Friday, April 25, 2014

JCC April 25, 2014

District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver
Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

Good Luck Crestwood FFA

Good luck to the Crestwood FFA Chapter as they head to the State Leadership Competition next week!  Great kids doing great things!
  FFA is probably one of the BEST school to work, hands on STEM program there is!! 

3D printing at Howard-Winn
Howard-Winn junior high students are learning how to design and create digitally. Using their computers, students design and create digitally, then send their work to the 3D printer. This device takes the student's design and then makes it. Think Star Trek replicator! KIMT channel 3 aired the story last week. These skill sets and this type of work is foundational to advanced manufacturing and engineering. We are providing CADETS with a real world competitive edge!

2020 Howard-Winn Transformation
Plans are being developed to transition to our new grade level configuration of: PK in Elma, Lime Springs and Cresco with K-3 and 5-12 in Cresco. The thinking is that we will set a date in May for current 3rd graders (next year 4th graders) to visit the Lime Springs campus. This would include an orientation for parents. BUS ROUTES for the fall are being developed. It needs to be noted that there are many moving pieces with developing the routes and what is presented will be TENTATIVE. Patience and cooperation is greatly appreciated.

"High Stakes" Testing

At different times of the year, students are required to take achievement tests. These  tests are supposedly designed to be "snap shots" of where the students are academically. Howard-Winn uses the Iowa Assessment and the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) tests. The State of Iowa uses students' test results to measure how well a school District is educating the students.  The Iowa Assessment tests are "paper/pencil fill in the dot"  and the MAP tests are on-line. Students and staff have to wait days/weeks for Iowa Assessment results but with MAPs it is instantly.

In that I do not want to debate the intent of the tests, I do think the pictures speak volumes. Student nonverbal with the 20th century paper and pencil, wait for the result tests vs the online MAP tests to me reflect the mindset the kids are in when testing. My thinking is better mindset = better achievement. Our challenge is that we are required by the State to take the Iowa Assessments and it is these tests that determine our School In Need of Assistance (SINA) status. Good things are happening at Howard-Winn however 20th century testing does not reflect/measure our 21st century learning. More will follow on this. Stay tuned.

I very much like the realtime feedback of the MAP tests!

Our office staff keep us moving forward!
Last Wednesday was Administrative Assistant's Day! These special people keep us on track and moving forward. It many instances, they are the first point of contact the public has when they phone or come to one of our campuses or the District Office. Please know these special people's efforts and CADET dedication is valued and appreciated. Robyn Lane, Cheryl Riehle, Tanor Vorwald, Michelle Bakken, Sharon Ollendieck, Linda Middlebrook, Janice Lansing, Cheryl Riha and Connie McGrane, and Darla Vokaty, you all are ROCK STARS! THANKS for all you do!

Monday, May 5, there will be a Pre-Contest Concert featuring all three high school choirs. The concert, set to begin at 7:30 p.m., is free to the public.

"Shout Outs"
  • PROM is Saturday, April 26, 2014. Kids, Be safe and make GOOD CHOICES!
  • Bus Inspection Each day Brian Swestka and his Team, transport hundreds of children. To do this means having safe and reliable equipment. Congratulations on having the buses pass inspection! Way to Go!
  • Go, putt, win! Boy's Golf Team finished 1st among 10 teams at the Waverly-Shell Rock invitational.  Will Thomson finished 3rd overall and Alex Kerian tied for 10th overall.
  • CADET Track Keeping my fingers crossed for warmer days!
  • THANKS for those who served on the selection TEAM for the PK-1Principal/Director of Teaching and Learning position. Your servant leadership is GREATLY valued!
  • BOY THE WATER WAS COLD! "Polar Plunge 2014" for cancer!

What learning looks like at Howard-Winn!

One last thought......the quicker we come together, the quicker together we can all go!

April 25, 2014

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

Special Events for the Week of April 28 - May 5, 2014 
Monday:      Competency Based Education Planning Meeting - Cresco
Thursday:   Keystone AEA Principal's Meeting - 9:00 a.m.
Friday:       Go the Distance Day - 5th Period - 30 minutes of physical activity
                    JH/HS Student Services Meetings - 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Youth Frontiers Character Challenge of the Week


Student Climate/Culture
Amy Holst, Keystone AEA Equity Coordinator, met with Junior High and High School students last week. This week, Amy met with JH and HS Guidance Counselors and Success Program staff.

