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Pioneer Trail fourth graders get creative with Thanksgiving projectPosted by Brittany Ruess on 11/19/2020 4:00:00 PM
Ms. Christina Brauner's fourth-grade class at Pioneer Trail Elementary recently learned the interesting history of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade during social studies. They read "Balloons Over Broadway," which tells the story of Tony Sarg and how he grew up to design the balloons for the famous parade.
After learning the parade's history, students designed and drew their own balloons -- everything from a Thanksgiving meal to Sonic the Hedgehog to a three-tiered cake celebrating the of the end of 2020! Students then wrote persuasive letters to the people in charge of the parade with the reasons their balloons should be included in the lineup.
Ms. Brauner edited photos of the students and their balloon drawings superimposed over a real picture of the parade, making it appear like each student is holding their very own parade balloon in the actual parade celebration. Students also recorded themselves reading their letters in SeeSaw over the picture so they can send them home to families.
What a great project to develop students' history knowledge, writing, and creativity!
Teacher Spotlight: Megan McReynolds (CCHS)Posted by Brittany Ruess on 11/13/2020 2:00:00 PM
In her junior and senior years at JCHS, Megan McReynolds developed an interest in anatomy and physiology. She went on to study exercise science, with plans to be a personal trainer and support students with athletic injuries. But, Megan’s course changed when she worked with a student with autism as a paraprofessional -- a job she took her final semester of college.
With a newfound passion for education, Megan went on to pursue a career as a teacher and coach. Now, she’s combined her love for anatomy and physiology with her passion for education as a science teacher at CCHS. Teaching principles of biomedical sciences and human body systems, Megan helps her students excel in so many ways.
She not only supports her students with their academics, but also with challenges they're facing in everyday life. Megan never gives up on her students, pouring her heart and soul into helping them achieve success. Her hard work and dedication were a couple of the many reasons she was awarded the 2020 Eisinger Outstanding Educator Award earlier this year.
Watch this video and get to know one awesome science teacher!
NCC teacher guides students on the right path for future in computer tech industryPosted by Brittany Ruess on 11/13/2020 1:30:00 PM
Science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) fields are some of the fastest-growing and in-demand fields in the world today. Jim Farthing, NCC computer technology teacher, works hard to prepare his students to succeed in the computer tech industry.
In Farthing's class, students dive into computer programming, hardware, and much more while they explore what they enjoy most about computer technology. Mr. Farthing is not only great at teaching computer technology, but also guiding and mentoring his students to help them discover the area of computer technology they want to pursue as a career.
Q&A with Becky Turner, JCHS Engineering TeacherPosted by Brittany Ruess on 11/13/2020 12:30:00 PM
JCHS students in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering Design and Development class recently presented their capstone projects to JCHS teachers and administrators. In honor of National STEAM Day, we're highlighting the JCHS PLTW class, which is preparing students to succeed in the engineering field.
Interested in pursuing engineering, these students started their path on PLTW Engineering as freshmen. Now, as seniors, they're working on taking a project "from the early stages of brainstorming all the way to constructing and testing a viable product," said Becky Turner, teacher of PLTW Engineering. The students' project ranged from water conservation and filtration for reuse in the home to a video game controller adapted for individuals with disabilities or amputated arms. These students had such smart and creative ideas on how to use engineering and technology to make our lives and our world better!
Learn more about the class and the importance of PLTW Engineering in this Q&A with Ms. Becky Turner:
Q: What was a recent assignment for your PLTW Engineering Design and Development class?
A: A capstone course for Project Lead the Way Engineering. Students take a project from the early stages of brainstorming all the way to constructing and testing a viable product. At this time, the students have finished brainstorming for ideas, chosen teams to work with, and done research in several areas related to the project. Students have created a problem statement, and completed market research to see if there is a justifiable need for their project and have come up with a solution to meet the needs of the "problem". This presentation is to show others what they have accomplished to this point and to show where they are headed in the next phase (constructing and testing the prototype).
Q: How does your Engineering Design and Development class help students prepare for careers in engineering?
A: Students experience the entire design process from defining a problem, to generating concepts, to building a prototype and testing their design. They will face many obstacles and have to modify and redesign to create the desired product that will alleviate the "problem" they came up with. They are definitely experiencing engineering at its finest. As they finalize their chosen fields of study, they will still have a lot to learn, but the design process does not really change.
Q: Have past students gone into engineering fields?
A: This is my second year teaching the capstone course, but out of the 10 students who completed the course last year, all but 2 (I think) went on to an engineering field. This year, I have 12 students and, as of last week, all are planning to go into engineering fields, though a few are undecided as to which field to study.
Q: What do you love about teaching PLTW engineering?
A: PLTW courses are a bit different from traditional classes such as math. I become more of a facilitator for learning and have fewer actual lessons to deliver than in an Algebra II class. Most of the learning is hands-on for the upper level PLTW courses (Civil Engineering and Architecture, and EDD), but the lower levels (Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering) require a bit more teacher guidance for the students, with a healthy mix of hands-on activities and projects.
Cedar Hill students honor local veterans with a drive-through paradePosted by Brittany Ruess on 11/13/2020 11:00:00 AM
Cedar Hill students waved American flags, held "thank you" signs, and cheered, "Thank you for your service" as local veterans drove through the school's parking lot and playground on Veterans Day.
