The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center will be filled with music this weekend as approximately 845 fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders from every middle and elementary school in the district are coming together for the Second Annual Festival of Bands.
On March 8, music from Africa, to Beethoven, across the oceans, and to America will be conducted by honorable guest conductors: Dr. Alan LaFave, Don Downs, and Tobias Rath. Some of the songs that will be performed (dependent on specific concert) are the “Mickey Mouse March”, Beethoven's “Symphony No. 9”, “The Tempest”, “Liberty March”, “A Joyful Journey”, and “How to Train Your Dragon”.
Shane Bradford, director of bands at North Middle School and General Beadle, Horace Mann and Knollwood elementary schools, said the Festival of Bands fosters a cooperative spirit among band students all over Rapid City schools.
“Students are often accustomed to competing with one another, but this is an opportunity for them to work together toward a common and worthwhile goal,” said Bradford. “We would love to see all of our students continue to participate in the outstanding band programs at our high schools in Rapid City and we think that Festival of Bands encourages this.”
Bradford said the directors and students alike are anxiously awaiting the concerts and it is something they look forward to the entire school year. The first concert will feature the Fifth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade Bands performing at 5 p.m. The second concert features the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade Bands, and will begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available from the Civic Center Box Office: $6 for adults and $4 for children.
The following is a list of topics to watch during the March 4 Board of Education meeting. This meeting will back at the regular location in the Council Chambers of the City/School Administration Center – 300 Sixth St. – at 5:30 p.m. There are several topics up for recognition and discussion, including Music in our Schools Month, Character Counts, Agriscience Instructional Materials, RCAS policy reviews and possible Western Dakota Tech policy deletions.
Music in Schools Month:
March is celebrated nation-wide as Music in our Schools Month. RCAS has excellent music teachers and programs in its schools, as well as very talented students. To celebrate the difference music education makes in the lives of students, a group of fifth grade students from across the district will be at the meeting to sing the Star Spangled Banner in four-part harmony.
Wes Brown, director of special projects for the Chiesman Center for Democracy, will be presenting information about the Character Counts program. His presentation will cover the importance of student character development, where the program has been and where he and his team would like to see it go in the future.
Agriscience Instructional Materials:
The Board of Education recently adopted revised Agriscience curriculum. Now a list of instructional resources, including texts and materials, are up for discussion. The proposed Agriscience textbooks are as follows with corresponding classes:
1. Class: Natural Resources
Proposed Textbook: Managing our Natural Resources, Camp 5th Edition
2. Class: Companion Animal Science
Proposed Textbook: Small Animal Care & Management, Warren 3rd Edition
3. Class: Wildlife and Fisheries
Proposed Textbook: Wildlife & Natural Resources Management, Deal 3rd Edition
For more information about the proposal, click here.
RCAS Policy Changes:
RCAS policies are under review this next week with a possible six revisions and one new policy. In the area of Fiscal Management administration is recommending the revision of four current policies. In the area of School Community Relations one revision-Homework and one new policy-Relations with Political Organizations. The administration will also recommend a revision of a procedure in the Students section concerning Student Records.
Western Dakota Tech Policy Deletions:
Over the course of several meetings, the board has been reviewing WDT policies. This process will continue this week and the board will be reviewing the possible deletion of 12 WDT policies. To see the full list of deletions, click here and look at Item #13 on the agenda.
For more information about the above items, call 394-4031. To view the full agenda, click here.
BOE to Discuss Key Topics at Next Meeting
February 14, 2018 – Rapid City Area Schools: The following is a list of topics to watch during the Feb. 18 Board of Education meeting. This meeting will be relocated this week to East Middle School - 4860 Homestead Street - at 5:30 p.m. There are several topics up for discussion, including revisions to the Middle School Registration Handbook, summaries and explanations of grants the district wishes to apply for, and possible Western Dakota Tech policy changes.