Many interesting thoughts were shared with Amy from students. Items ranged from students' making healthy lifestyle choices to student-teacher relationships. A deep reflection of staff behavior will be held over the next two months.

- May 7: Staff survey of student-staff relationships

- June 4: Amy Holst, Success Program staff, and students will present to 7-12 staff

PowerSchool has been selected to replace JMC by the Data Management System Committee. This has been a complete review of the services offered by PowerSchool, Infinite Campus, and JMC. PowerSchool has many benefits such as linkage to Schoology, professional appearance, and ease of data entry.
Next steps:
- Recommendation to the School Board in May- Development of a transition plan with the assistance of Grant Wood AEA
- Training for office personnel, administrators, and teachers
- Linkages to third party vendors for lunch needs, payments, and communication

PLTW Certification Visit Report
A representative from Project Lead the Way's K-12 Community Outreach visited Howard-Winneshiek two weeks ago. The purpose of the visit was to conduct the initial certification visit. Howard-Winneshiek is now considered to be provisionally certified. Findings of the visit are below:

Outstanding Practices:
Students enjoy the courses and like the instructors. They wish more students knew about the courses, as they believe they are a great addition to their school. Teachers are engaged and interested in PLTW wanting to grow the program and ensure its sustainability. District has strong relationship with area community college allowing students access to college credits and other STEM coursework. Budget established shows administration and BOE support. Partnership team is eager and actively engaged.

Next Steps:
Teacher and course determinations for year 2 and beyond; develop recruitment plans; encouraged offering IED to grades 9-12; school encouraged to lead partnership team efforts in collaboration and partnership with community college; promote program to parents and community families that may not currently be connecting through social media or e-news from the school.

Proposal for Full Certification:
Female Student Enrollment Plan/Recruitment:
- Send students to "Pink Thinks"
- Female teacher in High School PLTW staff
- Invite Lisa Digman, PLTW to speak to all 7/8 grade students
- Invite female Crestwood grads to speak to 7/8 grade students about engineering
- Have female High School PLTW students present to all 8th grade students during Recruitment Day

Year 2 Instructor for Principles of Engineering:
Karen Steffen, HS Science Instructor

Year 3 Instructor for Computer Integrated Manufacturing:
Chris Lentz, HS Industrial Tech Instructor (SUGGESTED BY HOWARD-WINN) 

Intro to Engineering and Design (IED) will be offered to all 9-12 students

Student Counseling Support
Crestwood High School will now be hosting a counselor from Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health - Decorah available to see see students during a study hall. Below is the process to arrange an appointment for your son/daughter to receive counseling.

- Call Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health at 563-382-3649 or 1-800-400-8923.
- When calling to set up your first appointment, please tell the receptionist that you would like your son/daughter to be seen at Crestwood High School.
- The receptionist will then schedule your first appointment in Decorah with the correct counselor.
- Following the initial meeting, you son or daughter can be seen at the High School during a study hall.

April 22 Professional Development
Agenda from the 3 Hour Professional Development event:

  • 7-12 Teacher Meeting 
  • Success Program Meeting 
  • 7-12 Departmental Work
    • Curriculum Manager Gap Analysis
    • 7-12 Course Offerings
    • End of the Year Planning   
  • PLTW meeting 

Seven Reasons for Standards-Based Grading     
The following information is the seventh of a seven-part series

Reason 7: It's a Launchpad to Other Reforms
When I began using standards-based grading, I quickly discovered that I needed to reexamine my curriculum. Each class needed a clear and concise set of standards with precise levels of mastery. This prompted a number of discussions with other teachers in my department, and each year we continue to adapt our objectives. No one can use standards-based grading without clear standards.

In addition to improving curriculum, I have found new ways to use formative assessments and intervention strategies. My work with special education students and English language learners in particular goes much more smoothly because all the modification needed is already built into what I do. I have also been able to work much more effectively with parents by giving them better information.

How do students respond to this style of grading? Of course, their reactions vary. It takes time, discussion, and reflection for students to understand their rights and responsibilities in such a system, and teachers must be patient as students and parents adjust. Many students have expressed increased satisfaction with having a larger degree of control over their grades, although some students do not like the revisions they are required to do. Some struggle to overcome test anxiety and need access to alternate assessments.

As for parents, many of them simply want opportunities for their children to succeed, so they are grateful for the revision and retesting. Each year, parents ask thoughtful questions, with some noting that this method of grading is more similar to evaluation in the workplace.