This school year, schools can not allow non-essential visitors inside due to COVID-19 guidelines. Every year, Cedar Hill, like many schools in JC Schools, hosts veterans and students' families for a Veterans Day assembly.
While the traditional Veterans Day assembly wasn't possible, Cedar Hill music teacher Chloe Phillips and counselor Jessica Engler decided to get creative. They came up with the idea of a "reverse" parade. Students would cheer on veterans as they drove by in their cars.
The parade was a success, with many local veterans participating. It was also a touching experience as many left the parking lot crying happy tears.
JCHS teacher, Missouri National Guardsman prepares students for military servicePosted by Brittany Ruess on 11/10/2020 3:25:00 PM
Charlie Ledgerwood was a first-year teacher at Jefferson City High School when the country was devastated by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That tragic day in American history made Ledgerwood pause and reflect on his life and what he was doing with it.
Interested in military service as a teenager, Ledgerwood ultimately didn’t join the military after graduating from Smith-Cotton High School in 1992. But, 9/11 reignited his desire to serve his country. Nearly a decade later, at the age of 27, Ledgerwood walked into a recruiting office and joined the Missouri Army National Guard.
“I remember 9/11 happening and it made me re-evaluate a lot of things I had been doing and wanted to do in my life,” Ledgerwood, a JCHS military leadership and social studies teacher, said. “It made me think back and one of the things that I’d always wanted to do was serve my country. As a teacher, I saw myself as kind of serving (my community), but I thought I could do more and wanted to...9/11 just made me re-look at my whole life and see what it is I want to do because, I could have been on one of those planes, I could have been in one of those buildings."
Already serving his community as a teacher, Ledgerwood wanted to give back even more. The Missouri National Guard was the branch in which he felt he could do just that. Now, Ledgerwood serves as an engineer major.
“I like to say engineers build things and blow things up, but it is so much more than that,” Ledgerwood said. “Currently I oversee a plans cell; we write out detailed plans for upcoming activities. Previously, I was the executive officer. I ensured meetings and attendees were present, took notes, coordinated meetings between different military sections, and basically ensured smooth operations happen on a day-to-day basis.”
Following two months of training, Ledgerwood deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 as a captain and headquarters company commander with the engineer battalion. He served there for nearly a year, coordinating and organizing route clearance to help troops locate bombs before they exploded.
Back home in Missouri, Ledgerwood has worked five state emergencies -- four flood duties and one tornado/microburst. Most recently, he worked on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic by distributing personal protective equipment across the state and coordinating troops to assist with COVID-19 testing and food pantry support.
Ledgerwood’s experience and expertise are a benefit to his students -- giving his military leadership class an inside look into the military and giving his other students insights into the world outside Jefferson City. His military experience also helps him connect with his students who have family or loved ones who have served in the military.
“My military experience helps with the military leadership class and in the classroom because being in the military provides an instant connection with students who have family in the military or want to go into the military or have questions about the military,” Ledgerwood said. “With Jefferson City having a strong military tradition, a strong background...that helps make a connection with students, but also, with students in class, it provides some stories and a bigger world view. The military experience also provides teachable moments that I can bring into class, stories I can tell. I can tell a short story and relate it back to class, especially military leadership (class).”
Called to serve
One of the most important lessons Ledgerwood teaches in his military leadership class is the importance of team mentality, and works hard to develop that within his students.
“Being part of the military is being part of a huge team, some of whom you may not get along with on a personal level,” Ledgerwood said. “Students learn and must interact with each other and get along, just as they will in any job, military or not. I believe this helps them be better prepared for serving.”
Ranae Hurtault, a JCHS student in the military leadership class, said the team mentality created in the class has been very meaningful for her as her classmates have supported her during tough times. Her goal is to join the Army and serve as a linguist in Seoul, South Korea.
“I want to help translate and communicate with other people who may be in need or need help,” she said.
Another major component of the military leadership class is preparing students to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which is an aptitude test developed by the Department of Defense to measure students’ strengths and potential for success in military training. Anakin Gray, a JCHS senior who enlisted in the Army, said his ASVAB score allowed him to pick which position he wanted in the Army.
Justin Jowers, a JCHS student who plans on joining the Marines, said Ledgerwood has prepared him for military service by teaching him how to line up, use of point-slack and other positions in the line, run missions, and complete after-action reports.
He said he wants to join the Marines to challenge himself.
“They just have this never-give-up mentality. They just make you learn to never give up, don’t give up on yourself, always keep striving through no matter what,” Jowers said. “And, that’s what I really like about it. You can trust every person in there with your life and that’s awesome.”
For some of Ledgerwood’s students, they are driven to serve because of family history. Sean Bailey, a JCHS military leadership student, can date his family’s military service to the Civil War era when his great, great, great grandfather William Alexander Paschal served in the Army.
“In a long line, it’s hard to keep up and it’s good to pay it back.”
- Pioneer Trail fourth graders get creative with Thanksgiving project
- Teacher Spotlight: Megan McReynolds (CCHS)
- NCC teacher guides students on the right path for future in computer tech industry
- Q&A with Becky Turner, JCHS Engineering Teacher
- Cedar Hill students honor local veterans with a drive-through parade
- JCHS teacher, Missouri National Guardsman prepares students for military service