Saturday, April 5, 2014

Summary of changes coming on the New SAT

From USDE:

A revised version of the SAT, widely noted by the education press and of much interest to many students, parents, and academic counselors, was introduced last month by the College Board. The revision, representing the first major changes to the test since 2005, reverts to the pre-2005, 1,600-point scale (from the current 2,400 point scale) by making optional the essay part of the exam, formerly required since 2005. The revised test, to be administered starting in spring 2016, will have three sections: “Evidence-based reading and writing,” mathematics, and the optional essay. This article focuses on the eight major changes to the SAT, as explained by the College Board.

The focus of the new test is on requiring students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the few essentials that matter most for readiness for and success in college. A first major change in the evidence-based reading and writing section is the ability to use relevant words for a given context.

Second, test takers will be required to interpret, synthesize, and employ evidence to demonstrate their understanding and command of evidence in a variety of sources. In a third significant change, the redesigned essay section will ask students to explain how the author builds the argument in an assigned passage. The test takers will be required to demonstrate close reading and careful analysis of the text, as well as clear writing.

The fourth change pertains to the mathematics section of the SAT. This section will delve more deeply than does the current SAT into three essential areas of mathematics: (1) Problem solving and data analysis—quantitative literacy for solving problems; (2) the “heart of algebra”—mastery of linear equations and systems; and (3) “passport to advanced mathematics”—knowledge and manipulation of more complex equations. The SAT will sample other mathematical topics, but the focus will be on these three.

Change five redesigns the SAT to engage test takers with questions “grounded in the real work,” that is, questions that are representative of those encountered in college and in the workplace.

Asking test takers to apply their skills in reading and writing, and their knowledge of language and mathematics to respond to questions in the domains of science, history, and social studies constitutes the sixth major change.

Another, seventh, change to the SAT will engage test takers with ideas addressed in the founding documents of the United States or in the “great global conversation”—issues focusing on, “freedom, justice, and human dignity.” The goal with this change is to focus on what is important to know to be a citizen.

The eighth major change removes the penalty for wrong answers in the new SAT. The current SAT penalizes students for wrong answers. In the new SAT students earn points for correct answers.

This summary provides an overview of the major changes to the SAT. Interested readers will want to examine these changes and their implications in more detail. The College Board will provide the complete specifications of the new SAT along with sample items for each of the eight sections on its website in mid-April.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Struggling with trying to quit using tobacco?

Health Note from Mayo Clinic: A number of different strategies for Tobacco Cessation can be successful. It’s just a matter of finding the one that’s right for you.

What kind of strategies have you tried to help break your smoking habit? Some people want to stay away from nicotine-based treatments like nicotine gum or the transdermal patch, because they want to stay completely away from nicotine. One natural way to quit smoking is "cold turkey." For some, using willpower alone to quit smoking may seem unmanageable, but according to a large study by the American Public Health Association, this method was used by 85% of all successful long-term quitters. Plus, it’s the cheapest option. Pick a realistic target quit date and decide what you are going to do with the cash you will be saving. Having something in mind that you want to spend the money on can give you an extra push of motivation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is another natural way to quit smoking, where the individual works with a therapist who helps redirect the smoker’s mind away from nicotine. This type of therapy has helped smokers identity what causes their cravings and reinforces healthy behaviors to replace the nicotine.
Lastly, self-help books can also assist in breaking smoking habits. Allen Carr says in his book, Easy Way to Stop Smoking, “Once smokers lose their fear, it really is easy. The idea that smoking provides any genuine pleasure or crutch is a delusion. The stress that nicotine supposedly relieves is actually created by the nicotine itself - We remove this delusion.” So when you’re ready to quit, know that the many possibilities to help you make that change will be available, and hopefully that behavior change will be a permanent one.

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stop stressing, start living

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note: Daily life presents us with all kinds of stresses. How can you be sure you’re handling those stresses in a safe and effective way?

Stop stressing, start living. We all know that chronic stress can be unhealthy for us, especially when we “handle it” in unhealthy ways. Learning to deal with stress appropriately is more important than trying to remove it completely.

