Tuesday, November 25, 2014

JCC Nov 28, 2014

Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools

District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver  
Office 563 547 2762
Twitter: johnccarver
SKYPE: johnccarver

Happy Thanksgiving!
Tis the season again for feast, fellowship, and fun! Please take time to enjoy family, friends and reflect on all the opportunities and blessings in your life!  We are blessed to be living in the United States and specifically blessed to be here in IOWA. Have a wonderful break!  

The holiday season brings with it many memories, emotions and feelings.  For some this time of year is "bitter sweet" as loved ones and past holiday celebrations are thought of and remembered.  For others it is a time of excitement as new adventures and memories are created. With both, take in and enjoy the experiences. Life is so full of possibilities and opportunities. It is important we recognize and honor the past, live in the moment and dream, plan and work to the future.  It is GREAT to be alive!  

Change is perhaps the one thing that is a constant these days. As been shared in previous communications, mobility of families, declining student enrollment, decreasing school funding are all impacting how we serve the children of the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District.  Declining enrollment is not only happening at Howard-Winn but throughout rural IOWA and rural America.   

A patron shared with me last fall that: "It is a given that everything is shrinking". His words to me were: "Don't focus on that, but focus on how to give our kids the BEST education". I believe Howard-Winn is doing just that.  

Consolidating grade levels in Lime Springs and Cresco was a positive step forward instructionally.  Preliminary feedback from teachers indicate grade levels no longer feel isolated and there is an ability to plan strategies to better serve kids.  Collaboration amongst grade level teachers is powerful.  The innovation and creativity happening at Howard-Winn at Crestwood High School and at the Crestwood and Lime Springs elementary campuses is impressive.  Howard-Winn teachers are ROCK STARS. 

Our efforts to prepare, empower and position kids to compete in the 21st century was affirmed last week with Howard-Winn being included at the White House Connect Educators Summit.  Howard-Winn kids are receiving an education that gives them a competitive advantage. 

In the days and weeks to come recommendations and strategies will be presented to the Board of Education to address funding and enrollment concerns. There are many moving pieces to the equation.

Information presented indicated that cuts need to be made.  It makes sense that as student enrollment changes so too must the District change.  The balancing act is to make reductions that do not affect instruction and continues to "give our kids the BEST education".  In IOWA, parents have choices as to where to send their children to school. Academically we want parents to choose Howard-Winn.  

That being said, to achieve reductions, all programs and services, including facilities and staff needs will be reviewed.  This will include looking at the Lime Springs campus and discerning exactly what District-wide staff are needed.  Everything is and will be examined.

A teacher shared with me recently that despite all the "pineapple upside" we had the end of last year, everything seemed to work out.  I wish I could say we are done with "pineapple upside" for a while, but that would not be true.  We continue to be in a state of change and as such must continue to be flexible, adaptable and "think outside-of-the-box". 

For what it is worth, I feel blessed and humbled to be at Howard-Winn and to be sharing the experience with you.  Together we will do great and wonderful things for kids! 

District Advisory Committee
The Board has created, and I look forward to working with, the District Advisory Committee. The purpose of this committee is to give reflections and perspectives of District initiatives and direction. 
District 1~ Karlos McClure
Alison Holten
Daniell Gosch
Darin Schmauss
District 2 ~ Scott Fortune
Warren Steffen     
Lee Lindstrom  
Jeff Zak
District 3 ~ Jim Kitchen
Jeanette and Jay Burns
Kelly Olson Jessen and Brian Jessen
Melanie Fousek and Clint Fousek 
District 4 ~ Duane Bodermann
To be announced
At Large ~ Doug Berg
Mike Conlan  
Bruce McConnell
Jeff Meinecke

Gifts from the heart, food for the spirit:
Santa Holiday Parade food drive!
Last October, during the Norman Borlaug Harvest Festival, around 700 volunteers came together for the purpose of packaging meals to feed the hunger in Northeast Iowa and beyond.  

Thousands benefited and were fed however, the need continues. As we enter the winter months, many of our neighbors depend on the Cresco Food Pantry and your help is needed.

Bring your can goods and non-perishable food items!
Friday, November 28 at 4:00 during the Santa Holiday parade. Pam and John Carver will be in the parade to collect your food items. Collected donations will be shared with the Cresco Food Pantry and the Midwest Mission. 

Family and friends, we have so much to be thankful for as we enter the holiday season. Begin the season of giving by giving nonperishable foods during the parade!

Instruction Hours Worksheet

Learning looked like this last week at Howard-Winn!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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