Friday, January 30, 2015

JCC Jan 30, 2015

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

These 2nd graders from Mrs. Tuchek's classroom are empowered and focused. They are EXCITED about learning and have a growing love for Math. Our task: keep them EXCITED and moving forward. 

It is hard to imagine what expectation these young people will have for learning when they get to high school. The Future looks BRIGHT!  CADETS FORWARD!

Please note that we are now down to 10.5 Hours remaining. This means that if we exceed this number, we will need to lengthen the school year. 

Also note that Teacher Contract Days are different than contact days with students. The HWEA and administration are in continuos conversations clarifying this question. Teacher are contracted for 190 days. Student contact is in hours. 

Stay tune for updates.   

Howard-Winn: Next Steps
Last Monday evening, the Board of Education took bold, necessary steps forward. The
Board voted, 5-0, to cease all operation in Elma at the end of the 2015 summer feeding program, and to dispose of the Howard-Winn Elma school. 

The first step in the process of disposing of the Elma School is to offer/gift the property to the City of Elma. The City of Elma has 60 days to respond to the offer. It is important to note that Government entities can gift/transfer items amongst themselves. If the City does not want the property, the Board will then dispose of the property in a public manner, like an auction or by sealed bid. The property would go to the highest bidder.   

Lime Springs
The Facilities and Transportation subcommittee of the Board was tasked last Monday to move forward and identify options on the disposal of the Howard-Winneshiek Lime Springs campus. There are several questions to be answered on this topic, among which is the District's needs in regard to pre-school and the the Spring Ahead Learning Center (Day Care). The Day Care also serves as the community Tornado Shelter.  

Howard-Winn officials are on the agenda for the next City Council meeting in Lime Springs on Tuesday, February 3, 2015.  

Crestwood K-8 Campus
Soon discussion and planning will begin on the move of the 4th grade and the allocation of space for all grade levels at the K-8 for the 2015-16 school year.  The physical lay-out of the K-8 and Crestwood High School are being reviewed. With both buildings, entrances that are safe and secure are a priority. The "footprint" of the buildings is large enough to accommodate our students body, but internal remodeling may be needed. More information and updates will follow.  

District Advisory Committee
The next meeting is 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at the K-8 Discovery Center. It is a pleasure to share that Mr. Tom Platte (from Elma area) was approved by the Board of Education as a representative for District 4. The Committee is still seeking another representative for District 4, preferably from the Protivin/Ridgeway area. Interested potential representatives from District 4 please contact Director of Teaching and Learning, Sara Grimm at 563-547-2300

  • Very COOL 2014 Teacher of the Year, Jane Schmidt, has been traveling around visiting schools in counties across Iowa. Her mission: to tell others about Iowa "Points of Pride" in Iowa Education. Thursday she was at Howard-Winneshiek. Look for her reflection and CADET discoveries in her Blog  
  • Basketball Teams and Wrestlers: GOOD LUCK, CADETS FORWARD! 
  • "TIP OF THE HAT" AND MUCH RESPECT to Howard-Winneshiek learners (both young and old, students and teachers). Your energy and enthusiasm ROCKS!  
  • Please welcome our newest CADET Olivia Lynn Mahr, Congratulations
    Proud Parents Katie (Crestwood 1st grade teacher) and husband Travis Mahr. Olivia was born at 8:03 p.m. 1/26/15. She weighed in at 7 lbs 6.2 ounces and she is 21 inches long.
Learning last week at Howard-Winn looked like.........

January 30, 2015

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

Special Events for the Week of February 2 - 8, 2015
Monday:          Junior High Science Fair - 5:30 p.m. - HS Student Center
Wednesday:     3 Hour Early Out Schedule - Professional Development
                          Admin Meeting - 7:45 a.m. 
                          District Advisory Committee - 6:00 p.m.

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, February 6.

Youth Frontiers - The Character Challenge

Vocal Music Booster Club Omelet Breakfast
The Choir Booster Omelet Breakfast will be held Sunday, February 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Crestwood High School Cafeteria. The price is $6/person. This includes a made-to-order omelet, cinnamon roll, fruit and milk, coffee, and juice.

