Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver
Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

used 's Online Resource Kids InfoBits to research facts about Indonesia.  

The State of the Union and the State of the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District
Last week, President Obama gave his State of the Union address. In talking about education, his priorities included: high-quality pre-K available to every 4-year-old; a pledge to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years; and to redesign high schools, partnering them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job. WOW! Howard-Winneshiek is not only aligned with these goals, but is leading and way out front! Very Cool! Special things are happening at Howard-Winn. There is positive forward movement toward the 2020 goal of our students being the best prepared on the planet!  

Grow Howard County (and Howard-Winneshiek Community School District)

A Task Force is emerging to inventory the strengths and assets of Howard County (and the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District). The thinking is to "share the good life" and to invite folks to NE Iowa! There are jobs, great schools, and a wonderful quality of life, and we need to tell the story and create a means of support for folks to come and grow. First steps include: an assessment of the region's BROADBAND capacities and participating in the Governor's Home Base program:
This program's concept focuses on inviting and facilitating Veterans to relocate to Iowa and we want to invite them to Howard County.  

We want to not only invite Vets, but others to come home to Howard County. Next steps will include housing and explore creating an "Ambassador" program of citizens to host families who want to come to the region. Cresco, Lime Springs, Elma, Chester and our neighbors in Ridgeway, promoting and supporting each other, will create an excitement that others will want to be part of. Stay tuned for updates.    

Snow Days / Make-up

Snow Days                        Tentative Make-up days
January 6, 2014                  May 23, 2014
January 14, 2014                May 27, 2014
January 23, 2014                May 28, 2014
January 27, 2014                May 29, 2014
January 28, 2014                May 30, 2014

Many thoughts come to mind in reference to these make-up days. Under Iowa law, students are to have 180 days of instruction. Locally, districts set their own calendar (meeting the guidelines of 180 days). If classes are cancelled, the time (day) is to be made up. Late starts, we do not have to make up the time. Making up snow days is a challenge. Historically Howard-Winn has made up days missed due to weather at the end of the school year. Either making up snow days at the end of the school year or substituting a scheduled vacation day for a snow day -- both impact families, employees, kids and learning. There is no really good answer, it is part of living with Iowa weather. Please keep in mind the Friday after Parent/Teacher conferences is a comp day, with the hours worked (into the evening) counting as a day. This is per contract and Iowa legislation. So that day is not an option for make-up. Stay tuned for updates and more discussion.     

Shout Outs

  • GREAT JOB on sharing part of the Howard-Winn story! Flipped Classrooms!
  • A special shout out and THANK YOU to our Bus drivers for moving our students safely to and from school.
  • THANK YOU to those teachers who served on the Grade Level Campus Task Force. Please know your professionalism and reflections are truly valued and it has helped to shape my thinking. I will be making a recommendation to the Board at the February meeting.
  • Want an exciting evening? You've got to come and see Basketball and Wrestling Teams in action!  CADETS: FORWARD!
  • Reminder......any financial help in getting our student FFA representatives to the Norman Borlaug statue event is greatly appreciated.
Contribution and donations can be directed to:
Crestwood FFA / Norman Borlaug Statue Unveiling
Howard-Winneshiek District Office
1000 Schroder Drive
Cresco, Iowa 52136  

One last thought..............
We are not "out of the woods" with winter yet. Please know safety is our number one priority. Stay warm and be safe!  

January 31, 2014

Crestwood Secondary Schools (7-12)
Twitter: @Crestwood_HS


Special Events for the Week of February 3 - February 9, 2014
Tuesday:        Conference Wrestling Tournament - Decorah High School - 4 p.m.
Wednesday:   3 Hour Early Out - Teacher Professional Development
Saturday:       State Large Group Speech Contest - Waterloo West High School
                      Sectional Wrestling Tournament - Crestwood High School

Choir Boosters Omelet Breakfast
High School Student Center      8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 2
Tickets are $6

Junior High Parent/Teacher Conferences Reminder 
February 18th and 20th will be the Spring Parent/Teacher Conferences. The following is a reminder regarding changes to the format:
- Parents will be able to use the Parent/Teacher Conference Scheduler to help parents set times with teachers. Time increments will be 10 minutes in length per teacher. More information on how to use the Scheduler will be sent to you as Parent/Teacher Conferences approach.
- Parents will be able to meet with teachers in the teachers' classroom/teaching space. This is to promote confidentiality while providing constructive feedback regarding the student's class progress.

