Friday, October 31, 2014

JCC October 31, 2014

Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools
District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver  
Office 563 547 2762
Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

Site Schedule for 2014-15 Board Meetings
The Board of Education believes it is important to provide patrons opportunities to attend regularly scheduled Board meetings.  As such, for the 2014-15 school year, meetings sites will be rotated through the various communities in the District:
  • November 10, 2014: 7:00 p.m. at the Howard-Winn campus in Elma
  • December 8, 2014: 7:00 p.m. at the Howard-Winn campus in Lime Springs
  • January 12, 2015: 7:00 p.m. in Chester at site TBA
  • February 9, 2015: 7:00 p.m. at Crestwood High School in Cresco
  • March 9, 2015: 7:00 p.m. at the Howard-Winn campus in Elma
  • April 13, 2015: 7:00 p.m. at the Howard-Winn campus in Lime Springs 
  • May 11, 2015: 7:00 p.m. in Chester at site TBA
  • June 8, 2015: 7:00 p.m. at Crestwood High School in Cresco

CADET Sportsmanship Recognized
This communique was sent me regarding our 9th grade Football Coaches and TEAM.
The most important thing we have is our reputation. It is something we must ALL safeguard and continuously work to maintain.  

It is important to realize that the only one that can "trash" our reputation is us and that there will always be those who will say negative things about us. If what they say is true it will stick, if what they say is not true it will slide "right off our backs" and never stick! 

A CADET salute to Coach Natvig, Coach Cuvelier and the 9th grade Football TEAM.  

Continue to MOVE FORWARD!   

Happy Halloween!
We have had MANY visitors to the K-8 Discovery Zone this past week!  Virtually and in "pumpkin" I mean "person"!  Students from across the District have been decorating pumpkins and bring them to school to share their favorite books.

When visiting the Discovery Zone, students where allowed to vote for their favorite pumpkin and book!  VERY COOL!  Our fall pumpkin friends are fantastic and truly showcase creativity and imagination. This is awesome! 

What a GREAT way to celebrate FALL and also provide students an opportunity to share with others their favorite books.  READING ROCKS! 

School Delays and Cancelations Due to Weather
We are entering the time of year where weather conditions can impact classes and school start time. Transportation Director Brian Swestka and I begin checking roads starting at 4:00 a.m. A decision to modify the day will be made by 6:00 a.m. and will be communicated via Twitter, Iowa School Alerts and posted to the school webpage and Facebook page. Local TV and Radio stations will also be notified.   

To sign up for Iowa School Alerts go online to


Skye Meinecke, Gretchen Vandervort
Megan Wilkes, Ashley Madsen and 
Jenna Alstad for trying out for Iowa ALL STATE Band! and a WAY TO GO to Megan and Ashley! Nice work!


CADET Volleyball and Football TEAMS: PROUD OF YOU!

Learning last week at Howard-Winn looked like.........

To be hip, look right and to be a 21st century learner, backpacks are out! Computer Bags are IN! 

October 31, 2014

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

Special Events for the Week of November 3 - November 9, 2014
Tuesday:         TLC Meeting - 7:30 a.m.
Wednesday:    Admin Meeting - 7:30 a.m.
Thursday:        Keystone AEA Meeting - 10:00 a.m.
                         7-12 Academic BLT Meeting - 3:30 p.m.
Friday:             Counseling/At-Risk Weekly Meeting - 1:00 p.m.

Saturday:        Iowa Student Learning Institute - Waukee High School

Youth Frontiers - The Character Challenge

National Honor Society Induction 
The Induction Ceremony for new initiates to the Crestwood Chapter of the National Honor Society will be November 10th at 7:00 p.m. in the HS Auditorium. This year's featured speaker will be Dr. Steve Schulz, NIACC President. We invite all community members to the ceremony with a reception afterwards in the HS Student Center.

How Do We Gain Students Attention?

Great Collaboration between School Districts! 
On Tuesday, October 28 the Virtual Reality Education Pathways (VREP) class from New Hampton and their facilitator Mary Frese visited Crestwood's VREP class. Students from CHS shared some of their projects they have been working on over the last couple of years and answered questions posed from the New Hampton instructor and students. A short one-to-one conferencing took place to discuss questions on specific projects the New Hampton students shared. 

