Tuesday, November 12, 2013

HHS Broadside Article on the 1-1 Program at RMS

I recently had an opportunity to sit down with HHS student Stephen McCarthy to discuss the RMS 1-1 iPad program.

You can read Stephen's editorial here: HHS Broadside "The One-to-One Program: IPads at RMS"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Notes from Apple Leadership and Learning Event 110513

Apple Leadership and Learning Event
November 5, 2013
Upcoming opportunity: December 12 site visit at New Hampton, 1-1 iPads. See URL.
Apple Video intro "Time for a new conversation."
Panel of three schools:
-Milan Village School: 4-6 iPads, kids keep for three years and then keep the device. Message is about engagement of students.
-Jaffery/Rindge: 7-9 iPads, start with what do we need in the classroom, then figure out device and implementation. Amplify what we want students to do and what we need staff to do to achieve this outcome.
-Pittsfield: 5-12 iPads, student-centered environment. Active engagement, awareness (what they are doing and why they are doing it all the time), interaction, transferability.
-My question about year two lessons: Adjust time allocation for PD, fill gaps in infrastructure, adjust teacher expectations, be mindful of change/developments and chance of ever shifting vision.
My Ten Take-Aways:
1. When you create curricular materials make sure you design them to be accessible to all students.
2. Message and mission needs to be understood and engaged with by all stakeholders. How can technology support this effort?
3. Consider defining an IT position in a 1-1 environment as specific to that environment and device selection. This role is a direct support and expert in the device and usage.
4. Importance of collaborating and communicating with other districts taking the same journey. Model the skills we hope to impart.
5. Skill of using a device as a tool as a competency for diverse learners.
6. Continue conversations norming expectations, need to constantly revisit and refine.
7. School needs to constantly push positive information from experience with effective technology integration.
8. Create and cultivate a school environment where innovation and risk-taking are the norm.
9. Spend some time engaging in conversations about possible philosophical changes as a result of new learning environment (ex. extended learning blocks/periods, challenge-based project learning).
10. SAMR and TPACK models as a primary way of communicating beyond the vision statement.
Other notes:
-Strategic direction creating an individualized learning environment. Show transition across TPACK in flow chart. Devices and software, contents and delivery, personalized learning.
-VPP program updates allow you to pull back licenses.
-What is a redefining application?
-OSX Mavericks update increases access on desktop/laptop to iBooks.
-HMH history book "The Americans" seems impressive as an interactive resource.
Changing role of the educator as described by Dover-Foxcroft:
-Interview staff and students so that I can share and promote their success and work.
-Ask staff who are willing to create widgets within ibooks author to show highlights of student work.
-"The Build" as a way of describing the transition of learners in a 1-1 (students and faculty)
-Ask students for volunteers who might create tutorials after every project. Groups by app and then class and teacher evaluate apps. Guide and support.
-iTunesU as a way to communicate with staff and support tech PD.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Safety and Security at RMS

Keeping students and staff safe at the Richmond Middle School is our first and most important annual goal. To that end we are constantly considering safety and security measures, training, and improvements. In addition, we rely on your feedback and suggestions to support our efforts.

Over the summer we made several security improvements which have been noted at Dresden School Board meetings. We hope that these improvements combined with increased vigilance, training, and a developing partnership with Hanover Police and Fire will result in a more secure environment for all.

Improvements to the Physical Plant this Summer:

-Front Entrance: We now will leave all but two of the front entrance doors locked during the day. The remaining doors now have electronic locks which allow us to remotely secure the building.

-Several of the ground level windows are now coated with a protective film which will slow an attempted entry.

-Main entrances are now monitored by a video system. This system is only accessible by a small group of administrative staff and the intended use is security.

Improvements in Process and Procedure:

-The outside of the building is now regularly monitored and exterior doors are checked to ensure they are secure during the school day.

-Hanover Police and Fire are actively invited to visit the school during the day. This helps them to be more familiar with the physical layout and also helps in building positive relationships with staff and students.

-We have conducted drills in coordination with the Ray School and SAU 70 staff.

