Monday, July 17, 2017

Download the NEW School App!

The Rugby Public Schools' mobile app is ready for launch!

The new RPS mobile app for both iPhone and Android smartphones is ready for launch! We are excited to bring this new technology to RPS and hope you will enjoy the convenience of it. Now you can stay connected while you’re on the go with this FREE mobile app! Our new mobile app will keep you better informed about the news and events in our district and schools and will help streamline communication with our stakeholders. The app will deliver real time school news to your smartphone for fast, up-to-date access, with convenient links to other school information.

With the app you can:
 • Have school information accessible in one location on your smartphone
• Select the schools you want to follow
• Get push notifications about news, closures, weather, events, and more
• Quickly access the school calendar, lunch menus, school supply lists, etc.
• Tap to see administrator and staff contact information

 Download the new app in 3 easy steps:
1. On your smartphone, go to the iTunes App Store® or Google Play®
2. Search Rugby Public Schools. Look for our panther logo.  
3. Then select our Rugby Public Schools app.  Please click to "allow push notifications."

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Individualized and meaningful professional learning

Our professional learning committee continues to revamp our professional learning in our school district. We believe in providing individualized and meaningful professional learning opportunities to our teachers. We think we have found the right combination to provide our teachers with the autonomy and accountability they need to learn and improve their practices. You can click on the images below to enlarge them. Here is a link to the full word document

Monday, May 15, 2017

Counting down or running out of time?

I think about this often as we near the end of another school year. As we get closer to the final day the excitement seems to boil over for both students and teachers. I don't know if the excitement is good or bad.  I do realize that the break is nice for families to reconnect and teachers to get rejuvenated after a year full of learning. I would like us all to think about how we communicate this excitement. Are we counting down the days? Are students aware that we cannot wait to start summer break through our words and body language? Or are we communicating that every day counts?

I like to think of it as we are running out of time and how do we make every day count? Summer break will be here before we know it and our students will be on break for three months. Some students will lose their only safe place, some may lose their access to a trusted adult, and others may lose the only nutritious meal that they receive in a day. I challenge all of us to think about about how we communicate the end of the year to each other, and to our students. Are you counting down the days or are you running out of time?

What message are you sending as we near the end of another school year?

Grading Reform: Part 3

I have written previously on our work to develop common beliefs about grading and reporting in our school district. I believe we are making some nice progress in designing a more consistent grading process. Our latest meeting focused on developing beliefs about creating second chances for learning and grade reduction/enhancement practices. As mentioned in previous blogs, we've read several journal articles about best practices in grading and reporting. You can find the articles here and here. We used these research articles to help inform our decision making.

Here is what we came up with:

Second Chance for Learning
  • Re-dos and re-takes are available to students
  • Students are responsible for asking for a second chance
  • Corrective instruction, additional practice, etc. must occur prior to the re-assessment
  • Full credit should be given for any re-assessment
  • The most recent/accurate score will be used for grading purposes
Grade Reduction and Enhancement
  • Zeroes should not be permanent (students should be given the opportunity to turn in missing work for full credit)
  • Deadlines prior to the end of each grading term are at the discretion of the teacher
  • Teachers may make use of incompletes at the end of grading terms under special circumstances (i.e. student illness or hardship)
  • Teachers are strongly encouraged to enter zeroes in a timely manner
  • Late work should be accepted in most circumstances and penalties shouldn’t significantly decrease the grade
  • Students who demonstrate habitual behavior in work habits may be given a “U” by the teacher
  • Grades will not be based on a curve
  • Bonus points or extra credit falsely inflate the grade and should not be used

The full document can be found here: RPSD Standards-based Learning Practices

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Rugby North Dakota Downtown Project

Mr. Leier organized a community forum tonight and showcased a student created documentary. The community forum also included a visit from Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford. This culminating event is Project Based Learning at its finest. Mr. Leier's class researched our downtown business area and Governor Burgum's Main Street Initiative. 

Rugby North Dakota Downtown Project

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Grading Reform: Part 2

After we established our common beliefs about homework we moved on to our next challenge, should behavior be included in a grade? If we want accurate grades then shouldn't behaviors be removed from them? Based on our research review we found that there are several behaviors or academic enablers that have historically impacted a grade. Currently, academic enablers may impact a grade in a positive or a negative way. If we are going to have more accurate grades then we need to find a way to report these behaviors separately. I want to be clear that we believe that behaviors are important, but they shouldn't inflate or deflate a student's grade.

Some of our elementary teachers are already reporting behaviors separately:

Grade 2 example:
  • I am organized and responsible for my belongings
  • I can complete work neatly and carefully
  • I can listen and follow directions
  • I can use my time wisely
  • I can work independently
  • I can seek help when I need it
  • I participate in class discussions
  • I can work quietly without disrupting others
  • I can show self-control
  • I am respectful to others
The following two questions and the research articles below guided our discussions. What should go into a grade? What inhibits the accuracy of the grade? 

Here are some excellent research articles that helped us with this topic:

Effective Grading Practices in the Middle School and High School Environments - Hanover Research 

How Grading Reform Changed Our School - Jeffrey Erickson

A Century of Grading Research - Thomas Guskey


Here is what we came up with regarding separating behavior from the grade:

Reporting academics and behaviors separately

Grades are accurate when they include only the current or most recent performance on a skill or a standard or on multiple skills and standards.

Grades are inaccurate when they include the following:

  • Effort 
  • Work habits
  • Attention
  • Participation (unless participation is a part of the skill/standard being assessed)
  • Behavior infractions (e.g. removal from class; plagiarism; cheating; defiance)
  • Bonus points
  • Attendance
  • Averaging 
  • Other methods that include points/marks that are not directly tied to the performance on a skill or a standard or on multiple skills and standards.    

The above mentioned behaviors are important academic enablers and should be assessed and reported separately from the academic grade.

More to come.

Friday, March 17, 2017

3rd Annual STEM Camp this summer!

We are pleased to inform you about the third annual summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) camp offered in Rugby! The STEM camp is open to students enrolling in 3rd – 5th grades for the 2017 – 2018 school year in Rugby Public School. The camp will run Monday, July 31st  – Friday, August 4th from 8 AM to noon each day at the Rugby High School in the commons area. Enrollment will begin in May 2017. Stop by either the Ely Elementary office or the Rugby High School office to pick up a registration form. Enrollment is $40 per student and checks should be made to Rugby Public School. Payment needs to be submitted prior to Monday, July 31st.

Students will be grouped together and will work together with peers to complete investigations of various topics. Students should arrive promptly so they can have optimal educational opportunities. Students will be served a small snack mid-morning. Below you will find the schedule of events. We hope your students will be a part of this exciting summer program!

Monday, July 31
8:00 AM - Noon
Outer Space
Tuesday, August 1
8:00 AM - Noon
Under the Ocean
Wednesday, Aug. 2
8:00 AM - Noon
Rumbling Volcanoes
Thursday, Aug. 3
8:00 AM - Noon
Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter)
Friday, Aug. 4
8:00 AM - Noon
Engineering Challenge