Security at the High School
Crestwood High School staff believe strongly in a safe educational environment for students. All exteriors will be locked during the school day from Thursday, October 30, 2014 and continuing ahead.

Students will be given an access card that can be used to open the main front doors, superintendent's/district office doors, back cafeteria doors, and east doors by the weight room. Lanyards for the access cards will be provided to students prior to Thursday, October 30.

The access card will open the four sets of doors from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Front doors and cafeteria doors at the High School and the front and three sets of South doors at the K-8 building are scheduled open from 7:00 - 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visitors at the superintendents door will be directed to the superintendent's office before being allowed into the building, the last set of doors here are the only ones locked during business hours.  

The exterior doors will be open during activity events at night.

Please note that the door opening system will record the name, date, and time of the person's swipe card when entering the building.

If you do not have a swipe card, there is an entry pad which can be "buzzed." The entry pad is located next to the west set of main front doors. Secretaries will ask for the name of the person entering the building and possibly what business the person is to conduct.

A special thanks to the Cresco Police Department - specifically Chief Tim Ruroden, Officer Shannon Cox, and Officer Cory Jarchow for their recent involvement in the Shelter in Place Drill and Canine Sweep. The Cresco Police Department and Howard County Sheriff's Department have been tremendous partners in developing a safe, secure learning environment.

Project Led the Way Computer Science Course Investigation
Crestwood Secondary staff is currently investigating a second strand to our PLTW course offerings - Computer Science.

The foundation course is Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSE). Using Python® as a primary tool and incorporating multiple platforms and languages for computation, this course aims to develop computational thinking, generate excitement about career paths that utilize computing, and introduce professional tools that foster creativity and collaboration. This course can be a student's first course in computer science, although we encourage students without prior computing experience to start with Introduction to Computer Science. CSE helps students develop programming expertise and explore the workings of the Internet. Projects and problems include app development, visualization of data, cybersecurity, robotics, and simulation. The course aligns with CSTA 3B standards.

Further classes can be offered to develop a computational thinking, computationally aware and capable workforce. 

What Are The Needs of a 21st Century Classroom?
The 21st Century Classroom involves more than just the latest technological devices. It is how interactive technology, digital tools, the internet, and a teacher armed with the right knowledge combine to provide a learning environment that engages today's students in learning.
  • Engages the student and encourages collaboration
  • Combine information and opportunities for learning
  • Recognizing vast sources of information and knowledge on the internet 
  • Skilled and professional teachers

How are teachers preparing for the 21st Century at Crestwood Secondary School?

  • g2 “Global Generation” program sets the stage for authentic connections and collaboration 
  • Standards Based Grading to effectively communicate achievement status to students and parents 
  • Project Lead the Way provides hands-on, project-based engineering courses through critical thinking skills
  • Flipped learning allows a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing 
  • Experiential Learning provides hands-on learning in multiple disciplines 
  • Student Centered Learning allows students to take ownership of learning and develop the process of mastery to best fit their learning style
  • Manufacturing/Industry Connections to deliberately transfer the skills taught to students and make them applicable to workplace careers.



Terese Jurgensen - October 30th

Terese Jurgensen - Wrapping up our First Quarter!

Terese Jurgensen (Mrs. J.)
Principal 2-6; 
Director of Special Education

Heading into 2nd Quarter!

Happy Halloween! This week's blog is focused on great things that have happened at Crestwood Elementary first quarter. The last nine weeks have flown by, and I have been overwhelmed with the passion, creativity and love for learning at Howard-Winneshiek Community School District! As we move toward the Holiday Season, it is my hope to get to know more of our families and students. Please know you are always WELCOME to call, email and visit us at Crestwood Schools!

Shout Out!
Greg Murphy
I want to give a "Shout Out!" to Greg Murphy. Greg is one of our many staff members who goes the extra mile for kids here at Howard-Winneshiek Community School District. Last Friday, we had an unexpected fog day with no school. I was notified by the mother of our student shown in the pictures below, that Mr. Murphy was taking her son fishing on a day with no school. Mr. Murphy's relationship with our happy young man here, has not only impacted this student, but has made a profound impact on the entire family. Thank you, Mr. Murphy, "for going above and beyond for kids!" Nice Work!

