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Norwalk, Iowa
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December 9, 2010     N. Warren Town and County News
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December 9, 2010
 

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SCHOOL and SPORTS Official Publication for the Norwalk Community School District Page Eight N/Warren Town and County News Norwalk Warriors Thursday, December 9, 2010 .... notes from Dr. Denny Wulf Superintendent of Norwalk Schools The Norwalk School Board, administrative team and teacher-leadership teams have been reviewing research, surveys and national standards to better prepare for a new world. Here are some excerpts of our work and what we are doing to respond to these challenges. ,.,D Who thinks American Schools Need to Change? An interesting nationwide public opinion poll went out earlier this year. It was conducted on behalf of Achieve Inc., Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Re- search. (It was conducted in May of 2010 and has a margin of error of 3.5%). Some were broken out by political affiliation O r other characteristics, others were not. 89% of Republi- cans, 90% of Democrats and 87% of Independents agreed with the following state- ment: To really get ahead in life, a person needs at least some education beyond high school, whether that means university, community college, technical or vocational school. 85% of Republicans, 83% of Democrats and 92% of independents agreed with the following statement: Rigorous academic and graduation requirements in public schools will better pre- pare students to take the next step in life. 83% of all voters agreed that all students should be pushed to take rigorous and broad academic requirements in high school to better prepare students to compete in the global economy. 85% of all voters agreed that skills like critical thinking and problem-solving can be developed by studying advanced math and English in high school. 83% of all voters agreed that some high school students will never pass advanced math courses, but there should be other ways to allow these students to graduate. 65% of all voters agree that many of the math skills needed by electricians, construc- tion workers, plumbers and other traditional jobs are the same skills necessary to do well in college courses. 48% of all voters believe that graduates are prepared to meet the expectations they face as they take the next steps after high school. 50% believe that students are not prepared for the next step. 62% of all voters agreed that it is better for all states to have the same standards at each grade leVel in math and English for students across the country rather than for states to have their own standards. 64% of all voters agreed that it is better for all states to have the same tests at each grade level in math and English so scores can be compared across states rather than " to allow each state to have a test which reflects its own priorities. 63% of all voters agreed that it is better to implement the same rigorous graduation standards for everyone so all students are pushed to succeed. 85% of white, 84% of African Ameri- can, and 95% of Hispanic voters support college and career readiness graduation recuirements for all students. 87% of Urban, 86% of suburban and 81% of rural voters support these requirements for all students. 86% of all voters agreed that: Schools should support college and career ready re- quirements, with 65% supporting these requirements for all students. Among voters living in the 21 states with college and work readiness require- ments, 92% support keeping the standards or raising them. In the remaining states, who have not adopted college and career ready require- ments, 73% of voters believe their state's requirements should be raised and 20% believe they should remain the same. When asked if raising graduation requirements would increase student dropouts, - 49% agree and 50% disagree. What did we learn from this survey? It must be noted that increasing college and work readiness is a priority for Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Even in the last two years of very partisan politics, the voters agreed on increasing the rigor of education to include college and work readiness. So, this is a national, bipartisan issue that transcends poverty, geograph race and politics. So, what is Norwalk High School doing to develop a curriculum of college and ca- reer readiness? Beginning with this freshman class, college and career readiness will be enhanced. Please read about these changes by gong to our website at the follow- ing locations: 1. Making the "class rank" process mirror the Regents Admission Index (how students qualify for our Regents Universities): http://www.norwalk.k12.ia.us/attach- o o ments/1461_Class %20Rank Yo20Change.doc 2. How students will document the teamwork and collegiality necessary for the workplace:http://www.norwalk.k12.ia.us/attachments/1461_ O O O O Collaboration Yo20and Yo20Teamwork %20Artifact Yo20Form.doc 3. Many of. these college and career readiness skills such as technology compe- tency, employability skills, financial competency, health literacy and other 21 t Cen- ?iL tury Skills from the Iowa Core cannot be measured on a standardized test such as the ITBS or ITED. Read how Norwalk will create student portfolios to gather qualitative data: http://www.norwalk.k12.ia.us/attachments/1461_Portfolio%20Contents,%2010-4- 2010.doc 4. Read how this portfolio will progress and how success will be determined: http://www.nrwak.k12.ia.us/attachments/1461-Prtfi%2Prgress%2Timeine.xs 5. Unfortunately, reading proficiency decreases at the secondary level in all schools. Often, this is because students are not asked to demonstrate comprehension of what they read. They simply hunt for vocabulary words. Look to see how Norwalk will ask students to read and comprehend their reading with a reflection log: http:// wwwxtorwalkZia.us/attachments/1461 _Reading%o20Log/%o20Reflection% 20Form.doc 6. A critical element identified for improvement by graduates entering college is, "my writing skills were not sufficient for the rigors of college." To address that challenge, Norwalk will ask students to log and reflect upon our 6+1 Traits of Writ- ing curriculum. Read about this increased rigor at: http://www.norwalk.k12.ia.us/attachments/1461_Six%20+ %200ne %20Reflecfion.doc 7. During the Department of Education Site Visit in 2005, teams of Norwalk par- ents, business leaders and employers identified the following need: Community members expressed concern about the limited participation in service learning projects by middle school and high school students. Additionally, community leaders would like to see stronger efforts in building a sense of civic responsibility in all students. These community leaders asked the school to consider the benefits of service learn- ing, a method of incorporating service to the community into curriculum content. The school is asking students to perform service learning requirements for groups, organizations, churches or individuals. This graduation requirement can be found a t: ht tp'J/wwwxKnwalkNlZi,x us/ats/1 46 1_I_eaming%2I)Artifact/o20Fomdoc Norwalk Schools is working hard to prepare our students for the rigorous world of work and postsecondary education. It is often a complex and challenging world. Getting prepared will not be simple or easy. So we are starting now! Norwalk football coaches receive the board award for a great season. More photos page 9 A board award was pre- sented to Julie Brincks for her leadership in recy- cling efforts at Oviatt. It's always a party at atsAMORE 8384 South Orilla Rd., Norwalk 981-9127 after 5 p.m. Tues.- Fri. or 371-2092 Any Event, Any Day. Any Food. Any Way Banquet Facilities for any Occasion Rent by Hour or Day Full-Service Bar ,Full Kitchen Country Setting ,Dance Floor Seats up to150 Guests Holiday Parties, Family Reunions, Dinners, Wedding Rehearsals, Graduations, Birthdays, Business Meetings and School Events