Tuesday, August 4, 2015

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Posted by Pat Liticker on Monday, Aug 25th, 2014.
Go Big Blue

Off and rolling!! Settling in!! Yep....we are in this for the long haul. We definitely know this will be a marathon and not a sprint. We want to make sure our focus throughout this "marathon" stays on our purpose....to improve achievement for all students and inspire excellence. State tests, interim assessments, monthly benchmarks, daily exit tickets....yes, we constantly measure and monitor academic achievement. However, there are other areas of achievement. We have a large number of students who are currently engaged in extra curricular activities, and through these activities they will have achievement. Coaches will inspire athletes in football, softball, and volleyball to achieve more. Band directors will inspire musicians to achieve more. FFA sponsors will inspire "future farmers" to achieve more. We want our students to excel in and out of the classroom. Math, Science, History, and English....yep, very important, no doubt about it. Helping an athlete be a better teammate, teaching an FFA student the value of discipline and hard work, working with a vocal student to have the courage to stand in front of people and perform......we believe these are just as important. We love to see students excel and succeed. In the classroom, on the sports field or court, or on the stage, we want it all!! We believe our students can be everything they want to be. Join us in supporting and inspiring them. There is an activity happening near you soon! See you there!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Wednesday, Apr 23rd, 2014.
Let's talk about the facts of testing. Let's be clear right up front.....testing is necessary!!! Shocked to hear that from me? It's true. We must be able to assess our students learning in order to ensure growth for all students and provide the highest quality instruction. Throughout the year we formally assess our students numerous times. Teachers spend hours dissecting the data and identifying weak standards, gaps in achievement, and struggling students in need of remediation. We then use this data to drive instruction and provide interventions for individuals and groups of students. The best part of this......we do it on our OWN!!!! Nobody makes us do it. We truly believe each students growth is that important. We need to be able to monitor their progress. When we assess we get instant feedback and can make timely decisions based on the data collected. All of this is completely counter to the high stakes state mandated testing the state requires of us. State tests are not given to drive instruction. Many times we do not see official results until the end of summer, sometimes as late as September. Scores are also subject to numerous changes as the state sees fit. (Just last year the Biology cut score was raised by 10 points over the summer. Students and teachers left school in May excited they passed and returned in August only to learn "sorry, you will have to retest!!"). It all reminds me of Reagan's voo doo economics from the 1980s.....and about as easy to understand!!! State tests disrupt the entire school. Teachers, students, counselors, test coordinators, administrators all feel the stressful impact they create. 3rd graders are told you can't go to 4th grade.....8th graders are told you can't drive.....high schoolers are told you won't graduate....and teachers are told you aren't rehired!!!! All of this based on a one day performance! Had a bad day? Too bad!! Read the question wrong? Tough luck! Accidentally marked the wrong answer? Doesn't matter! Had a life issue happen the night before or that morning? Sorry! It’s all about what you do at that moment, one time!!!! You see, our internally school administered interim assessments throughout the year are designed to measure student learning and the quality of instruction provided continually. The end of the year state tests are designed to be "gotcha moments!!" One and Done!!! We seek real results. What does a student’s entire body of work throughout the year say about their achievement. Tests are necessary and we will continue to do the right thing and assess student learning and use the results to drive classroom instruction. It's why we are here. We will also continue to provide end of the year state tests.......just for a different reason!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Sunday, Mar 23rd, 2014.
"The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it!"
Nicholas Sparks

Love! Yes, love is that emotion. The past couple of weeks have ripped our hearts out. We were crushed by what transpired on a country road early one Sunday morning. In the blink of an eye, two students were gone and several more injured. We then receive word of another student critically injured in a separate accident and a veteran teacher passes away from injuries which occurred from her own car accident a month ago. Wednesday, March 5, 2014, the most difficult day of school I have been apart of in 17 years of education. We cried, we hugged, we sat confused, we asked why. Why did we hurt so bad? Love! We loved what we had lost. They were gone and we missed them dearly. We loved their smiles, their laughter, their jokes, their passion about what they loved. The only thing that could get us through such terrible pain......that same emotion, LOVE! You see, we found love in everyone around us. Love from our local youth pastors who showed up early Wednesday morning to provide hope in the midst of the storm. Love from neighboring counselors from Canadian Valley Technology Center and Gary Miller Juvenile Justice Center who sat and talked with students who sought answers. Love from our peers within the El Reno Public Schools family who helped counsel students and staff. Love from the staff at Roblyer Learning Center who provided breakfast for us. Love from parents of students who hugged their own and others so tightly. Love from parents who showed their gratitude to teachers by supplying stress relief from Heavenly Hands Massage. Love from fellow faculty members who stopped just to pray for one another and offer strength. Love from fellow students who embraced each other and teachers to share in their mourning. Love from schools, administrators, and students we didn't even know who sent cards, banners, or made phone calls to check on us, pray, and offer support. Love from the greatest source of all Jesus! You see, through all of this, we were constantly reminded of his love for us and the truth that he is always in control and all will work for his glory. For each and every one of the sources of love I mentioned (and there are many more) I say THANK YOU!! Thank you for caring about us as we grieved for our lost friends. Thank you for showing compassion. Love broke our hearts that Sunday morning....Love is in the process of healing it as well!

Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Posted by Pat Liticker on Tuesday, Mar 4th, 2014.

What really matters!!

Love. Compassion. Sympathy. Caring. Nope.....nowhere did I find these on any school accountability site. Yet within the past month I have seen that they are the greatest things our schools have. This isn’t about numbers, data, charts, graphs, and reports. This is about lives. Human beings!! Loving each other and truly caring about each other as people! As we have been confronted with a massive tragedy this past weekend, and the loss of a veteran teacher to a car accident a month ago, my heart has been warmed by the tremendous response I have seen from our students. First, they rallied together for a volleyball tournament and bake sale to raise money for Mrs. Veenker following her car accident. As she remains in critical condition, she has remained in a steady flow of prayers from both students and faculty. Now, as we face yet another crisis, the student response is once again amazing. I have watched students huddled together at the hospital supporting one another and their injured friends and family. I've seen around a hundred students gathered with teachers, parents, and family members in church to worship and pray for God's Devine intervention. I am truly blessed to be around such wonderful young people. With the love and compassion I have seen I have no doubt that the future of our community is in great hands. I would not trade these students for any others anywhere!! I am thankful for everything they do and for all they contribute to make our school and community a great place to be!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Sunday, Oct 27th, 2013.
Coming soon with great anticipation will be the A – F Report card for the schools of Oklahoma. (Well maybe!!!! Seems no one can figure it out…we are currently on the 7th Attempt!!!) Pardon me if I don’t get too excited about this big event. This seems to be becoming an annual event for us to sit and wait on….and wait, and wait, and wait!!! Their seems to be so much controversy surrounding this release I (like many others) have a hard time taking it seriously. You see, we are going to receive a grade telling us how well we are doing. The problem I have with this is it will come from people who have never set foot in our schools. They haven’t walked the halls, they haven’t sat in classrooms, they haven’t visited with students or teachers, they haven’t talked to parents, yet they feel qualified to tell us how well we are doing. A simple number on a one day test and poof!!!!! There you have your grade…an “A”, a “B”, a “C”, a “D”, or even the dreaded “F”. What does it mean? You see there is no one who takes the performance of our school as serious as I. I want our schools to be GREAT. We have synced everything we do with our mission of improving every student’s achievement and inspiring excellence. We are driven daily to pursue excellence. This is our goal. Not a letter on a piece of paper be it an A or an F. What defines us is our PASSION for our students....not a number or a letter!!!! Our goal is true excellence that can only be measured by spending quality time in our schools. We are in our hallways daily, in our classrooms daily, visiting with students, sharing conferences with parents, collaborating as educators, we KNOW how well we are doing. We know our strengths, where we are excelling and we know our weaknesses, those areas we need to focus on to improve. We know when we succeed and we know when we fail. We examine our successes and our failures to see how we can improve. We evaluate ourselves daily and work to make adjustments and monitor our progress. No one knows our schools the way we do….especially people who have NEVER been here. This is what we do…..WE CARE!!!! We spend our time commited to improving the future of our students. We don’t have time to wait until those in the know get their facts together……we are busy moving forward!! Care to join us!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Friday, Jul 5th, 2013.
Celebrating Liberty!!

