Recently, on March 9th, the staff had a professional development day. They didn't know what the plan was for the day until they arrived to the school with a bus waiting for them. Checkout the video to find out more.
You know you’re getting a little long in the tooth when you still remember Prince’s song “1999” being a hit, and thinking how far off the year 1999 sounded. I will save you the time of looking it up….the song was released in 1982. We must be having fun, because time has sure flown since then!
The second semester of the school year has arrived and it won’t be long until we are setting up for graduation and planning for summer school. Each day, month and season seem to go by so quickly, and I’m sure we are guilty of not stopping to smell the roses when we have the opportunity. My goal for 2017 is to slow down and enjoy more of the little things that occur everyday in our school.
I was recently reminded how great we have it, after watching a documentary on “The Blizzard of 1948-49” on Nebraska Public Broadcasting. The photographs that were shared and the stories told by those that experienced the long event are nearly unbelievable. An inch or two of snow makes me nervous now, so I just can’t imagine the hardships that were experienced in our state during that winter.
My hope is that our snow that arrives this year falls on the weekend and melts before Monday, so that we avoid any snow days. But, if we do have a snow day anytime soon, be sure to make a cup of hot cocoa, put a blanket around yourself, and consider how blessed we are to live in Wood River, Nebraska. You might even kick up your heels and party like it’s 1999….again!!!
Go Eagles!!! …..Dr. James Haley
There is no place I would rather be than in an elementary school. Where else do you get hugs, tears, happy stories, sad stories, your hand held, and smiles multiple times every single day? Where else do you experience the ever-changing world of education with eager minds? Where else do you easily see physical and educational growth in K-5 children on a regular basis? Sharing experiences with elementary children every day is such a blessing. Thanks for letting me be a part of your child's educational experiences.
I have three daughters, three son-in-laws, and four grandchildren,and oh, do I spoil those grandkids! I enjoy reading, quilting, running, and spending time with family. I make a gingerbread creation each year for Christmas and always take my creation to school for students to view. Of course I am a Husker fan, but during basketball season I am a Kansas Jayhawk fan. "Go Big Red" and "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" are two of my favorite phrases!!
I am excited to share my experiences and vision for Wood River Elementary with the Wood River school and community. Drop in to say, 'hi' and introduce yourself. You are always welcome!
Wow! It has been a few years since I first set foot on a college campus to take an undergraduate class. I was lucky to have even attended college in the first place. For one, neither of my parents attended college, and as a high school student, my grades were not that stellar (hard to believe, I know). The main reason I even thought about attending a four year institution was because I knew I wanted to play collegiate football. So, off I went to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where I found that I really appreciated college life! The FREEDOM was awesome, when I wasn’t in football meetings, practice, football study hall, or in class. To my amazement, and probably more to my parents and teachers amazement, I did very well in college. I accredit a number of things to my success, 1. Being involved in activities, where the coaches and staff monitored and encouraged my class attendance. 2. The rigor of my high school experience that prepared me for my college classes. 3. Having had the opportunity to get on a college campus before I graduated high school. (my girlfriend, at the time, was a year older than me). My college experience wasn’t perfect by any means, but I made it, with the help of many people. Our students are capable of doing just as well in college as I did, and most can do better.
For many, it is a matter of figuring out “How to go.” We recently applied and received a grant worth $20,000 over 4 years. I want to thank and congratulate our teacher/counselor Becca Moore on applying for the College Access EdQuest grant. Wood River is among 28 Nebraska High Schools selected to receive an EducationQuest Foundation College Access Grant.
High schools selected to receive a College Access Grant have the flexibility to develop or enhance college access programs appropriate for their students but must include specific activities that have been shown to increase access to higher education. These activities include:
It is never too late nor too early to be planning for college. If you have any questions about how to go to college, please always feel free to call the high school - Terry Zessin, Principal.