Middle School Handbook Changes
The Board of Education will be voting on whether to approve changes to the Middle School Registration handbook. The handbooks include selected policies relating to students, courses offered, a list of required classes and services offered through the district. Separate books are provided to grades six, seven and eight. The new handbook includes minor language changes and possible changes to curriculum, including adding new classes and possibly deleting others.
For more information, click here.
Computer Science Grant
Black Hills State University CAMSE will apply for a National Science Foundation Grant that could affect RCAS and other educational organizations in the area.
The National Science Foundation has issued a call for proposals to increase the number of qualified computer science teachers and to increase the number of high schools offering rigorous computer science courses. The $500,000 grant will enable RCAS high schools to offer a high-quality, innovative, and fully developed computer science course entitled Exploring Computer Science.
If this grant is awarded, RCAS business and information technology teachers will have the opportunity to be trained to teach the Exploring Computer Science course. The course aims to inspire students about the creative potential of computer science.
For more information, click here.
21st Century Community Learning Center Program Grant
Upon board approval, the RCAS district intends to apply for the General Beadle Elementary School 21st Century Community Learning Center Program Grant. This $150,000 grant application, also known as the General Beadle Discovery Center, is being developed in partnership with Black Hills Special Services Cooperative for submission to the South Dakota Department of Education.
The proposal lists four primary objectives:
1. To provide a safe, supervised and rich learning environment from school close until 6 p.m. on school days and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for eight weeks during the summer months.
2. To improve academic achievement among participating students through directed interventions and authentic learning opportunities aligned with classroom instruction and state academic content standards.
3. To increase access to technology, youth development activities, community resources, and other enrichments that support educational success.
4. To engage parents, school-day staff, community members, and community groups in effective implementation of the program and improve outcomes for students served.
For more information, click here.
National Science Foundation Grant
If approved by the board, the RCAS district will apply for the National Science Foundation grant entitled Preparing Powerful K-8 Teachers of Science and Mathematics: A Research Study to Improve Teacher Preparation in the amount of $6.5 million.
The primary goal of this project is to test and refine a model for improving teacher preparation in mathematics and science within the constraints of a four-year undergraduate teacher preparation program. The project is also designed to build a vibrant professional learning community of K-12 leaders, Black Hills State University mathematicians, scientists, and education faculty as they work together to implement the model. Scientists and engineers from the Sanford Underground Research Facility will also be involved, contributing real world applications, engineering practices, and access to numerous frontiers of scientific discovery.
For more information, click here.
Western Dakota Tech Policy Readings
The board will be reviewing several policies regarding Western Dakota Tech. WDT is currently going through its entire policy manual and bringing it up-to-date. Upon board approval WDT will be deleting, editing and/or adding new policies.
To see the entire list of policies up for discussion, including the Mission Statement, Strategic Plan, and Goals, click here and look at item 12 on the Feb. 18 Board Agenda.
Rapid City Area Schools and Western Dakota Technical Institute Awarded Governor’s Grant for CTE Programs
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has selected Rapid City as a recipient of the Governor’s Grant of $2 million for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.
Rapid City Area Schools and Western Dakota Tech, along with other Black Hills area schools, partnered together for the Governor’s Grants for Career and Technical Education. With the grant dollars, RCAS and WDT plan to implement a project entitled “Pathways to College and Career Success”. The dual-enrollment project targets high school students in the Black Hills region by providing the opportunity to receive CTE dual-credit while still attending high school.
RCAS Superintendent, Dr. Timothy Mitchell said the RCAS district was grateful to be a recipient of the grant.
“We are very thankful to the Governor for his support of our application and the expansion of Career and Technical Education opportunities for students in the Black Hills region,” said Mitchell.
According to the South Dakota Fact Sheet produced by the Association for Career & Technical Education, students participating in CTE programs have higher-than-average high school graduation rates at 97-percent in South Dakota compared to 83-percent statewide.
“Research tells us that students who complete dual-enrollment opportunities in high school have a much better chance of being successful in post-secondary opportunities,” said Mitchell.
Three Rapid City Area School teachers will be honored during the Feb. 4, 2014 Board of Education meeting for earning high honors in their respective fields.
