Monday, October 7, 2013

October 4, 2013

District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver
Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

2020 Howard-Winn Admin Update: "New Look"
The Howard-Winn Administrative Update is moving to a new platform, "Blogger."  This will enable us to better serve our subscribers and take the thrill and excitement of learning to a new level.  THANKS to the Howard-Winn Tech Department and specifically Heather Klenke for setting this up and instructing Administrators in new procedures and protocols.  Additionally a BIG Thank You to our editor Michelle Bakken and technical support from Heather Klenke.

Reading is a Priority!
The ability to read and comprehend is crucial.  With these skills, students are empowered and learning can be passion driven and differentiated.  Utilizing wireless digital tools, creativity and imagination is amplified. These pictures show young boys learning new words, a young lady practicing words and elementary students reading the learning goals and objectives for the day.  In all three pictures, students are taking ownership in their learning.  This is VERY cool.

The questions going forward are: "What will be the expectations of these students when they reach high school?" and "Will colleges and universities be ready for them?"

On the Horizon: Enrollment Update and Beyond
Last Tuesday was "official head count day" and I am being told we are down 21 students District wide. In the next few days we will be double and triple checking the numbers, but the bottom line is that we are down. The decline in student enrollment is not unique to Howard-Winneshiek, for this is happening across the state and throughout rural America.  For us to not just survive, but flourish, we have to think differently and be strategic in our actions.

What does this mean?
It is crucial we review how we serve our students and redesign the organization to be able to adapt. The other thing we must realize is that the District alone cannot overcome the challenges ahead.  As a region (city, state, and county) Howard-Winn must have frank and honest conversations.  We have to start thinking collectively and as a region pull together.

Conversation Starters? 
We have jobs, but no workers.  The question is why and what can be done to recruit workers?  If the quality of life and opportunities are what will attract families to the region, then what specifically do we need to address so as to make the region a destination and "stay"?

Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools
Our charge and responsibility in the equation is to "teach the skills to learn" and "to prepare and empower our students to think creatively, contribute and succeed locally and globally."  Specifically, as educators, we must reinvent/retrain ourselves so as to facilitate learning for students in their reality. We must ground learning in literacy, science, technology, engineering and math and then provide students real-world experiences and challenges.  Accomplishing this moves us closer to 2020 Howard-Winn and will contribute as an attractor of families to the region. Opportunities + Quality of Life = Growth.  

This video was posted last week on the Connect Iowa website.  Check it out by either clicking on  1:1 and Broadband or copying and pasting this address in your browser. Note the Howard-Winn students!

Grant Updates: 
Howard-Winn was not selected as one of the six semi-finalists for the STEM school grants. Part of the Howard-Winn submittal was for site visits to identify high performing STEM schools on the east and west coast, specifically High Tech High in California and Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. Going forward, these site visits are seen as important and we will explore other options to make them happen.  

We are awaiting word on the status of our Competency Based Instruction Grant application. Stay tuned.

Board Meeting Schedule
The next Howard-Winneshiek Board of Education meetings is Monday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m. in Lime Springs. The Board is excited to see the upgrades of the playground!

"Shout Outs"
  • Congratulations to 2013 Homecoming Queen Savana Lentz, King Jade Miller and the rest of the Homecoming Court! 
  • Nice job Volleyball Team with your victory over Decorah! Go, Spike, Win!
  • Good Luck to the Marching Cadets in this weekend's competition.  Fingers are crossed for good weather. 
  • Remember to send story ideas and Howard-Winn happenings to or
  • Watch for updates on the Pilgrim Hat Guinness World record.  We need to have 300+ volunteers in Pilgrim Hats.  
  • Do not forget the new Cadet LOGO contest.  $200 for selected design.  

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