MS Bobcat Blurb - Benton Community Schools

Volume 6, Issue 6
January 1, 2014
Benton applies for TLC grant
On behalf of the Benton Community Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) Task Force, I would like
to provide an update on the work of the task force in anticipation of submitting an application to the Iowa
Department of Education by the January 31, 2014 deadline. The task force has met regularly since October 3rd in developing a teacher leadership and compensation vision for the district and establishing a plan
for implementation of the TLC system.
Benton Community’s TLC vision is to create a teacher leadership system designed to improve the quality of
teaching and learning resulting in world-class education for a lifetime of learning. The Benton Community
teacher leadership system will utilize servant leadership principles by supporting capacity building opportunities for teachers to foster and promote best practice in the classroom while increasing student achievement.
We have selected the Instructional Coach model as the system design for the school district. Within this
model are three differentiated leadership roles: model teachers, instructional coaches, and curriculum/professional development leaders. In addition, the district currently participates in the GWAEA Induction Consortium in addressing and providing supports for teachers entering the profession. Job descriptions and roles have been established for each of these leadership positions and the task force has developed a plan for selection of teacher leaders.
Patrick Stull
The TLC application consists of 10 parts and a scoring rubric has been provided to guide the task force in
addressing each of the sections of the application. The application questions and rubric are available on
the Department of Education website if interested to review further.
School districts in Iowa will find out in mid-March those selected for implementation during the 2014-15
school year. If you have any additional questions at this time, please contact a task force member. We
may not have an answer to every question, particularly those dealing with contractual considerations, but
we will share what we know at this time. Thank you.
~Gary Zittergruen
MS Bobcat Blurb
“Opus News”
Opus was a great experience for me. I met a lot of new people. We had a great director, his name was Dean
Beckman. He would find humor in all of our songs. I had to wake up at about 5:15 that morning it was horrible. My
dad drove me to Mr. Hayden's house where my dad dropped me off. I was in the car with Carter, Mr. Hayden, and
Carter's mom. The drive to Ames took a while but it didn't feel too long. When we got there I bought my Opus
shirt. Then we rehearsed in Benton Auditorium which was in the Scheman Building for what felt like a long time. I
felt so relieved when it was time for lunch. We went to Iowa State's cafeteria. They had so many choices the food
was amazing. When we got back to Benton Auditorium we practiced some more. After that we went to Phillips
Auditorium where we got ready for our performance. Then we went to C.Y. Stephens Auditorium. C.Y. Stephens
was awesome. It holds 3,000 people and it was sold out. It was huge! We went down to the basement of C.Y. and
we sat in our order. We walked up to the stage in our order and it was essential that we stay in order. I think we
did great at our performance! Afterwards we went back to Phillips Auditorium and then we left. I had a great time
at Opus. It was a time I won't forget. ~Will Epping (7th grader)
Every during home room for about a month I worked on the audition songs. I auditioned in early September. This
year we had to upload the audition on line instead mailing a CD. I made OPUS in 5th grade but not last year so I
was excited be accepted again. Going to Ames, singing at CY Stephens auditorium with 180 other boys from all
over Iowa and performing in front of 3000 people was awesome. However, eating at Hickory Park barbecue after
the concert was almost as good!!" ~ Carter Hayden (7th grader)
Upcoming Dates
January 1, 2014
New Year’s Day
January 2, 2014
School Resumes
January 10, 2014
1:00 Dismiss (End Term 2)
January 13, 2014
Start of Term 3
January 15, 2014
1:00 Dismiss (PD)
January 20, 2014
No School (K-12 PD)
February 5, 2014
1:00 Dismiss (PD)
February 12, 2014
7-12 Grade Conferences (4-89p.m.)
Will Epping, Dean Beckman & Carter Hayden
Opus 2013
Volume 6, Issue 6
January 1, 2014
Nottger News
When I started teaching at Benton Community, one bookcase was in my room, and it housed
several copies of a classroom novel. Several independent novels were also on the shelves. I
looked around the large room and thought that it could easily support additional bookcases
which could be filled with a variety of fiction and nonfiction selections. A goal was born.