Friday, May 6th Wood River Rural Middle/High School will hold the 5th annual Community Day. On this day students and teachers leave the classroom for service projects throughout the community. Picking up trash, raking, washing windows, painting, weeding, and digging are a few of the many things that students and staff have done throughout the last 4 years. The most rewarding for students is being able to work for community members who are unable or need help to do their house or yard work. It has been a success each year and something that students look forward too. Projects are worked on during the morning hours usually rain or shine. Workers return to eat a lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs grilled by the School Board, and members of TEAM.
After lunch and for the remainder of the day students will attend general session speakers for 45 minutes and breakout sessions for 20 minutes. Most presenters have been from the community sharing their trade or hobby while others have been from the region to bring something unique for students to experience. We’ve experienced blacksmithing, cannon shots, guitar playing, wood carving, trapping drones, fire and rescue and the list goes on. The idea is to provide background knowledge and experiences to the students. Maybe they will pick up a new hobby or spark an idea to major in at college or simply know more about the community around them. We are always looking for people to share their passions with us, so if you are interested please do not hesitate to call the school.
One of this year's main speakers is Neil Halford. He will present From Victim To Victor (The Neil Halford Story) Neil Halford is one of the premier motivational and inspirational speakers in the speaking
At the age of 2 Neil was involved in a near fatal accident which left him totally blind and forever changed his life and that of his family. In his presentation (From Victim To Victor) Neil takes the audience on the enthralling journey of his life story. It is an emotional roller coaster which will have you crying one moment and wiping away tears of laughter the next. Throughout this 45 minute presentation Neil will walk you through that tragic morning which changed his life, and will share with you through his short inspiring stories, some of the unique challenges he faced in his public and personal life. Neil's fearless will to succeed in a sighted world has taken him to heights unimaginable to most listeners. In high school Neil was one of the top wrestlers in the State of Nebraska. He twice qualified for the Nebraska state high school wrestling tournament, and as a senior brought home a 4th place metal from state. As an adult, Neil has obtained unmatched success in the sales industry, and in 2005 he published his autobiography "The Sound of Sight." A true storyteller in the classic sense, Neil is one of the most dynamic presenters in the business today. Neil's life story is one which crosses all boundaries and can be used to motivate or inspire any group or organization regardless of age, race, or gender.
If you would like to share in the experience of Community Day please feel free to do so. Just call the school so we can plan for you to attend. If you have ideas for service projects or presenters please call the school as well.
The Sound of Sight - Home. (n.d.). Retrieved April 02, 2016, from http://www.thesoundofsight.com/
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a program at Wood River Elementary School to encourage all of our students to read. To begin, each student completes a STAR assessment at the beginning of each quarter to determine their individual Reading level. The grade equivalency from the assessment is then multiplied by two to determine the number of AR points a student needs in the quarter. During the quarter the students’ read books at their level, and, upon completion of a book, take an AR quiz over the book. The AR quizzes serve as a quick assessment of student reading comprehension. Books are assigned differing AR point values based on the length of the book and it’s level of difficulty. The student continues reading books and taking quizzes until their AR goal for the quarter has been met.
In past school years, the level of attaining an AR goal for the quarter has been used as a portion of the student’s Reading grade on their report card. In the 2015-2016 school year, this has changed. Instead of using AR as a grade we are offering positive incentives if the students reach their goal. In quarter one, all students that met their goal participated in an ice cream social. The movie, Annie, at the Grand Theatre in Grand Island was the reward for quarter two. This celebration took place on the afternoon of December 17. The quarter three reward is an attendance ticket to magician Adam White on the afternoon of March 18 at Wood River Elementary School. The PTO will also be sponsoring Adam White on the evening of March 18 at the Wood River High School Theatre. The quarter four reward is yet to be determined although students (Mrs. Canfield’s 2nd grade class in particular) have been brainstorming and giving some excellent “suggestions.” As of Friday, February 19, 113 students of 245 had met their quarter three AR goal. We would love to hit 100% so please ask your elementary student where they stand on their AR goal and encourage them to read, read, read!
The goal is to keep students reading, because reading is a prerequisite for success in many areas of life!