April 25, 2014 Greg.Adams

Greg Adams

Grade 2-6 Principal 

(Crestwood, Elma, Lime Springs/Chester)
Twitter  @GregAAdams7     #2020HowardWinn


Looking ahead...District Redesign
We now know that all 4th grade students will be educated in Lime Springs beginning next fall. Now the conversation turns to the logistics of making this happen. 

The intent will be that the teaching and learning at Lime Springs will follow the same model with the same supports available to all other grade levels in the district. We also are working at determining the model that best serves our 6th grade students. 

We have a tentative date of May 27 for introducing next year's 4th grade to the Lime Springs/Chester School in coordination with an evening Open House for parents and students.  

We are in the process of interviewing for PK-1 Principal, Special Education, Spanish, K-8 music, Dean of Students/Activities Director.

Monday, April 28
TuesdayApril 29
WednesdayApril 30
Thursday, May 1
FridayMay 2- Go the Distance Day- Teachers will plan to walk or engage their students in other physical activities/games for 30 minutes to promote fitness.
April 7-May 2: Spring MAP Tests

Summative Evaluations
Teachers and administrators are in the process of summative evaluation conferences. It has been great to devote time to conversations surrounding best teaching practices. It is very interesting to see the examples that evidence teaching strategies. 

Recognizing positive student behavior and character ... Cadet Pride Store 
The PBIS team is working on a catalog for thCadet Pride Store.  Students can go online and look at the items available for sale.  The address is  

The grand opening of the store will be Friday, May 2 in the elementary Art room.  Please know that we are reserving the Art room for the whole day on the 2nd.  We will send out a sign up sheet for you to select a time for your class to shop.  The time increments are tight, so please have the students look at the catalog to select items they might want before coming to the store.  Understand this our first run at this, so we will make adjustments as needed!  

Thank you to local businesses for their support with items and coupons.

Polar Plunge for HoCa (Howard County Cancer Association)
As some of you may know the "Polar Plunge" phenomenon has swept through the high school and community. So as a way to raise money for our local HoCA we are putting out a challenge to you.  The challenge is:

Raise $500 by NOON Friday, April 25, and Mr. Adams and Mr. Felderman will do the Plunge that afternoon!

Raise $1000 by NOON Friday and Mr. Carver will ALSO do the Polar Plunge!

There will be containers placed in the offices to collect money.  We will need a teacher/staff member to volunteer to help count money and put a container in the office at Elma and Lime Springs.

Making models of cloud types with cotton balls. #2020HowardWinn @GregAAdams7
Story image

Love it when #2020howardwinn students volunteer to read to me!
Story image

@bkknobloch 7th grade student SKYPING with Russian student OMG Locally learning globally #2020HowardWinn Way we roll

April 25, 2014 Shirley Sovereign

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

Administrative Professionals Day
This special day was observed on April 23rd.  Thank you to the building secretaries and all school office personnel.  These individuals are often the first contact students, parents and the public have with the school, and they do a great job representing our district!

What's Happening in Preschool?
The district preschool classrooms are busiest at this time of the year.  A family "fun night" has been held in each building.  The parent advisory meetings are done for the school year.  The big events, at this time, are the transition-to-kindergarten activities, district preschool field trip and end-of-year celebrations. 

April 25          Kindergarten teachers visit the preschool classrooms
                      Preschool and kindergarten teachers collaboration time
April 29          Preschoolers and their parents visit the kindergarten rooms at 
                      Crestwood Elementary
May 22          Lime Springs/Chester Preschool End-of-Year Celebration
May 28          Cresco Preschool End-of-Year Celebration
May 29          Preschool field trip to the Nature Center        
                      Elma Preschool End-of-Year Celebration
May 30          Last day of preschool
Mrs. Marr's class during Family Fun Night at Lime Springs/Chester.
PK students lining up for the music program at Lime Springs/Chester
Professional Development

Several important topics were covered during the teacher inservice time this week.  First grade teachers presented to the staff about how they are utilizing the NWEA MAPS DesCartes to plan for instruction in their intervention groups.  Thanks to Mrs. Voves, Mrs. Rausch, Mrs. Kuhn and Mrs. Mahr for sharing their work.  Second grade teachers showed the staff how they have re-designed the Skills Trace reporting document so it is more useful in grouping students for intervention time and for planning lessons to target specific reading skills.  Thanks to Mrs. Tuchek, Mrs, Ihde and Mrs. Berg for sharing their work on the use of formative assessments.

