Dr. Angle's Blog


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Douglas County School District #15, home of Days Creek Charter School K-12, is making a significant investment in learning by simultaneously implementing several new initiatives designed to increase student achievement.  The focus is not simply on improving test scores, but on providing authentic learning experiences that promote higher level thinking skills that will allow students to critically analyze what they read so they can make informed decisions using the data and resources available to them.

 

At the elementary level, the school has partnered with community member and recipient of the 2015 Rise to the Future Award for Private Citizen Commitment to Watershed Restoration, Stan Petrowski, along with retired teacher John Grow. These gentleman are making a significant investment of time and energy to teach River Studies.  The goal of this program is to improve the aquatic habitat of the South Umpqua River Basin by teaching lessons that include the life cycle of salmon, habitat restoration, invasive species, and monitoring water quality, to name a few.  By the end of the year, we expect students will understand ecological function and restoration concepts, will be good stewards of natural resources, and will experience salmon recovery efforts and successes through field experiences that allow them to directly monitor and eradicate invasive species. 

 

At the secondary level, student interns earn elective credit by gaining real-world work experience at school.  Students can choose internships in culinary arts, elementary education, technology, or business services.  Students are assigned to the cafeteria, elementary classrooms, computer labs, or office where they gain real world work experiences. Students in the culinary arts internship, for example, earn their food handler’s license and under the guidance of the cafeteria manager help prepare and serve lunches, learning all facets of running a food service facility.  Students interested in a career in education work under the guidance of elementary teachers and are expected to work one-on-one or with small groups of students to partner read, practice math facts, or engage in other learning activities.  In technology and business, students work under the direction of the IT director or office manager where they gain experience creating and maintaining technology infrastructure or managing the demands of a busy office, including all facets of customer service.

 

The Senior Project serves as the capstone of our students high school careers, and consists of community service hours, an in-depth research paper, and an activity.  One of the main purposes of this year-long project is to prepare students to perform independently as they go on to college and/or the workplace. Students must collect, organize, and present evidence of their work on all requirements of the project.  Each of the three components must be integrated and must relate to the student’s future career choice.  Charter Board members guide the process and often serve as mentors as students present their proposal for approval, execute the project, and then present a summary of their work at the end of the school year.

 

And, it’s not just the students who are the learners at DC Charter!  Teachers are learning as well.  At monthly Professional Learning Communities (PLC) meetings, teachers collaborate with one another and the administration to discuss student progress toward goals and to find creative ways to engage students across core classes and electives to ensure they meet these goals, whether it is keeping their grades up so they remain eligible for athletics or successfully complete work samples to demonstrate their mastery of Essential Skills required for graduation.  Every teacher feels responsible for every student and we accept our collective obligation to do whatever it takes to see that each learner meets his/her full potential.

 

At Days Creek Charter School, we believe when everyone is deeply committed to authentic learning experiences, student achievement and personal growth will soar.  We are looking forward to exploring the new heights to which these investments in learning will take us!

 

Posted by Dr. Mark Angle  On Sep 29, 2015 at 8:50 AM
  
Today, teachers at DC Charter had their first Friday workday of the 2015-16 school year.  This year, each teacher workday will be divided into half-day teacher workday and half-day Professional Learning Community meetings.

professional learning community (PLC) is an extended learning opportunity to foster collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field. It is often used in schools as a way to organize teachers into working groups.

During our PLC today, all teachers spent 30 minutes working with Cathy Knapp (Student Success Coordinator) and me to discuss and begin writing their student learning growth goals for the year.  Teachers write these goals to set targets for student achievement and make plans for instructional improvement.  

Next, teachers were trained for an hour by our Technology Director, Joe Augsburger, on the deployment of our new iPads.  Beginning next week, teachers will be able to check out the iPad cart (which has 32 iPads and a printer) to use educational applications to improve learning within their classrooms.

