Friday, January 16, 2015

JCC an 16, 2015

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

It is EXCITING to see how technology has been embedded seamlessly into instruction. As 2nd graders to be using QR codes and iPads to create and learn is fantastic.  Just think what these young people will be doing when they are in High School! 

The New Beginning
As has been shared before, everything goes in cycles and has a defined beginning, a middle and an end.  Realizing where you are in the cycle gives you a competitive edge over all others.  The ability to be nimble, adapt and embrace the beginning of a new cycle results in a distinct advantage over all others.  It is the difference between viability and growth or extinction.   

An Emerging 21st Century Network of Learning
Last Saturday, four school districts: South Winneshiek, Turkey Valley, New Hampton, and Howard-Winneshiek, along with Northeast Iowa Community College, took bold steps forward to a new beginning and the next cycle. Decorah participated and Riceville was invited. 

Last Saturday, leadership from the four Boards of Education and NICC reached an agreement that all would use the same school calendar for the 2015-16 school year. Superintendents were then directed to charge High School principals to create one unified daily class schedule for all four high schools.  Important is that NICC committed to parallel their calendar and schedule to the group's effort.  

Doing this is BIG.  In that we are all facing financial cuts, coordinating the calendar and daily secondary schedule creates the opportunity/possibility for the sharing of secondary instructors and increase course offerings to students.  In addition shared professional development days/opportunities for teachers is an emerging design feature.  The bottom line: we have taken a step out of the "silo".

Reconfiguring Howard-Winn
Last Monday the Howard-Winneshiek Board of Education voted, 4-1, for the 2015-16 school year, to move the 4th grade from Lime Springs to Crestwood Elementary, maintain a pre-school in Lime Springs for the 2015-16 school year and is considering ceasing all operations in Elma.  The Board is also reviewing options for the Elma physical plant and will decide the question in a Special Board Meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 26 at Crestwood High School. 

What is Next?
That is a good question.  Many are wanting to know what the long term plan is.  The fact of the matter is there are too many moving parts and variables to project out.  What we know today is: 
  • The District needs to cut $750,000 over the next two years based on the assumption of losing 20 students each year and 3% increase in Allowable Growth in State Funding. If either of these two variables change, the picture and projections change. 
  • IMPORTANT CRUCIAL: Governor Branstad in his "State of the State Address" earlier this week is proposing only 1.25% in Allowable Growth Funding to schools.  If adopted this would financially devastate Howard-Winn as well as many other Iowa school districts. 
  • There will need to be dollars spent and upgrades made to any of the buildings the District elects to use in the future.  This includes the Crestwood K-8 and High School Campus.
  • The Crestwood K-8 building has a big enough "footprint" to meet District needs, but space within the building needs to be reallocated. 
  • The K-8 building DOES have the space to accommodate 4th grade classrooms. 
  • The safety concern is the location of the offices at both the K-8 and High School.  They both need to be relocated and become the entry point into the buildings.  This would require new construction.  Existing office space would be re-tasked.  At the K-8 the space could be removed so as to enlarge the lunch room. 
  • Any additional construction would need be based on enrollment and "Allowable Growth" funding from the State. 
We are at the beginning of the next cycle and it is important to remember that this a process of steps.  One might get a glimpse of the future, but that perception will change with every step taken.  There are challenges ahead, but there are also opportunities and possibilities.  We keep moving forward.  More information will follow.  

Growing the District: BROADBAND and Howard-Winn
This past week President Obama was in Cedar Falls talking about Broadband.  He shared the story of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Chattanooga was in the grips of economic collapse and decay.  They brought in a Broadband one gig internet connection and embedded technology instruction into the schools.  This precipitated new start-up company growth to the point there is an economic revival happening in Chattanooga.  President Obama went on to comment that one of the town leaders said, "It was like we had discovered fire. Don't quite know what to do with it, but it is causing growth."  Why can't we do something like this in Howard County? Check out the link 

It was fun to SKYPE and "bring" Lime Springs and Crestwood Elementary students to the event! 

Howard-Winn and Cypress-Fairbanks CONNECT
This past week administrators and educators from the Cypress Fairbanks school district in
Houston, Texas, took a virtual tour of classrooms at the Crestwood Elementary. The Texans visited Kelly Sorenson's fifth-grade and Kim Kerian's third-grade classrooms. Howard-Winn students shared with educators in Texas what it's like to be in a 21st-century classroom.

Shout Outs
  • A big SHOUT OUT to the Cadet girls basketball team as they continue to win and rise in the ratings! 
  • A big SHOUT OUT to the Cadet boys basketball team!  You guys ROCK!
  • A big SHOUT OUT to our wrestlers who continue to aggressively compete. 

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

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