Thursday, February 21, 2013

FFA Week

The week of February 18, 2013 is FFA Week. Our students have been celebrating this week in a variety of ways. Every morning a different FFA Officer leads the school in the Pledge of Allegiance. We have several dress up days to commemorate this week such as Western Day, and FFA Pride Day. In addition to these activities our students have participated in a Muddy Truck Day and Drive Your Tractor to School Day. We have also been very fortunate to have Mr. John Curtis cook some of his famous chicken stew for our students. Mrs. Graham does a wonderful job of sponsoring our FFA and our students are continuing to become more involved in state activities. We feel confident we will have a state winner in the near future.

Ardmore High School 9-12 Honor Roll - TNValleyNow

Ardmore High School Honor Roll - TNValleyNow

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

HB84 School Flexibility Act

Click here for a link to HB84 also known as The School Flexibility Act. This isn't a commentary, but the actual bill introduced to the state legislature. This isn't an easy read, but everything else I have found inserts a lot of opinion as to what the bill says. This is as unbiased because it is the actual transcript. I know there is a Senate Bill and there have been some ammendments so you may have to visit other websites to get the latest updates.

Student Art Work

We are pleased to announce that the art project submitted by Ardmore High School student Miranda Rogers has been selected to be displayed at the Huntsville Museum of Art's Youth Art Month Exhibit. Several students from across the region submitted art work and it is a big honor for her art to be selected. We are very proud of all of our students and Mrs. deGraffenried for their hard work on the art projects.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Learning in the Cloud

Recently the administrators in Limestone County have read a book entitled, “Learning in the Cloud.” The book addresses a common challenge for school systems across the country: How can we effectively use technology to implement curriculum changes in the 21st century. Modern technology is a major component of the current metamorphosis being experience by public schools. Technology is changing at a pace which causes larger organizations to have difficulty keeping up with the change.

A major theme of the book is that learning is not increased simply by adding devices. The devices, no matter how wonderful, are not effective without quality instruction. Teachers not trained in the proper use of the technology for instruction will not innately be able to increase educational achievement. Teachers must be trained not only on the device, but how to use the device to improve instruction. For example, interactive whiteboards can be great tools, but if teachers only use them to write notes, a whiteboard can do the same thing for a lot less money.

The book chronicles several initiatives across the country and how they implemented new technology to improve instruction. Some of these initiatives have been successful and some have not. Certainly educators need to learn from the mistakes as well as the successes of other systems. In many places education reform is taking the place at the same time as dramatic technology change and the two are many times mistaken for the same phenomenon. While the two changes can be linked, and probably should be linked, if they are not initially coordinated many changes occur in isolation and aren’t as effective as possible.

Effective goal setting is important when undertaking any initiative. The book lists three goals set forward in using technology in education: 1. to improve academic achievement, 2. to facilitate new kinds of 21st century learning, and 3. to promote educational and social equity. Of course all of these are important, but in order to effective accomplish all three goals, the efforts must be intelligently coordinated.

21st century learning typically focuses on creativity, innovation, critical thinking, and flexibility while much of the computer learning in the past has been largely drill and practice. Continuing to add tools that do not fit the current needs of learners does not help to improve the overall education of students. Learners today must also be able to locate information using current technology due to the increased availability of information in modern society.

Educational equity is also addressed in “Learning in the Cloud.” Students living in homes without access to modern technology are in increasing danger of falling behind their peers in academic achievement. Without one to one initiatives being implemented by school systems many children will never have access to the latest technology. Even if the school system provides the device, without internet access the students are still in some danger of not being able to fully realize the possible benefits of the technology.

Infrastructure must be properly assembled before effective implementation of any one to one initiative can be successful. School systems have tried to implement great initiatives without the proper infrastructure only to find out their efforts were in vain. A coordinated effort is necessary to ensure effective implementation occurs when introducing any technology program.

In conclusion, technology can not replace thinking and a great deal of planning and expertise is required to effectively implement 21st century learning initiatives. Teachers and administrators must be careful to make sure gadgets are not the focus and make sure learning takes center stage. When great teachers have great tools, some spectacular learning outcomes can be achieved, but great tools are useless in the hands of a person not trained to effectively use the tool.