                       Blake Fitch shown here with Greg Murphy fishing last Friday, October 24th.  
Sara Fitch, Blake's mom, texted me Thursday, October 30th saying, "I just wanted to thank Crestwood Schools for everything they have done for Blake. He is having the best school year so far that he has ever had! Greg is amazing with him - he has made a huge impact on Blake's life!!! He is a special person for sure!!! Thank you so much again!!!" 

When I asked Sara if  I could put Blake's picture and name in our our weekly update, she replied, 

"Yes! Please do....everybody should know how amazing his school year is going and what a great person Mr. Murphy is!"

~School & Reading Readiness ~ 
We can make a difference!

The Statisticks Lottery - Video from Youtube

The issue of students struggling to read is impacted by many factors. This video was sent to me, and it outlines realities and strategies we can do at Crestwood to support reading instruction. As a school, we are working hard on our preparations for 2014-15 SINA plan. We will be setting up our SES tutoring of students this month and our after-school tutoring program will begin the first weeks of January. If you are a parent/caregiver in our community, please be sure to check out our homepage and share any insights/ideas/thoughts about our SINA plan for the upcoming school year.

Characteristics of Effective Instruction:
Miss Kerian - working with her 4th grade students during Math
Daily 5 - instruction is student centered, with students rotating
through assorted learning, hands-on, visual math strategies.
One of our goals this year is to define, recognize, mentor each other in becoming educators who implement the characteristics of effective instruction. We know it is not about teachers is about students learning! Characteristics of effective instruction outline student-centered classrooms, rigorous instruction, engagement, connections to real-world experiences to name a few. Please enjoy the following pictures and video that outline just a few great things happening at Crestwood Elementary!


Socratic Seminar - Mrs. Sorenson's 5th Grade Literacy Class

Socratic seminar is a type of formal group discussion based on the learning and teaching methods employed by Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher often credited with founding Western philosophy. While most classes are based on lectures intended to directly transmit information from teacher to student, a Socratic seminar is based more on inquiry and discussion. Socrates held the idea that it is more effective to help students think for themselves than it is to simply give them information. A Socratic seminar is, therefore, intended to be a discussion of a specific topic among all of those present rather than a situation in which one teacher gives information to students.

Every Thursday Mrs. Sorenson's 5th grade students engage in a Socratic Seminar Discussion. There are 3 roles: Discusser, Evaluator and Audience. Mrs. Sorenson, prepares questions for the discussers and during the week they study, investigate and prepare. Discussers are located in the inner circle. The evaluators are surrounding them on the outside and each student with a clipboard is evaluating one student in the areas of ideas, presentation of those ideas and reasoning skills. The audience listens and will eventually be in the inner circle to recap the discussion. At any time, an evaluator or an audience member may stand up and stand by a chair in the inner circle. The discusser will call "Hot Seat!" and the person may sit and ask a question regarding the current discussion. It is amazing to watch 5th grade students learn how to "be a part of the future executive board rooms involving sharing of ideas, debate and great listening skills."  

Happy Halloween!

Mrs. Shekelton had students bring in and share pumpkins that were created to look like their favorite characters. Here are just a few for your Halloween enjoyment!

Grimm-October 31st

PK-1 Principal/Director of Teaching & Learning

Sara Grimm
Twitter:  saramarleygrimm
SKYPE:  saramarleygrimm

      Happy Halloween!

It’s the season for jack-o-lanterns, costumes, and trick or treating, but if you are not interested in the “spooktacular” events or candy of the holiday there are many activities that you and your child can do to celebrate the season.

Halloween Math Halloween is a time for math fun -- for estimating and measuring pumpkin weights and waistlines; for drawing spiders with coordinates and discovering the math woven into spider webs; for categorizing costumes; and for graphing candy counts.

My Pumpkin Story
Use an online tool to create a unique pumpkin, then write a story about its special characteristics. (Grades K-5)

Pick a Pumpkin Activity Pumpkins are the ultimate October icons -- the fruit of the month, if you will. (Yes! Pumpkins are a fruit.) This month, celebrate pumpkins with these across-the-curriculum activities. Included: Art, science, language, and math activities.

Bats in the Classroom: Activities Across the Curriculum October -- the perfect time to work bats into the curriculum, to teach about some of the misconceptions often held about these interesting creatures of nature.

The MindsEye Monster Exchange Project: Monsters Made to Order! A project that will challenge your students' imaginations!

Pump Up the Curriculum With Pumpkins Jump into pumpkin facts and pumpkin lore. Try pumpkin science, pumpkin math, pumpkin writing...

