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Paul: Off to a great S.T.A.R.T.

July 12, 2012
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

Noting "a very successful first year," Estherville Lincoln Central superintendent Tara Paul told Estherville Rotarians Thursday how things have been going at ELC and what things look like for the future.

Paul started by discussing the S.T.A.R.T. in-service program that faculty have been training in during Wednesday early outs:

n Student-centered classrooms.

n Teaching for understanding.

n Assessment for Learning.

n Rigorous and relevant curriculum.

n Teaching for learner differences.

One key point in teaching for learner differences is that 47 percent of district students live in poverty. And, while a lot of parents may be struggling just to make a living, Paul said the school district can help.

"We have the kids for eight hours a day and we can do some powerful things with them for eight hours a day."

Paul also discussed the Iowa Core which was fully implemented this July 1. And the Common Core mission is designed to prepare students for the 21st century classroom. Toward that end, Paul said third graders will be using the 15 minutes earlier dedicated to cursive writing to learning keyboarding skills. Cursive writing will instead be taught in art classes at younger levels.

The District Technology Committee, meeting once monthly, is also making big strides on a one-on-one initiative to put electronic devices in the hands of every student. Another key achievement is the new Wi-Fi project.

Paul addressed a number of questions from Rotarians as well:

n Paul would like to see the district break ground on the wing for third and fourth grades in five to six years.

n Trades continue to be taught at the high school, but Paul noted an increasing emphasis on reading, math and science through Senior Year Plus program.

n The greenhouse at the high school should be done in July.

n While the Iowa Core is mandated, Paul embraced the changes it will bring about. "It's about discovery" for students, she said.



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