NICC at High School Parent/Teacher Conferences
During Parent/Teacher Conferences, High School parents will be able to schedule time with NICC representatives. This is a service asked for during the recent Parent/Teacher Conference Survey. Parents - please take advantage of this time to help plan your son or daughter's future plan of study.

Adjustments to 3rd Quarter Midterm
Due to weather, the Junior High and High School 3rd Quarter Midterm has moved to Feb. 11. Grades are due to the office on Feb. 14.

Data Management System Presentations 
Teachers and staff held the 2nd meeting of the Data Management System Committee. The purpose of the committee: Determine if JMC should continue to be the Data Management System of Howard-Winn CSD. If not, determine the Data Management System Howard-Winn should transition to for implementation in 2015-2016. 

What are the major determining factors of the committee’s work in selecting a Data Management System?
  • Customer Service
  • User friendly
  • Reasonable turn-around time on report card revisions
  • State Reporting
  • Ease of entering students - Contact Information - Courses - Schedules
  • Student List/Report options
  • Ability to flip between buildings
  • Standards Integrated/formatting
  • Be able to see Standards “ranking” from previous quarters
  • Teacher Demo Version
  • Student pictures can be integrated into the program
  • Definitive timelines set and implemented for transition and implementation afterwards

What other criteria will the committee use to determine the Data Management System?
  • Integration with Schoology
  • Integration with Edmodo
  • Integration with Third Party Standard Based Grading system
  • Easier Progress Reporting
  • Comments formatting on report card
  • Input grade cut-offs each quarter

What features/benefits is the committee looking for in a Data Management System?
  • Professional Appearance
  • Ease of learning new system by teachers and parents
  • Parent access/communication
  • Change/adapting for 21st Century Learning Environment
  • Standards are able to be integrated with assignments
  • Capability of accomplishing non-certified employee time sheets 
Committee members are securing dates for vendors to present. JMC, PowerSchool, and Infinite Campus are the three vendors that will be considered.  
The next #cadetnation Day is next Friday, Feb. 7.  Remember to show off your blue and white! 

Competency Based Education
Best practices in a Competency Based Education grading system are outlined below:
• Once grading, or assessment, has taken place, the student must receive clear feedback from the teacher on his/her performance. The more timely and criterion-referenced the feedback is, the more it will impact student growth.
• If a student has been deemed not yet competent, it is compulsory to provide clear instructions on what must be done to achieve competency.
• In determining a student’s competency, emphasis is placed on the most recent evidence collected. New levels of understanding can replace old levels of understanding in the grade book.
• Teachers are encouraged to make their assessment and grading practices transparent to their students. This will allow students to take more ownership of their learning. Additionally, they will know where improvement is needed.
• Students who understand concepts and skills without needed additional practice are not penalized for skipping this work.
• Students who need additional time, practice, and/or instruction are not penalized by the averaging of assignment/assessment scores over time.
• Teachers at each grade/class/course-level will collaborate to develop an understanding of what is an adequate demonstration of proficiency.
• Teachers will assess skills and concepts in multiple contexts and in multiple ways.
• Attention is placed on student learning, not on student grades.
- Rochester, New Hampshire School District "Comptency Based Learning Guide for Educators"

High School Teachers Featured for Flipped Learning

January 31, 2014 Greg.Adams

Greg Adams

Grade 2-6 Principal (Crestwood, Elma, Lime Springs/Chester)
Twitter  @GregAAdams7     #2020HowardWinn

Looking ahead...District Redesign

We know that the future of the district will mean that all students will be educated with the same grade level in the same building, with one or two grade levels at Lime Springs/Chester. Our group has continued to meet and is near a proposal. Thank you to everyone for your time, input, and professional courtesy as all points were discussed. There was certainly much to consider along the way.