-Members of our school emergency team have attended trainings and workshops. Their work and study continues to inform our efforts as a school and district.

-Hanover Police are leading an effort to update and improve the town-wide school emergency response plan. We look forward to continued efforts here and will likely do a large-scale drill at some point in the future.

I hope that these examples provide a view and sense of how we are attempting to address security and safety at the Richmond Middle School. They are only a sample of the regular work that we undertake as we actively seek to make the school a safe place for all. This regular work includes our active emergency/safety committee which meets monthly to review policy and procedures, analyze drills and practice, discuss incident reports and to plan all-school safety initiatives and activities.

In that spirit, a friendly reminder:

"Welcome parents, visitors, and guests.  Thank you for taking the time to visit our school. We do ask for the safety of our students and staff that you do sign in at the office and wear a visitor badge.  Thank you for your cooperation and support."

I welcome your suggestions, feedback, and conversation. Please write, comment or stop by the school and share!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Day FAQs and Responses

We had another terrific first day of school at the Richmond Middle School this week. I thought I would post a few of the frequently asked questions and responses here. Please don't hesitate to contact us for assistance with anything. We look forward to working together this year!

Q: What is the earliest I can drop off my child at RMS?
A: 7:30 AM each day. We do not have supervision in place earlier than 7:30 so we ask that you please don't drop off your child prior to that time. After 7:30 students may wait in the lobby, visit the cafeteria or play basketball/soccer in the gym. The bell rings for the start of school at 7:55.

Q: Do I need to purchase a RMS student planner?
A: No. We do make them available for purchase on a first come, first serve basis at the start of the year. We have already sold out of the RMS specific planner this year. Students may use any planner or organizer and in fact we encourage students to try different tools to find what works best for them. 8th grade students may wish to use their iPads this year as their primary planner/organizer.

Q: How can I find out more about the 8th grade 1-1 iPad program?
A: Please visit the 1-1 blog accessible both from the RMS web page and directly here.

Q: Can my child change their schedule/elective?
A: Depends. Core classes are locked in at this point unless there is a change in placement or a special circumstance. Elective changes can still be made over the next week as long as there is room in a desired course. Students interested in a schedule change should talk with their guidance counselor in the first week of the quarter.

Q: How do I add money to my child's cafeteria account?
A: The RMS tech department will be generating an instruction sheet including online account information. This should be sent home with the Principal's News and Notes on Friday. Students can also deposit cash or checks in the cafeteria each day before school or during snack.

Q: How do I log in to the Student Portal (grades/schedules/demographic info)?
A: The RMS tech department will be generating a single-sign-on instruction and log in sheet that will be sent home this week. Once you have created your parent account you can add all of your RMS and HHS students for easy access to their Portal pages. If you have difficulties creating your account or adding your child please contact the RMS tech office. Frequent Tip: Create your account before trying to use the student ID number to add your child.

Q: Where do I find information about bus routes?
A: The SAU web page has the most current bus route information. You can also reach the bus company at 802-295-2414.

Q: Where can I find __ document or more about RMS?
A: We try and post most of our documents and information on our web page. Please take a look and let us know if you have suggestions for additional material.

Please contact me if you have additional questions. Questions can be sent to michael.lepene@dresden.us or sent via tweet to @mlepene. Phone calls to the front office are also always welcome at 603 643 6040.

Thank you!
Mike Lepene
Associate Principal RMS

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2013-2014 RMS/Dresden Goals

Goal 1:  To provide a rich, robust, and highly transparent curriculum framework that helps teachers teach, students learn, and parents/community know . . . what we do and why we do it.


         Curriculum Mapping (Atlas Rubicon)
(1)   Complete curriculum maps.
(2)   Use curriculum mapping as a collaborative tool to better align grade level/discipline curriculum/instructional practices.

(3)  Engage students with multiple and varied formative and summative common assessments.
(4)   Investigate a variety of performance assessments to develop novel ways that students can demonstrate that they “understand, and can independently apply and reconstruct” learning.
(5)   Periodically invite school board and community to school to see examples of innovative performance assessments.