Ruth Conway, a teacher at Stevens High School and Rebecca Kline, a teacher at North Middle School, recently joined an elite group of Rapid City Area Schools teachers by earning National Board Certification. National Board Certification is geared toward teachers seeking higher levels of professional growth while also critically examining their teaching practices against high standards.
Conway, an 11-year district teacher who teaches Integrated Math 1, Pre-Calculus with Trigonometry, and Advanced Placement Calculus, received her National Board Certification in Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood. Kline, a 21-year district educator received her National Board Certification in Mathematics/Early Adolescence.
In addition, Stevens High School educator, Don Downs, was recently named one of the “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” by the School Band and Orchestra, SBO, publication.
The SBO spotlights music educators across the United States from nominations made by readers, but the final selection is made by the SBO’s editorial staff and this year Downs was South Dakota’s recipient.
Downs hopes to instill his students with the tools necessary to become life-long musicians who can not only make a difference in their communities, but also become music advocates for future children.
Consider the following questions:
**Have researchers ever shown that teacher isolation is more educationally effective strategy that teachers collaborating toward common goals?
**Is there evidence that top-down management is more effective that teacher problem-solving and leadership at all levels of the school system?
**Is there evidence that school structures based upon standardization are more effective that school structures that are differentiated based on actual student needs?
**Lastly, is there any evidence in the private or public sector that employees do not need frequent training and quality supervision throughout their career?
The answer to each question is “NO”.
There is no research that supports the claim that high employee performance is based on isolation, top down management, standardization and lack of employee training.
Current and Past Limitations:
*Laws and regulations: Schools are designed for some students, not all students
*Mindsets and limiting beliefs about learning
*Standardization versus differentiation
*Teacher isolation versus teacher collaboration, leadership and engagement
*A narrow view of professional development
*Teaching and student learning as separate acts, not as an interactive process
*Importance of Trust
*Collaboration in all directions – Elevating the importance of teamwork
*Capacity building for all educators
*Leaders at all levels
Research does identify three major phases of the transformation/change process:
*Likely to encounter resistance from stakeholders
Many confront the need to change
Consideration of the pros and cons of change
Struggle with the trade-offs
*Stormy process-emotions play a more prominent role
*Expect backsliding, procrastination, and avoidance
*View some resistance as headwind
Must be pushed through
Make this time a learning process
Encourage: Questions, Sharing of Ideas, Implementation and Plan Improvements
Let’s face it-children like arts education. It’s hands-on, has immediate rewards, focuses on positive achievements, develops concrete products, and fosters collaboration. The arts provide many opportunities for students to show off and demonstrate their skills through authentic performance. The arts enable children to grow in confidence and learn how to think positively about themselves and learning.
Ten Reasons Why Arts Education Matters
**Children learn positive habits, behaviors, and attitudes
**The arts enhance creativity
**Students sharpen critical intellectual skills
**The arts teach students methods for learning language skills
**The arts help students learn mathematics
**The arts expand on and enrich the learning of other subjects
**Arts education is its own reward
**Students practice teamwork
**Arts education is just the beginning--It provides an important avenue where children can develop a passion for learning
Arts programs make a difference, and every child should have the opportunity to participate in a strong, multi-dimensional arts program. The reality is that the arts have a powerful influence on children and learning, and they can make a significant difference in children’s lives. It takes understanding, commitment, communication and hard work to make sure that the arts are an important and meaningful part of schooling.
The collaborative team is the basic structure of a PLC and the engine that drives the improvement. In a PLC, collaboration is a process in which teachers work together in order to improve their classroom practice in ways that ensure students learn.
The When of Collaborative Teams: Wednesday Early Dismissal
Time for these teams to meet is a basic resource for successful PLC implementation. Recognizing the essential need for time in which to engage in the work, in June 2012 the Board of Education approved the calendar for early dismissal on twenty-seven Wednesdays throughout the school year. It is critical that this entire time is used to focus on improving student learning.
