Thursday, February 1, 2018

ACA's Great start to Second Semester 2018

Only a few short weeks have past in 2018, but incredible things have happened at Ankeny Christan Academy. Here are my seven sensational highlights:

1. Two ACA elementary children came to know Jesus Christ personally this month! A girl at home and a boy at school. Praise the Lord!

2. During Professional learning on Friday, Jan. 12 a doctor shared with elementary faculty about vision challenges that effect learning and vision therapy. Teachers learned much from the presentation.

3. During the day long professional learning on Monday, Jan. 15th:
Pastor Brian Ruggles shared a devotion with faculty, Dr. and Mrs. Robinson treated faculty and staff to biscuits and gravy for breakfast.  Lisa Ihnen, one of ACA's  5th grade teacher, presented information about Reading/ Literacy research and teaching strategies for our K-12 faculty. Our Heartland Area Education Association's Technology Consultant shared MANY great technology resources for classroom use to engage student learners. Lieutenant Kroska, Police Officer Shellhase and Fire Marshall Fraser presented with me about emergency preparedness in case of a violent intruder, need for lock down and or evacuation.

4. A school wide pep assembly was held on Friday, Jan. 19 where a schoolphoto was taken to celebrate the school's 25th year.  A cheer leading clinic was offered where elementary girls were able to bring much cheer to our homecoming game that evening. 

5. Congressman David Young was welcomed to ACA by Mrs. England's kindergarten students on Tuesday. Jan. 23. He spoke at a 6th-12th grade student assembly where he shared that he was a born again believer and answered various student questions about his role as a congressman and how he serves Iowans. He read to second and fourth grade children the book, House Mouse Senate Mouse written by Peter W. Barnes and illustrated by Cheryl Shaw Barnes. He donated a copy of the book to ACA's library. 

6. The evening of Tuesday, Jan. 23 ACA held an Open House for Begindergarten and Kindergarten aged children to prepare for our Round Up in early March. We had 29 children attend with their parents and guardians to learn more about these great programs and their enrollment process. A safari theme screamed, "We are WILD about ACA!" Check out the bulletin board in the main lobby sharing families' appreciation about God's school, Ankeny Christan Academy.

7. Thursday, Jan. 25 was our ACA Science Fair where 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th grade students shared their research and experiments with almost 20 judges. I am grateful for the diligent work of our four science teachers who assisted the children at school. Thanks to those of you at home who assisted in hours of preparation with your scientists for this special event.

If the first month of 2018 is an indicator of the rest of the school year,  there will be many more exciting happenings yet to come so watch for the next Hansen's Highlights!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Real Life Learning

There’s nothing better than to see the excitement in the learners’ eyes when the information acquired is tied to a real life situation through a biblical world view!

On November 9, 2017, I was privileged to spend the school day with ACA fifth and sixth grade students, teachers and parent volunteers at Junior Achievement’s JA Biz Town located in Des Moines. This wonderful culmination for their quarter-long learning and their social studies class taught them a wide variety of skills in a real life situation.

Junior Achievement is a wonderful educational resource program that ACA began to implement a number of years ago. The purpose for its adoption was to provide more economic, employment skills and financial literacy into our social studies curriculum. 

Each year we are blessed to have incredible ACA parent volunteers trained to carry out the various responsibilities to assist the students in the numerous businesses and industries at JA Biz Town. During their unit long study and the day long on-site learning, these experiences allow the students to more fully understand commerce and economics. A big blessing at Ankeny Christian Academy are the number of parent/guardians who volunteer consistently to enhance our school offerings and programs! 

As we experience our second-quarter, there are needs we still have for second semester. Might you be willing to help? Junior Achievement Adult Volunteers are still needed in Mrs. England’s K class, Miss Hult’s K class and Miss Kline’s first grade class. Please contact me if you would like to view the materials and would prayerfully consider this opportunity to help teach during second semester. I am hopeful that individuals will contact me and be available to experience a 40 minute training to teach 3-5 times in one classroom second semester. The instructor's manual and all materials are included and very enjoyable to deliver to the learners. Classroom teachers stay in the classroom and are “guides on the side” while Junior Achievement parent /guardians instructors deliver the information to the children.

I am willing to convey information to you regarding this opportunity should you decide you’d like to know more about this incredible program and how you might become involved!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy is important in student learning. Mrs. Moore is the third-sixth grade computer teacher who has brought an exciting typing program to teach children to improve in his/her typing skills and speed.

Children move through activities to help them work on a specific row/area of the keyboard and they strive to view their speed and accuracy.

Ask your child/ren at home things he/she has learned in computer class!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Math Matters

This year teachers of grades K-8 and I are working with Dr. Robinson, our Administrator and Director of Curriculum, to review math resources and programs to determine which will be recommended to the board of education in winter/spring to be implemented in the 2018-2019 school year. 