(6)  Appropriately integrate technology into course curriculum, assessments, and classroom instruction to enhance student learning.
(7)   Provide examples of integrated technology that “transforms” student learning.

Goal 2:  To improve one’s professional practice.

Friday, May 3, 2013

1-1 Program Welcome Letter

Dear Rising 8th Grade Parents and Guardians, May 1, 2013

We are excited to announce that the 8th grade will be participating in a One-to-One iPad program next year. This means each student in the 8th grade will be issued an iPad to use for the entire school year.  We see this curriculum initiative as a way to help foster skills necessary for learning in the 21st century, while not losing sight of the core principles that have made the Richmond Middle School program successful for so long. It is the task of our middle school to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood, from dependence to independence, and from understanding the world in a simple and concrete manner to comprehending it in its multifaceted, multilayered configuration. We engage in this work with the understanding that this initiative will only enhance the students’ experience. Teachers will be able to reach students in new and engaging ways, without disrupting the traditional methods that have served our students.

In considering such an initiative, we believe that students need access to “anytime/anywhere” mobile digital tools. They should be able to instantly share and publish their ideas in text, graphics, images and video and seamlessly use them alongside paper, paintbrush and notebook. Twenty-first century learning demands that a student be able to collaborate to solve problems and to think abstractly and in new ways to solve unique problems. We believe embracing mobile technology will enhance the student experience more than ever before imagined.

We have chosen the iPad as our device for this program due to its simplicity of use, quality as a book replacement, short startup time, extended battery life, portability, ease of handling and sharing as well as its ability to create and display multimedia content. While we are selecting the iPad as the best option to initiate our work with mobile technology, we will continue to explore the increasingly diverse options available to our students.

Here are a few ways we anticipate utilizing the technology:

-As a student planner and calendar and to access the school email system.
-For taking notes and writing.
-For reading and annotating digital editions of school texts and readings.
-Creating multimedia and online reports, projects, and assessments.
-Supporting school projects with camera and video.
-Participating in class blogs and discussions.
-Accessing class portal pages and other online resources.

We are truly excited to work in partnership with you on this initiative. We will keep you informed of upcoming orientation activities as we prepare for the 8th grade year.

Michael Lepene Marty Warren Laura Abbene
Associate Principal Technology Integrator Library-Media Specialist
michael.lepene@dresden.us marty.warren@dresden.us laura.abbene@dresden.us

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Selected Quotes from "Creating Innovators" by Wagner.

Our administrative team recently read Tony Wagner's "Creating Innovators" in preparation for our annual goal setting retreat. Here are some of the quotes from the book that I especially enjoyed and also some that made me think. I'm certain that the selected quotes and many more will make their way into my work now and in the future. -Mike

"Most policy makers - and many school administrators - have absolutely no idea what kind of instruction is required to produce students who can think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, and collaborate versus merely score well on a test. They are also clueless about what kind of teaching best motivates this generation to learn." (p. xv).

"Innovation may then be defined as the process of having original ideas and insights that have value, and then implementing them so that they are accepted and used by significant numbers of people." (p. 8).

"Succeeding through creation often requires innovation - figuring out how to put together and add value to things that just weren't there before." (p. 9).

"Incremental innovation is about significantly improving existing products, processes, or services. Disruptive of transformative innovation, on the other hand, is about creating a new of fundamentally different product or service that disrupts existing markets and displaces formerly dominant technologies." (p. 9-10).

"What are the skills of innovators?
1. Critical thinking and problem solving.
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence.
3. Agility and adaptability.
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship.
5. Accessing and analyzing information.
6. Effective oral and written communication.
7. Curiosity and imagination." (p. 12).

"Significant challenges come with the use of new technologies, and I think the potential for misuse and excessive dependence is real and must be addressed by adults." (p. 18).

"Motivation is far more important than either expertise or skills. (it) determines what people will actually do." (p. 25).

"People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself - and not by external pressures." (p. 25).