Wednesday: 12:15 p.m. dismissal for teacher in-service
February 10: School Board Meeting @ Elma
February 18: Parent-Teacher Conferences
February 20: Parent-Teacher Conferences

Instead of complaining about the winter weather and resulting disruptions to school schedules, I'm sharing a tweet from the Iowa DNR...

First day of spring is March 20th ... hang in there.

Register Now! Technology Integration Conference
TIC Conference is June 17 & 18 in Dubuque. Information has been emailed. Forward registration confirmation to Mr. Felderman. The district will pay the $99 registration and vehicles. Teachers are responsible for lodging and meals.

Todd Knobloch teaching Clarissa Einck's kindergarten class about the features of the 3D printer.
And then creating Friendship Chains with the 3D printer.
Michelle Timp's kindergarten class dancing like Indonesia's Birds of Paradise.
Learning about geysers, volcanoes, and hot spots with Yellowstone National Park via Skype. Yellowstone has over 1,000 earthquakes and 20 forest fires per year. Thanks Yellowstone Ranger!

#2020HowardWinn Check out my blog for students' iMovies about African Elephants.

January 31, 2014 Shirley Sovereign

PK-1 Principal/Director of Teaching & Learning
Shirley Sovereign
Twitter:  ssovprincipal
SKYPE:  shirley.sovereign

Dream Big, Grow Here
On Jan. 24, Heather Suckow, Melissa Vobr, Director of Kessel Kids, and Megan Merkel gave a presentation for the Dream Big, Grow Here Contest. These individuals are on the committee for the Natural Playground Project at the Cresco Early Childhood Development Center. Their presentation was done before a panel of judges in competition for a $5,000 grant. The project qualified for this presentation by winning the voting contest with 4,287 votes. The presenters competed against other non-profit and for-profit businesses. Feedback from the judges was that Mrs. Suckow, Mrs. Vobr and Mrs. Merkel gave an excellent presentation though they did not receive the grant. Thank you to the team for their hard workThank you to Jason Passmore, Spiff Slifka, John Carver, Clint Farlinger and Kerry Fretheim for providing the team with practice and feedback while preparing for their presentation.  
Presenters: Heather Suckow, Melissa Vobr & Megan Merkel

Plans for the Natural Playground at the Cresco Early Childhood Center

100th Day of School
The 100th day of school was a moving target for teachers to plan this year with all the school cancellations. These celebrations were held on a few different days among the district classrooms. The Cresco Kindergarten celebrated on Jan. 30. The students rotated among the four classrooms working on different stations. The stations included: 100th day crowns, necklace making, making trailmix, stamping to 100, 100th day glasses, money hats, painting 100 gumballs, 100 stickers and 100th hidden number design. The students practiced making 10 groups of 10 in order to count to 100. As you can tell in the photos, the students had lots of fun! A big thank you to the volunteers who came to help with the 100th day activities!


Study of Student Management Systems
A task force has been formed to study JMC, our current student data system. Members of the staff including the data manager, teachers, counselors, secretaries, tech department and administrators are studying systems to serve the changing needs of our district. The management system is used for everything from keeping daily attendance to compiling data for state reporting. Both the study of Competency Based Education and various needs expressed by teachers lead to this study. The task force met this week to determine the needs and to schedule presentations from various vendors of student management systems to compare the services available.

Grow Howard County
The Task Force Howard County will meet again on Feb. 1. The meeting will be held at NICC-Cresco from 9:00-11:30 a.m. The agenda includes broadband internet and Home Base Iowa. 

Competency Based Education 
Several administrators and Department of Education consultants participated in a phone conference this week to address the tasks of the Iowa CBE Collaborative. Transforming education is complex and EXCITING!   