Have you ever sat around and discussed who your favorite President is? (Of course not you say....only weird history buffs do that!!). Ok, granted I will give you that, but since I am a weird history buff, I will admit to doing just that. So with this being the time to celebrate our nation’s independence, it brings me to Thomas Jefferson. (Who just happens to be at the top of my list!) You know, the author of the Declaration of Independence...the very reason we celebrate on the 4th of July. Great!! A history lesson, just what you wanted huh?? Shouldn't this be tied to education somehow you ask? Absolutely! Mr. Jefferson, being one of a handful of authors of our independence, strongly embraced an educated society. In fact, he believed that it was a requirement for a democratic nation to survive. To grant people a plethora of freedom and liberty would necessitate a great deal of responsibility and duty among the masses. With this mantra, our country has held tightly to the belief in a free public education for all. This is the very thing we in El Reno hold so dear. We are committed to improving the achievement for ALL our students and to give them the skills they need to be prepared for a life as a citizen of a great democratic nation. We work tirelessly to ensure we accomplish this incredible task. Our children are our greatest investment. So as the summer continues full speed ahead, we realize we are not far away from the start of another school year. While we relax and re-energize this summer, we plan on making Mr. Jefferson proud when the new year rolls around!! So enjoy the remaining weeks of summer and the freedom you have to do so. While you’re at it, thank those who risk life and limb to protect our liberties. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington and the other founding fathers handed us this freedom, it is our “responsibility” to ensure it lives on!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013.
Here we are!!!!! The end of another year!!! Where has the time gone. It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming back our family of Freshmen and welcoming in a new group of 8th graders. Since then we have been through many athletic events, band events, vocal events, FCCLA events, Ag events, and even had a visit from Fox 25 along the way. What an exciting year. Oh yeah, there was also that little thing of being named a GREAT EXPECTATIONS MODEL SCHOOL!!!! Presently we are wrapping up our TESTING season. Early returns point to another good round of student achievement. We are very excited about what is happening at Etta Dale. I will tell you I believe we have an absolutely amazing group of students. I thoroughly enjoy everyday we spend with them. They are bright young men and women who have a tremendous future in front of them and we are pleased to be able to be a part of their growth and development. Everyday is a new challenge. We push them daily to excel with a rigorous curriculum and high expectations. Yet we have still managed to find time to have fun and get to know them on a personal side……to know WHO they are. It is thrilling to see young students grow and mature as the years go by. So as we wrap this year up, THANK YOU students for your hard work and commitment to excellence. THANK YOU parents for allowing us to join you in your child’s educational journey. As you prepare to enjoy a great summer with lots of fun…….don’t forget August is just around the corner!!!! And remember, NEVER SETTLE FOR BEING AVERAGE!!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Thursday, Feb 21st, 2013.
We have hit the stretch run for testing. The next few months our classrooms will be focused on putting the final touches on our students preparation. Teachers and students will work closely with each other to ensure they have everything in place; Polishing off the final few standards, deepening understanding of others, and making sure to review them all. However, the bulk of the work has already been done. Beginning the first day of school we focus on the “culture” of Etta Dale. The definition of the word culture is entire way of living. At Etta Dale we want to ensure our culture (that is our attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, values, and actions)is centered on connecting with our students. We spend a lot of time on developing a rigorous curriculum that is relevant to our students lives and future. To fully engage in this curriculum we need students who feel welcome and connected to their teachers and peers. We always want to celebrate their lives, their successes, their milestones. We want to praise their efforts. We want to laugh with them…and cry with them when necessary. We want to work side by side with them on challenging tasks and ensure their success by giving them the support and resources they need. Why do we connect? We connect because we care! We measure our success in many ways….yes test scores can be a reflection of learning throughout the year….and we are anxious to get going. However, we also measure our success by a smile and a laugh, a hug, a high five, a card, and a “thank you for all you have done!” This is where we truly see that we have made a difference. This difference we make in the lives of kids is the real reason we do what we do……so we return the favor by saying “thank you for all you do” to our students!!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Sunday, Jan 13th, 2013.
Seize the Moment together!!!!!!