The preschoolers continued learning about fall this week. One classroom had a pumpkin that was still green. The preschoolers predicted that the pumpkin would turn orange
and used their math skills to graph how many days it would take. Other Preschoolers had fun sharing family pumpkin projects. They are now displayed in the hall for others to enjoy. What creative thinking!

Some science explorations included predicting if a tiny pumpkin and gourd would have seeds inside of them. Students charted their guesses, then later cut into them and discovered that they do have seeds and the both look very similar.

Mrs. Tieskoetter’s preschoolers took a virtual field trip to her farm. They watched a combine shell corn out of the field and unload the corn into a wagon. After the wagon was full, they observed a tractor drive the full wagon out of the field. The preschoolers were amazed by this process and decided to shell some corn off the cob at the discovery table.

During the fall season students have been observing the changes in nature. They have been finding many different kinds of leaves on the playground. Yesterday, we made leaf people with a variety of leaves.   

First Grade
Practicing math facts and knowledge is essential to helping students sharpen their skills. One of the ways to practice and to make practicing more exciting is by incorporating math skills into games. Here are some students practicing their math skills using games like Penny-Nickel Exchange and High Rollers.

QR Codes for Reading
You may be asking, What is a QR Code? A QR code is a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs (a webpage address) or other information for reading by the camera, a smartphone, or an iPad. Some first graders have been experimenting with these and now have a new listen to reading board made of book images and QR codes!

These first graders are designing index card towers to practice and develop engineering skills.

Many of our Howard-Winn students had fun this week Skyping with @EricJamesAuthor about his book: A Halloween Scare in Iowa

Hilsabeck 10/31/14

Activities Director/Dean of Students
Brian Hilsabeck
Twitter: @BrianHilsabeck

Cadet Week Ahead-
Monday 11/3/14:    Potluck for HS and JH CC members in the HS Student Center 6:00
                                Cresco Youth Wrestling Parents Night in the HS gym 7:00

Thursday 11/6/14:  7th GBB @ Waukon 4:15
                                8th GBB HERE vs. Waukon 4:15
                                HS Football Awards banquet in the HS Student Center 6:00

Football season ended this past Friday @ Vinton-Shellsburg.  Our student-athletes worked hard all season long with a NON-QUIT attitude.  We would like to thank the seniors and their parents for the many hours and dedication over the past years of participation and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Coaches/Sponsors at Howard-Winn teach our students how to both win and lose with PRIDE and self control.  Setting a strong example for them will help them to prepare for real-world applications.  Thank you to those coaches/sponsors/parents for your hard work to help make these young adults the best that they can be.

Staying positive through tough times and looking at all the positives that surround us, will always outweigh the negatives.  I challenge you to start a fierce conversation with a positive and end with a positive.

 Action = Consequence (Something to think about)

Howard-Winn cares about EVERY student here and BELIEVES that each student has something to offer.  It is our job to help them prepare for success and help them celebrate along the way.

Volleyball ended its season this past Monday @ Waukon.  We are proud of the strides these young ladies made throughout the year.  We would also like to thank the seniors and their parents for their commitment and dedication to the program and wish them the best of luck in the future.

New addition to the entry way at the High School.  We are proud of the many activities that students choose to participate in here, which help them to become well-rounded individuals.

Have a great week and GO CADETS!

Friday, October 24, 2014

JCC October 24, 2014

District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver  

Office 563 547 2762

Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

School Delays and Cancelations Due to Weather
We are entering the time of year where weather conditions can impact classes and school start time. Transportation Director Brian Swestka and I begin checking roads starting at 4:00 a.m. A decision to modify the day will be made by 6:00 a.m. and will be communicated via Twitter, Iowa School Alerts and posted to the school webpage and Facebook page. Local TV and Radio stations will also be notified.   

To sign up for Iowa School Alerts go online to

Board Workshop: Enrollment Impact
As has been reported, the certified enrollment decreased 54 students this year. This number is used to determine State Aid, per pupil funding for the 2015-16 school year. 

The Board met in work session last Tuesday evening at the Ridgeway Community Center to review current conditions and look to the future. Working with Gary Sinclair from the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB), the Board looked at several scenarios and 5-year projections. In that there are many "moving pieces" to the equation, the bottom line is student enrollment and what allowable growth (increase in state aid) is over the years to come is critical.  

