Data Dashboard, STEM, Vision Council, PTO and more…

Dear HTS Community:

Earlier this fall, the Board of Education approved the following goal for the 2013-2014 school year: To develop a student data dashboard and use the data to improve the instructional process. This data dashboard serves a dual purpose: it is designed to help teachers personalize their instructional practices so they can meet the diverse needs of their students and it can help parents stay informed about their child’s long term progress at HTS. Please note, the dashboard promises to be a “living” document and the format may change over time. Moreover, it has been created for students in grades 2-8 and includes data already in your child’s cumulative folder but presents it in a very neat and user-friendly manner.

A copy of the dashboard will be sent home to the parents with the original remaining in your child’s academic records folder at HTS. Unlike in New York, this data will not be shared with private companies such as inBloom. As of today, there are no plans in New Jersey for the Department of Education to participate in such a program; New York remains the lone state to collaborate with “Big Data.”

At the Board of Education meeting on November 18th, the Board approved a new co-curricular position at HTS – the Junior Technology Student Association (JrTSA). Presently, we have a Technology Student Association (TSA) for middle school students. The TSA, led by Dr. Gervis, meets before school during “0” period on Tuesdays and provides students with additional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities that complement our Science curriculum. The JrTSA, also led by Dr. Gervis, will meet before school on Thursdays and is open to students in grades 4-6. If you are interested, please email Dr. Gervis (mgervis@hardingtwp.org); we hope to start in January.

In other STEM-related news, thanks to another charitable donation from the Boszhardt Family Foundation, HTS was recently able to buy a MakerBot 3D Printer. This state-of-the-art device will be used for various STEM-related activities in TSA/JrTSA as well as in “regular” science classes. We hope to feature this device at our annual Science Fair on February 7th.

Lastly, please make an effort to come to the Vision Council meeting tomorrow morning at 8:30 in the Library/Media Center. HTS teachers Lisa Werner and Jen Baldassari will be discussing the Four Square Writing Method. Parents can learn how we are teaching their children to write and how they can help at home.

Thank you all for reading and I hope to see you all at the PTO Parent’s Night Out this Friday at the Glen Alpin House. Tickets are still available from the PTO – contact Tracey Walters at tntwalters@comcast.net

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

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