This seems like a very appropriate theme in a lot of areas right now. With the passing of the recent bond issue, we as a community have an opportunity to seize the moment and create a school system that can be a model for those around us. Changes will abound, and some may be uncomfortable for us. This however was not the focus during the campaign. The focus is on what is best for the STUDENTS of this community. As educators, we will constantly have our role changed as we serve our stake holders. We may teach different classes, we may teach in different buildings, we may become administrators, or we may go back into the classroom. We may coach, we may get involved in extra curricular activities, we may become teacher leaders. Whichever role we serve in, it must be our commitment to serve with the greatest purpose we can. We must have a PASSION to be GREAT and make a difference in each and every child’s life. The new buildings and new alignments will provide new resources and learning environments, however, it is the educators and parents who will dictate the quality of education and level of student achievement we establish. Good teachers can teach in a barn if needed (thankfully we won’t have too!!!!) According to Robert Marzano, teachers are the number one factor in a classroom that influences student achievement. I believe we have Great teachers. I believe we have Great students. I believe we have Great parents. Combining those three with new state of the art learning facilities will allow El Reno to truly become a model district. No matter if you are an educator, a student, a parent, or any other member of our community, commit to doing your part to ensure the greatest success possible. So El Reno…..Seize the Moment that is before us!!!! Let’s GO!!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Tuesday, Nov 20th, 2012.
THANKFULNESS……What a fitting time to make that our word of the week! To be thankful means to be grateful for things in your life. What are you thankful for? We certainly have a lot to be thankful for right now. (I like cold and snow so I will skip being thankful for the weather for now!!!) I am thankful for a wonderful staff of teachers who care about our students who come through our doors each day. They work very diligently to make their classrooms and our school a welcoming and friendly environment. I am thankful for all of our student’s parents who invest time and energy into their child’s education. Our students will only reach their full potential through a collaborative effort of school and home. I am thankful for a wonderful school board who has put in a great amount of time (along with many community members) studying the needs of our district and community. And certainly I want to say THANK YOU to the students of Etta Dale. I appreciate the attitude and mindset you come to school with each day. You are truly a special group of young men and women. I look forward to watching you grow into the unique adult you will become. It is YOUR commitment and dedication that makes us successful. We are on a journey at Etta Dale….searching for GREAT things in all we do. That journey includes the entire community of El Reno. Welcome aboard….and We are THANKFUL you are with us!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Wednesday, Oct 24th, 2012.
We Want YOU!!!!

Yes you read that right. We want YOU – to be a part of our educational efforts. We feel strongly that Etta Dale is on the right track. However, as Will Rogers said, “Even if your on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there!” So we continue looking for ways to get even better. Our challenge is to go from “GOOD” (which we feel we are) to “GREAT”. We know we cannot be a “GREAT” school without the support of our student’s parents. That’s why “We want You!!!! At our recent Parent Teacher conferences, parental attendance was only 43% for 8th grade , and even lower, 38%, for 9th grade. That means the majority of our students parents did not attend either night of parent teacher conferences. We NEED your collaboration, input, support, and insight into your child in order to fully serve them and give them what they need to be successful. We also know we all live very busy lives with hectic schedules. So understand our doors remain open. You may call and schedule a meeting at your convenience to check and see how your child is doing, and what you can do to help them grow academically. We will be having an Etta Dale Parental Advisory Committee meeting soon to blend together school personnel perspectives and parent perspectives. We need to see where our strengths are, and make them stronger, and see where our weaknesses are and eliminate them. Please know you are invited to be an active participant at Etta Dale. We are here to serve the children of this community and provide the best educational experience possible…..and remember, for this, WE NEED YOU!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Wednesday, Aug 15th, 2012.
Here we go again!!!!!
Where did the summer go??? I’ve been hearing that a lot lately. As summer comes to a close (or at least as far as school starting), we gear up for another exciting journey at Etta Dale. We know we face many challenges this year, however, we also feel we are prepared to once again meet those challenges head on and excel to new heights. Our challenge this year is to be GREAT!!!!! So many businesses, corporations, organizations, schools, and even people become good, but never move beyond. Good is comfortable and safe. Our focus however is to do so much more. We want GREAT Test Scores. We want GREAT student achievement. We want GREAT parental involvement. We want GREAT classrooms. To be Great you must be willing to go beyond what is expected. You must be willing to never be satisfied and stagnant. Our pledge to our community is to provide our students with all the skills they need to succeed in our society. A popular Great Expectations quote is: “If better is possi ble, Good is not enough!” As we move forward through 2012-2013 and beyond, good is not enough, because better is always possible. We look forward to producing GREAT students who will go on to become GREAT citizens of our community! Please join us as we begin this new quest, but be sure as you come on board……..you expect GREAT THINGS!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Thursday, Jun 14th, 2012.
We certainly hope your summer is going well. Hopefully everyone is experiencing the joys of summer vacations and well deserved rest. The way time moves so quickly, we will be to August before we know it. However, while we enjoy summer, we would like to suggest a few simple ideas you can use with your child to help them retain what they have learned. As the summer moves along, please encourage your child to read as much as possible. The El Reno library is an excellent source for reading materials and books. You may also find excellent reading materials online. When you spend time with your child in the evenings or on trips, ask them about things they have read or other concepts they have learned and give them opportunities to explain things in their own words. Question them in ways that cause them to have to defend their position or use supporting details from what they have read. This is a wonderful time for students to work on developing higher order thinking skills. In order to retain concepts and for long term learning to occur, students need to use and process the material dozens of times. Also, when time permits, sit with your child and let them read to you. Stop them after a few passages and have them explain what they have read to you. This is a wonderful way for them to process the material. Although school is out for the summer, learning and academic growth never stop!!! To ensure students are ready to reach their full potential come August, they need to stay engaged as much as possible.
Posted by Pat Liticker on Thursday, May 17th, 2012.
Well….We can see the finish line!!!! Hard to believe, but we are nearing the end and wrapping up another year of school. As we do so, we reflect back on a year that will leave lasting memories. A year that saw 88% of 8th graders pass the Writing Test, 89% of 8th graders pass the Reading Test and according to preliminary results, 88% of our students passed the Algebra I EOI. FANTASTIC RESULTS!!! Kudos to our students, teachers, and PARENTS for making it happen. As I have stressed numerous times, our students’ achievement is a collaborative effort involving everyone. Even as we stand proud of our accomplishments, we still recognize the fact we have a lot of work to do as we strive to make Etta Dale the best it can be. We can’t make any of it happen without involving our parents and community even more. As we focus on new areas next year, we are going to strive to involve you as parents and stakeholders more and more. If you have ideas, let us know. If you want to be more involved, come see us. If you have expertise in a particular area and feel you can contribute to our growth and success, let’s talk. We are looking to soar to new heights and we know we will face serious challenges as we move forward. Our school, and district as a whole, are simply a PART of our community. It is the pride in this community that drives us daily to provide the best services we can to fulfill our responsibility to our citizens. So as we say goodbye to 2011-2012, we look forward to 2012-2013 and a new year of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Monday, Mar 26th, 2012.
Here come the tests!!!!

