Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Letter to My Teachers

Jackson is a 2nd grade student at CES.

Dear 2nd Grade Teachers and all teachers, 

I love y'all. We wont learn without you and God made you to help us learn. 


(So proud of Jackson! He wrote this on his own for our family blog!)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

When I grow up I want to be?

The following post was submitted by CES Team AWESOME parent, Curtis Gray. Mr. Gray is the coordinator of the Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Have you ever thought about how events and experiences influence who we are and will be in life? Everyone has had experiences both good and bad that shape and directly affect their life. Some of these we happen into, others we create for ourselves, and many are far beyond our control. Either way they all influence us and what paths we take in all of our pursuits throughout life. I have noticed as my children grow up I compare my life experiences and wonder how it will shape who they become?

When I look back there are numerous events that shaped me and who I am and it’s funny how they happened as they were not the planned out experiences you would think. The first experience that really had a profound effect on me happened when I was 5 years old and it shaped my goals for a career from that moment on. I was on a hunting trip with my Dad in the White River bottoms near Georgetown. I remember it as if it was yesterday someone had shot a deer illegally and hid it in the woods and we happened to find it. Now this was way before the cell phone days so my dad and I went back to the big city of Georgetown, AR and used the only pay phone for at least 20 miles. We called the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to report what we had found. However, again this was before technology and there was not a poaching hotline or even main line to call on the weekends. So my dad called the game warden he knew in the area to let him know what we had found. Fortunately he was home and said he would meet us over at the location of the deer. Dad and I drove back down in the bottoms and had not been waiting but about 10 minutes when the game warden arrived. It was my first encounter with a game warden, but needless to say I was impressed. He arrived riding a horse and did not come down the road to our location he just sort of emerged from the woods. It was quite impressive for a 5 year old boy. He visited with my dad for a little while and then they let me in on the plan. The Game Warden was going to set up and watch to see if the poachers came back for the deer. I knew it was a long shot, but I could not help myself, I had to ask if I could sit with the Game Warden while he waited to see if they would return. Low and behold he said yes I could and my dad also agreed. We sit there maybe all of two minutes before the questions started. What do you do? How do I get to do it? You ever catch anyone? Who is the worst person you ever arrested? The normal borage of kid questions, I asked them all. Well we sit there to dark and no one ever showed back up, but I walked out of those woods knowing I was destined to be a Game Warden in life. It took me another sixteen years and about 9 months, but I accomplished that goal of becoming a Wildlife Officer. By the time I had made it there they changed the title to reflect the variety of duties and roles that the old Game Warden now had.
I stayed in that job of Wildlife Officer for almost 10 years and held a variety of positions within the enforcement division and had the time of my life catching bad guys and got to see the State of Arkansas in a way that most never get to. However, like everything in life circumstances change and so do what we hold important in life. I had children now and the thought of lying in a road ditch all night waiting for someone to show up or shoot a deer had lost a little of its charm. I found that I wanted to be off more weekends to hang out with my kids and hopefully give them the experiences that I had growing up. It just so happened that another one of those early life experiences was going to prove to play a huge role in my life. However, this one was an experience that was created for me intentionally. When I was eight years old I received a camouflage recurve bow from my parents. Now this was not one of the wimpy no arrow speed junk bows. This was a sure enough hunting recurve bow that I could barely pull back and had no chance of stringing myself. However, that did not stop me from trying. It just made me work harder to figure it out and become proficient with it. I shot that bow every day for years and finally was successful hunting with it when I was a little older. The main thing it did was ignite a passion for archery and archery hunting. Fast forward twenty-five years and an opportunity presented itself for me to launch a program for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission with a focus on archery in the schools across the state. I thought I can do this and you never know when you might be able to create that same experience I had, for another kid. The Arkansas Archery in the Schools Program has been successful beyond belief with half of the school in the state of Arkansas participating and it growing every year. Why you ask? Simple, archery is fun and it’s a sport that anyone can do and more importantly they can do it for their entire lifetime. It is not like physical sports that as you get older you risk injury by participation. Archery is something you can enjoy for fun or sport which is why it appeals to so many.

