Friday, March 27, 2015

JCC March 27, 2015

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

This post on TWITTER last week is a wonderful illustration on how Howard-Winn students are using technology as a tool to create and learn. It is exciting to see how 2nd graders (class of 2025) are learning how to show what they know using 21st century modalities. If this is where they are at today as 2nd graders, it is mind boggling to vision where they will be when they are seniors, ready to graduate in 2025!  The future looks bright at Howard-Winn.   

System Redesign
Howard-Winn continues to move forward, working to transform teaching and learning. Many things remain "in play" but the bottom line is we have momentum. It is understood that the current 20th century structure does not fit 21st century realities. As such, the education
system continues to wobble; It is important to note that it is the system that is flawed, not the people in the system. 

Teachers, specifically at Howard-Winn, are committed professionals dedicated to serving young people and they have my respect. Unfortunately, traditions, past practices and legal mandates are frustrating and are stressing the system/structure, many of which there is little local control of. Despite all this, Howard-Winn continues to be innovative and creative.  We are moving forward!  

Student Success! Students EXCITED about learning how to code is BIG. Coding combines analytical thinking to create mathematical equations used to program and give commands to robots. We have students like Josh excelling in this. This is WAY COOL!

Upper Iowa requesting student teacher placements
Upper Iowa University is requesting to place 2 student teachers at Howard-Winn for the 2015-16 school year. Both would be in early elementary (K-3), one in the fall and one starting in January. If interested please connect with Mrs. Grimm or Mrs. Jurgensen ASAP. 

How Time is used: Calendar Updates
The use of time requires new thinking. Old thinking was "so much time = so much learning". Time was the constant and learning was the variable. It is a reality that not all learners learn at the same rate. Some require more time, some less. The system/structure was not flexible. 

Going forward LEARNING needs to become the constant and time needs to become flexible. Easier said than done.  

That being said, a bill on the start date for schools has passed both the House and Senate. The next step is the Governor's signature. The bill, if signed, will have the start date for all school districts in Iowa for 2015-16 as Monday, August 24, 2015. First semester will end in January and the last day of school would be sometime the week of May 23, 2016. Watch for more updates.

2014-15 Calendar Update
With last Monday's closing due to weather, we now have 1 hour remaining. It is hoped that we will be on schedule and on time the rest of the school year. That being said there may still be late starts due to fog.  

The thinking today is that, if we start late, time will be either added on the last day of school, May 21 (instead of an early out) or time added to the instructional day (5 to 10 minutes per day).  

Presently April 6 is NOT scheduled to be used as/for a make-up day/time.  

Teacher Professional Development 
The teacher contract is for 192 days of service. Because of weather, there are four contract days to be addressed along with two scheduled end of year In-service days. Just as we are working to empower students to take ownership in their learning, I believe we must also be implementing and modeling the same thinking for teachers.  

That being said, there are 32 hours (four contract days) of opportunity for teachers to grow and learn. The emerging thinking is to empower teachers to use this time for their professional growth. Learning would need prior approval from administration, learning log kept, with learnings completed by June 31st. Mrs. Grimm, Mr. Felderman and Mrs. Jurgensen are developing building/grade level specific protocols and direction. 

More information will follow.

District Advisory Committee
The next District Advisory Committee meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. in the K-8 Discovery Century on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015. The agenda will be posted and the meeting is open to the public. The District Advisory Committee was created by the Howard-Winneshiek Board of Education, in addition to the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC), to seek input from patrons.   

Staffing needs for 2015-16
There are three staff members that have elected to take early retirement. In a Special Session of the Board on Tuesday, March 31, the Board will take action on these applications. Once completed, work will then focus on staffing needs for the 2015-16 school year. It is noted that staff reductions need to be communicated/issued by April 30. It is my goal to have this work done prior to April 30. Stay tuned, be positive! 

A New Canadian Connection!
Howard-Winn has a new growing relationship with The Catholic School Board du Nouvel-Ontario, one of the largest French-language school boards in Ontario. Say hello to

Eugénie Congi, Josee Beausoleill and Jean-Marc Dupont, visionary education Leaders!

