CRSD Web Highlights – 1/31/14

Highlights from CRSD on the web:

Please don’t forget to encourage others to sign up for our eMail list.   They can subscribe from our main web page at or by clicking here.

Upcoming Dates to Remember:

  • Feb. 3 – Worksession and Regular Board Meeting – click here for the agenda.
  • Feb. 12 – Early Release
  • March 7 – Inservice
  • March 10-14 – Spring Break
  • March 19 & 20 – Parent/Teacher Conferences

Check out these posts from the CRSD Blogs:  We have three primary blogs accessible from our website.  Tributaries is a blog of district-wide news and information related to policy and administration.  The Current is where school and community announcements and information is posted.   Upstream Learning’s blog for homeschool families.  


When is Little Much

A Sad Reality

28th AK Legislature’s 2nd Session Opens

14-15 and 15-16 School Calendars Approved

20 Days and Counting

New Year, New Ideas, and Lots to Do


The Current:

2014 Copper Valley Chamber of Commerce Photo Contest

GES Mid Year

New Year; new blog posts!


Upstream Learning Blog:

Let’s Make Music at Upstream Learning!

Notices regarding Assessments this semester

Exciting Summer Opportunities for HS Students

For up-to-date news and information, please “like” our CRSD Facebook page and “follow” our Twitter feed.

Thank you for staying informed.   Please email or call with questions or comments.

Academic Triage

Sniff, sniff, cough…ugh.  It is one of those nagging winter colds that hang around for weeks.  Finally, after your second bottle of Nyquil, you decide to see the doctor so she’ll give you something to clear it up.   You’re sitting in the exam room, impatiently expecting that every footstep you hear in the hallway is the doctor finally coming in.  Eventually, the doc walks in looks at you and states emphatically, “You have a cold.   Take some Nyquil,” and then leaves the room.   Doesn’t take your blood pressure.   Doesn’t ask you any questions.  Just a quick look, instant diagnosis, and sends you off with a cold.

If the above scenario really happened, you would say to yourself, “But she didn’t even examine me?!”  What if you had a sinus infection?  What if it was strep throat!  At a Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 8.47.34 AMminimum, you would expect them to take your temperature, blood pressure, and get your weight.   This basic triage data and a physical exam would give the doctor data necessary to diagnose and prescribe treatment.

Assessment in school is supposed to do for education professionals what triage and exam does for medical professionals.    Symptoms of academic difficulty could be low grades, dislike of school, off-task behavior, and frequent absences.    If a student is diagnosed with reading difficulty, or other academic ailments, then basic assessment data should back-up a diagnosis.   Additionally, once the diagnosis is made, assessment data should determine the prescribed intervention.   Just as you would question a physician that prescribes medicine without a proper physical exam and triage, so we should question educational decisions that are not supported by data.

For the past couple of weeks, students in the Copper River School District have been academically triaged using quick measures of academic health.  AIMSweb Assessments and MAPS Assessments are both quick tests to track academic progress and identify learning problems.  AIMSweb assessments are short verbal tests used to measure literacy and numeric skills in kindergarten through 2nd grade and for non-proficient 3rd graders.   For K-11, Measures of Academic Progress (MAPS), “provide detailed, actionable data about where each child is on their unique learning path.”

Click here  to learn more about AIMSweb and here to learn more about MAPS Assessments.  You can also contact your child’s teacher, principal or Tammy Van Wyhe, Director of Teaching and Learning.

At your next Parent/Teacher Conference, ask your child’s teacher to see results from the most recent academic triage.  If your child or adolescent struggles in school, ask for a diagnosis based on data and then work with the teacher to develop an effective prescription for improved academic health.

It is important to remember, however, that while a doctor can prescribe medicine, he doesn’t follow you home to make sure you take it as directed.   Academic health isn’t the sole responsibility of teachers.    Students and their parents must accept the responsibility for improving academic performance.   For some, that will be over-the-counter activities such as reading for thirty minutes each evening.  For others, a more intensive approach will be needed which will involve more time, effort and daily collaboration with teachers.

There are also limits.  Just as a person can take too much medicine, students can have too much testing.    The federal and state governments each have requirements for testing in public schools.   Following regulations and getting valuable assessment data present a challenge for teachers, administrators, and locally elected school officials.    Please contact your child’s school if you have any questions regarding state, district or classroom assessments your student is taking.

Physical and academic health have several aspects in common.   Both require healthy choices and a disciplined lifestyle.

CRSD Digital Learning Digest

Digital learning in the Copper River School District took center stage in our community last fall.    Many members of the community took the time to participate in various forums and meetings.

As the conversation about digital learning developed over the course of 1st semester, we began to ponder how to facilitate a better informed continuation of the conversation during second semester.   One of the ideas we’ve been working on is a document that not only restates the expressed concerns as frequently asked questions (FAQ), but also provides an accurate foundation for 2nd semester conversations.  Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.40.27 PM

It became apparent over the course of the last few weeks that this document should be the first edition of a document that grows and adapts to new questions and statewide contexts.   After reading the first edition of the CRSD Digital Learning Digest, please send us your comments, suggestions or unanswered questions.   We’ll keep those on file as we work on a second edition that will be published before the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

The document linked below is our sincere attempt at facilitating an honest dialogue about the rapidly changing arena of educational technology.

Click here to read the CRSD Digital Learning Digest January 2014

Avalanches 2014 – Keystone Canyon

This morning my friend Ron Langseth text me this dramatic picture of the avalanche in Keystone Canyon (between Glennallen and Valdez).   A big “thank you” to all those who will be involved in clearing the road.  Your safety will be in my thoughts and prayers.  Please use the comment section below to thank the DOT crews.

14-1_AvalancheUpdate:  More pictures and information from the Anchorage Daily News