Other agenda items included: 
  • The Daily 5 Second Edition-framework for literacy and math
  • K-6 Math materials for next year
  • Peer observations
  • CBE trip to New Hampshire
  • "I Can" Statements
  • Implementing strategies learned from Kristin Ziemke
  • Grade level team meetings for this year
  • Grade level team meetings for 2014-2015       
Using DesCartes to plan for intervention time.

Organizing the Skills Trace for better decision-making.

District Plan for English Language Learners (ELL)
All school districts in Iowa were notified last fall that a new document called the Lau Plan will need to be written for the 2014-2015 school year.  The Lau (ELL) Plan, so named from the U.S. Supreme Court's 1974 decision in Lau v. Nichols, will be added to the district C-Plan (Comprehensive School Improvement Plan), due from all school districts in Iowa on Sept. 15th.

A work session was held at the AEA this week.  Mrs. Sue Mahoney, ELL teacher, and I attended.  Regardless of whether a district has identified English Language Learners enrolled, the law requires the development of a plan to address the specific language instruction education needs and to provide such services.  Howard-Winn. has students who qualify for services which are provided in the ELL program.  Our district ELL Plan was last revised in 2011.  The new Lau Plan will be ready for the fall.       

Opening of the PBIS Cadet Pride Store
The K-8 store had its grand opening this week.  The students have been receiving Cadet Pride Bucks for acts of positive behavior for the past month or more.  The long-anticipated Cadet Pride store is now open for business on posted dates and times.  Thank you to the K-8 PBIS Team for their hard work on this project.  A special thank you to Mrs. Tiffany McCabe and Mr. Scott Wiley for your work writing grants, seeking donations, ordering, purchasing and pricing items and setting up the blog site where the items are posted.  The PBIS Team ROCKS!



Athletic Director Jim Obermann
Twitter:  jobermann

Roller coaster weather makes for a hit or miss sports schedule... With the recent weather fluctuations, some spring sports events have happened while others have been cancelled.  Since the last update, here is what has been going on...hopefully, I don't miss anything...
  • Girls Golf - The girls were able to golf this past week vs. WSR and Charles City and placed 3rd in an added tournament at Nashua-Plainfield last night.  They travel to Jackson Jct. for a meet today.  The big news is that Crestwood will host first round regionals at the Cresco Country Club on May 19th...more details to come on this.
  • Boys Golf - The boys competed in tournaments at Decorah and Waverly last week and won the Waverly tournament.  Congrats!  They also defeated Charles City in a dual this past Monday and will also travel to Jackson Jct. today.
  • Boys Track - The boys track team has had a bit of a gap in their schedule with the cancellation of the MFL Meet this past Thursday.  They next compete at the home Co-Ed Meet on May 1st.
  • Girls Track - The girls track team hasn't had much better luck as they have lost two meets to weather this past week as they were also scheduled to go to MFL last Thursday and North Fayette last night.  However, the home girls invitational went off without a hitch on Tuesday, and the Cadet girls performed very well and came away with the team championship by scoring 171 points.  Great job girls!!!!  It is the first time the girls have won their home invitational since the early 90's.  The girls next are scheduled at Waukon on Tuesday and at the home Co-Ed Meet next Thursday.
A special thanks to all for the great help at the home girls meet.  We ran a very smooth meet and it is because of the experienced workers!!

**The jr. high teams have also started their competitive season with one meet each.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate for them as well.

Elementary Track Program... Karen Steffen and I, along with high school track team members, are also running a 4th-5th-6th grade track program for girls and boys on Monday nights.  We had our first night last Monday and had over 50 kids attend.  The energy level was high and we had a lot of fun!  There is no cost for this program.  We meet at the stadium at 5:30 and go until 7:00.  If kids didn't make it last Monday, they can come next Monday.  Hopefully, the weather cooperates for this as well.  We will meet the next 3 Mondays (April 28, May 5, May 12).  On May 12th we will have our track meet.

Have a great, safe weekend!!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

JCC April 18, 2014

District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver
Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

This is a wonderful sample of the GREAT teaching and learning going on at Howard-Winn! Way to go! Cadets: FORWARD!