The point of this whole story is that throughout our life and the life of our kids we are active participants in numerous experiences. Some we choose, some choose us, but either way it is one common bond that we all have that goes into shaping who we are or who we will be. These are just two examples from my life that I can see that really influenced me and my paths. The question is which experiences will shape your children’s lives? Will it be something in Nature or a Shooting Sport or possibly the science of animals and their environment? No matter what it is get out in the outdoors and make sure your kids experience the abundant nature we are fortunate to have here in Arkansas. Take them hunting. Share a sunset on a fishing dock with your hook in the water. Go explore one of the many Wildlife Management Areas. Take a trip to one of the many nature Centers or Education Centers across the state. You and your child can get involved with trying out a shooting sport. You never know when a casual outing will change their life or yours. Plus it is a great place to spend time and hang out with your kids.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

What I Know and How I Grow

The following post was submitted by CES Team AWESOME counselor Melanie Brown.
Let me talk to you about kids…what I know and how I grow.
I used to think I knew kids.  I had been to college.  I was a TEACHER!  I had a piece of paper from Mississippi State to PROVE it.  I KNEW kids!  I procured a job, walked into my first classroom and I was ready to conquer the world.  I.  Was.  Ready.  
I was full of hope and promise and great ideas.  I was met with 17  year old 9th graders who couldn’t read and didn’t know where their next meal was coming from.  A young man so sight impaired, with glasses so thick I wondered how he could even see the board.  I constantly stayed on him because he was always tired and never had his homework.  He later confided in me that he had no electricity and no running water.   His mom was with her “boyfriend” and he was worried about keeping his four younger brothers and sisters warm at night.  They had a buck stove and he spent the afternoons looking for wood.  The youngest was five.  
I remember Rodney and the last time I saw him in a courtroom in Lowndes Co. Mississippi telling me I had done a good job loving him and teaching him and he was sorry he hadn’t listened to me.  He is spending life in Parchman for murder.   I still cry when I think of him.
I think of Prince Charming Harris…who is a girl, whose mother wanted us to “beat her with a stick” because she cussed me daily when I wanted to only teach her to read and got mad when I learned her secret.  I wonder where she is now and if she ever learned to read…
I think of the days when I would complain to my mother and she would tell me to just wait… you’ll understand more when you have children of your own.  I would just laugh.  Oh…how right she was.  I soooo “got it” then.  
Those parents, or lack thereof, sent me the best they had.  Some of them mere babies themselves.  They sent me all they had and they depended on me to make it better.  I look back and CRINGE on the times I might have robbed a child of their joy.  Of the times I might have taken the light from their eyes.  The times when I could have been a little kinder, gave another hug or given a little more when I didn’t think I had another ounce to give.  I still have days like that.  
I have transitioned from a regular ed classroom teacher to a self-contained special education teacher and I remember all of those children with such clarity as well.  Some of those children I have no idea where they are and some I still keep up with every day.  Some have children of their own and I see those kiddos all the time and I smile.  From that transition I have counseled and learned the ways of administration and yet I still learn and grow.  What we see on the outside of these children is simply their shell.  There is so much more that we often overlook.  There is so much that they never tell us and may never want to share.  So many times we are their only salvation.  

Every year I am in education I think of all the things I did wrong and how I want to improve and then I have that one “aha” moment and remember something good that happened and I think “this is why I am here…this is why WE do what we do”.  
Friends…I implore you…look into these beautiful children’s faces.  Get to know THEM.  Take the time to LOOK into their eyes and deep into their souls and SEE them.  LOVE them.  BELIEVE in them. They are ENOUGH.  
I know…and I grow.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Healthy Kids....Healthy Future

The following post was submitted by CES Team AWESOME member, Shawn Carter. Mrs. Carter is our school nurse.

