Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1, 2013

District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver
Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

Howard-Winn: Examples of 21st Century Learning
How is learning changing? For one thing learning is evolving away from"sit and get" to engaged and active. At Howard-Winn we are seeking ways for students to show and apply what they are learning as opposed to paper-and-pencil, fill-in-the-dot assessments. Empowering students is transformational. 

Howard-Winn students are quickly moving away from being "consumers of content" to "creators of content" Cadets: FORWARD
District Redesign
In December, I will provide recommendations to the Board focused on supporting learning. My thinking is based on observations and discussions with patrons, administration, teachers, and other stakeholders. My reflections to date include: 
  • Howard-Winn, like most of the rest of the state, is experiencing a shrinking population. A drop-off in the birth rate county and statewide, the mobility of workers seeking jobs, and the mechanization of farming, is creating this condition. 
  • People today are seeking good jobs that support quality of life for themselves and their family. The shift in jobs = the decrease in children. 
  • From 2006 to present, Howard-Winn has gone from an enrollment of 1,420 to 1,290 (-130 students). The last two years alone the District has lost in and around 40 students. Unless jobs are brought into the region, This trend will continue. 

  • The decline in population affects the delivery of instruction to the Howard-Winn campuses in Elma, Lime Springs and Cresco. Class sizes are out of balance. 
  • Recent decisions for combination classrooms were made to keep campuses in Elma and Lime Springs open and not on instruction and learning. 
  • Howard-Winn, like other School Districts in Iowa, is at the crossroads. As with every school district in NE Iowa, Howard-Winn is facing challenges with instruction, enrollment, and resources.
  • Declining enrollment means we will have to reduce staff. Fewer students mean fewer staff.
  • The physical plants in Elma, Cresco, and Lime Springs need serious attention. Structurally sound, clean, spaces for learning with good Internet connections, HVAC and safety systems support and enhance learning. Our kids deserve the best. 
  • Duplication of services (elementary instruction) on multiple campuses does not allow the District to unite. If we are going to move forward and grow, we must all pull together, be on the same page and put kids first. 
  • Being identified as a year 4 NCLB: School In Need of Assistance (SINA),  restructuring is required. 
  • I have had patrons share feelings and perceptions about various Howard-Winn campuses. These have ranged from "if we are in a declining enrollment then we should close both Elma and Lime Springs" to "we need to keep things as they are" to parents choosing and supporting elementary campuses "based on convenience for them and not instruction" with a willingness to live with existing conditions to keep schools open. I very much appreciate and value these comments, but in many instances this thinking hurts my heart. Again our kids deserve the best. 
The "moving pieces" today:  
  1. If the population of the region continues to decline, the Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools will fold back into Cresco (Howard County Seat).
  2. The Crestwood Campus (K-8 and 9-12) will need to be modified if all students were to attend in  Cresco.  
  3. An economic transformation in the region that brings jobs will cause a population growth, which should result in an increase in enrollment.
  4. Lime Springs Beef, coupled with other potential economic development, has the potential to bring jobs and families to the region. 
  5. Howard-Winn students (K-12) ARE being empowered and prepared for the 21st century.  
Going forward, thinking and strategy of the District must be flexible so as to be able to respond either to a growth or decline scenario. The commitment and focus MUST be on instruction and learning. Please know your perspective and comments are valued and I welcome the opportunity for discussion. More information will follow in the Weekly Update. 

Broadband Update:
Check out what is happening in the region in reference to BROADBAND Internet Access.

More LOGO Submissions!
The stars represent the five Admirals and Army General who have graduated from Howard-Winn!

From the Howard-Winn Library and Media Services!
Crestwood High School media center now offers yearbooks on Cds. Crestwood yearbooks are dated from 1906 - 2012: Notre Dame 1945 - 1989; Chester - 1959; Elma 1955 - 1960; Lime Springs 1954 - 1959; and Ridgeway 1952 - 1958. The Cds were produced by inmates at an Oklahoma Corrections Institute. A BIG "Thank You" to Delrae Wolters, Crestwood Library Associate! 

  • The halftime show last Friday night by the Marching Cadets was fantastic! I hope somebody filmed it and posted it to YouTube. Nice Job Mr. Dobbs, your TEAM and the student musicians, parent "roadies". The Flags/Rifles ROCKED! 
  • Nice job Cadet Volleyball students athletes. Throughout the season you competed with poise and courage, you well-represented #CADETNATION.
  • Fall play practices are well underway. I am excited to see the Crestwood production of "7 Brides For 7 Brothers" Don't miss it!
  • "Hats off" to Coach Lentz, the coaches and Cadet Football team on a good season and qualifying for the State Play-offs. #CadetNation is PROUD
  • Want to know what is happening on the business end of Howard-Winn? Stop by the District Office, say hello and check out all the "facts and figures" posted by Business Manager Clint Farlinger and his TEAM. 

A School Bus From Japan......Maybe next stop Howard-Winn?
Pictures sent to us via Board President Scott Fortune. THX Scott

Be sure to reset your clocks this weekend!

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