Teach to the tests??? Don't teach to the tests??? Whichever of these two philosophies you buy into.....one thing is for sure: We want our students as prepared as possible when the big day arrives. To be sure we have done our best to lay a strong content knowledge and skill foundation throughout the year. Our curriculum has been based on the skills and objectives outlined in the state guidelines. Now we begin to put the finishing touches on our preparation. With this in mind, there are numerous digital tools students and parents can use to enrich the learning process. Here are just a few of my favorites:

1. Checkout the Khan Academy Apps for download on your smartphone or tablet. These are great lessons to reinforce what students have learned and to help tutor them through the learning process. Best of all......it's FREE!
2. There are also many great apps that allow students to practice skills through game formats. "King of Math", "Number Stax", and "ConundraMath" are great examples. (search Math at the App store for more)
3. Check out the website www.thatquiz.org. This provides students several Math areas to work with in a challenging framework. (Science also included)
4. Quizlet is a website where students can create flash cards using content and academic vocabulary to practice mastery. (they can create their own or use ones already saved)

All of these are great digital learning tools that allow students to play and learn simultaneously (if they're not careful, they may even have a little fun while they are at it). It also allows them to drill, drill, drill a content skill to mastery. Much like our athletes do as they prepare for a contest. The more repetition we can get in, the better we know the skill.

While technology offers us new avenues of learning, simply sitting and reading with your child and asking questions about what they read can help develop reading comprehension skills. Ask them about their day. Email teachers for ideas and suggestions. There is still so much work to be done and our window of time is dwindling quickly.