I will share one of the principles of CBE that is considered necessary in order to personalize learning for our students: 

      Students Advance upon Proficiency
  • Students advance to higher-level work upon demonstration of proficiency of competencies rather than according to age or seat time.
  • Students are evaluated on performance and application.
  • Students will master competencies and earn credit or advance in content at their own pace. They will work through some competencies more rapidly while taking more time to ensure proficiency on others. 
Events Next Week:
  • Registration for Preschool and Kindergarten for 2014-2015, Feb. 3-7, 2014.
  • On-line scheduling for Parent-Teacher Conferences opens on Feb. 3, 2014 at 9 a.m.   



Athletic Director Jim Obermann

Twitter:  jobermann

Since the last update...where do I begin...I am losing track of what rescheduled games I have posted and which ones I haven't so I will just encourage all Cadet fans to keep checking the NEIC website and the Howard-Winn school calendar for updates. I also try to post all changes on my Twitter account. Our goal is to get all of our conference events made up.

Good time to look forward...With the weather being so difficult, I think a positive approach is to look forward to some big events on the horizon for the Cadet winter sports teams...

  • Cadet Wrestlers
    • The varsity NEIC meet is at Decorah this Saturday. Start time is 10:00
    • The JV NEIC meet is next Monday at New Hampton. Start time is 4:30
    • Sectional Wrestling at Crestwood next Saturday, Feb. 8th. Start time is 12:00 noon
  • Cadet Girls & Boys Basketball
    • The number of home games left is dwindling and senior recognition nights are fast approaching. The girls senior recognition night will be Friday, Feb. 7 when they host New Hampton, and the boys senior recognition night will be Monday, Feb. 17 in a rescheduled night when they host Waukon. 
    • Girls Tournament Pairings have been released by the IGHSAU and the Cadets will host the first two rounds. They will host North Fayette on Saturday, Feb. 15 and hopefully advance and host the winner of New Hampton and Waukon on Wednesday, Feb. 19. More details to come later on these games.
    • Boys Tournament Pairings are not official yet, but odds are very good that the boys will also host a first round tournament game.
Catch the under level teams in action at home too...Next week the jr. high boys (either 7th or 8th) will be in action on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The 9th grade girls and boys have a rescheduled doubleheader this coming Monday in addition to their conference games on Tuesday and Friday. The 9th girls also have an added game on Thursday vs. Waukon prior to the JV/Varsity playing Sumner-Fredericksburg.

In closing...With such a lousy winter for weather, our winter teams should be commended for all of their success thus far. Congratulations to our coaches and student-athletes who have created some very strong memories already. Our varsity wrestling team is ranked as are several of our individual wrestlers. Our girls basketball team is ranked very high in Class 3A and will certainly be a team to be reckoned with in tournaments. And our boys varsity basketball team is putting together another strong season and will surely play their best ball at tournament time. And even though our winter teams have already given us a great deal of excitement, I believe the best results are yet to is going to be an exciting few weeks as we follow our student-athletes down the tournament trail with the ultimate goal of a trip to Des Moines. Thanks for your continued support!

Friday, January 24, 2014

January 24, 2014

District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver
Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

High students in Project Lead The Way Class. Design then create with the 3D printer!

Norman Borlaug: Iowa Innovator in Agriculture
Four Crestwood FFA Students Chosen to Attend Unveiling of Borlaug Statue at the Nation’s Capitol in March
Born in rural Northeast Iowa, growing up and working the family farm, attending a one-room schoolhouse, graduating from Cresco High School – from these humble beginnings, Norman Borlaug went on to change the world!

Dr. Borlaug’s work in agriculture, specifically in the production of high-yield, disease-resistant wheat, is credited with saving billions of lives worldwide. 

Called agriculture’s greatest spokesperson, he is one of seven people to have won the Nobel Peace Price, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. His legacy continues with the World Food Prize.

On March 25, 2014, at our Nation’s Capitol, in Statuary Hall, the State of Iowa will proudly unveil a statue of its native son, Dr. Norman Borlaug. 