"Lea and Cord gave their children a great deal of structure and clear rules related to reading time, screen time, and bedtime. But they were also adamant about their children using playtime as an unstructured opportunity to discover, explore, and experiment." (p. 38).

"I couldn't do any of these guys' jobs, but I knew enough about what they did to have an intelligent conversation and to represent their interests when things were inevitably in conflict." (p. 44).

"The real learning goes on when they get into the lab, where they have to actually apply what they have been hearing and reading about." (p. 48).

"Students don't have to be blocked from dreaming by the fact that they haven't learned what they need to know to realize that dream." (p. 85).

"Increasingly in the twenty-first century, what you know is far less important than what you can do with what you know. The interest in and ability to create new knowledge to solve new problems is the single most important skill that all students must master today." (p. 142).

"We need to eliminate the bright lines between subjects. A more inter-disciplinary approach to learning will better prepare people for the kind of problems they'll be confronting. Students also need more experience with collaborative problem solving." (p. 156).

"Smart corporate leaders carved out protective spaces in their companies for innovation." (p. 230).

"Convert most classroom experiences into collaborative problem-solving events led by facilitators; tailor learning to the individual learner's experience and competence level; dramatically reduce or eliminate instructor-led slide presentation lectures." (p. 237).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

2013-2014 Dresden Board Goals

Dresden School District 2013-2014 Goals

Goal 1. Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment: Digitally map curricula and common assessments using Rubicon Atlas.

a. Map course curricula

Indicator 1: Each course mapped (Units, time frame, content, skills, assessment, differentiation, technology enhancement)

Indicator 2: Active participation in meaningful and reflective conversations centered around student learning. 

b. Align curricula to Standards (i.e. Common Core, 21st Century Skills, ISTE)
(RMS Phase II, HHS Phase I)

Indicator 3: Each course mapped and aligned with Standards. 

c. Provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative common assessments aligned with Standards.

Indicator 4: Active participation in mapping and review of formative and summative common assessments.

Goal 2. Technology: Exploration and integration of technology into the fabric of RMS and HHS curriculum, instruction and assessment.

a. Exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative educator in a global and digital society.

 Indicator 1: Begin to develop and build fluency in technology and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations.

Indicator 2. Collaborate with students, peers and parents using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.

Indicator 3. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.

b. Use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.

Indicator 4: Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness.

 Indicator 5. Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.

Indicator 6. Model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments.

Friday, January 11, 2013

NHASP Winter Workshop 2013

Collection of my notes and observations from sessions attended at the NHASP Winter Workshop 2013.

Comment: I'll tweet out my thoughts in addition to this blog using hashtag #NHASP. First observation, NHASP still does not seem to have much of an online presence at conferences. Still room to grow here in terms of backchannels, hashtags and other online resources for further feedback, communication and discussion.

Session 1: Common Core Writing Standards: Their Impact on Instruction Across the Curriculum
-Fred Wolff, Institutional Affiliation Consultant
-Huge shift (for some) for core subject teachers to we are all teachers of writing.
-Review of some reading samples, general discussion of reading level and word choice.
-Connection between the text we give students to read and the writing they produce.
-Textbooks used in our schools are not examples of "strong" writing.

-Writing beyond the English Classroom: entire section of CC devoted to writing in science, history, and tech subjects.
-Shift in assessments with true integration of reading and writing. Ability to respond to a question dependent on literacy skills.
-Employment and promotion are often dependent upon writing skills, regardless of career.
-Reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language need to be a shared responsibility within the school.
-Comment: So far, pretty classic description of "problem"... writing needs to be taught across subjects, examples of science class requiring writing in college... hoping we move beyond 20yo+ description of "problem" to some current/new ideas for addressing this. Lack of teaching writing is an over-generalized problem description in my experience in today's schools.
-Question: Does/Should writing today always require a complete sentence? I wonder if the way we communicate has changed from the model of complete sentence = complete thought?

-Importance of students doing a lot of writing and engaging in a many different types of writing across curricular areas.
-Writing in the workplace: Most of what we do is about communicating ideas to other people (engineer).
-Idea of audience is a crucial piece of common core writing. Critical that students have an opportunity to write for an audience other than their teacher.
-Workplace example of producing "error-free" documents.