Call it what you want. We simply want to give our students the best possible chance to be successful at any task they take on.......and YES that includes the upcoming tests!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Monday, Feb 20th, 2012.
Who is responsible for student learning???? A great question with a simple answer. WE ALL ARE!!!! Obviously teachers are responsible for designing curriculum around academic standards, delivering the content through engaging and authentic strategies, monitoring and assessing student progress, and placing a value on the degree to which students have learned. Wow….what a responsibility all that can be. Then there are the students. They come to school blocking out any distractions that might be going on around them and focus their attention on learning. They interact with content information, practice skills under the guided practice of teachers, apply the content and skills in meaningful ways, and are assessed to see if they have mastered the skills. All of this while also competing in sports, the band, FFA, vocal, looking for a part-time job, going to church, or engaging in a variety of other extracurricular activities. Finally we come to parents. Ultimately as parents, we are responsible for raising our children and overseeing their development. As we send them to school, we place a great deal of trust into teachers and school faculty to provide the best educational product possible and prepare our most prized possessions to be meaningful and productive citizens in our society. Yet, we must remain a part of the process and become involved in our children’s learning and growth. Some key parts of this process include: remaining in constant contact with the school and teachers, constantly monitoring students grades through power school and asking questions, discussing with students what they learned at school each day, taking time to read with students and oversee homework efforts, and asking teachers how they can reinforce what was learned at school. And yes we still have our jobs and daily activities to juggle and balance as well!! However, our students future is far too valuable to leave the responsibility of learning to one entity. It takes all of us to ensure our students develop into all they can possibly be. From a school perspective, we look forward to working with our students and their parents to create an environment and a focus which allows our students to be prepared for whatever this century brings their way.
Posted by Pat Liticker on Wednesday, Jan 18th, 2012.

