Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7, 2014

District Perspective

Superintendent John Carver
Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

#2020HowardWinn 2nd grader Callie designing her future home using TinkerCad. AMAZING!

A typical day at Howard-Winn is anything but typical!
Last Tuesday I had the chance to get out of my office and see what a typical day of learning looks like at Howard-Winn. WOW! The many exciting things happening included: Senior Tom Skoda's rocket design being created in the 3D printer, 2nd graders designing homes in 3D using TinkerCad, Team Adams students designing and evaluating helicopters,1st graders celebrating the 100th day of learning, and 4th graders SKYPING with "pen pals" from Rockwell, Iowa. All of this is just a typical day at Howard-Winn. FANTASTIC! 

Task Force: Grow Howard County (and Howard-Winneshiek Community School District)
Work is underway to "connect the dots" and invite families to come home to Howard County. The thinking is to inventory jobs, housing, and opportunities, putting together "packages" to support and recruit families. The Howard-Winneshiek School's contribution to this effort is to continue to evolve and provide a world class education as well as move forward work with Connect Iowa and Home Base Iowa. #2020 Howard Winn is moving forward!  

The next Task Force meeting is 9:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Shaping Howard-Winneshiek for the future.
We are in rapidly changing times. No one can predict what the future will bring but one thing is for sure, Howard-Winn is positioning for it.  

What we know to be true today is that instruction is the key to academic achievement, combination classrooms do not work, learning is enhanced when grade level teachers can collaborate and support each other and the Cresco campus as it is now cannot absorb all students from Elma and Lime Springs. As has been shared I will recommend at the February Board meeting that a grade level be assigned to Lime Springs. I very much appreciate the input and reflections from teachers who served on the Elementary Campus Task Force. They helped to shape my thinking. It does make sense to have an older grade (either 4th or 5th) assigned to Lime Springs. The recommendation will be made Monday night.

JMC Passwords

On 2/4/14, an email was sent to parents entitled: Junior High and High School Conferences Spring 2014. Michelle Bakken, Howard-Winneshiek Community School Data Coordinator, originated this communiqué. 

The student management JMC password file was inadvertently attached. This was caught immediately and JMC was locked down and secured. Personal student information was not released.

Parent JMC passwords have been reset. The new password is presently available and will be sent to parents via snail mail. For immediate access to reset passwords please contact the district office at 563-547-2762.

Please know protocols and procedures are being reviewed to ensure that this never happens again. We apologize. This event is unfortunate, and the district regrets the inconvenience.

Further clarification and questions can be directed to:
John Carver, Superintendent of Schools
Office: 563-547-2762

Snow Days

By contract, teachers have seven paid holidays: Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Years Day, President's Day, Good Friday, and Memorial Day. 

Of the open dates that might be used for for Make Up Snow Days: Monday, Feb. 17 President's Day; Friday, April 18 Good Friday; and Monday, May 26 Memorial Day, by contract, are paid holidays for teachers. The thinking was that one of these days could be moved to the end of the school year. The HWEA executive board discussed the possible consequences and repercussions of working on and or moving a paid holiday and rejected this thinking. 

Friday, Feb. 21 is a comp day due to Parent / Teacher Conferences.

Monday April 21 (the day after Easter) is a date that is not covered by contract and could be a make-up day. There would still be four days to make-up. (If April 21 is used as a make-up, the last day for students would be Thursday, May 29 / Teachers Inservice Friday, May 30.)  

Additional factors to be considered include:
  • If there is another school cancellation due to weather
  • Possible participation at State Basketball Tournament
  • Possible implications for those wishing to take Early Retirement
  • In creating the school calendar, by law there is to be 180 days of instruction. Start times in the fall impact classes ending in the spring.     
Bottom line............
  • Because of contract requirements and proximity of President's Day leaving little time for change,  Monday, Feb. 17 will NOT be a Snow Make-up Day.
  • It will be recommended to the Board of Education at the February meeting to use Monday, April 21 as a Snow Day Make up.
  • We may not be out of the woods yet as far as weather goes. That being said, the District stands ready to explore alternatives to making up Snow Days other than placing at the end of the school year.
Iowa weather is hard to predict. I am reminded that springtime also can bring heavy fog which impacts the safety of transporting kids.  

Please know your cooperation and flexibility is valued and appreciated.

TEAM Crestwood FFA set for Norman Borlaug Statue unveiling!
Seniors Kaytlin Langreck and Kayleigh Hauber along with Juniors Natalie Knobloch and Abby Huhe will be representing our school, community and region at the Norman Borlaug statue unveiling in Washington D.C. Tuesday, March 25, 2014. This event is by invitation only and limited to 300 participants. As special THANK YOU to Jack Thomson for his efforts to include Howard-Winneshiek Schools. The young ladies are excited to go and understand the expectation and responsibility for being Howard-Winneshiek ambassadors.

Consideration for finacial assistance in this effort is greatly valued and appreciated.

Contribution and donations can be directed to:

Crestwood FFA / Norman Borlaug Statue Unveiling
Howard-Winneshiek District Office
1000 Schroder Drive
Cresco, Iowa 52136  

Competency Based Education (CBE)
CBE is an important direction forward in evolving teaching and learning. The basic concept is that students are empowered and can demostrate competence in subject matter and skills, learning these expectations with hands-on, real world experiences.

Howard-Winn was selected by the Iowa Department of Education to pilot and develop this thinking. Collaborating with nine other Iowa schools, Howard-Winn is contributing to chart a new course for teaching and learning. Very Cool! In March a TEAM from Howard-Winn will be traveling to New Hampshire to connect and learn with Pittsville Community School District. They are a premier CBE school. Check the link and read about them!
Good things happening!

"Shout Outs"
  • Our Girl's Basketball team is having a FANTASTIC season. Hard work, commitment, grace and class. VERY PROUD!
  • Way to go Tessa Anserson KIMT 3 Athlete of the week! You ROCK!
  • The trek to the State Wrestling Tournament begins Saturday in the Crestwood Gym. GOOD LUCK WRESTLERS!
  • Our Boy's Basketball team is ROCKIN! Excitement and Energy! CADETS FORWARD!
  • A special SHOUT OUT to junior Shane Trautsch. He is heading to Pennsylvania soon to teach students there about Virtual Reality. The Virtual Reality Education Pathway group (VREP) is facilitating Shane's trip. VERY COOL!
  • Can you feel it? There is an energy growing at Howard-Winn. Good things are happening. 

One last thing.............
This last week several events occurred ranging from grade level campus assignments, to JMC password file, to Snow Day Make up. As Superintendent I am committed to keep all informed as events happen. It is my intent to be transparent and send out information in a timely manner. When we know things to be true, we will send out notification. Sometimes you may need to wait for the "official word". As once said, "In the absence of knowledge, we make up knowledge."  Please do not let this be so. If you have a question do not hesitate to ask me.  

Have a wonderful weekend! Go Wrestlers (NO SNOW) 

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