At Carlisle Elementary we strive to keep our kids healthy and safe.
We teach our students good hand washing strategies, to not sharing drinks and to cover their mouths/noses when they sneeze or cough.  Teaching children the proper way to keep from spreading germs is important. The number one way to prevent illness and the spread of germs is good hand washing.  We have hand sanitizers in each room and encourage use of this when soap and water are not available.  

Good hand washing can be accomplished in five simple steps:
  1. Wet hands with water
  2. Apply hand wash (soap)
  3. Lather and wash for AT LEAST 15 seconds
  4. Rinse both sides of hands with water
  5. Dry hands and shut off faucet with towel
Although we teach kids to share, there are certain things that children need to remember not to share including hats, coats, brushes and combs. This helps prevent the spread of the pesky (but harmless) lice.  Lice is a parasite that must have a host to survive. The typical louse can not live for more than 72 hours without a proper host. So when school starts back up in the fall we are lice free and when we break during long periods such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break we come back to a non-lice environment.  It is important for parents to always take note if their child is scratching his or her head.  The great misconception is that it likes dirty hair. WRONG!!!  Lice prefer clean hair because it is easier for them to maneuver through and reach the scalp or nape of the neck.  You should always look around the nape of the neck and behind the ears.  This is where you will be able to see the lice or nits more easily.  It's also best to look with florescent lighting or an LED flash light. Treatment can be time consuming and aggravating for both the parent and the child.  It's important to always retreat and pick through your child's hair daily to remove any nits that may have been missed.

By working  together, we can  keep our kids healthy by encouraging good hand washing techniques. Let's keep the bugs away by promoting no sharing of personal belongings. This will help keep our kids in school and allow them to continue learning every day!

Shawn Carter, RN 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Our Family History with Carlisle

Perfect Valentine's Day Blog Post by Carlisle School District Board Member, Adam Ellis.

Some of you may remember (and maybe even were there!) the night I proposed to my wife, Jessica. On Friday, October 24, 2003, the MIGHTY Carlisle Bison travelled to my hometown of Clarendon for an away football game.  Jessica (my beautiful and very smart girlfriend at the time) had absolutely no clue that evening that I was going to ask her to marry me!  In fact, while I had purchased the engagement ring weeks before, she had no idea that I was even looking for one or that it was hidden on top of our kitchen cabinets for so long!  Believe it or not ladies, most guys actually put a great deal of thought into how they are going to propose!  I knew I wanted to ‘GO BIG,’ and as I have said many times before, I love everything about school.  And what better way than in front of my whole family, hometown, and friends!  
I was already working in Carlisle at this time and decided to set my plan into motion.  About a month prior to the game, I met with Clarendon’s Superintendent, band director, cheer coach and cheerleaders and asked for their help in joining me in this most special moment in our lives.  WARNING:  Please do not think that I advocate lying or dishonesty, but in this case, I admit that I had to tell lie after lie!  
All during the first half of the game, I convinced Jessica that I had entered our names into a cheerleading raffle, and that my sister Jade (a Clarendon cheerleader at the time) had drawn her name to win the prize!  And in order to claim the prize, we were being asked to go down onto the field during halftime to accept it.
Those of you who know Jessica know that she is a VERY shy person, and not one to bring attention to herself in any way.  It was perfect!  She was TERRIFIED!  It’s now halftime and time for action:  the Clarendon Band and Flag-line marched onto the field and performed two songs.  All of a sudden, the Drum Major steps down from his podium, and the cheerleaders, Jessica and I walk out onto the field on the 50 yard line.  As she and I are facing the crowd, the cheerleaders behind us unravel a huge banner that says ‘Jessica, Will You Marry Me?’  I pull out the engagement ring, drop to one knee, and the crowd goes INSANE!  It was truly an awesome night that we will both remember the rest of our lives.            