Test Scores, AHHHHHH!!! As always this is one of the hottest topics around. What's up with our test scores. Here's the simple truth, no smoke and mirrors or fancy educational lingo. Our test scores at Etta Dale Jr High last school year were the highest they have ever been. Yep, I said it and you read it correctly. I know all the talk and what the paper says, but facts are facts. Our scores were as follows: Reading - 82% passed. Math - 74% passed, Science 77%, and American History 76%. To expand even more on this, OK.....the fact of the matter is, TEST SCORES matter!! We bounce all around the issue sometimes trying to explain there is so much more to student growth and achievement than a simple number. That much is true. A well-rounded student can be measured in many ways and we as educators do this throughout the year. We assess how much they have grown in their maturity, behavior, social skills, and academics. Within these assessments, those dreaded state mandated tests do indeed play an important part. Every year we post a raw number in Reading, Math, Social Studies, Science, and Writing. This number gets thrown all over the place, factored into our API, thrust onto the front page of the newspaper, and sent home to parents through school newsletters. The state of Oklahoma uses this number to justify whether or not our school should be placed into the school improvement program and receive assistance from the Department of Education in delivering our curriculum to our students. There is so much we do with that number as a school. We compile tons of data to analyze, study, and determine where our students were weak, where our curriculum was weak, and which sub groups had a gap in achievement. We compare the scores with student data from the previous year and pretests to check for growth and progress. All of this goes into our self evaluation of how we did the previous year and what we need to do for the next year. Therefore, we measure ourselves by looking at actual student growth from one year to the next. Within that framework, our students gained academically by over 20% percentage points in Math and Reading. So back to the original statement of our test scores being higher than ever. In Reading, 82% passed on a test where the passing cut score was 33/50. Etta Dale’s average between 2001 and 2008 was 80%, when the cut score was 27/50. In Math, 74% passed with a cut score of 29/50. The average between 2001 and 2008 in Math was 66% with a pass cut score of 22/50. So with the tests being more rigorous than ever before, our performance rose to those levels. We have worked hard aligning our curriculum, finding research based strategies to implement, and working to build meaningful relationships with our students. We are committed to providing our students with the greatest opportunity we can to learn. We will never be a finished product and will always seek to improve. We celebrate our success when it comes and work to improve when necessary. April is fast approaching and last year’s success is on the backburner. So for now, we press on. As for the future….stay tuned!! Rigor – Relevance - Relationships
Posted by Pat Liticker on Sunday, Dec 11th, 2011.
Christmas time is here...(or so the Chipmunks sing!!!!) We are preparing to take a break from the stress and daily grind we go through to ensure our students are learning and growing academically. We can reflect back on this semester and know we have worked tirelessly trying to master digital tools in our classrooms, integrate reading and writing strategies across all content areas, measure student achievement through Academic Assemblies and Monthly Assessments, and keep parents informed and involved in student's progress. Our students have actively been involved in all of this as well. Trying to keep up with the demands of each classroom as well as balancing athletics, band, vocal, FFA, or many other extra curricular activities. Not to mention all of the non-school functions they are involved in. With all apologies to McDonalds......"We deserve a break today!".....So as we celebrate Christmas, we wish all of our Etta Dale family members (both faculty and student) a very safe and happy holiday season. But rest up......we have plenty of unfinished business to tackle when we return!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Sunday, Nov 20th, 2011.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I feel the need to express my thanks for the many wonderful people who make Etta Dale a great place to be. Our teachers do a wonderful job daily creating a strong learning environment for our students. They meet and team to align our curriculum, to discuss strategies and techniques, and work tirelessly to ensure our student's learning experience is positive and productive. Teachers, thank you so much for your efforts, you are most definitely appreciated. Our support personnel work to ensure Etta Dale functions seamlessly daily and that our order and structure are intact. I am also so very thankful for our parents who have chosen the responsibility of overseeing their child's education and are partners with our teachers in each classroom's learning activities. Research clearly indicates the overwhelming impact a parent's involvement can have in children's academic growth. To our Central Administration and School Board, thank you for supporting us and making the difficult decisions that must be made to move our school, district, and community forward. I would, however, be remiss if I didn't thank our students for their efforts each day. As adults, we surely are aware of the challenges our children face. I fully appreciate and am thankful for the effort they give daily to master skills and concepts to become successful members of the 21st Century. Our students today are our leaders of tomorrow. So please join me as you pass them in the halls, or see them at ballgames, or the store, or movie theater, for accepting the challenge of becoming the best they can be and staying committed to their education. I am thankful and blessed to be a part of Etta Dale Jr High, the El Reno Public School system, and the community of El Reno at large! GO INDIANS!!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Wednesday, Nov 9th, 2011.
Here we are.....Same building as yesterday.....Same technology, same resources, and yes...SAME GOAL....To do the best we can with what we have to give our children the BEST education possible. That is our focus everyday. We are not defined by our structures or our location. We are however defined by our desire and efforts to reach every child and get the most out of them everyday. We have studied, collaborated, and developed the best research based strategies and embedded them into our curriculum on a daily basis. I believe we are not alone in our endeavors. I truly believe this is a community that believes in our children and their future. As we restructure and develop a long range plan for our community and school system it won't change what we are all about. Our children won't wait for us to come together on a plan everyone can agree on. They are here now and deserve 100% of our attention on them as they learn and grow in the 21st Century. So as we keep on keeping on, we will continue to "focus on students developing the skills necessary to be successful in the 21st Century" through RIGOR, RELEVANCE, and RELATIONSHIPS!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Sunday, Oct 9th, 2011.
Here we are, approaching the end of the first nine weeks. As fast as time has flown by, this also means we still have another three nine week periods to go through. As we reflect on all we have accomplished in this short period of time, let's also think about, plan, and prepare for what is ahead. With this being said, our Parent Teacher Conferences are a vital part of this. We share a great responsibility in educating the children of this community. We must collaborate and work as partners to ensure maximum success. As educators and parents it is only through dialogue and common planning that we see the greatest growth in our students. Ideally we would love to see every child have a parent in attendance on one of our parent teacher nights. Last Spring we challenged our parents and recieved roughly 35% of 8th grade parents and 26% of ninth grade parents. We are now doing the same again. Our goal is to increase both numbers. We have plans in place for incentives and will be making phone calls. However, our greatest motivator must be our desire to see our students grow and learn as young people in our society. As educators and parents we must invest our time and resources in our students education. Through this dialoge and collaboration, we can ensure the next nine week period sees continued growth and success from our students, our school, and our community.
Posted by Pat Liticker on Sunday, Sep 11th, 2011.
Now that test scores are reaching the homes of our students, and parents are seeing the results of their students hard work, it is time to let the "cat out of the bag". Etta Dale's achievement for the 2010-2011 school year was higher than any other year in our school's history. Now we don't always buy into hyperbole, but in this case, the numbers and data don't lie. Our students took tests last Spring which were tougher than the tests given just three years earlier. They were also scored on a scale which was much more rigorous than previous years. Yet, in the end, our scores top the scores of years where students were scored on lower cut scores and less rigorous standards. The understood benchmark for achievement established by the state is a 70% student pass rate. This means to reach the benchmark, you strive to get 70% of your students to score proficient or above on the state test. Our students eclipsed this mark in all five core content areas. In Writing we were a 94%, in Reading we were an 82%, in Science we were a 78%, in American History we were a 77%, and in Math we scored a 74%. Also forty out of forty-one 8th graders who took the Algebra I EOI scored proficient or above. Yes there have been previous years where we surpassed the benchmark in all areas, however, in those days the tests were less rigorous and the cut scores to measure passing were much lower (Just four years ago the 8th Grade Math cut score was 22 out of 50, this year it was 29 out of 50!!) We are excited to share this news with all our stakeholders. Yet, we also know that reality sets in, a NEW year has begun, and we must prepare to do it all again. We also pledge and commit to our students and parents that we will give the same effort and preparation to a new group of students as we look forward to RAISING THE BAR again!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Saturday, Aug 27th, 2011.

