AlWood art teach Chris Fiedler recently received a large donation of art supplies from Art Retailer Dick Blick. AlWood elementary, middle school, and high school students will be able to use these supplies for this year, and future school years. The donations were received last week and have been distributed between the two buildings. Dick Blick donoates art supplies, to local schools, for products that have been discontinued. Donations include:
- Canvas Boards for Painting
- Watercolor Paper
- Drawing Paper
- Newspring Pads
- Poster Boards
- Storage Portfolios
- Drafting Tables
- Airbrush Sets
- Sculpture Stand
This is a fantastic contribution to AlWood Schools, thank you so much Dick Blick.
Posted by D. Mills on Apr 200 comments View
NSF awards Fasano $228,000 grant for lightning research
Monmouth College physics professor Christopher Fasano has been awarded a $228,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the generation of X-rays from lightning.
By studying the rays, Fasano and his students hope to learn more about the production and characteristics of lightning strikes and contribute to the growing field of atmospheric electricity and atmospheric particle acceleration.
Fasano’s research, which involves Monmouth students as well as area physics teachers and students, focuses upon naturally occurring lightning strikes in western Illinois and eastern Iowa.
“People think that we have lightning figured out,” said Fasano following a presentation by his students on their initial research at a meeting last year of the American Physical Society (APS). “But no, we don’t have it all figured out … This is like the Wild West. It’s wide open.”
Or, as Fasano worded it in his grant proposal: “Lightning – the massive dielectric breakdown of the atmosphere that occurs during thunderstorms – is a dramatic process that demands study and explanation. … Understanding lightning is considered one of the great unsolved problems of atmospheric physics.”
Using funds from the grant, Fasano and his students will build and deploy 10 detection packages at area schools. Each package includes a lightning detector, an X-ray detector and an array of sensors that will measure parameters like pressure, temperature and electric field strength. The packages will be placed on rooftops, and measurements will be taken both during storms and clear weather. Fasano and his students have already developed a prototype detector and have been using it to take some preliminary data on campus.
Working with High School science teacher, John Siebken, Professor Fasano has placed one of his detection packages at AlWood High School. AlWood students will participate in research and will have the opportunity to be a part of a large, national study to gain insight and experience. Student participation in this project initially involves students making and recording observations.
“Our goal is to measure the energy spectrum of natural lightning while recording data on electric field strength and meteorological data,” said Fasano. “This approach allows us to take data for extended periods of time at many locations (throughout western Illinois and eastern Iowa). By having many detectors that run continuously, we are hoping to be able to accumulate enough data to begin to understand how particles are accelerated in the atmosphere.”
Fasano explained that the transient and unpredictable nature of lightning is a major challenge. “Since we can’t predict where lightning will strike or when it will strike, we need to be watching at as many places and for as long as we can.”
Building and deploying the detectors comprises the first stage of the three-year project. The data collection comes next, followed by dissemination of research findings. Fasano and his students are already planning to take area students and teachers with them to a regional APS meeting at the end of the grant period.
With funding from the NSF, an independent U.S. government agency responsible for promoting science and engineering through research programs and education projects, Fasano’s three-year research program includes the participation of high school students and teachers in a substantive and deliberate way.
“This project provides us with a considerable outreach opportunity,” he explained. “Research experiences like this are sound pedagogy and will allow us to engage students in undergraduate research over several years within the arc of a coherent, continuous research project.”
The collaborative nature of the project was, according to reviewers’ comments, a key factor in the proposal being funded, said MC associate dean and grant program director Bren Tooley.
“It turns out the proposal’s broader impact statement relating to the planned involvement of high school physics teachers and students had an informative and persuasive role,” she said. “Professor Fasano has had this project in mind for a while. I am very glad that he now has the funding support to move forward.”
“This project really has large potential for future projects,” said Fasano. “While we are studying the lightning, we might also be able to discover something new about thunderstorm development. We’ll learn a lot from doing this.”
As is often the case with research at Monmouth College, several disciplines are involved.
“This project clearly has elements tied to atmospheric science, but it also requires engineering to design and build the detectors,” said Fasano. “There is a physics element with the particle detection, and there is theoretical physics as we model what happens computationally.”
In 2011, Fasano attended the Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flash Workshop at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, where he was struck by the diversity of scientists who are curious about the lightning phenomenon.
“You could see the excitement of the people who were struggling with this problem,” said Fasano. “What are the conditions that lead to these gamma-ray flashes? We don’t know the answers. So we want to get students involved – not just our own college students, but area high school students – and have them collect data. These area high school students will be a real part of this research. The science will lead to new information and will help shape future investigation into lightning strikes.”