The life lesson for today is “be a straight shooter”. We teach our kids about honesty and telling the truth, but perhaps we can do more to develop skills to just tell it like it is. Much like learning to look people in the eye and deliver a firm handshake, children should be taught the skill of delivering the facts.
We admire those who are “straight shooters”, those who we know will tell us exactly how it is, without sugar-coating the facts. Education is a business of communicating performance, results and direction. The information is intended to be used to make change and improve whatever is produced. While I firmly believe in tact, kindness and professionalism, it is my opinion we need to consider being a little more direct and firm when communicating with others. I’m talking about adults in general needing improvement, and not just educators. It is much easier to tell a person something they want to hear rather than something they don’t. People respect a person that tells the truth, a person that tells the same story, no matter the audience.
In this day of political correctness and fear of litigation, it is hard for people to just give you an answer that you can “take to the bank”. But, I know the teachers at Wood River Rural Schools are working daily to build confidence, judgement and straight-shootin’ in the great young people of our community. The future is bright for Wood River!
GREAT! Recently the Nebraska Department of Education classified all public school districts in the state. Our district was rated GREAT out of the possible ratings of Need Improvement, Good Great and Excellent. The ratings are apart of the AQuESTT system which stands for Accountability for a Quality Education System Today and Tomorrow. AQuESTT is a system for the Nebraska Department of Education to evaluate the schools across the state. The evaluation is based on six tenets of education effectiveness.
1) positive partnerships, relationships, student success - This tenet focuses on personalized learning, attendance, family engagement and utilizing community and support services.
2) Transitions - How well does the school help students transition to elementary to middle school to high school and ultimately college/career?
3) Educational Opportunities and Access - Does the school provide a multiple opportunities beyond basic classroom essentials? for example preschool, technology, varied offerings.
4) College and Career Readiness - How well does the school prepare students to meet their college and career goals?
5) Assessment - How well does the school’s students do on NeSA? (state assessments in math, reading, science and writing.) A very large portion of the rating is dependent on how well the students do on tests.
6) Educator Effectiveness.- This tenet focuses on the performance and professional learning of teachers, principals and school leaders.
With a heavy reliance on assessment data it is important to not put too much emphasis on the classification. Although,, we should celebrate that we do have great schools and supportive community with exceptional students and staff members. It is GREAT to be an Eagle!
If you would like more information about AQuESTT or the classification, please click here. If you have any questions please call the school at 308-583-2249.
noun, plural vocabularies.
1. the stock of words used by or known to a particular people or group of persons: His French vocabulary is rather limited. The scientific vocabulary is constantly growing.
2. a list or collection of the words or phrases of a language, technical field, etc., usually arranged in alphabetical order and defined: Study the vocabulary in the fourth chapter.
3. the words of a language.
4. any collection of signs or symbols constituting a means or system of nonverbal communication: vocabulary of a computer.
5. any more or less specific group of forms characteristic of an artist, a style of art, architecture, or the like.
The School Improvement goal for Wood River Rural Schools is to increase Reading comprehension across all grade levels and subjects. The main tool to accomplish this goal is to work with vocabulary. Vocabulary, as defined above, has many meanings. Think about the vocabulary you know and use on a daily basis. Where did you learn the vocabulary? Is the majority of the vocabulary you use related to your likes? Your job? Your heritage?
At Wood River Elementary School, one tool used to increase the vocabulary use and understanding for our students is the use of vocabulary notebooks. Vocabulary notebooks are used in the areas of Reading, Writing, Math, and Science by all students in grades 2-5. The notebooks in each different subject area includes words and definitions that pertain to the particular subject at each given grade level. The teachers at WRES have determined the words which are the most useful for the students to know for success, both in the classroom and on state and nationally normed assessments. Not only do the vocabulary notebooks contain words and definitions, but strategies are also included in the notebooks for student success. The notebooks are used daily with individual study, small group (partner) study, and in the large group setting. In conversation, ask a student in grades 2-5 about their vocabulary notebooks and see if they can explain some of the vocabulary they have learned this week, month, or school year!
