Connecting MTSS and Third Grade Reading Law

Written by: Mark Raffler, Kent ISD

The Kent ISD Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) team has been working for the past six years to develop the understanding and capacity of local districts to balance the behavior and academic demands put forward by the State of Michigan.

The latest legislation put into place, focused on academic content, is the Third Grade Reading Law (Public Act 306).  This legislation comes with many requirements and considerations for districts in order to increase the number of students reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
Continue reading Connecting MTSS and Third Grade Reading Law

Focusing on Read Alouds: K-3 Literacy Essentials

Written by: Christi Gilbert, Literacy Coach/Kent ISD

Essential #2 states: “Read Alouds of age-appropriate books and other materials, print or digital”

Why read alouds?

There is a STRONG research consensus that supports literacy development through read alouds. Children learn about reading and writing from read alouds. They also increase their vocabulary hearing new words during a read aloud.

But, our reality:

Tanya Wright, a lead researcher with the Literacy Essentials, did a study on read alouds.  She visited four classrooms  and conducted over 55 visits. Throughout those visits she noticed two important things: Continue reading Focusing on Read Alouds: K-3 Literacy Essentials

Literacy- Making Every Minute Count

Written by Melissa Buurstra, Early Childhood Specialist

Do you ever wonder about the time at school children spend waiting for their turn to use the bathroom or another class to finish in the gym?

In Kent County’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) classrooms, we do wonder about this time. We have a name for it and we even plan for it on our weekly lesson plans. We call it “transition time”.

These 3-5 minute waits really add up. For instance, a GSRP classroom waiting in line 5 minutes every day amounts to 650 minutes or almost 11 hours which is close to 2 entire days of school.

“We take this time seriously and use transition time activities as an important part of our lesson planning,” says Ashley Karsten, Kent ISD GSRP Supervisor. Continue reading Literacy- Making Every Minute Count

Alternatives to Suspension

Written by: Kelly Amshey, Assistant Principal Rockford Public Schools Freshman Center

We have all been frustrated when issuing suspension to students when we know that the consequence does little to shape behavior.  In my experience, many students who “earn” suspensions are the most at-risk academically, requiring more time in the classroom, not less.

Students who require special education services, those who struggle with attendance, and those who are otherwise disengaged from school may be those who are suspended most frequently, undermining our goal of keeping them in class and supporting their educational outcomes. Continue reading Alternatives to Suspension

MDE “Top 10 in 10 Roadshow” Visits GR in April

“We have a tremendous opportunity, working together as a state, to lift student achievement using these goals and strategies. This requires open minds and the will from all involved to make it work.” State Superintendent Brian Whiston

Michigan’s Education Vision is for “Every learner in Michigan’s public schools to have an inspiring, engaging, and caring learning environment that fosters creative and critical thinkers who believe in their ability to positively influence Michigan and the world beyond.” Continue reading MDE “Top 10 in 10 Roadshow” Visits GR in April

Creating a Positive School Climate

Imagine you are a student at your school and you have a big test tomorrow. Maybe the test is the SAT or maybe just a spelling test.  The problem is that you have not studied. How would you be feeling? You might feel a little panicked, sweaty, nervous, or even nauseous. 

Having some anxiety in a stressful situation is a normal response. However, not everyone experiences this the same way. The definition of anxiety is a feeling that can vary in severity from mild uneasiness to a terrifying panic attack. The feeling can last a few moments to many years. Continue reading Creating a Positive School Climate

Personalized Learning Conference: #PLCON18 Call for Proposals is OPEN!

UPDATE: This conference is being postponed until May 1, 2019. Please save the date. We are still accepting proposals, but it will be for the 2019 conference. We will still be holding the 2018 site visits at Kent Innovation High and Kenowa Hills. Click here for more information on site visits.

Kent ISD is pleased to announce the hosting of the third Personalized Learning Conference on May 3, 2017 and is searching for presenters to share their experiences in this evolving educational practice. Personalized Learning is a model of learning that promotes flexibility within the learning environment to allow students’ needs to drive instructional strategies, assessments, use of time, and materials. Continue reading Personalized Learning Conference: #PLCON18 Call for Proposals is OPEN!

Mapp and Morrell Promote Early Literacy by Engaging Parents

Why is it important for educators, parents and business leaders to be involved in promoting early childhood literacy?  Do community members have a collective responsibility to support the reading and writing development of the children living in their neighborhoods?  How can families and area residents partner with schools to strengthen and support literacy initiatives?

Learn the answers to these questions and more during the Reading Now Network’s West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium, “Collective Responsibility: Engaging Families & Community,” on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The event will take place at the Bernhard Center on the Campus of Western Michigan University. Continue reading Mapp and Morrell Promote Early Literacy by Engaging Parents

Save Time with Homework Management Tools

Written by Joe Phillips, Design Lab Instructor at Kent ISD

If you are one of the many teachers embracing technology and having your students submit paperless writing assignments, perhaps you have experienced this:

It’s late at night and you are trying to grade your students’ papers before tomorrow’s class.  You search through your e-mail to find the link to the assignment from the first student in your grade book.  You click on the link only to find you do not have permission to view the file.  The student did not share the document with you properly!  You make a note in your grade book, send the student an e-mail about the problem and search your e-mail for the next student.  There must be an easier way!

How I Save Time

For the last several years I have used two tools to help manage and grade digital writing assignments: Doctopus (think octopus for documents) and Goobric (think Google + rubric).  If you have students turn in digital papers, these two tools are essential! Continue reading Save Time with Homework Management Tools

Finding the Right Fit

Parents, Students Tout Benefits of Accelerated Math Pilot

Written by Janice Holst,  School News Network

How do you turn a would-be class clown into a productive student? How do you motivate a fifth-grader who just doesn’t fit in or refuses to keep up with classroom assignments?

Some area parents have turned to ATYP Junior — a Kent ISD pilot program that offers accelerated math for elementary students.

“Nolan’s experience thus far with ATYP has been nothing but positive,” said Mickey Larson, father of the Sparta fifth-grader. “The recognition that comes along with being part of such a select group has finally helped make him proud and appreciative of his intelligence. His newfound self-confidence leads him to see himself not merely as the ‘class clown’ – as he’s done in years past – but rather as the smart, witty kid that he is.” Continue reading Finding the Right Fit

News from Kent ISD's Professional Development Hub