Going forward, it is crucial to be proactive and strategic. My biggest "take away" from the workshop was Mr. Sinclair's direction to: spend different, spend smarter and spend less. In addition to this I would add to work collaboratively with area business and industry to lift up the region, the quality of life and actively recruit families to the area. All of which have potential to make a difference.   

It is important to note that the District has several revenue streams and these funds are restricted in their use. The General Fund (which is impacted by the certified head count) is used for salaries and operating expenses and the one reflected in the scenarios. 

In the weeks to come the Board and Administration will be reviewing and identifying options and actions. In all of the work to be done, the driving question for the District will be to do what is best for kids.  

Food for thought. From the District's perspective it was determined to best serve the kids instructionally, grade levels were consolidated with the 4th grade in Lime Springs and K-3, 6-12 on the Crestwood Campus. It is noted and respected that some parents chose to enroll their students at Notre Dame rather than have them ride the bus to Lime Springs. In conversations with several patrons over the last few days, it has been shared that, "It is OK for the outlying area kids to be bused to the Crestwood Campus, but there is disappointment that some parents would not want their children bused to Lime Springs." It will be difficult at best for us to go forward with an "us against them mentality" CADET NATION = respect, support each other and pull together. Change is hard. 

The District will follow established protocols, procedure, law and will respect parent choice. It will also continue to provide a world-class education and provide students opportunities to locally learn globally. One thing for sure is the rate of change is accelerating.    

More information and updates will follow.

If at any time you have questions, do not hesitate to contact me. Your thinking is valued and appreciated. John Carver 563-547-2762    

"Out-of-the-Box" Thinking = Opportunities
Prior to the Workshop in Ridgeway last Tuesday, the Board toured the new Shrimp Farm being built in the Ridgeway School. It was simply amazing. Talk about "thinking outside-of-the-box"!  45+ tanks are in place, water is being prepared and very soon you will be able to "walk in" and purchase fresh shrimp. Amazing possibilities are all around us! 

"Shout OUTS"
  • This week's SHOUT OUT goes to Keri Schatz, Howard-Winn's Public Relations coordinator. She is telling Howard-Winn's story and coordinating media relations. Go to  and read about: Elementary students taking a virtual field trip, Howard-Winn Preschool winning a STEM grant, and Howard-Winn students taking a tour of the new CNC lab as well other very cool happenings.  THANK YOU Keri! 
Learning at Howard-Winn last week looked like.........

October 24, 2014

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

Special Events for the Week of October 27 - November 2, 2014
Tuesday:         Admin Meeting - 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday:    Keystone AEA TRIAD Meeting - 9:00 a.m.
Thursday:       Admin Walk Through - 9:00 a.m.
                         Howard-Winneshiek Foundation Promo Video Meeting - 2:00 p.m.
Friday:             Counseling/At-Risk Weekly Meeting - 1:00 p.m.

                         Keystone AEA CBE Planning Meeting - 1:30 p.m. 

Youth Frontiers - The Character Challenge

Reminder:  #cadetnation Fridays are the first Friday of every month. This is a way to show your Cadet spirit. Remember to wear your #cadetnation t-shirt on Friday, Nov. 7.

Iowa BIG Idea School Visit 
Becky Bohr, Deb Day, Tim Felderman, Crystal Hegg, Kirsten Johnson, Brenda Knobloch, Rhonda Vobr, and Kris Ward visited the Iowa BIG Idea School on Oct. 20.

The agenda for the afternoon included:
  • Welcome and Overview
  • Taking Part in a Student Project Meeting
  • Student Panel
  • The BIG Story
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Next Steps
The projects that students were developing were tremendously deep in skill development and highly student engaging. For example:
  • Sports Documentary
  • Making BIG Bigger
  • Bever Park Zoo
  • Project Team Medley - Project Hacks

Essential Questions for the Self-Directed Learner

Tips to Help Build a Cohesive Team

Snapshot of United States CBE Status
While states work to ensure all students are prepared for future success in a globally
competitive society, emphasizing greater rigor and deeper application of knowledge and skills, they are confronted with the fact that the traditional time-based model of education may not be up to the task. States are now rapidly advancing competency education. Thirty-six states have already revised policies to allow for proficiency-based diplomas, waived seat-time to allow competency-based pathways, created credit flexibility, or initiated a redesign  of their education system around student learning.