Because of the size of Statuary Hall, the ceremony and celebration is limited to 300 invitees. The Howard-Winneshiek Community School District’s, Crestwood High School FFA Chapter has been invited to attend!

Crestwood FFA’s involvement with Lime Springs Beef has continued Dr. Borlaug’s legacy of innovation in food production. It is exciting that the Crestwood FFA Chapter now has the opportunity to represent Iowa’s next generation of agribusiness leaders and innovators, as well as Crestwood High School, the Howard-Winneshiek Schools, our community, county and state.

Witnessing History
The Crestwood FFA Chapter has selected four of its members to attend the event: Senior, Chapter President Kaytlan Langreck; Senior, Chapter Vice President Kayleigh Hauber; Junior, Historian Abby Huhe; and Junior, Assistant Reporter Natalie Knobloch. Howard-Winneshiek Superintendent John Carver and a female chaperon will accompany the young ladies.

Travel Plans and Cost
The plan is to: Fly to Washington D.C. on Sunday, March 23; visit historical monuments on Monday, March 24; attend the event Tuesday, March 25; and return Wednesday, March 26. 

Estimated Cost
per person
Hotel and Flight
$ 4,500.00
$40 per day x 6 x 4 days
$    960.00
Estimated ground Travel
6 Metro passes at $40
$    240.00
Estimated Cost

$  5,700.00

The Howard-Winneshiek Community School District and the Crestwood FFA chapter would greatly appreciate any sponsorships or financial assistance towards deferring the cost of this trip.    

Contribution and donations can be directed to:
Crestwood FFA / Norman Borlaug Statue Unveiling
Howard-Winneshiek District Office
1000 Schroder Drive
Cresco, Iowa 52136

Mike Adams, Chapter Advisor

John Carver, Howard-Winn. Superintendent  

Office (563) 547 2762  

2013-2014 Snow Days / Make-up

Snow Day                            Make-up day
January 6, 2014                    May 23, 2014
January 14, 2014                  May 27, 2014
January 23, 2014                  May 28, 2014

*January 16, 2014 classes dismissed early due to weather. Board Policy 601.2 states that: "When the school is forced to close due to weather or other emergencies  that part of the day which school is in session will constitute a school day". We will not have to make up January 16, 2014.

Be sure to follow school updates on Twitter, Iowa Alerts, Howard-Winn Webpage and Facebook as well as local media.

Grade Level Campus Assignments for 2014-2015

The TEAM continues to meet and examine all aspects regarding grade level campus assignments for this fall. The driving focus is on instruction, academic achievement and providing the best service for the students.  It is understood that the current physical plant in Cresco cannot accommodate all the students at this time. The TEAM has found that the Lime Springs Campus would serve well any grade level that would be assigned there. It is noted that the campus assignment will be reviewed annually for the next three years.  To provide the best service and utilize current District resources will require students being bused to Lime Springs. Rural students have always been bused, but this will be a new experience for kids living in town.  More information will follow and a recommendation will be made to the Board in February. THANK YOU to those serving on the TEAM. Your perspective and servant leadership is valued and appreciated.

Get Healthy with District Office! 

"Come be one of the BIGGEST losers!"
The District Office Staff is inviting staff members to join TEAM: CADET and meet the 10 Week Wellness Challenge. If interested visit lets us know if your are IN! Bring your $20 and lets get healthy!

Shout Outs!

  • Exciting Basketball this past week! Both the Girls and Boys Teams are Rocking and Rolling! Keep it up and enjoy the moment!
  • What a joy to see the Dance students perform during the halftime of last week's Waverly-Shell Rock Boy's BBall game. Such energy, grace and poise! 
  • Special THANK YOU to all involved with the daily transport of students.  Supervisors, bus drivers, secretaries and associates, your diligent efforts to keep the kids safe, warm and get them home is greatly appreciated.  
  • Way to go Wrestlers! Its great to see our athletes and team in the State rankings. Keep moving FORWARD!
One last thing..........
it is way cool to see the kids excited about learning!