The What of Collaborative Teams: The Work
PLCs go beyond organizing the staff into teams to collaborate. It is essential that the district clear about what the work is and what the team will be asked to produce. Teacher teams will be expected to:
· Clarify the essential learning for each subject or course
· Develop common formative assessments
· Collaboratively analyze the results of the assessments
· Monitor the learning of each student on a frequent basis, skill by skill
· Develop plans to provide students with additional time, support, and enrichment
· Reflect on their own instructional practices in order to improve effectiveness.
In summary, in a PLC collaborative teams work to achieve common goals that are designed to improve student learning. Teams also learn from and assist one another, which builds a culture of understanding and support. In short, collaborative teams of teachers are the heart and soul of a school that functions as a PLC.
Information provided by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP):
When a national tragedy occurs, such as a shooting at school, terrorist attack, or natural disaster, people will be confused or frightened—especially children. Most likely they will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel should help children cope by establishing a sense of safety and security. As more information becomes available, adults can continue to help children work through their emotions and perhaps even use the process as a learning experience.
General Tips for All Adults
• Model calm and controlled behaviors
• Reassure children that they are safe and (if true) so are the other important adults in their lives
• Let children know that it is okay to feel upset
• Observe children’s emotional state
• Tell children the truth and answer the questions they may have honestly
• Stick to the facts
• Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate
• For all children, encourage them to verbalize their thoughts and feelings
• Be a good listener!
• You may need extra help for those with special needs
• Monitor your own stress level
• Monitor social media (i.e. Internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
• Review safety procedures
What Parents Can Do
• Focus on your child over the week following the tragedy & offer extra reassurance about their safety
• Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games before bed
• Make time to talk with your children each day
• Let children express their emotions
• Give plenty of hugs! Many children will want actual physical contact
• Safeguard your child’s physical health
• Maintain a “normal” routine… but don’t be inflexible
• Consider thinking and expressing hopeful thoughts
• Find out what resources your school has in place to help children cope
• Limit or stop TV viewing of these events, particularly if they impact your child or you; be aware if the TV or radio is on in the background
• Monitor Internet and social media, Twitter, and text messages (SMS/AIM)
What Teachers Can Do
• Assure your students that they are safe
• Maintain structure and stability…Routine is good!
• Provide information directly to your students in a calm factual way and dispel rumors
• Seek support from school psychologists, school counselors, school social workers, and school nurses
• Be aware of students who may have recently experienced a personal tragedy or have a connection to the victim(s) in some way
• Be mindful of children who exhibit extreme anxiety, fear, or anger
• Be aware of those who appear too distant or quiet, which is “not their typical self”
• Know what community resources are available
• Conduct age appropriate classroom discussions and activities
• Provide an outlet for students’ desire to help (e.g., letters of support to the impacted community, fundraising if appropriate, etc.)
Suggested points to emphasize when talking to children
• Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand
• Sometimes people do terrible things that hurt others
• Stay away from guns and other weapons
• Violence is never a solution to personal problems
• Tell an adult if you or someone else hear or see someone threaten you or your classmates
NASP Resources to Share
» Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/talkingviolence.pdf
» Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Traumatic Events: Tips for Parents and Teachers http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/angermgmt_general.aspx
» Helping Children Cope With Crisis: Care for Caregivers http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/CaregiverTips.pdf
» Tips for School Administrators for Reinforcing School Safety http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/schoolsafety_admin.aspx
While the Rapid City Area Schools does not endorse candidates or take positions on ballot measures, we do want to help the public be educated on the issues prior to Election Day.
You may have already seen these documents linked to a School Board Agenda and discussed at School Board Meetings, but if you were too busy to check them out on the district website, or if you want to share this information with others, here is an opportunity to study the information.
The first document relates to Referred Law 16. This document is provided by the Secretary of State.
Referred Law 16
The second document relates to Initiated Measure 15, a proposal to begin a one-penny sales tax to support K-12 education funding, which has been cut by the state by $75 million since 2009, and Medicaid funding, which has also been cut in recent years.
Initiated Measure 15 Fact Sheet
Please study the facts so that you can be best prepared to vote on November 6th.