Currently we are using a math program published by Pearson called enVision Math. This program has been used at ACA for the past 6 years. Through the use of this material, children have been able to become more capable as mathematicians to solve problems using a variety of strategies. The student achievement at ACA has increased in the area of math as noted on the ACA Iowa Assessment Tests when we transferred from our former math publisher to enVision

Second quarter and into second semester we will be looking over various math materials and textbooks from five publishers. We will view some of these products online while others are available to look at in hard copy located in the school's meeting room. Feel free to ask your child's teacher or me about questions you may have regarding math program materials. 

The math materials from the publishers below are being evaluated and rated for use at ACA:

1. ABeka
2. Association of Christian Schools International 
3. Bob Jones University Press (BJU)
4. enVision Math by Pearson
5. Go Math! by Houghton Mifflin 

Last Spring in the area of Math using Iowa Assessments taken by ACA students in February I was encouraged by our students who were proficient or advanced. 
See the information below that was shared last week at our School Improvement Advisory Council (SIAC) Meeting: 

Grade 3: 
86% of ACA students were proficient or advanced in math 
79% students were proficient or advanced math in schools located in Heartland Area Education Association (AEA 11)
78% of students in the state of Iowa were proficient or advanced in math 

Grade 4: 
86% of ACA students were proficient or advanced in math 
81% students were proficient or advanced math in schools located in Heartland Area Education Association (AEA 11)
78% of students in the state of Iowa were proficient or advanced in math 

Grade 5:
90% of ACA students were proficient or advanced in math 
78% students were proficient or advanced math in schools located in Heartland Area Education Association (AEA 11)
75% of students in the state of Iowa were proficient or advanced in math 

Grade 6:
85% of ACA students were proficient or advanced in math 
79% students were proficient or advanced math in schools located in Heartland Area Education Association (AEA 11)
76% of students in the state of Iowa were proficient or advanced in math 

Mandated by Iowa legislation this summer, ALL Iowa schools that choose to take Iowa Assessments will be required to test children in April.  Please note that our week for assessments will be April 9-13, 2017. I look forward to how our children will show what they know in the area of math when tested this year. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Buttoning Up Quarter One!

My! The first quarter of school is coming to a close today. I have enjoyed much of what I have observed inside and outside of classrooms at ACA. I have included photos to highlight some top events that have blessed me that I'd like to share with you!

On Wed. Oct. 4th, the ACA student body took part in the state walk for schools and businesses to exercise for 30 minutes. At our school we called it a Walk in the Spirit and children walked and prayed for our president, political leaders, those in the military helping to protect our freedom, fire fighters, police, pastors, teachers, students and those who yet do not know Jesus Christ personally. The students did a wonderful job on the walk and many shared that it was a great experience.

Kaylei Jacob in Mr.Gascho's 4th grade class and her father Kelsey were motivated after hearing in church about the need for food for the hungry in central Iowa and decided there were other needs that they felt could be met by the donations of shoes that could come from ACA students who wanted to share with others. The ACA Shoe Drive was launched Monday, Oct. 16th and will run until Nov. 16. Toddler - adult shoes can be brought to ACA and placed in one of three bins around the school.

Chapel is a special time each week when the students gather together to hear a speaker share God's Word. ACA's Elementary Chapel spotlights students who love to praise the Lord through instruments and voices. We are fortunate that Mrs. Mungons, our music teacher, has many students who enjoy worshiping the Lord as they lead the elementary student body. 

Friday Oct. 13 was a day when students did not attend school, however we held an all-day professional learning where teachers met first in the morning to praise the Lord in song and prayer. Later in the morning, all faculty in  three different groups completed a task for our Christian School International (CSI) accreditation. The educators needed to rank where ACA was in various areas and give evidence for the rankings. Before lunch break, faculty worked together reading various articles to put into a resource bank on Biblical Worldview that could sharpen their minds and enhance their teaching methods. The Biblical Worldview Task Force members include Johanna England, Melissa Hult, Jenny Anderson and Joel Willoughby. These individuals were chosen in the spring of 2016 by ACA's Board of Education after the recommendation by the Instructional Leadership Team: Steve Robinson, Joyce Hansen, Alex Coleman, Lisa Ihnen and Suzanne Sears. In the afternoon, two technology presentations were made available for ACA educators. The SMARTboard presentation was led by Mrs. Hartmann, Miss Brugioni and Mrs. Appell where teachers learned recent strategies for SMARTboard operation. Lisa Ihnen facilitated a Chromebook in-service informing teachers of various ways to incorporate them into a variety of classrooms. Our professional learning priority is teaching from a biblical worldview, infusing into the classrooms more use of technology and working on a variety of curriculum tasks like evaluating K-8 math materials for future recommendation to ACA's Board of Education for implementation in 2018-2019. 

It is a pleasure to watch older students share their knowledge with younger children. Below view photographs of Mrs.Rose' fourth graders sharing their insect collections with Begindergarten students form Monica Dickinson's class. The children were able to view up close the insects and ask the scientists about the insects that they collected. 

ACA in its 25th year continues to be a school where our mission is evident: Building Christian Character for Tomorrow's Leaders! We are thrilled to partner with you as parents/guardians and appreciated all who came out during conferences to talk about your student(s) progress so far this year. I am excited to share much more with you in my ACA Elementary Principal's Blog second quarter!