Fasano, who is the Martha S. Pattee Professor of Science and chairs the physics department, has been at Monmouth since 1998. He holds both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago.
Posted by D. Mills on Apr 200 comments View
Alwood video wins $4K in national contest
Eleven of Mrs. Settani's middle school social students recently defeated the odds by winning second runner-up (third overall) in a “Trees Rock” video contest sponsored by the makers of Scotties facial tissues. The school will receive $4,000.
The contest called for students to create a three-minute video on the value of trees. In the collaborative introduction to the Alwood video, different student voices praise the merits of trees. One mentions how different types of trees live together peacefully even though they aren't all the same. Later on, Megan Kenney says a timber at her home attracts wildlife, while Mikayla Brockett says it would be “cool” to hold class outdoors surrounded by trees.
First-year teacher Sarah Settanni said she picked up on her students' interest in environmental issues during lessons on geography and climate change and found the contest on an online video contest database. She noted the students did the project on their own time and did not even get extra credit.
The Alwood video can be seen at:
People across the country could vote online once a day every day. “We were one of the smallest schools to win. The school did a great job reaching out to family members, community members and friends to do voting,” said Mrs. Settanni.
No decisions have been made on how to use the prize money, but the students have ideas from tree planting to a garden area to computer equipment and books. “The goal is to have a lot of student involvement,” the teacher said.
The contest highlighted Scotties' promise to plant three trees for every tree used to make its products. Scotties is owned by J.D. Irving, which according to its website has planted 927 million trees in the last 50 years. Since 2001, the company's forests have been certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, an organization that, according to its website, began in 1995 and five years later was the first national standard for forest sustainability to be backed by third-party audits.
Alwood Middle School students Madison Haar, Madison Lindsey, Mackenzie Brown and Andrew Bennink look over a poster on endangered species in their social studies class. The class created a video on trees that won $4,000 in a nationwide contest sponsored by the makers of Scotties tissues.
Posted by D. Mills on Apr 90 comments View
Since 2009, 11 area High Schools have participated in this annual festival hosted by the Monmouth Art Department.
Participating schools include:
- Sarah Kyser: Honorable Mention-Mixed Media
- Sarah Ward: Honorable Mention-Water Colors
- Morgan Boone: Third Place-Sculpture/Any media
- Storme Barton: First Place-Oil Pastel
- Donovan Able: Honorable Mention-Scratchboard
- Sam Althaus: First Place-Pencil/Miscellaneous and Honorable Mention-Graphic Design
- Kristen Litton: Honorable Mention-Tempera Paint and Honorable Mention-Scratchboard
Front row (L-R) Sarah Kyser, Sarah Ward and Morgan Boone
Back Row (L-R) Storme Barton, Donovan Able, Sam Althaus and Kristen Litton
LTC Art Workshop
AlWood Students Tristin Heady and Jeremy Litton take part in the LTC Art Workshops at Monmouth College.
Posted by D. Mills on Mar 270 comments View
The Rebecca Caudill and Abe Lincoln statewide reading contests finally came to an end this month. Mrs. Jones, our school librarian, helped to get many students involved in these reading contests specifically geared toward middle and high school students in Illinois. The titles on both lists contain both fiction and nonfiction, and change every year.
Students participated in the contest by reading one of the titles on the list, then taking and passing an Accelerated Reader test with Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones kept track of each student and the contest books they have read, and provided incentives such as monthly prize drawings, gift certificates, even autographed books! All students who participated were entered into monthly drawings in the library.
All high school students that read 4 titles, and all middle school students that read 3 titles qualified to enter a statewide vote for their favorite book on the list, as well as be part of a pizza party in the library. Over 85 middle/high school students participated in these contests, and over 120 titles have been read! Congratulations to the following students for qualifying to vote:
- Molly Albrecht
- Andrea Seabloom
- Erika Seabloom
- Taylor Snodgrass
- Grace Althaus
- Tabby Bennink
- Franki Campbell
- Carsen Curry
- Wolfgang Jones
- Joe Keever
- Mabel Losey
- Benny Melow
- Anna Paul
- Destiny Sproston
Their votes, as well as over 25,000 other Illinois students' votes were tallied and the results for winning titles are as follows:
- 2015 Rebecca Caudill reading contest winner: Legend by Marie Lu
- 2015 Abe Lincoln reading contest winner: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
A big congratulations goes out to Andrea Seabloom - she read all 22 books on the Abe Lincoln reading contest list! She is the first member of the AMHS Library's Double Deuces Club! Next year's contest book lists are already available in the library - stop by and pick yours up today!