Elementary teachers spent two hours learning more about our new reading curriculum and how to best teach our youngest students how to become fluent readers who can read, comprehend, and apply what they learn.

Secondary teachers spent two hours discussing the needs of individual students as they work to meet Oregon graduation requirements, including the accumulation of credits and meeting the Essential Skills requirements.

All of us at DC Charter are working together to best meet the individual needs of each of our learners.  With the support of our parents and community, we will do all we can to make sure every child is successful.

Thanks for being part of this journey with us!

Dr. A


Posted by Dr. Mark Angle  On Sep 18, 2015 at 3:19 PM
  
It's been a great day at DC Charter!

Because we operate on a four-day school week calendar, we have Friday School only four times each school year.  Whenever we have a holiday during the week (like Labor Day) we attend school on Friday to make up the missed holiday.

To make Friday School extra special, I implemented "Fancy Friday" and encouraged all of the students to dress up.  Many students AND employees participated today and it was great to see the pride everyone took in looking their best!  

Today was also special for other reasons.  

It is the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Those of us old enough to remember, have images of that day forever burned into our minds.  Most of us can remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news that one of the towers had fallen.

Most of our students weren't even born yet on 9/11.  But it is important that we help them understand that day and that we continue to respectfully honor those who lost their lives.

To that end, our elementary students gathered around the flagpole this morning and watched in silence as the flag was raised and then lowered to half-staff.  They recited the pledge of allegiance.  Then, the students in Mrs. Ferguson's 4/5 class led a short program that included lighting candles and singing patriotic songs.  Cut and paste this link to our Facebook page for some pictures and a video clip...
https://www.facebook.com/Days-Creek-School-District-744669652223987/timeline/

Finally, today was special because the newly formed Social Committee recognized the September birthdays of DC Charter employees by providing a beautiful and delicious cake in the teacher's workroom for all the faculty and staff to enjoy.

You see, I believe that schools exist for teaching and learning.  But I also believe they can be--and should be--places where children and adults enjoy spending their days.

For that reason, we have special things like "Fancy Friday" and employee birthday recognition, and 9/11 programs.

Perhaps the tagline by an unknown author on my email sums it up best...

In years to come our students may forget what we taught them, but they will never forget how we made them feel.

Thank you for entrusting your children to us on this journey.  Thank you for supporting and encouraging them (and us!) as we teach and learn and create memories that will last for years to come!

All the best!

Dr. A
Posted by Dr. Mark Angle  On Sep 11, 2015 at 6:20 PM
  
We've just completed our sixth instructional day and for the most part are settling comfortably into our routines.  Please be aware of the following school events and activities that are coming in the next few days...

Mrs. Ferguson's fourth/fifth grade class will be treated to an ice-cream social on Thursday, September 3 at 3:30p to celebrate their winning entry in our "Back-to-School" themed door decorating contest.

There will be NO SCHOOL on Monday, September 7 as we recognize the Labor Day holiday.

Elementary students will participate in Beginning of Year DIBELS assessments the week of September 8.  These quick assessments, administered one-on-one by an Educational Assistant, give teachers information that helps them plan reading instruction for each student's individual needs as an emerging reader.

Our first Parent Club meeting of the year will be on Tuesday, September 8 at 4:30p.  All parents are invited.

We will have FRIDAY SCHOOL on Friday, September 11 to make-up for our Labor Day absence.  All Friday School Days this year will be Dress Up Fridays.  Students and teachers will be encouraged to dress in extra nice clothes to make it a special day.  Think about what you might wear to a wedding or school dance to give you an idea of what to wear to Friday School.

Thanks to our parents and community for all the ways you are supporting DC Charter as we strive to become the best school serving the best students in Southern Oregon!

All the best,

Dr. A
Posted by Dr. Mark Angle  On Sep 01, 2015 at 3:37 PM
  
By all accounts, Days Creek Charter School had a wonderful "Grand Opening" today as we welcomed students back to school for the 2015-16 academic year!

