February 27, 2019
Dear Jaguar Students, Parents, and Community,
As we continue our journey into redesign, several prototypes have either come or gone, been in place all year, or just ramping up. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the exciting things that are happening on each of our campuses.
Neosho Rapids Elementary
In spite of the cold weather, we have added an additional recess that we are piloting with our younger students. Research proves that movement enhances learning and anytime physical activity can be introduced within a student’s school day, their academic time improves.
In an effort to increase reading opportunities for students that take advantage of our transportation offerings, we have stocked our busses with books for students to read- unless they are susceptible to motion sickness of course. J
We are about to introduce a huge program where we pair adult staff with mixed grade levels of students to come together and meet regularly as a unit. We are calling these groups our “school families” and we are excited to see the relationships that are built. This type of regular meeting/project time is used to address the social emotional needs of our students and promote healthy daily communication throughout our school.
Our family involvement investigation team is furiously working on several ideas that will allow the partnership that we have between parents and school to continue to grow. From a list of over 20 different ideas that they have looked into, they have narrowed it down to 5 that they are seriously considering and we are looking forward to trying their prototypes after spring break.
Hartford Jr/Sr High School
Over the past couple of weeks we have piloted 3 longer passing periods throughout the school day to allow students the necessary time to meet their physical, social, and academic needs. So far, our data has shown this to be somewhat successful. We are continuing to collect feedback and will tweak this pilot until we feel like we have the right fit.
We have just introduced a new bullying/harassment form to increase our students’ awareness of the dangers and the consequences of bullying and we are starting to see some immediate positive results.
During parent teacher conferences this month, we asked our students to take the lead in meeting with their parents and teachers. Although the data says that our attendance was lower than the fall (which is traditionally true), we had significantly more attendance when compared to years past. In the future, we are planning student demonstrations in various electives, set advisory appointments, and student led discussions of their performance in class.
Next week, we are beginning two more pilots at HJH/HHS.
One is a simplified behavior offense referral/consequence chart that will streamline behavior referrals and allow consistency regarding student expectations throughout the building. This will only affect a handful of students who choose to not follow school procedures.
The other pilot will positively affect all of our students in the building. Beginning March 4, we will offer what we are calling 2nd Chance Breakfast. At the beginning of 2nd block, a breakfast cart will go around the school and offer breakfast to those students that were not able to have breakfast before school, either by choice or circumstance.
In both buildings our redesign teams have been working hard to address the needs of our students and staff.
We have introduced teacher feedback model called #observeme that allows teachers and other staff to come into other classrooms and offer personalized feedback that the teacher is looking for to be the best in his/her craft.
We have successfully piloted Jaguar Bites on both campuses all year, providing an average of 50 students shelf sustainable meals/snacks for the weekend.
Our district has dedicated itself to addressing the social/emotional needs of our students by purchasing a coherent K-12 social emotional learning curriculum that will be fully implemented next fall. Combining this with our continued work with TASN regarding MTSS SEL and we will be well equipped to meet all of our student’s needs, not just their academic ones.
Jaguar University has been a family involvement pilot 8 evenings a year that has met with little success, but we are continuing to tweak and see how we can best provide valuable information to parents and community members throughout the year.
What else is safe enough to try? (Coming Attractions)
In the coming weeks, we will be introducing even more change on our campuses, all in an effort to create the best possible school for each and every one of our Jaguar students. Some things to look for:
*Ability based grouping NRE
*STEAM efforts (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) NRE
*IPS Portfolios (Individual Plans of Study) HJH HHS
*Cross-curricular PBL (Project Based Learning) HHS
*HJH Modified Schedule Pilot
*Increased Internship Opportunities HHS
So, what is it all going to look like when we are done? As I have answered before, the answer remains that we do not know, but I can tell you that your child will be given every opportunity to pursue an education that is relevant, rigorous, and modern for the world that they will inhabit as adults. Thank you in advance for continuing to help our staff invest in the best educational environment for your child.
This letter is not only going out in the mail to you in your homes; I am also posting it and future communications to our school website at http://www.usd252.org/o/hartford-neosho-rapids and to our school Facebook page. Additionally, should you have any questions and would like to speak to a member of our school redesign team, you can e-mail us at redesignHHSNR@usd252.org.
As always, it is a great day to be a Jaguar.
Mr. Hes and the NRE/HJH/HHS Gemini Redesign Team:
Walker Ayers, Jane Kelley, Teresa Wiebe, and Stacy Wolf