Posted by D. Mills on Mar 270 comments View
The AlWood Middle School Robotics Club would like to show you what they can do! Join us for a presentation on First Lego League, parts, assembly, and competition. Also demonstrations on programming the robots and fulfilling missions! All parents and families are welcome. Dinner will be provided.
First Lego League Robotics Family Night
Friday – March 20 3:15pm-5:15pm
AlWood Middle/High School
Mrs. McKinley’s Room – 146
If you would like to attend please contact firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com OR the office at 309-334-2102. This event made possible by a partnership between AlWood School District and Bureau Henry Stark Regional Office of Education.
Posted by D. Mills on Mar 160 comments View
I would like to thank all the candidates for participating in a School Board Candidate Forum on Monday, March 23.
Posted by D. Mills on Mar 260 comments View
AlWood FFA Banquet
The AlWood FFA would like to invite you to the Annual Banquet on March 26th, 2015 at 6:30 PM. The meal will take place in the gym. The meal, drinks, and table service will be provided for your convenience. Concluding the meal, several members of the AlWood FFA Chapter will be recognized in the high school gym, for their efforts and accomplishments throughout the 2014 - 2015 school year.
Immediately following the meal will be a labor auction. Proceeds will help support the AlWood FFA and the Ag. Alumni Group.
Please come and share in the festivities and recognition of this year's FFA program.
Posted by D. Mills on Mar 230 comments View
After School Program
PARENT TECHNOLOGY NIGHT
A 3 Part Event
- March 9: PowerSchool and Google Docs
- April 7: Homework Help: Online Resources
- May 4: Internet Safety
4:30pm-5:30pm in the Middle/High School Computer Lab
Mrs. Carlson, Computer Teacher will be demonstrating each topic and giving helpful information. Parents will then have the opportunity to log on a computer and walk through each topic. There will be plenty of Q&A with Mrs. Carlson. We want parents to have the information on all of the available technology and resources so that you can assist your student with homework assignments and projects.
AlWood Ambition After School Program information will be available. Please join us! All K-12 Families are welcome. Refreshments will be served. Babysitting Available (no charge). (You may attend 1 or all Events)
Please RSVP to Shelby Woodall, Site Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
OR AlWood Middle/High School Office (309-334-2102).
Posted by D. Mills on Mar 160 comments View
Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District Celebrates its 75th Annual Meeting!
The Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District's 75th Annual Meeting was held on January 21, 2015 at 6:00pm at the Moose Lodge in Geneseo, IL. Approximately 160 people turned out for the successful event that included a delicious dinner, director elections, conservation awards and recognitions, and a program entitled “Raptor Awareness” from the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis, MO.
During their fantastic presentation, the World Bird Sanctuary discussed the importance of conservation to Birds of Prey and highlighted a number of the human-wildlife interactions that currently threaten these amazing species. The World Bird Sanctuary demonstrated the characteristics of a number of predator bird species including a Barn Owl, Screech Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Harris Hawk, American Kestrel, Turkey Vulture, and Bald Eagle. A flight demonstration from a few of these birds, only inches overhead, amazed attendees and depicted the stunning hunting abilities and sensory characteristics of these spectacular animals.
AlWood Conservation award recipients included
- Rhonda McKinley – 2014 Teacher of the Year (Alwood Middle/High School)
- Gracie Brockett – K-1st Grade Poster Contest Winner (Alwood Elementary School) Carsen Curry – 4-6th Grade Poster Contest Winner (Alwood Middle School)
- Alwood High School FFA Team – 2014 Section 3 FFA Soils Judging Winner (Members: Cody Barman, Tyler Chevalier, Owen Curry, Jadrian Anderson, & Jaimie Schroeder; Advisor: Bob Terwilliger)
Read more: http://www.henrycountyilswcd.com/
Posted by D. Mills on Feb 40 comments View
Can'y find time to get a workout in?
Need an off-season or pre-season workout?
Morning workouts are being offered to High School Students
- Circuit workouts
- Plyometric workouts (Jump Training)
- Pre-season workouts
MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY
6:30AM - 7:30AM
Posted by D. Mills on Feb 40 comments View
Extended Library Hours for Second Semester
Have you ever wanted more time to work on homework? Have you ever needed more time to get your reading pages done for English? Do you need more time to work on a computer?