Sure, we experienced the usual first day glitches: a few students had an issue with their class schedule and the breakfast and lunch lines were much slower than they will be a week from now...but these minor problems will work themselves out in the next day or two.

The big picture is that returning students seemed happy to be back in school and in Days Creek fashion, they warmly welcomed the many new students who are coming to Days Creek for the first time!

Don't forget we are celebrating our grand opening all this week...

TUESDAY--College Day: dress to represent the college you wish to attend in the future

WEDNESDAY--Twin Day: choose someone to dress the same 

THURSDAY--School Spirit Day: wear school colors so that we all show our Wolf Pride at the all-school assembly to be held in the gym at 3:15p

Let's work hard to keep the spirit of today alive as we go forward this school year.  Attitude makes such an important difference!  

All the best!

Dr. A

Posted by Dr. Mark Angle  On Aug 24, 2015 at 8:53 PM
  
Employees of Douglas County SD #15 returned to work today and were treated to a "New Year's" themed breakfast compliments of the Board of Directors and Charter Board, who prepared and served a variety of delicious foods to welcome everyone to the 2015-16 school year.  

Following breakfast, employees spent a couple hours in their first PLC (Professional Learning Communities) meeting of the year to review schedules and plans for the upcoming year.

All of us are eager to greet students, parents, and community members at the Back-to-School Bash on Thursday, August 20, from 6-8p as we prepare for our "Grand Opening" on Monday, August 24 when we welcome all students to the first day of the 2015-16 school year!

Dr. A
Posted by Dr. Mark Angle  On Aug 18, 2015 at 7:07 PM
  
I am Mark Angle, the son of a West Virginia coal-miner.

My mom loves to tell the story that on the first day of school I jumped off the bus and proclaimed, "I'm going to be a teacher when I grow up!"

Though I don't remember that exact moment, I do remember that for as far back as I can remember all I ever wanted to do was be a teacher!

Neither of my parents graduated from high school and no one in my family had ever gone to college.  I knew that to fulfill my dream, I would have to work hard in school and be brave enough to do something that no one in my family had done before.

After high school, I enrolled in the undergraduate college within commuting distance of my home in West Virginia...Concord College (now Concord University).  There, I was a double-major earning teaching credentials in Music Education PK-12 and Elementary/Middle Education PK-8.  My dream was to teach high school music.

Teaching jobs were really difficult to come by in southern West Virginia because the coal mines were closing, and schools were being closed and consolidated.  (Little did I know that on the other side of the country, the same thing was happening here in southern Oregon as the timber industry declined.)   

I applied for jobs all over our border state of Virginia, and was offered a job teaching fifth grade English and Social Studies at Prince Edward County Middle School in the district where the Brown v. Board of Education decision led to the Supreme Court integrating public schools.

I loved teaching but realized there were gaps in my learning that I wanted to fill to become a better teacher, so I began my Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia (UVa).

Five years into my teaching career I was recruited into administration by a neighboring school division where I served for a year as a Middle School Assistant Principal.  That year, I began my Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership at UVa.

The following year, I became an elementary principal and continued in that role for the next ten years.  

Next came a short stint as the Regional Adult Education Program Manager in central office and then two years as a University Professor at Concord (where I had completed my undergrad degree).

In 2014, I made the decision to move to Oregon and was fortunate to be hired as the Student Success Coordinator for Days Creek Charter School.  A year later, I am honored to accept the position of Superintendent/Principal!

From the time I became an administrator, I've wanted the opportunity to serve as a Superintendent and I can think of no better place to do so than right here in Days Creek!

Thank you for this privilege!  I pledge to work hard to make our school the very best it can be.  Our students, their families, and our community deserve nothing less.

Respectfully,

Dr. A

Posted by Dr. Mark Angle  On Aug 17, 2015 at 1:04 PM
  
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