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Since we were able to raise over $10,000 in our last Book Fair, I agreed to read to the students while sitting in a Kiddie Pool.  It was good times for all! Thanks to Mrs. Hall for all of her coordination!
Posted by selenia.quinones  On Apr 15, 2012 at 10:46 AM 3 Comments
As many of you know, we have aspirations to move towards a new instructional model for the 2012-2013 school year.  We know that all of you can make the meetings, so I have included the presentation for you to view on your own.  Obviously, I speak to these points a bit further in the presentation.  My hope is that you can get some general idea of why we are moving in this direction. 2012-2013 Instructional Delivery Model Presentation
Posted by selenia.quinones  On Apr 02, 2012 at 6:23 PM
In this blog, I wanted to touch upon some changes to the scoring of the FCAT 2.0 AND how these scores will be used to evaluate our school (and all public schools). With the implementation of FCAT 2.0, our students and educators have been asked to utilize a higher set of standards and expectations (Florida's Next Generation Standards).  Over the last two years, our educators have certainly focused on preparing our students This year, the state of Florida has decided to make it very interesting for teachers and schools.  First of all, The Florida Department of Education have modified the scoring system for the students on the FCAT 2.0.  Last year, the students took the FCAT 2.0 but there scores were based on the first version of the FCAT.  In other words, the students score on the FCAT 2.0 was applied to the scales used on previous administrations of the FCAT. This year, the FCAT 2.0 will have its own scales and "cut scores".  These cut scores are the scores that are used to differentiate between the scoring levels (1-5 with 5 being the highest) on the FCAT 2.0.  The cut scores are higher than previous years which means the students will need to score higher this year to score in the 3 through 5 range (proficient level). Schools across the state are anticipating a lower percentage of students scoring at 3, 4, and 5 in all subject areas.  To illustrate this point, I compared our third grade scores using both the FCAT scale used last year and the new cut score scales.  Using last year's scales, we had 79% of our third graders at Level 3, 4, or 5 in the reading portion.  Using this year's scales(with the same exact scores), we would have 69% of our third graders at Level, 3, 4, or 5.  As you can see, we are anticipating a bit lower scores for this school year. In addition, the FLDOE has changed how schools will be graded next school year.  I have a detailed print out that shows the changes:  School Grade Calculation. Several of the changes have been done as a measure to ensure that the state could opt out of No Child Left Behind.  This exemption was granted with the caveat that changes to the school grading needed to take place. Most notably for our school, from this point on, ESE students will be included in the proficiency scores for our students.  In years past, these students were omitted from this calculation.  Right now, we are close to 25% of our school population being a member of the ESE program.  This change will affect our scores greatly.  We anticipate our proficiency scores to be lowered due to this change. Obviously, this is an important time for our school.  We are aware that our school grade is an accountability piece that many parents will research an analyze.  This upcoming grade designation will have a great effect on our enrollment and budget for this upcoming school year and beyond. With this being said, we admit that we have been more "FCAT driven" then in year's past.  These aforementioned changes are the reason.  This is not our style, but we feel that we must be cognizant of these changes and prepare our students to score at the highest of levels come April. We are confident we will rise to the challenge.
Posted by selenia.quinones  On Mar 19, 2012 at 3:52 PM
As many of you know, the debates on HB903 and SB1852 continues.  These bills are crucial to the future success of our school.  With this being said, we are hoping to educate our parents on this important issue. These pieces of proposed legislation stipulate that the districts must share the locally raised millage for capital purchases with charter schools.  This millage is acquired through the property taxes the county assesses.  Right now, Manatee School District (as do all other districts except for two) do not share these funds with charter schools. In other words, the property tax dollars you pay each year are not following your child to our school. Last week, with parent, teacher, and school administrators speaking in defense of the bill, the Senate Committee on Public Education approved the bill with a 4-1 vote!  The bill is now moving to appropriations. In the House, HB903 passed but the millage was taken out.  The passing of SB1852 could be helpful in getting the language put back in.  The House Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 from 11:30-2:30 to discuss this issue. We need all the parent support we can muster to ensure this happens!  The districts are gearing up and have hired their lobbyists to ensure this legislation does not become reality.  Several newspaper articles across the state have spoken out how this legislation would affect the short term and long term plans of the district schools.  It comes down to a question of fairness not future plans.  Charter schools are public schools just like district schools.  We just provide parents with a choice.  Our students are no different than public school students and deserve the same, appropriate funding. To drive this point home, I can tell you that this funding would free up dollars in our budget so we could hire a guidance counselor, an IT Professional, a curriculum coach, more assistants, and more ESE help.  Resources that are desperately needed like new textbooks and technology would be easier to budget for this upcoming year and beyond. We are not talking about a small amount of money.  We are talking about school changing dollars. I can't tell you how much this would benefit our students. In previous emails, I have sent you the key Representatives and Senators who are dealing with this bill. Lets' email and call the Representatives to convince them that we need equitable funding! This is the closest that charter school have ever been to receiving this funding!  We can do it!