Almost twenty-nine years later that goal is no longer a dream. My room, like others in the middle school pod area, has one diagonal wall which runs the length of the room. Oak bookcases
cover this wall. When we ran out of room on the lower end of the wall, we stacked several
bookcases on top of the existing ones and bolted them to the wall. The bookcases are now
filled with over 2000 books, and, from time to time, I need to "weed out" some of the existing
books to make room for new purchases.
MS Bobcat Blurb
Students learn how to
sew in
Family Consumer
Science Exploratory
The library needed to grow in order to support a changing philosophy of teaching middle
school Language Arts and reading. The emphasis was shifting to teaching reading strategies to
enable students to successfully maneuver through several kinds of texts. When breakdowns in
comprehension would occur, students would need to have a variety of possible strategies to
employ to assist them in deciphering the texts. They also needed practice in reading a variety
of genres of literature in order to understand that different styles of texts required different
reading approaches. Educators also began placing emphasis on student choice in reading material. It makes perfect sense that if students have choices in what they read, they will be more
engaged in the reading process. The choices need to be easily accessible, relevant to the students' lives, and numerous. The shelves began to fill.
A goal like this is not achieved by one person. So many positive things began to happen to
make this goal possible. First, I had a very supportive administration. The bookshelves were
purchased a few at a time, and the books increased year by year. In addition, there were book
orders. When the students ordered books, we used the "bonus" points to obtain books for the
classroom. Book fairs were additional sources of books. The early book fairs included the
option of teachers making a "wish list" and waiting to see if anyone would help with this list. I
signed up for five books at the first one and hoped that I would be able to add at least one to our
collection. To my complete surprise, all five books were purchased by parents that first night
and donated to our classroom. What I really liked was that a sticker was put in these books
which listed the name of the the donor. Then came more student and parent involvement. Students would read the books they purchased and then donate them to the library. Parents would
contact me and ask if I would take donations of books which their students had already read. It
became fairly common for me to hear, "You can have this book when I am done. I already
asked my mom." I would love to list all these donors, but I am afraid I would miss a name or
two. There have been so many. Every donation was greatly appreciated.
The library slowly (and sometimes quickly) grew. One of the things I really enjoy is former
students returning and commenting on this growth. So much time has passed that sometimes
those former students are parents of current students. They remember when there were just one
or two bookshelves. This growth has certainly been a cooperative venture. I am very proud of
our accomplishment.
There is a footnote to this article, and it contains a bit of irony. About a third of my students
now read books on their iPads. There are several free sites that keep very up-to-date inventories. The bookcases will always have a place in the classroom, but things do change. The
bookcases were always a means to an end. It wasn't about the bookcases. It was about reading.
~Denise Nottger
Holiday Card Award Winners
8th Graders learn
about Citizenship
Iowa Assessment Results Fall 2013
The Iowa Assessments results were sent home with students in December. These results provide
valuable information about the yearly academic growth of students. It also provides strong indicators of
college readiness. Student academic growth is monitored based on something called a “standard
score”. Interpreting Iowa Assessment Results
National Standard Score (NSS): The National Standard Score, or NSS, describes performance on a
continuum from kindergarten through high school. The continuum is based on scores from testing
thousands of students and determining where students at certain grade levels fall within a range.
8th graders have been working on
creating presentations over the
“Rights and Responsibilities”
of being a US Citizen. Here is one
example by
Sophia Gilbert and JJ Antole.
The achievement continuum connected with the Iowa Assessments is divided into three categories:
Non Proficient, Proficient, and Advanced. Using these scores allows teachers, parents and students to
track not only proficiency at a test time, but year-to-year growth. Standard Score Ranges for Achievement Levels for Reading, Math and Science -- BC is a fall testing school system.