Put Crestwood on the International Map
donate vitamins to Guatemala. Spanish teacher Kris Ward will be going to Guatemala in February to work as an interpreter at a medical mission clinic and there is a great need for vitamins to distribute to the people who come to the clinic. These vitamins help to support the overall health of Guatemalans who live in the San Raymundo area. They are very thankful for the medicine and what a simple way we can make an impact. Refuge International is sponsoring the trip. Check their website at

Honor Roll Change
Effective Fall 2015, Crestwood Secondary Schools will not be utilizing an Honor Roll. This is due to the implementation of Competency Based Education for the 2016-2017 school year. The one piece of the transition to PowerSchool for 2015-2016 would be to upload templates for the Honor Roll. It has been deemed unnecessary to complete this step with CBE on the horizon.

Student Led Conferences
Students have been working hard in preparation for their Student Led Conferences (SLC) during Parent-Teacher Conferences in February.

As a reminder:
  • The purpose of SLC is for the student to take the lead role in a presentation that articulates his or her academic, personal and social growthEach student creates a portfolio that contains a collection of work, reflections and evidence of their growth over time to be used as a communication tool regarding their learning. In essence, students will be completing a mini-interview to their parent/guardian.
  • Students are REQUIRED to participate in the SLC. Parents/guardians are welcome to participate. If a parent or guardian cannot participate, a relative, neighbor or any adult should plan on attending. If no arrangements can be made, the student should contact their Homebase Advisor.
  • Students/parents/guardians will sign up for SLCs using the Conference Scheduler as done in the traditional Parent-Teacher Conference format. 
  • The SLC will be conducted with the Homebase Advisor. All classes will be conducted under the supervision of the Homebase Advisor. 
  • 15 minutes will be allotted for each SLC. 
  • If a parent/guardian needs to meet with a other teachers, this can still occur. Time will be allotted each night of Conferences. 
  • More information on how to schedule will be sent to parents/guardians in the next few weeks. 
  • If a student chooses to not participate in SLC and there is no alternative arrangements made with the principal, students' diplomas could be held or students may not advance to the next grade level.

State CBE Collaborative Update
The Howard-Winneshiek Competency Based Education (CBE) team attended the monthly State CBE Collaborative Meeting in Altoona. 

Agenda for the day:
  • Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions 
  • Performance Assessment Project 
  • Genius Hour for Districts

During Genius Hour time, the Howard-Winneshiek team discussed the current state of implementation of CBE at the 7-12 grade level.

Scary and Challenging Times....
The change that is occurring at the Secondary School level is scary and difficult work.  Current items in play:
·      Competency Based Education implementation
·      PowerSchool implementation
·      Technology (1:1) integration
·      Regional Schools collaboration
·      Student Centered Classroom design
·      Student-teacher relationship building

There are many unknowns in the change that is occurring. This is unchartered territory. No other school has undergone the implementation curve we have the past 4 years. Being the frontrunners for instructional design for the 21st Century, Crestwood teachers are completing work that has not even been dreamed about by other schools. No other school in the state of Iowa is developing a systemic Competency Based Education model for its students.

We must fight the fear of the unknown as we look ahead as a collective staff. Yes, this is not easy work. Yes, we will stumble. Yet, we will persevere. It was shared with me this week, “(we are) not asking for perfection, we are asking for proficiency.”

As educators, we hold dear in our belief that students can and should achieve at high levels.  Teachers know students should be evaluated on performance and transfer of knowledge gained. Teachers continue to expand learning opportunities for students to develop and apply skills to real world situations. 

We must hold our heads high as we represent our students, communities and school. Others are watching us at a local, regional, state, and national level. There is a reason why other schools ask about what we are developing. There is a reason why universities visit our campus and want to share our story with their students. We cannot allow ourselves to use fear as a shield to avoid progress.

Your work is noble and honorable. We must celebrate successes, understand challenges, and use our collective will to develop an educational system designed for students’ needs in college, careers, and citizenry.