If you answered “YES” to any of these questions you should take advantage of the extended library hours starting in January when we return for second semester. The Middle/High School Library will be open for 2 hours after school, from 3:05 – 5:05, everyday after school starting January 6, 2015.
If you have questions please see Mr. Mills, Mrs. Jones or your homeroom teachers.
Posted by D. Mills on Dec 16, 140 comments View
AlWood Middle School is a finalist in the Scotties Trees Rock video contest. Our video
submission is in the top ten in the country! However, we need people to vote for
our video to help our school wins the grand prize of $10,000 and a tree planting
Anyone who is over 18 and has an email address can vote each day. For more details visitscottiestreesrock.com or contact Mrs. Settanni. AlWood has made an alliance with the Dunlap Grade School, from Dunlap, Illinois. This school is in the Elementary Category of the voting and does not interfere with our results. When you are voting for AlWood at the middle school level, please vote for Dunlap, IL at the elementary level. They are doing the same for us.
The voting periods ends on February 6th, and each time you vote, your email address is also entered into a drawing to win one of 25 prize packs. It would mean so much to me and to the students who participated if you would commit to voting for this each day, and to share this with friends, family, any students who are over 18, etc.
The prize breakdown is below:
- Grand Prize: Winning schools will receive $10,000 cash and a tree planting event.
- First Prize: Each winning school will receive $7,000 cash.
- Second Prize: Each winning school will receive $4,000 cash.
- Third Prize: Each winning school will receive $2,000 cash.
- Fourth Prize: Each winning school will receive $2,000 cash.
- Fifth Prize: Each winning school will receive $1,000 cash.
- Sixth Prize: Each winning school will receive $1,000 cash.
- Seventh Prize: Each winning school will receive $1,000 cash.
- Eight Prize: Each winning school will receive $500 cash.
- Ninth Prize: Each winning school will receive $500 cash.
- Tenth Prize: Each winning school will receive $500 cash
Posted by D. Mills on Jan 260 comments View
State education chiefs and governors in 48 states came together to develop the Common Core, a set of clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Today, 43 states have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.
Across the English language arts and mathematics standards, skills critical to each content area are emphasized. In particular, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and critical-thinking skills are interwoven into the standards.
In English language arts, the standards require certain critical content for all students, including:
- Classic myths and stories from around the world
- America's founding documents
- Foundational American literature
The remaining crucial decisions about what content should be taught are made at the state and local levels. In addition to content coverage, the Common Core State Standards require that students systematically acquire knowledge in literature and other disciplines through reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
In mathematics, the standards lay a solid foundation in:
- Whole numbers
Taken together, these elements support a student's ability to learn and apply more demanding math concepts and procedures. The middle school and high school standards call on students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real-world issues and challenges.
For additional information: http://www.corestandards.org/
Posted by D. Mills on Sep 29, 140 comments View
Common Core Informational Meeting
Thursday October 23, 2014
AlWood Middle/High School Cafeteria 7 – 8 PM
The purpose of the information night will be to provide you with information about the new Common Core Learning Standards that are being implemented in your child’s classroom. The new Learning Standards are going to change the way your child is taught, the way your child learns, and increase the rigor and expectations of the material that is covered in each grade level. This is an excellent opportunity for you to learn what Common Core Standards are all about!
Posted by D. Mills on Oct 20, 140 comments View
AlWood Community Unit School District #225 has been awarded two (2) new federal 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grants to provide extended day and extended year programming for over 400 AlWood students. AlWood Elementary and AlWood Middle/High schools will benefit from these new grants.
The 21st CCLC grant program supports extended learning and academic improvement opportunities that bridge achievement gaps and are aimed to help students in high-poverty, low-performing schools meet state and local performance standards in core subjects, such as reading and math. The programs offer a variety of services to students and their parents/caregivers to promote social-emotional development and cultural enrichment, including counseling, art, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs, recreation classes, technology education and vocational education. Programs will also offer family events and provide literacy and related educational service for parents and caregivers to better engage families in school activities. All activities will allow students to spend more time in a learning environment and will occur during non-school hours (before or after school) or periods when school is not in session.
These two most recent grant awards provide a total of $214,141.60 in the first year of the five-year grant. Grant funds will allow for the creation of a full-time site coordinator position, as well as teaching, paraprofessional and other support positions that will be created as the programs at the Elementary and Middle/High Schools are established.
Angie Zarvell, Regional Superintendent of Schools, stated, “The Regional Office of Education has a long history of providing successful, high-quality academic, artistic, and cultural enrichment opportunities to students and their families. We look forward to continuing this tradition in partnership with these schools and their community partners.”
Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) received 142 proposals, requesting more than $53 million. Eighty-seven 21st CCLC grants on behalf of 300 schools and entities were awarded based on criteria including the need for the project, adequacy of resources, plan for sustainability and cost effectiveness. Each application was read and scored by three peer reviewers and three ISBE staff members then reviewed those scores.
The 2015 grantees can be renewed for four years, but subsequent fiscal years depend upon a sufficient appropriation for the program and satisfactory progress in the previous grant period. The award amount per site ranges from $50,000 to $150,000.
ISBE has outlined seven performance objectives for grant programs to use to gauge whether schools are meeting the state’s minimum requirements for encouraging student success.
Seven Performance Objectives
- Student involvement in school activities
- Student achievement
- Positive behavioral changes in students
- Community benefits
- Expanded learning opportunities
- Professional development opportunities for program personnel
- Efficient and effective use of funds
Posted by D. Mills on Jan 140 comments View
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope that you enjoyed summer with your families and that you and your children are excited to begin the new school year. I invite you to join me and the Illinois PTA for a Back-to-School Webinar at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 9. I look forward to updating you on some important statewide education initiatives as research continues to show that when families are involved in the learning process at home and school, their child is more likely to succeed. You will find the webinar registration information at the end of this letter.
Across this large and diverse state, teachers are implementing lesson plans and instructional approaches to meet new, higher learning standards that encourage a greater depth of knowledge in English language arts and mathematics and emphasize critical thinking, problem solving and sharp verbal and written skills. These new Illinois Learning Standards set uniform benchmarks for schools across the state and in collaboration with other states so that U.S. students are better prepared to compete and collaborate with their peers across the world in the 21st century.
In spring 2015, a new state testing system will debut for third- through eighth-graders and high school students in certain courses to gauge how well students have mastered these learning standards at each grade level and whether they’re on track for college and careers. And now, with the recent federal approval of a waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Illinois is moving ahead to track and report more meaningful student and school academic data, implement the best intervention practices for the neediest schools, and support effective teaching and leadership.
What does all this mean for your child and school? It essentially means that students need support to master English language arts and mathematics and to learn how to apply real-world skills. It should mean students are highly engaged in learning through a variety of high-quality classroom lessons, collaborative tasks and projects. It means they will take state assessments that reflect their classroom experiences, which will generate information to drive improvement.
It’s important to note that Illinois has been working to raise the bar for teacher and leader effectiveness. We’ve set more rigorous requirements for educators, calling for teaching candidates to meet some higher performance criteria before they enter their education preparation programs. Principals must also be experienced instructional leaders, not simply building managers. These efforts have received local and national acclaim and complement the flexibility waiver, which calls for a gradual rollout of comprehensive teacher evaluations.
Under state law, districts can choose the best assessments from a pool of national, state, districtwide or classroom-specific tests to evaluate teachers. Standardized test results are not determining whether a teacher keeps or loses their job. We believe that a strong, comprehensive and reasonable evaluation system best supports principals and teachers as they do their important work with our more than 2 million public school students in classrooms each day.
This year, Illinois will again offer our award-winning, consumer-friendly 2014 school, district and state Report Card (http://www.illinoisreportcard.com/), which offers facts about school progress, advanced courses and extracurricular offerings to showcase the unique qualities of our schools. The Education Commission of the States recently identified Illinois as having the best report card out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia and we’re proud that the commission found it informative for both parents and researchers.
The Report Card also features results of our statewide survey of school climate and learning conditions, called the Illinois 5Essentials. The survey responses from students and teachers can be used as another tool for school improvement.
We are entering a new day in education, but we believe that we are truly putting policy in place for a better future. If you have questions about any of these initiatives, we encourage you to talk with your local teachers and school leaders. Thank you for all you do to support your child on their educational journey. We wish you and your families a safe, engaging and productive school year, and I look forward to connecting with you on Sept. 9 at our Back-to-School Webinar.
Reserve your seat at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/185876249.
We suggest listeners log in a few minutes early to establish connections, especially if this is your first time attending a live “Go to Webinar” from your computer or mobile device. We will begin transmitting a title screen at least 15-20 minutes prior to the scheduled 7 p.m. start so that participants can determine that they are properly connected.
Posted by D. Mills on Sep 2, 140 comments View
Join Family Matters Parent Training and Information Center and Illinois RtI Network for this FREE informational session for parents of children who... (cont'd)