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Their Favorite Time of the Day

The following post was submitted by CES Team AWESOME member Judy Scroggins. Mrs. Scroggins serves as our Instructional Facilitator and Dyslexia Interventionist.
 (rewritten from an article published in the Arkansas Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Winter 2013, Volume 10, Issue 3)
While visiting in a kindergarten classroom recently, I was blown away by what I saw and heard.  Sets of apples were projected on the white board.  Students were quickly telling how many they saw and how they saw them!  One student answered “five” when asked how many she saw.  When the next set of apples was shown, another student answered “four.”  They were both so quick to answer I knew they weren’t counting so I had to ask, “How did you know that so fast?” The response I got was, “I see two on top and three on bottom and 2 and 3 make five.”  The other student responded, “I see two on top and two on bottom.  I know that’s four, and I don’t need to count!”  All I could say was, “Wow!”  I thought that was pretty awesome, especially for the beginning of kindergarten.  These students are already able to subitize.
Subitizing is the ability to immediately recognize a collection of objects as a single unit and is an important component of computation at the lower grades.  The Common Core State Standards Progressions refer to perceptual subitizing (recognizing that a collection of objects is composed of two sub collections and quickly combining their cardinalities to find the cardinality of the set).  Subitizing and other mental math strategies are a part of “Number Talks.”
Number Talks, written by Sherry Parrish, is a book that promotes discussions where students share strategies, explore different strategies and figure out when and how those strategies work through the use of purposefully crafted computation problems.
Parrish describes how a five-to fifteen-minute conversation around chosen problems might look.  The Common Core State Standards refer to mental math strategies, using place value and understanding of properties of operations to add, subtract, multiply and divide, all of which are included in number talks.  While solving problems and sharing strategies, students are using Mathematical Practices like attending to precision, looking for and making use of structure, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, constructing viable arguments, and critiquing the reasoning of others. These lessons promote accuracy (ability to produce an accurate answer), efficiency (ability to choose an appropriate strategy for a specific computation problem), and flexibility (the ability to use number relationships with ease in computation).  Number talks help students build number sense, math reasoning, and mathematical understanding.  Students go beyond algorithms and rules and apply their understanding and reasoning skills while doing mental math problems.  Students also become more fluent because not only do they learn facts, they learn to compose and decompose numbers, which promotes understanding of how numbers work.  Strategies used and discussed during number talks are revisited and applied during the problem solving session with a teacher trained in Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI).

I had another opportunity to observe number talks in second grade and was again very impressed with what was happening.  This problem was written on the white board:  23-___=19.  Following is some of the conversation that took place:  “subtract ten from twenty three, then subtract ten from thirteen and add one…the answer if four.”  “Why would you add?  This is a subtraction problem.”  “I subtracted twenty.  The problem said to subtract nineteen, so I added one.”  “I counted up from nineteen to twenty three, and I got four.”  One of the main objectives of the teacher during a number talk is to notate what the children say during the discussions.  The last strategy was illustrated on an open number line showing the amounts on each jump.

The next day, this same group of students was given “Mrs. Brown had 46 pennies.  She gave some pennies to Mrs. Norton.  Now Mrs. Brown has 18 pennies left.  How many pennies did Mrs. Brown give to Mrs. Norton?”  The evidence in the students’ work clearly showed the transfer of strategies discussed during number talks to solving the Separate Change Unknown problem.  Some students even used the open number line to illustrate how they solved the problem.

I’m hearing positive comments from teachers and students, about number talks and the connection to their training in CGI.  Students share that the number talk is their favorite time of the day.  When students are doing math, having conversations about t strategies they are using, and love it, nothing but positive results will follow.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Mrs. Goodrich's Class....My Favorite!

The following post was submitted by CES Team AWESOME 5th grade student Ben Smith.
Mrs.Goodrich’s class is the most fun out of all the classes because she lets us do lab. I LOVE LAB!! I like to learn about all the cool states of matter and all the different changes things can have, although it is a little bit scary that a bridge contracts and expands.
I also love social studies. Right now we’re learning about the revolutionary war.  I also like social studies because I like learning about history and people. She also has PETS!!! I love that she gives us animal passes so if we want to hold an animal we can. My favorite animal is Penny; she’s an iguana. That's why I like Mrs.Goodrich's class.