There are certain things in life that are just pleasant to a person each year...the smell of fresh cut hay, the sight of autumn leaves that have turned colors, a newborn calf frolicking in the pasture, and the faces of students walking through the door the first day of school. Most are happy, a few are sad, but some are downright scared.
Imagine ruling over a building full of elementary students for the past year, and now as a 6th grader, you have to walk into the high school. You went from being the BIG kid, to now you're a short, skinny kid practically overnight. Well, I was happy to greet and rescue a few of those scared 6th graders the first morning of school on Thursday and escort them to the safety of their teacher!
The only sad face I saw the first morning at the elementary school was of a little blonde headed girl who was told she had to sit by a boy for the opening assembly. What a TERRIBLE way to start off the new school year! Thank goodness some things never change.
The elementary building received some attention over the summer to maintain and beautify the facility. The roof was replaced over the cafeteria and one wing of classrooms. It was completed just in time for the rains we recently received.
Floor tile in the elementary cafeteria and hallways was replaced with an attractive epoxy covering, and the walls were painted white with a sharp purple accent stripe. Wood River Elementary looks great for the new school year, and you are encouraged to stop by and let Mr. Roth show you around. I think you'll like what you see!
As we begin the 2015-2016 school year, I want to thank the patrons of the Wood River Rural Schools for providing such a quality school for the students and staff to attend each day. As I drove from the west this morning to the stop sign at Highway 11, I paused to admire the beautiful campus and the day before me. It is a great time to live in Wood River, Nebraska.
The Wood River After School Program is currently serving approximately eighty K-8 students. The program has averaged close to 60 students every school day, for the last two years. Students have benefited from having homework assistance, a snack, physical activity and many learning activities with excellent staff. A huge thank you to Samantha Hahn -program coordinator, Teresa Hahn, Kathy Carter, Abbie Meier and Lori Peters. Ryan Woitalewicz and Jordyn Leffler are regular high school volunteers, and have been essential to the program’s success.
The program would not have been possible without the funding from the Heartland United Way. The Wood River Community Centennial Foundation has been vital to the success by aiding in supplies and staff salaries.
5 year Grant of $281,000 to Fund Wood River Community Learning Center
Next year, the After School Program will be transitioning to the Wood River Community Learning Center. We were awarded a substantial, competive, federal grant, through the Nebraska Department of Education that totals over $280,000 over the next 5 years. The Wood River Community Learning Center will be at Wood River Elementary next year for students in grades K-5. The program will have a few similarities, but the focus will be experience and literacy based. Currently, partnerships with Rowe Sanctuary, the National Guard, Hall County Extension Office, and the Grand Island Library will have students connect their field trips and experiences to their learning. The Grand Island Library will also provide programs for Learning Community students and families, to help infuse literacy activities. Full time program students and family members will be able to check out books from the Grand Island Library, with their FREE library card! Students will also be getting homework assistance, organized physical activities, and nutritious snacks. There are still many details to work out, but this is an amazing opportunity to continue after school programming, while enhancing what we are currently doing.
We are really excited about this opportunity! It would not have been possible without community financial commitments from the Wood River PTO, Rohrich Farms and The Grace and Donna Rae Koepp Foundation.
More information about registering will be coming available over the summer.
My wife, Deb, and I have been married for 32 years this April! Our family has been a huge part of our lives. We have three children, Aaron, Ellery, and Trey. The picture above left is our family at Christmas time. The couple to the left is our oldest son, Aaron, and his wife, Emily. They currently live in Manhattan, KS, where Aaron works as a production manager for Faith Roofing Company, and Emily is a grad assistant at Kansas State while working on her Masters degree in Music conducting. Emily will graduate in May and they will be moving to Nebraska City where Emily has accepted a band position beginning in the fall. The couple in the middle left is Ellery and her boyfriend, Logan. They are also the parents of the two little boys, Noah and Joseph (more about them later). Ellery works at the All Belong to Christ Daycare at the Lutheran Church in Cairo. The couple on the right of the picture is Trey and his girlfriend, Chelsea. Trey is a junior at Doane College where he is majoring in Sociology and singing in the Doane Choir, along with his part-time job at Pizza Hut. Deb and I have been blessed with our family.