Transformation Update
We continue to move forward. Last week PK-6 campus assignment for teachers was finalized. With this in place, transition plans are next. This includes, but not limited to: transportation, meet the teacher events, and transfer of education materials. Everyones cooperation and flexibility is valued and appreciated.
Pre-K (1-1.0 FTE and 5-.8 FTE)
Mrs. Merkel (1.0 FTE) CE
Mrs. Tieskoetter - CE
Mrs. Marr - Pre K - CE
Ms. Burke - EE
Mrs. Vsetecka - CE
Mrs. Holthaus - LS

Mrs. Galvin
Mrs. Franzen
Mrs. Timp
Mrs. Leifeld

1st Grade
Mrs. Voves
Mrs. Berg
Mrs. Einck
Mrs. Rausch

2nd Grade
Mrs. Buehler
Mrs. Ihde
Mrs. Tuchek
Mrs. Kuhn

3rd Grade
Mrs. Kerian
Mrs. Midthus
Mrs. Adams

4th Grade*
Mr. Carter
Mrs. Hemann
Mrs. Mahr
Mrs. Kisley

5th Grade
Mrs. Halverson
Mrs. Wilson
Mrs. Sorenson
Mrs. Suckow

6th Grade
Mr. Sorenson
Mrs. McCarville
Mrs. Fretheim

K-6 Special Education
Mrs. McCabe
Mrs. Watt
Mrs. Walter
Mrs. Butler

Lime Springs Special Education
Mrs. Fravel

Title 1
Mrs. Cray
Mrs. Foster
Mrs. Vachta
Mrs. Murray

Success Teacher
Mr. Anderlik

Mr. Knobloch

ELL (Tentative / FTE TBD)

Mrs. Mahoney
Learning and Instructional Leadership Redesign
The focus of everything we do is on learning, with instruction being a critical component. Instructional leadership is crucial to insure student's academic achievement and passion are identified and nurtured. 

Active searches are underway for the PK-1 / Director of Teaching and Learning and a new position, Director of Student Services: Citizenship and Activities. The Director of Student Services will be a full time administrative position charged with overseeing all the Cadet Activity Programs specifically but not limited to: athletics, music, speech and drama and student behavior.  

It needs to be noted that Mr. Obermann's leadership and service as the Cadet Athletic Director is greatly valued and appreciated. He has helped to move the Cadets FORWARD!  

Updates and additional information will follow.

2014-15 School Calendar Approved
Last the Monday, the Board of Education approved the 2014-15 school calendar. Input from community members and staff in creating the calendar is greatly appreciated and valued. Thank you! Please note 2014-15 design features include: 1st day of class Thursday, April 21, fall P/T conferences are Monday, November 17 and Thursday November 20 with the PK comp day FRIDAY November 21 and the K-12 Comp day on WEDNESDAY, November 26. The 2014-15 calendar will be posted on the school website


Congratulation Savannah Lentz! Signing National Letter of Intent for golf and basketball. This fall she will be a NIACC Trojan!

What a wonderful night of music! The 4th and 5th grade concert ROCKED!

THANK YOU Howard County Community Foundation for your continuing support! You guys ROCK!

"Holka Polka" What a GREAT performance last Saturday! The Lime Springs Children's Theater Troupe is a wonderful opportunity for kids!

Thanks to Public Relations Coordinator, Keri Schatz! She is telling our story!
Healthy Iowa Award Winners Announced
Iowa Department of Public Health and Healthiest State Initiative Recognition

Coming together to Serve
Cadet Nation's reputation of services is a point of humble pride. The Silver Cord program is OUTSTANDING. From many hours of unselfish work, a truth has emerged, that in many instances, Cadets have grown and received more serving others that those they have served. The gift of time has gone both ways.

Looking to the fall.............
Plans are now being made to bring Meals of the Heartland to Howard County as part of the 2014 Norman Borlaug Harvest Festival. This is an opportunity to include all of Howard County, young and old, in packaging meals. VERY COOL!

More information and updates will follow
Final thoughts........
  • For those going to see family and friends in the next couple of days, safe travels.  
  • Together we are having a wonderful and exciting adventure of change. There are two ways to experience it: dig in your heels and try to slow it down or run with it, get out ahead and see what is next.  
  • Another thing to consider is that our young people are watching us. Like sponges, they are soaking up all we are saying and doing. That being said, what lessons are we teaching our children about change?
Enjoy the moment! 
Think SPRING and WARM weather