National Percentile Ranking (NPR): The Iowa Assessments also include a National Percentile Ranking (NPR). This compares a student’s score with others in the nation in the same grade who took the
test at the same time of year. The NPR is based on a scale of 1 to 99, so if a third grade student receives an 75 that means the student did as well or better than 75 percent of other third graders in the
nation taking the test at the same time.
In past years this NPR has been the more important score on the ITBS or ITED. With the switch to the
new Iowa Assessments the NSS will be the more important indicator of student achievement, as it will
be easier to track one student’s growth year to year, instead of compared to other students. Interpreting National Performance
IPI-T being used at Benton Community MS/HS
Technology access in our classrooms has increased tremendously as the BC Middle/High
School (MS/HS) have become 1:1 schools.
As we evaluate the impact these devices are
having on student learning, we try to answer
these three critical questions:
Are we using the technology we have on
a regular basis?
When we do use technology, how is the
technology being used?
When used, are we doing so in a manner
that deepens student thinking and learning?
Fourteen of our MS/HS staff have previously
been trained in the Instructional Practices Inventory (IPI) protocol. The IPI is a teacherled progress for collecting student cognitive
engagement during the school day.
The MS/HS faculy studies the collected IPI
data and then design and implement instructional lessons and strategies to increase the
level of rigor and engagement in our MS/HS
On Oct. 30, 2013, a team of BC MS/HS IPI
data collectors were trained in the IPI Technology Component (IPI-T). The IPI-T provides empirical evidence to answer the
questions posed and other questions about
the impact of technology in the learning
process and student engagement. Our first
data collection with the IPI-T occurred during December and results will be reviewed
in January during professional development.
The MS/HS staff develops goals and action
plans to impact student learning and cognitive engagement, based on our IPI-T data
and discussions.
IPI training with Dr. Jerry Valentine
Volume 6, Issue 6
Tie Tuesday & Peace Poster Lions Club Winners
January 1, 2014
Ask your child what this is a
picture of and how it works for
your child’s learning.
Otto Claussen, Brayden Moore, Samantha Rabe, Todd Prusha
Brayen Moore and Samantha Rabe were awarded
the Newhall and Van Horne Lion’s Club ‘s
Peace Poster winners.
BC MS/HS raised $366.21 for the
American Cancer Society with their Tie
Tuesday Fundraiser.
Their posters will be considered for the state
award winner later in the Spring of 2014.
MS Bobcat Blurb
Target Take Charge of Education & BoxTops for Education
& Hy-Vee Cash 4 Students
Benton Community Middle School is part of three programs which generate money that is used to continue to put technology
in the hands of our students. the “Target—Take Charge of Education and BoxTops for Education and HyVee Cash 4 Students”.
Take Charge of Education donations are accumulated when supporters of Benton Community Middle School make purchases
on their REDcard. Target donates up to 1% of these purchases to the eligible K-12 schools. To learn more about Take
Charge of Education or to make sure your Target REDcard is set up to support Benton Community Middle School visit
BoxTops for Education can be found on over 200 brands and by shopping through to earn eBoxTops. For more
information on this program and to shop online and have your eBoxTops earn money for the Benton Community MS visit Our first collection of BoxTops for the 2013-14 school year took place during the week
of Sept. 17-21 We collected over 1900 BoxTops — thanks for your support!
HyVee Cash 4 Students is based on Hy-Vee or Drugstore grocery receipts turned into the Benton Community MS Office
from now until 4/30/13. The amount donated will be $1.00 for every $200 in receipts collected. If you shop Hy-Vee,
please save your receipts for us and turn them into the MS Office by 4/30/14.
Thanks for your continued support of
Benton Community Middle School!
Upcoming Dates
January 1, 2014
New Year’s Day
All students and staff create a
January 2, 2014
School Resumes
learning environment at Benton
January 10, 2014
1:00 Dismiss (End Term 2)
Community that is safe, responsi-
January 13, 2014
Start of Term 3
ble, respectful
January 15, 2014
1:00 Dismiss (PD)
and caring with
January 20, 2014
No School (K-12 PD)
our PBIS focus.
February 5, 2014
1:00 Dismiss (PD)