Regional Schools Principals Meeting Update
Administrators from Decocrah, South Winneshiek, Turkey Valley, New Hampton, and Howard-Winneshiek met this past week to set in motion partnerships between our districts. Items discussed and commonalities found:
  • Devoting 1 day per month to a common Professional Development Day to collaborate between Districts.
  • Formatting a common Daily Schedule between the schools to include Homebase/Advisory time.
  • Develop a common template to display course offerings between the schools. 
Future items to review for commonalities:
  • Grading philosophies
  • Curriculum guides
The next meeting is scheduled for February 10 at NICC-Calmar.

Money Smart Kid Essay

ISU Extension in Howard County and C US Bank have teamed up to offer Money Smart Kid  2015 ESSAY Contest.  The essays submitted will be judged locally and all essays will be submitted to state level judging.  Local winners will get $100 second prize and $200 first prize.  The essays judged state level will have one winner and that garnishes $1000 College Savings Account prize.

Grades 7-11 may apply.  Essays need to be turned in to the Extension Office by March 13, 2015.   

Money Smart Week in Iowa and around the nation is being celebrated April 18-25, 2015 and we will have some other things at the libraries and grocery stores for adults.  This effort is to help raise awareness of money savings! 

Questions? Please call: Sue Barnes, ISU Extension Howard County at 563-547-3001 

Safe and Supportive Schools Stories
Recent comments about the positive connections being made between students and teachers....

(STUDENT) shared with me today the positive email that (TEACHER) had sent her and her mom. She was grinning ear to ear and was so proud of herself! She took a screenshot and posted it to her mom's FB page. They do not have Internet at home and mom doesn't check emails. She said her mom will see it on FB, on her phone and be proud of her.    What a great program!

I'm glad we're doing this. Something so simple, yet rewarding for both student and teacher...

Student Tax Forms 
Please be aware that some of your high school students may receive a 1098T tax form in the mail to their home address. Please advise students, * UNLESS THE STUDENT/FAMILY IS PAYING OR HAS PAID FOR THE COURSE - THEY DO NOT NEED TO PROCESS THESE FORMS. As NICC has more students opting to pay for college classes on their own during the school year or during last summer, 2014 term; more of the tax forms are being mailed out.

Jurgensen 1/30/2015


Many of you may recall that my "Word for the Year" is Culture. When I was a missionary years ago, I remember that the most important part of reaching out to any people group was to respect their culture. I have reflected on those lessons during the last several weeks, and despite the obstacles and challenges our district faces, from my desk and from my experiences, I am excited and extremely optimistic about the future, and indeed the positive culture, of Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools.

The 5th Grade Literacy Block is learning about THEME
~ the deeper meaning of a story. Book Clubs are also in action and it is exciting to see our students engaged and telling each other about the stories they are reading.

Our Elementary Students have completed all FAST Reading Assessments for the winter period. The NWEA test (MAPs) for reading proficiency is near completed. Please look forward to your child’s results during parent/teacher conferences on February 17th and February 19th.

Sign up for conferences opens on Wednesday, February 4th at 9:00 a.m. ~ go to - Parent Information...

Please READ with your children every day!  Reading along with your children (at least) 20 minutes daily makes all the difference in their ability and love of reading!

One of the key learning strategies at Crestwood is our protected 90-minute literacy block that is enjoyed and practiced throughout our elementary. 

Our special education students are included in this literacy block because we believe and know that the CORE + MORE is the reason why several of our students are meeting their reading goals and being staffed out of special education services! The Core + More means that our special education students learn along with our general education students and then receive direct instruction in a small group setting.

Scribbler Bots!
Heather Suckow’s 5D students started coding Scribbler Bots today! It was really exciting to see the students learn new ways of coding robots and to see the excitement on their faces when they connected. I was sharing our student experiences this week when I was with administrators from across Iowa on Tuesday. Administrators from huge districts in Iowa were awed by video taken in our classrooms at Crestwood. As Mr. Carver often says, “There is nothing like this happening anywhere! We have a wonderful and unique learning!"

The Zones of Regulation!
Crestwood Elementary School is teaching Self-Regulation Strategies for our students using Research – Based strategies known as the Zones of Regulation. The Zones is a wonderful way to teach young people how to pay attention and recognize their feelings ~ but most importantly how to REGULATE their emotions and impulses ~ creating a SAFE and Supportive Learning Culture!