-CC Writing Standards rewritten:
1. Introduce your topic
2. If you aren't knowledgeable about your topic, do some research!
3. Support your statements with documentation.
4. Provide the readers with any and all facts they need.
5. Order your information in a manner that is logical and easy for the reader to follow.
6. Write clearly so your reader can easily follow your thinking.
7. Connect your thoughts so the reader can see how you move from A to B.
8. Select words that are appropriate for the topic and audience.
9. Conclude with an ending that wraps up the discussion.
10. Use technology.

Comment: Prezi being sold as a great thing. Unfortunately, not talking about the importance of teaching kids how to organize their ideas in Prezi. Otherwise just a distraction, much like the over-use of transitions/sounds with PP.

11. Take time to revise.
12. Choose conventions with care.
13. Edit your work.

-So what is new?
1. Change in balance between fiction and nonfiction.
2. True integration between reading and writing.
3. Incorporation of technology for collaboration
4. Renewed emphasis on conventions of basic language skills.

Types of Writing Content Teachers can Teach and Assign
-summaries, critiques, reports, instructional manuals, analysis papers, audience-based papers, research, compare-contrast, narrative, persuasive, descriptive, opinion based on facts, hypothesizing based on facts
-Modify writing for purpose and audience.

Session 2: iPads in the Classroom/When Textbooks Aren't Enough.
-Mary-Ellen Hedrich, 8th grade SS Teacher - Gilbert Hood MS in Derry
Comment: AP asked her to present and did not accompany her in the presentation. I hope I can attend and support any group I ask to do something like this.
-Textbook Scavenger Hunt using NH SS standards.
-Limited sections and information with standards identified. Angle used to write grant requesting iPads. Trying to pursue and provide information to support learning standards difficult if textbook is primary resource.
-Introduction to EdModo.
-Creating concept maps on the iPAd as an assessment of students interpretation of connections.
-Commoncraft videos: concise how-to videos
-Have students create "In plain English" videos to demonstrate understanding of a topic.
-Prezi as a re-teaching tool.
-Keynote as presentation tool and as reteaching review resource.
-iBooks, selecting titles and resources to differentiate reading/research materials
-Need for teachers: on-demand tech support. Need help when things come up and waiting for a tech request doesn't cut it.
-Built in period in the student day "WIN", what I need. Resource/help time during the day for whatever kids need to access or get help with.
-Sounds like a number of "tech" policies at the school are getting in the way of more innovation (network, publishing, devices).
-Many in the audience have experience with iPad, pilot programs, 1-1 roll-outs.
Comment: I fear the more and more 1-1 programs are going to dampen innovation through standardization. One-size fits all might be easier to manage but doesn't reflect the real world.

Session 3: What Principals Need to Know: Implementing the CCSS using a Response to Instruction Framework with a Multi-tiered System of Support.
-Elaine McNulty Knight and team, NHDOE scheduled, sub presenter
-RTI (Response to Instruction) is not SpEd or Gen Ed, it is an every ed initiative, just good teaching.
-Modules of implementation for new initiatives.
1. intro to components of plan
2. leadership and infra development
3. types of data and universal screening
4. progress monitoring student RTI
5. implementing for all students
6. assessment and data-based decision making
-CC provides framework, the what but not the how. Adding RTI brings the how.
-Book: How to teach thinking skills within the common core.
-Should have a data team to provide information to inform CIA.
-NHDOE has developed tools and resources to provide assistance and direction to NH schools with CC and RTI.
-Review of three-tiered system (triangle). 80/15/5
-RTI is a systematic integration of all of a school's resources.