So how can you better manage your stress? There are many ways, but one important one is to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your judgment, making you more likely to break at petty irritations. It is also important that you prepare for your responsibilities by setting small realistic goals for both big and small tasks. Stress tends to pile on when we run out of time or unplanned events come up, but by preparing ahead of time and managing your time with those unplanned events in mind, you deviate away from stress. Also, when possible cut back on your obligations or delegate work to others. Give yourself permission to say “no” once in a while! With fewer commitments you will have more time for yourself and less things to stress over.

To learn more, visit:

Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” update:

From: Michelle L Breuer RN, BSN; Crawford County Public Health

 As some of you may know, Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” continues to be in our community and our surrounding communities as well. Due to this illness continuing to circulate we felt it was important to provide further educational materials to all of our Crawford County Schools to disseminate to teachers, staff, parents, etc. Click any of these three links for more information: 

Cold, Flu, or Pertussis?

Parent Information on Whooping Cough

Protect Babies from Whooping Cough

As a reminder Tdap and DTap vaccine is available through Crawford County Public Health or other county public health offices at no charge at this time, regardless of insurance status. The vaccine is also available through individual medical providers. If someone is unsure if they are up-to-date with their vaccines they can contact us and we would be happy to check the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) for them.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brand name or generic drugs—do you know the difference?

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note on Consumerism:

Do you know the difference between brand name drugs and generic drugs? If you’ve been buying brand name drugs due to uncertainty over whether the generic equivalent is sufficient, you may be surprised.

There are many myths about generic drugs, mainly that they are significantly different from the brand name drug. If you’re a consumer who sticks to buying brand name drugs because of uncertainty, you’re likely spending more money than needed. Brand name drugs and generic drugs have the same active ingredients and both have to meet the same FDA regulations before being approved and put on the market. For example, generics need to meet the same standards for strength, quality, and purity as brand name drugs. In addition, the generic drug must prove that it provides an identical or almost identical blood level to that of the brand name drug.

Why are generic drugs cheaper?

Generic drugs are cheaper because the companies producing those drugs do not have to spend time and money on research, development, clinical trials, marketing and advertising. Additionally, when two or more drug manufacturers make a drug, the price is 50-95% cheaper than the brand name drug.

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are any generic alternatives to the brand name drugs you are taking. There may not always be a generic alternative, but it’s worth asking. Whether it’s a drug that’s prescribed once or one you will have to take the rest of your life, taking the generic form will save you money.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Are you meeting the physical activity recommendations for aerobic activity according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note on Physical Activity Intensity, and Daily Requirements

Do you know the difference between moderate physical activity and vigorous physical activity? How can you be sure you’re getting enough aerobic activity in your daily lives?

The CDC suggests that adults take part in 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Another option is to do 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week. Here are some examples of moderate and vigorous aerobic activities:

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity includes any activity that raises your heart rate and causes you to break a sweat. Examples include: Fast paced walking, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground, playing doubles tennis, and pushing a lawn mower.

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity is any activity that causes you to breathe hard and fast. At this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing to take a breath. Examples include: jogging or running, swimming laps, riding a bike fast or on hilly terrain, playing singles tennis, or playing basketball.

It's OK to start small! You don't need to do your activity all at once. Three ten-minute segments still add up to 30 minutes! And remember, even 10 minutes is better than nothing. All types of activities count, as long as you are doing them at a moderate to vigorous intensity level for a minimum of ten minutes at a time.

Visit for more information.

Monday, January 27, 2014

PdC Public Dance Team going to State!

 From Coach Kelli Saxe:

The Hawkettes qualified for state Saturday at their regional dance competition. They earned a 2nd place plaque in the high kick category, which was quite an accomplishment because most of the teams at our regional in this category were much bigger schools than us. We made history!!! We are the first PDC dance team to ever make it to state :) It was an AWESOME moment to be a part of! State dance is held at the Lacrosse Center this coming Saturday. The team will perform at about 12:52 pm I am told. We will have a tshirt order coming out soon, if anyone is interested. Please, please consider attending our state performance. The girls will be so pumped to have some fan support!