Their District brings together some 7,000 pupils in 37 places of education including 27 elementary schools, 9 secondary schools and 1 adult education center. The land area of the territory encompasses the counties of Chapleau, Dubreuilville, Espanola, Greater Sudbury, Hornepayne, Michipicoten, North Shore, Sault Ste Marie and a portion of West Nipissing.

The emerging concept is to link students from Howard-Winn with Canadian students. The objective would be to build relationships, share cultural perspectives, and develop joint learning experiences.  

How cool would it be to connect an elementary group? Think of the relationships and learning that could happen over time. We are 13 hours from these folks by car! Student exchange, teacher exchange, the possibilities are endless. This could be a step forward to make Howard-Winn international.

Connect and follow them on TWITTER! 
Eugénie Congi        @EugenieCongi 
Josee Beausoleill    @JosseBeausoleil1
Jean-Marc Dupont  @JeanMarcDupont7 

  • BRAVO BRAVO! Crestwood High School is HOSTING the State Solo and Ensemble contest Saturday! This is quite an honor! This will be a great showcase of talent and skill! A SPECIAL THANK YOU to Luther College for sending 11 student volunteers to "man" the performance centers!  
  • Track and Golf are underway! I am told 60 degree weather next week? THINK WARM!
  • A special SHOUT OUT to our Bus drivers! Your efforts to get students to and from school on a daily basis is valued and appreciated. THANK YOU! 
  • FYI a representative will be in the District next week from Apple Computer. They are interested to see first hand the GREAT work you all are doing!  
  • Check out The tutoring program was a HIT!
  • CONGRATULATIONS to Mark Farlinger and his appointment by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley to the Air Force academy. OUTSTANDING
  • A SHOUT OUT to Mrs.Tanya Riehle and her Art students! Specifically to Sarah Schoeberl, Alissa Hageman, and Michaela Juelsgaard JOB WELL DONE  for their entries in the nationally renowned 2015 Scholastic Art Competition.
  • IMPRESSIVE! I continue to be amazed with the resourcefulness of Howard-Winn
    teachers. "Thinking outside of the box" networking and connecting are the norm and not the exception! How about 5th grade teacher Heather Suckow reaching out to to and the Hot Wheels/Scholastic and NASCAR/Scholastic partnerships for funding and STEM learnings!

And Title 1 teacher Lynn Murray who applied and received $834 from the Howard County Foundation Grant to cover part of the cost for a new interactive SmartBoard!  This will turn any wall surface into a touch screen!  So instead of drawing, students will be able to touch and drag!  VERY COOL!

Monsanto has grant opportunities of up to $25,000.00! The focus is on STEM and agriculture! Check out the site and see me for more details!

Innovation and creativity is alive and well at HOWARD-WINN!  

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

Remember there are two types of people "Doers" and "Doubters". "Doers" are those who have their radar up, are seeking opportunities, embrace challenge and "fail forward". They live life! "Doubters" are those who are in a silo, believe that by standing still they are "safe", avoid challenge and never fail because they never try. They watch life! Being a "Doer" or a "Doubter" is a choice. Which do you choose?     

March 27, 2015

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

Special Events for the Week of March 30-April 5, 2015
Monday:          PowerSchool Webinar - 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday:         Local CBE Team Meeting - 8:30 a.m.
                         University of Iowa Science Department Skype - 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday:    Weekly Admin Meeting - 7:45 a.m. 
                         CBE Coordinating Council Meeting - 10:00 a.m.
Thursday:       PowerSchool Meeting - Cedar Rapids - 8:30 a.m.
Friday:             No School
Sunday:           Easter

Midterm will be Friday, April 17 with reports due by noon on Tuesday, April 21

Youth Frontiers - The Character Challenge

Reminder:  #cadetnation Fridays are the first Friday of every month. This is a great way to show your Cadet spirit. THIS WILL OCCUR ON APRIL 10 FOR APRIL. Remember to wear your #cadetnation t-shirt!