Pride and Joy
I am very proud to be a grandpa! Deb and I have two grandsons, Noah (16 months) and Joseph (3 months). It has been a blast to watch them grow and develop their personalities. As you can see from the picture of Noah, he loves to be involved and grandma even has him helping her mix brownies. He loves to be where we are and tries to do the things we do. What a helper!?! As parents, we are so busy, I think at times we miss the small things. As grandparents, we can sit back and watch more and send the boys home when needed. Deb and I have discovered, however, there is a reason you have your children when you are young!
Besides working with kids on a daily basis, my biggest hobby is gardening and canning. I plant a vegetable garden every spring and can green beans, jalapenos, salsa, and tomato juice. We also can applesauce and peaches but not from our garden. Deb and I both love to garden and work in the yard so our rule is that Deb gets the flower beds and I get the vegetables. Come on Spring!
Nebraskans benefit every day from the work and countless hours provided by a dedicated group of individuals in every community across the state. These public servants are elected by the local patrons and they do not receive any compensation for the hours they devote each year. These men and women are the members of the boards of education of Nebraska.
During the week of January 25-31, schools across the state honored the service of local school boards of education. The Wood River Rural Schools would like to recognize and thank the dedicated members of their board of education as well. The members are as follows: President Joyce Willoughby, Vice-President Doyle Rathman, Secretary Karla Boshart, Treasurer Curtis Rohrich, Ron Rickert and Dean Luehr.
The members of the Wood River Rural Schools Board of Education are all proud graduates of the school and are united in continuing the proud tradition of being an Eagle. Please take the time to thank each of these members for all that they do throughout the year to ensure a quality education for the children of the Wood River community.
Do a quick Google search of Facebook firings, and you will garner 20 million results, in less than a minute. Many people have been fired due to their inappropriate interactions on social media (posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc…) Facebook is one of the first places employers search when hiring potential employees. Colleges are even looking, before they offer scholarships. Research indicates that 1 in 10 people have been dismissed from their jobs, because of their social media posts. In an effort to teach our students to be successful digital citizens, we have incorporated THINK Thursdays. THINK is an acronym that stands for...
Before students post anything to the internet, we want to make sure that THINK applies. Every Thursday, at the Middle/High School, we spend at least 15 minutes teaching students about the importance of proper online conduct. Mrs. Hirchert, our Technology Integration Specialist, designs lessons including anything from online bullying to intentionally being kind. As even adults, leaders, and politicians have made very poor online decisions; we want to be proactive and give our students the best opportunity to be successful. Look for future THINK Thursday topics in upcoming articles in the E-Newsletter. - Terry Zessin Middle/High School Principal
The months have flown by and Christmas is nearly upon us! I’m not sure who is more excited, the teachers or the kids, about the holiday break. Several of the kids at Wood River Elementary told me this morning what they wanted Santa Claus to bring them this year. I never tire of seeing the smile on a child’s face as they anticipate what might happen on Christmas morning!
The first half of the school year has been very positive and exciting for me. I’m in my first year as Superintendent of the Wood River Rural Schools and I couldn’t be more pleased with the experience. Our school and community compliment one another in providing a well rounded education for the students. Members of the community want to impact the city’s future by facilitating quality growth and meeting needs for the future. Likewise, the members of our Board of Education work each month to lead the school in a direction that will prepare our students for success. It won’t be long until our students are the leaders of the community.
Our hope with the new format of the newsletter is to provide current information to our patrons, families, and alumni of the school. Spotlights will regularly be posted about students, staff, Board of Education members, programs, etc. Wonderful things happen in Wood River throughout the year and we hope to share those happenings with you. Please check out the school on Facebook, Twitter, and our website and learn more of what’s going on at the school.