RIGOR, RELEVANCE, RELATIONSHIPS!! This has become the theme for Etta Dale Jr High. We have embraced this phrase and you will see it just about everywhere you look. However, in reality, the phrase works in reverse. We have spent most of our time the first weeks of school building relationships with our students and getting to know each other. Learning faces, names, favorite activities and extracurricular plans have been the objectives in many classrooms. Now as we shift into content curriculum and begin to shape our student's learning, we must focus on making the content and skills relevant to our student's lives. All of our classrooms have the capability of being turned into 21st century learning centers with IPADS, SMART Boards, laptops, flip video cameras, and many other exciting digital tools. Students who see the meaning in the material being presented will be more engaged in the learning process. Finally we will shift to RIGOR. Typically one might think rigor means difficult. However, a "difficult" curriculum does not necessarily mean it is accomplishing what our students need. We can make our classes hard - but if they are not targeted and focused on objectives and core standards, it still is not beneficial. For us, rigor must mean "challenging work that is meaningful, purposeful, and structured." With this kind of true "rigor", we will ensure our students are receiving the kind of instruction they need to be successful in our current world. Therefore, as we progress through the new "3 R's of Education", we constantly have student achievement and learning as our focus. We believe in our students!!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Sunday, Aug 14th, 2011.
Here we go!!!!! We have finally arived at the beginning of another school year. All the preparations are in place. The halls are new, the office redone, classrooms are ready, curriculum is refined and upgraded with new digital tools, bright new teachers are in place (welcome Ms. Sarah Johnston and Mrs. Frances Rettenmaier), we are ready to forge ahead. The only thing we need now is the most important ingredient: STUDENTS!!!!!! As we begin, let us always remember our students are the reason we are here to begin with. We are committed to preparing them for what their future holds and putting them into position to "be all they can be" (hmmm, that saying sounds familiar!). The relationships we build today will last well into tomorrow. Before we can move to the other two "R's" we will focus on, Rigor and Relevance, we must first focus on establishing meaningful relationships with our students. We will laugh, we will cry, we will share many memories together over the course of the year. Through it all, the influence we possess over the children that walk our halls is beyond our capacity to understand.

Its time!!! Our students are coming and our arms are wide open ready to accept them. LET"S GO!!!!!!
Posted by Pat Liticker on Wednesday, Aug 3rd, 2011.
TEST ANXIETY!! We know it best as the roadblock some students have right before test time that might inhibit their best efforts. However, at this time of year, many educators themselves develop test anxiety as we begin to break down test data and analyze scores. How well did they learn the concepts and skills? How well did we teach the concepts and skills? How well did the students demonstrate the concepts and skills on the tests? We sort through piles of data seeking evidence of student mastery. During this time however it is important to remember our focus on student achievement must be ongoing throughout the year. We don't simply teach blindly through the year hoping we are on the right path, test in the spring, and hope for the best come August. We have worked diligently to install processes which guide our efforts throughout the year. By using our PLC's to collaborate, dialogue, share strategies, and grow as educators we attack student achievement head on. Our curriculum maps keep us on target each month, ensuring we get to our "destination" at just the right time with all the skills we need. By staying on top of student progress with formative assessments, remediation, and reteaching strategies, we are constantly aware of where our students are and where they are going. We will chart data, create graphs, look at gaps in achievement, and analyze our strengths and weaknesses in core standards. In the end, when we find our students grew and made progress, remember the process that got us to that point. So as we embark on another year, we use this same data to guide our efforts once again. New students, refined maps full of curriculum upgrades, and a renewed vigor full of a sense of accomplishment for a job well done. Congratulations Etta Dale on a strong 2010-2011. Now lets accept another challenge and make 2011-2012 even better.
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