Jazz Spotlight

Foreign Travel Breakfast

CBE - 3 Ways to Spot Student Centered Learning

Students are in the driver’s seat.
There are a few key questions to ask to determine if your child is in the driver’s seat of their own learning.
  • Do students move through content at their own pace and according to their own needs?
  • Do they have opportunities to choose work that speaks to their own passions and interests and opportunities to learn outside of the traditional school day?
  • Do they havevoice and choice” when it comes to their learning?
  • Is your child on a unique learning path or that s/he is marching through content with the rest of the pack?
  • Is your child motivated, engaged and encouraged in a way that feels supportive of learning?
Teachers and Students help plan the routes
Your child’s teachers should know where your student currently is academically, where they’ve been and where they are going. Ongoing, meaningful assessment of knowledge and skills is essential to obtain insights needed to personalize learning. This knowledge generated from these assessments should inform your child’s learning experience. Good teachers have long known the importance of getting to know individual learners and differentiating instruction in this way. We’re big believers in the potential of technology such as adaptive learning tools and blended learning classroom models to help teachers efficiently gather and track powerful student data to inform their instructional path.
  • How has the school organized its learning and assessments?
  • Where are you in terms of how the learning is unfolding for the students? Are they starting a new module, working on a new concept or skill, or applying concepts and skills they have learned to new situations?
  • What is the purpose of the assessment: is it within a unit or project, or is it a yearlong or culminating project such as a capstone?
  • How do teachers share their work together through designing and validating tasks, calibrating student work scoring, revising tasks, sharing instructional strategies, etc.?
  • How do students share their work with each other through collaborative work, peer review, etc?
  • Are there portfolio reviews, exhibitions, or other opportunities where students present to authentic audiences, such as members of the community, parents, or other students?
Everyone has access to the “map.”
In a student-centered learning environment, everyone – students, teachers, parents – has access to and understands the landscape – with an awareness of the roadblocks that may be coming ahead and a plan to work through them. To find evidence of the “map,” reflect on or ask these questions:
  • Does your child’s teacher have a system for tracking individual student progress toward overall academic goals across various content areas?
  • What is your child’s involvement in tracking their progress and setting their own goals?
  • Does your child have a strong sense of their strengths, weaknesses and overall progress?
  • Can parents easily access information about their student and get an accurate picture of how their student is progressing?

Terese Jurgensen 3/27/15

"Building Our House Upon the Rock"
In the face of funding instability in the Iowa Legislative Branch, the fact that financially we are trimming dollars off of our budget, and the fact that student numbers are going down in the State of Iowa...I am still convinced that we are going in the right direction at Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools! I told our elementary students recently, I would put our elementary school "up against" any school in the state for our progressive education. This is true in general education and is true in special education. All students deserve and will receive a Free and Appropriate Education at our school. It is my goal, as the Special Education Director for the district, to continue implementing second order change to provide the best services for our students who struggle with learning. Research shows, and our elementary students in special education, prove that students learn the best in the Core + More. Therefore, as we move forward for next year, the co-teaching model will be implemented and taught to all teachers, general and special education,  to close the achievement gap for our students. It is an exciting time for our district, and I am encouraged from our Pre-School through our high school, that although education around us, seems like it is on shifting sand, at Howard-Winneshiek, we are building our house upon a rock that will stand!

Moving Forward in Special Education
Co-Teaching Model for Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools
What Does it Look Like?
What do Co-Teaching and Collaborative Consultation look like? Co‐teaching and collaborative consultation are Iowa’s approaches to reaching students with diverse needs in integrated classrooms. The models began as ways to help students with special needs be more successful and have access to the same teachers and curriculum as their non‐disabled peers. However, the models have been adopted for other diverse populations including at‐risk students, gifted and talented students, and English language learners.

The best approach to implementing these models is to use both of them as a continuum of services depending on the needs of student populations, teacher schedules, teacher skills in co‐teaching and instructional strategies, and other influencing factors. Co‐Teaching is defined as two teachers physically present in heterogeneous classroom with joint and equal responsibility for classroom instruction. Iowa has adopted the Marilyn Friend co‐teaching model and approaches as follows:
• One teach, one observe: One teacher provides instruction, while the other observes student learning to assess learning and gather data.

• Station teaching: Teachers are at stations and students move from station to station.

• Parallel teaching: Teachers simultaneously provide instruction through use of such structures as split class, cooperative learning, and lab settings. Teachers can provide the same or different content during parallel teaching.

• Alternative teaching: One teacher instructs a large group and the other teacher instructs small flexible student groups.