Productive People

Find out what highly productive people do differently by clicking here.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

6th Grade Black History Month Project

How To Motivate Your Child To Attend School

If Your Child Missing School

Teacher Art Work

Here is an sample of one of our teacher's artwork. Mrs. deGraffenried is an excellent artist and leads our students by example. We have several of our students submitting work to the Huntsville Museum of Art competition. We will keep you posted.

February ALSDE Newsletter

Click here for the latest newsletter from the Alabama Department of Education.

Monday, February 11, 2013

6 Ways Students Can Collaborate With iPads

6 Ways Students Can Collaborate With iPads

Hunter's Highlights

The first nine weeks of the second semester is half completed? Progress reports recently were issued and the nine weeks will be over before we can blink. The next few weeks are crucial for students’ grades, especially those who are struggling. Ardmore has a record of academic excellence and we are sure our students will carry the torch.

Mrs. Nickoles’s class recently visited the apartment Anne Franks lived in as she wrote, “The Diary of Anne Franks.” Actually we didn’t have money to fly everyone across the Atlantic but with modern technology; the students took a virtual tour of the location. Mrs. Nickoles is just one of our teachers who use the internet and its many resources to enhance the learning experience for students.

We are very fortunate to have some talented art students at Ardmore. Mrs. deGraffenried does a wonderful job of helping our aspiring artists reach their potential. Several of our students will enter art work in a contest in Huntsville and hopefully will have their work displayed at the Huntsville Museum of Art. We wish all of our students the best of luck.

Our Jr. High and High School Scholar’s Bowl teams will be competing this week in the annual county competition. Ardmore has a long history of excellence in the Scholar’s Bowl competitions and we expect more of the same from our Scholar’s Bowl teams. We are fortunate to have some dedicated sponsors and students who work hard to ensure our continued success.

Basketball season is coming to an end and spring sports are cranking up. Spring sports teams have already begun practicing and expectations are high for a great season. Our baseball team is returning several starters from a play-off team last year. Our softball team is always strong and this year will be no exception and our ever improving soccer program continues to make strides. We wish everyone luck, and encourage everyone to come out and support our athletes and coaches.

Several of our students were selected to participate in the Auburn Honor Band this weekend. We have students play in various honor band activities throughout the state and we are proud of all of them. According to Mr. Bowman our students at Ardmore did a fantastic job. We had one student place in the top group and our other students only missed the top group by a small margin. Overall our honor band students placed higher than in the previous years. We are very proud of our band and Mr. Bowman as they continue to strive for excellence.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Good News

I periodically look at a certain online newspaper to search for articles pertaining to education across the state of Alabama. I like to stay current on what is happening and many times share the articles I think would interest parents. One day it really struck me that nearly every article on the website was negative.

Many positive things that take place in schools go unnoticed and the positive stories do not seem to make good newspaper articles. School personnel perform countless acts of kindness and compassion every day in schools across the state. However, when a school employee makes a serious mistake it is instantly printed and broadcasted causing many people to have a negative view of education in general. I personally know teachers who take money from their own family’s budget to buy a child shoes they desperately need, new clothes, or a warm coat. These teachers have a heart for children and truly desire what is best for them.

People in the education field have done a poor job of making the public aware of the positive things taking place. This could be due to the humble nature of these individuals or perhaps they are just too busy and focused on their jobs to spread the word. Many of the people working with today’s youth are dedicated professionals modeling a high standard of ethics and compassion.

Of course there are educators who will make mistakes and due to the fact they work with our most prized possession we should expect more of them than other professions. However, it is unfortunate that the general public only hears about the mistakes and not the overwhelming majority of positive actions that take place. I believe if the public knew what went on in schools they would be happy to place their trust in the people working daily to provide a quality education to their children.

Counselor's Page

If you haven't checked out our counselor's link please do so! Mrs. Autumn Rowe has created a great link available on our home page on the left side under "Academics." If you child is in high school there is come valuable information you can't afford to miss. Mrs. Rowe is doing a great job making information available to our students.