Friday, January 2, 2015

JCC January 2, 2015

2015: Unlimited Potential and Opportunity
District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver  
Office: 563-547-2762
Twitter: johnccarver 
SKYPE: johnccarver

This picture, taken on the first day of class last fall, illustrates how Howard-Winn has transformed. 

Looking back this last semester, elementary students have connected with authors, blogged about what they are learning, written code and connected with the globe. Using SKYPE and, 7th and 8th graders have created with learners in Europe and beyond. Crestwood Secondary students have built and programed robots, expressed and shared learning digitally, and sharpened their character with hundreds of Silver Cord community service hours. Howard-Winn is a special place. 

This all has been accomplished by teachers, parents, Board of Education and community members, who are modeling new thinking for our young people and encouraging change. This has to continue.

2015 Howard-Winn: Next Steps
Iowa school districts are at the crossroads. As has been shared, 60% of the school districts in IOWA this past fall reported either flat or a decline in enrollment. Howard-Winneshiek has been shrinking in enrollment for the past 10+ years, and now, like many other school districts, is at a "change point". While it is important to celebrate what Howard-Winn has been, now is the time to envision, and make a reality, what Howard-Winn could be. This will take "out-of-the-box" thinking and networking with other school districts that are where we are at. 

Things I know to be true are: 
  • We are not in this alone, we must network/connect and seek out other districts, as well as Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) to create new structure.
  • There is not a cavalry coming to save us, we must save ourselves.   
There is no script, no blueprint for us to follow. We are literally going to build and fly the plane at the same time. 

January to April
Our way forward is complicated, but not impossible. There are many "moving parts" and the important thing is to be strategic in our actions. During the next few months decisions will need to be made.  

First up will be the direction with the Howard-Winn Elma and Lime Springs campus. This will be decided in January.  

Next we will reach out to neighboring school districts and NICC to begin conversations on how we can move forward together. The first meeting will be at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10 at the Community Center in Protivin. Board Presidents and Superintendents from South-Winn, New Hampton, Turkey Valley, Decorah, Riceville and representatives from NICC (including Dr. Wee) have been invited. Other districts will be reached out to. This is the beginning of the beginning.

Simultaneously, internally, Howard-Winn will look at and review every aspect of our current structure. The priority will be on continuing to move forward teaching and learning, but look to reduce expenditures. As has been shared we are looking at $750,000 in reductions. 

Allowable Growth and Enrollment
Allowable Growth and Enrollment determine school funding. 

Allowable Growth is established by the Legislature and the Governor. It is crucial that this be set early in the Legislative session so we can plan. Presently the talk is anywhere from 6% to 2%. It goes without saying that anything less than 3% would have dire consequences. Contacting Legislators and the Governor will help to shape this decision. 

Enrollment for the purpose of funding will not be established again until the fall of 2015. That number will be used to determine funding for the 2016-17 school year. Strategic thinking is that providing a quality education, second to none, will attract students.  
Additionally the District will network and grow relationships with business and industry to recruit families.     

As has been mentioned, 2015 has unlimited potential. We do have challenges ahead, but we also have opportunities to create something new. Something I continue to reflect on is that our young people are watching us. They are seeing how we conduct ourselves and how we address challenges, embrace change, and  create new. Perhaps this might be one of the most important lessons we teach our children.

Follow the weekly update and stay informed. Do not hesitate to get involved. I welcome your questions and reflections.  

District Advisory Meeting 
6:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 7, 2015  at the K-8 Discovery Zone

District Network Meeting
9:00 a.m. Saturday, January 10, 2015 at the Community Center in Protivin

January Board Meeting
7:00 p.m. Monday, January 12, 2015 at the Community Center in Chester

"Shout Outs" and Celebrations!

A "BIG SHOUT OUT" to CADETS selected to the Crestwood Chapter of the National Honor Society. Very PROUD of you all! ACADEMICS, ACHIEVEMENT and CHARACTER. 

Congratulations and GOOD LUCK: Colt Flugge and Michael Ollendick  These CADETS were named finalists for the Iowa State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division “Know Your Constitution” Project. 
For more information go to

Check out what KIMT TV 3 had to say about Karlee Grabau!  WOW!

GREAT JOB CADET wrestlers at the "Battle of Waterloo". You guys ROCK! 

Wonderful Kids, GREAT accomplishments

Bring on 2015

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