will be used in all courses, not just English Language Arts classes. Teachers will develop writing prompts for their subject matter and then score those using the same state scoring rubric. Our goal is to see improvement in how our students communicate their thoughts and knowledge on paper. We will evaluate our progress at the end of the school year. Meanwhile, the Administrative Team will continue to work with WSLA this year on our “Theory of Action” and provide opportunities for the staff to receiving continuing education on the writing process. We have contracted with the ESD to provide this training.
Please feel free to contact the building principals if you have questions.
"A Natural Field Guide to the Plants of Carlisle Lake"
"A Natural Field Guide to the Plants of Carlisle Lake" is now published and available on Amazon! This book was written entirely by students, and 100% of the profit made from this book goes directly to the Onalaska High School Science Club. The book is about the natural history of Carlisle Lake and the plant life that makes up its ecosystem. Click here to go to the amazon page, or search the title on amazon.com
Congratulations to the Onalaska Grant Writing Team for receiving their first grant, the TACT grant by TransAlta for $7,453. The grant will be used to purchase water quality testing equipment for Carlisle Lake. An article about the water quality team and grant was featured in The Chronicle, read about it by clicking here. Pictured above are the water quality testing members and volunteers. Not Pictured: Madison Girt, Jana Girt, Brittany Ross, Molly Musick, Johnny Garcia.
Smarter Balanced State Assessments
As most of you know, the state adopted the Smarter Balanced Assessments that are aligned to our new learning standards in math and English language arts. We begin testing our 3rd graders next week in reading.
This is not the first time that Washington state has changed its assessment system. Whenever there is a change in learning standards, an assessment needs to be adopted that will assess student progress on what is being taught.
These new assessments are a much more accurate and complete reflection of what students know and can demonstrate than past assessments. The results will, in turn, better inform our classroom instructional practices.
As we have been preparing for this new assessment over the past two years, I do want to make sure that stakeholders understand that there is no comparison score-wise with previous state assessments. Information from states who have initiated these new assessments have seen a drop the first year in the percent of students meeting or exceeding the benchmarks. We anticipate the same will hold true for Onalaska as well as the rest of the school district across the state. However, for us, this new assessment will set a new baseline for students and will allow us to examine the results and adjust our instructional practices to ensure students are proficient in the standards. I can assure you that our teachers and support staff have been working diligently to prepare our students for these new assessments.I would encourage you to go to the OSPI website and click on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium icon for more details
2014-15 District Calendar (pdf)
District School Calendar
District School Calendar