Posted by selenia.quinones  On Feb 10, 2012 at 2:04 PM
HB 903 
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Posted by selenia.quinones  On Jan 06, 2012 at 1:18 PM
Hello All: On Thursday, September 22nd, I held a Parent Information Series on FCAT and, specifically, the Third Grade FCAT 2.0.  These are important assessments that will be held on the following days: 4th and 8th Writing: Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 Math, Science, and Reading (3rd-8th Grade): The week of April 15th, 2012 Here are some of the important information I shared at this meeting. FCAT 2.0  Fact Sheet FCAT 2.0 Question Design Summary Third Grade FCAT 2.0 Information
Posted by selenia.quinones  On Oct 03, 2011 at 2:02 PM
Hello All: I wanted to take the time to write a bit about the Charter School movement.  As you know, Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch is a charter school.  Charter schools are public schools that operate separately from the public district schools.  In a sense, charter schools are in a friendly competition with public district schools.  We compete for the opportunity to provide education to your children.  For us to attract students, we must be on top of our game.  For the public district schools to keep the students, they must be on top of their game.  In the end, the parents and students win because there are high quality, extremely motivated educational choices available.  This is the true essence of the Charter School movement. Public Schools Have To Adapt to School Choice or Die Since charter schools are public schools, they must follow all of the guidelines and regulations associated with public schools.  In a sense, charter schools are not that dissimilar when it comes to the rules that must be followed.  The style, methods utilized, teaching resources, and specializations may differ at a charter school compared to a public school. One area in which there is a discrepancy is in funding.  Just like public schools, charter schools are funded on a per pupil basis.  However, charter schools receive less per pupil than district schools.  The largest funding difference comes from the local effort.  In other words, districts are not obligated to share capital funding with the charter schools.   These dollars come primarily from your property tax dollars.  This article sheds a bit more light on the discrepancy. Charter School Funding Myths After reading the article, one could conceivably say that charter schools need to do more with less funding.  For us to attract students, especially in an area where we are surrounded by A-Rated schools, we have to be able to offer something unique, worthwhile, and, of the highest quality. More and more charter schools are starting across the nation and in the state of Florida.  Providing parents and students choice when it comes to education is extremely important in education.  The article below goes into detail on the amount of applications in Florida. Florida Flooded With New Charter Applications Charter schools are not going anywhere.  And, from the looks of it, this only the beginning of the charter school movement.
Posted by selenia.quinones  On Sep 07, 2011 at 5:11 PM
Hello Everyone: This blog will be a short one.  In this blog entry, I will be showing off some of the progress that is being made at the school during the break.  We wanted to show off some of the new items that we are working on for this school year. New Picnic Tables for the classes to use while eating outside. New Basketball Court (with two hoops!!). Also, the grass has grown back!  Check out the new mulch in the background as well! Check out what Mrs. Hughes has painted in the Media Center Restrooms!  Who would have thought she was such an artist! Well, this is just a bit of some of the items we are working on at the school!  We will see you on Thursday for the BBQ from 5:00-7:00PM! Steve Sajewski
Posted by selenia.quinones  On Aug 02, 2011 at 7:19 PM
For some time, there has been an educational debate on why students from each of our fifty states have a different set of standards when it comes to what needs to be taught.  This educational variance has led to a cloudy analysis when educational experts compare schools on a nationwide basis.  In other words, how do we truly know which states are setting the bar when it comes to effective instruction when we can't settle on a single set of standards Enter the Common Core Standards.  The Common Core Standards are an attempt to bring a sense of commonality to what is being taught in classrooms across the nation.  At this time, 42 of the 50 states have chosen to adopt the Common Core Standards to replace their current teaching standards.  Florida is one such state. Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, all states utilizing the Common Core Standards will assess their students using one of two examinations.  That's right.  We will be moving from the FCAT to another acronym based assessment, PARCC. This year, at Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch, we will begin phasing in the Common Core Standards.  It is our hope to be "ahead of the curve" when it comes to the implementation of these standards. The Common Core Standards are structured in a way that allows the educators to really go deeper than they have before.  Many experts argue that our current standards are "a mile long and an inch deep" (meaning we have to teach so many items and do not have enough time to delve deeper into the standards).  By going deeper, we will be able to build connections within our learners that will need to overall better understanding and recollection. Here at Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch, we are excited about the implementation of the Common Core Standards.  We feel that the Common Core Standards are closely in line with our vision here at Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch.  As educators, we feel that it is a necessity to connect our teaching to real-life application.  In addition, with this philosophy of exposture to real-world scenarios in mind, it has been our objective to ensure that each and every one of our students are prepared for college and beyond.   Each and every one of our students will move on to be successful and helpful citizens in the communities they eventually call home. We believe that the Common Core Standards will help with this initiative. Some websites you may find helpful: Common Core State Standards http://www.corestandards.org/ International Reading Association http://www.reading.org/Resources/ResourcesByTopic/CommonCore-resourcetype/CommonCore-rt-overview.aspx Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study http://timss.bc.edu/index.html National Council of Teachers of Mathematics http://www.nctm.org/about/content.aspx?id=27076 Association of National Staff Development http://www.ascd.org/public-policy/common-core.aspx Pearson http://www.americaschoice.org/commoncorestandardsresources PARCC http://www.parcconline.org/parcc-assessment
Posted by selenia.quinones  On Jul 22, 2011 at 11:24 AM 3 Comments
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