-AmherstMS: RTI pilot site
-Shifting the mindset and bringing about a culture that supports/embracing change.
-Restructuring from a CST model to more of a continuum of RTI
-Using the integrity rubric to challenge assumptions and way of thinking. How do you know?
-RTI as a way of fine-tuning what you are already doing and bringing more data into discussion.
-Define RTI, Create a vision, Define universal screening process, determine cut scores, progress monitoring process, set goals
-Can email Amherst APs for screening tools or process documents.
-Students benchmarks in reading and writing 3 times per year.
-Creating a Culture of Change: Be transparent with staff, provide meaningful PD often, commitment is key, not an initiative but best practice, change schedule to allow for tier 2 interventions, teachers are interventionists, patience, don't take it personal, lots of conversations and let go of the past
-Consistently analyze RTI discussions at all levels and communicate with staff.

-MadisonES: RTI pilot site
-Provide transportation before and after school to create time for interventions.
-Importance of having a RTI coordinator.
-Resources available on school web site.
-Significant time for PD with CC and progress monitoring

-Nottingham K-8: RTI pilot site and Data Teams
-Has taken three years of consistent message, accountability and support to make this valued part of school culture.
-Communication among team members: universal screenings, establishing "watch" students, entry/exit from tiers, progress monitoring, transition back to the classroom, examining instructional practices in T1, T2, T3.
-Structure: weekly, grade level, every one present, use school-wide cal, strategies to manage meetings, common plan time, interventionists attend, locate in conference room, a couple times per year for extended data meetings
-Comment: This fits well with how I would like to transition at least some of our team mtg time.
-Format: facilitator, note-taking, norms, agendas, goals, equal share time, group/tier adjustment days, communicate the data discussion around effective practices.
-Critical to have RTI procedures in writing. Binder for reading, math and specific to interventionists.
-Challenge of scheduling time for interventions to be delivered for those tier 2/3 students who need interventions beyond classroom.
-Comment: Nicely done. Nottingham has done an impressive job with implementation and development of their data team model. Definitely a potential resource/connection.

Ended the day with the 2013 NHASP POY Awards. I was recognized as a NHASP 2013 Outstanding Role Model for being a finalist for 2013 AP of the year. I'm grateful for the recognition and opportunity. I'll write a post sometime soon with my reflection on the process and resulting goals.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

One Hour of Walking Classrooms

I learn so much from walking classrooms and would like to take additional opportunities to document my visits. Here is a quick summary of what I experienced this morning.

-Office Conference room. Faculty Forum this morning where the discussion focused on evaluation and feedback of committee provided by staff. Our facilitator helped us come up with themes, focusing questions and ideas for moving forward.
-Learning Center. I spent some time looking at student work. One student chose to represent the school organizational structure using a cell model. Interesting thoughts about how we are organized.

-Supervised Study. Some students working on individual assignments. One taking a math quiz. Another working on comparing different edits/drafts of a Christmas Carol using an online resource. 

-English Class. Students discussing process for reading and commenting on work using the YWP blog. I took a shot of a prompt on the back whiteboard that sounded like fun.

-Math Class. Students were taking an assessment. All seemed very focused.

-Math Class. Students were viewing instructional videos created by their teacher. The teacher is creating the videos on the iPad/Vimeo so that students have an additional resource for math instruction. When I was visiting students were viewing a video and offering feedback to the teacher using a GoogleForm. Great modeling of use of tech and seeking feedback.

-English Class. Class read-aloud of Romeo and Juliet. They were at the part were Romeo kills Paris. Some great discussion and questions from the class.

-English Class. Discussion of the Globe Theater and conditions the audience experienced. Teacher had the students get up from their normal seating arrangement and "occupy" a floor tile during his discussion. Fun experience that really seemed to add a lot to the discussion.

-Social Studies. Class was viewing a film about a nomadic group and their living conditions and culture. I happened to walk in during the piece about their Yurts and the butchering of some livestock. I decided not to take a picture...

-Tech Office. Multi-tasking as always. Our tech folks were responding to "tickets" and setting up a Mac Mini for the new display that is up in the 6th grade hall. Excited to start uploading student work for regular digital display.

I hope to provide a similar summary on walk-through classroom visits on a regular basis. You really can get a great sense of what is happening at RMS in a relatively short amount of time. One of my goals for this organization is to get all of us engaged in these learning walks as we have much to learn from each other.