• Teaming: Teachers jointly present the same content at the same time through such structures as “tag team,” “speak‐and‐chart” and other teaming structures.
We will be revisiting and updating our Special Education Direct Service Plan in May. If you would like to be a part of this team of teachers, administrators, parents and community members, please be sure to contact me, Terese Jurgensen, to be a part of this experience. (563) 929-6344.

After-School Tutoring a Huge Success!
Our after-school tutoring program was a huge success this year for grades K-6. We had a total of 50 students participate throughout the winter months, to help support students in the areas of reading and math. This number is up from the last two years, where we had approximately 30 students benefit from the outstanding program that was provided by Educare and taught by 17 highly qualified teachers from our district and some who had retired. One of the questions many people had was, will this program be continued next year, and so I have added the last part of the article that will be in our local newspaper and written by Keri Schatz, our media consultant.

"The funding afforded to the Howard-Winn CSD to use by the State of Iowa came from SINA dollars. To qualify for these dollars will depend on our Iowa Assessment scores from the 2014-15 school year,” said Jurgensen. “I am very proud of the hard work and efforts by our teaching staff and especially by our students this year [regarding] the assessments we took during the weeks of March 10-20th. The after-school tutoring opportunity will be determined by these assessments. As always, we will be quick to share out the results of the assessments with the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District.”

Jurgensen further acknowledges the parents and caregivers of students who helped build the success of the tutoring program. “They supported their children by signing up for the program, picking them up afterwards, and encouraging them to do their very best work!” she said. “I would also like to recognize the hard work of Lynn Murray and our teaching staff, because without them, the success of the program would not be made possible.”

Pictured here are the amazing teachers who made our after school
tutoring program a huge success!

Shown above are two third grade students who are working on their coding skills in Mrs. Midthus's room.

To the left is a group of students in third grade who are enjoying a snack as they talk about the books they are reading in book club!

Above: STEM activity in Mrs Tuchek's 2nd grade classroom. I love the look on these boy's faces.

To the left are a group of students working on math skills during after-school tutoring.

I have heard many students comment they will miss tutoring after school!

There will be no school next Friday, April 3rd
or the following Monday, April 6th

Let's cross our fingers & welcome spring!

Enjoy your week!
Please call or email me
if you have any questions 
or concerns!

Terese Jurgensen

Grimm 3/27/2015

PK-1 Principal/Director of Teaching & Learning
Sara Grimm
Twitter: saramarleygrimm
SKYPE: saramarleygrimm

    As we wrap up National Read Aloud Month we continue to stress the importance of reading to your children from birth. Research shows that reading aloud with children is the single most important thing that you can do to prepare a child for reading and learning. Reading aloud to your child at least 15 minutes a day starting at birth can help your child start successfully on their learning journey. LIGHT UP YOUR CHILD’S BRAIN!


Preschool Registration Spring Open House on Friday, April 17th at the Crestwood Preschool Building, 1135 Canterbury Street, in Cresco from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

Kindergarten Round-up at Crestwood Elementary on Friday, April 17th
from 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Children only.

Kindergarten Parent Informational Meeting at Crestwood Elementary on May 5th at 5:30 p.m.

If parents have any questions please call the Crestwood K-8 office 563-547-2300

Preschool Program-Wide PBIS
Staff Member Highlight
Hannah does a great job using a variety of strategies to help students follow the three Early Childhood Program Wide PBIS expectations: Be Safe, Be Kind, and Be Respectful. One of the ways she does this is by reinforcing the expectations at lunch time. During lunchtime, Hannah talks with the students about how their behavior is safe, kind, and respectful. At the end of lunchtime, Hannah gives students sitting at her table stickers to reinforce the positive behavior she has observed. Students can either place the sticker on themselves or on a visual of the three PW PBIS expectations. 

The preschoolers worked VERY hard to think of clever ways to catch those St. Patrick’s Day leprechauns. They used their fine motor skills and creative thinking to build traps from recycled materials. Unfortunately the leprechauns got away before they could catch them. Those silly leprechauns messed up the classroom, but left us a little surprise (gold and rainbow candy and his shoe). It was a very exciting day in preschool!

Our preschool landfill…each student dumped a 
truckload of garbage onto our preschool town. 
We were amazed to see how the garbage took over!
The  preschoolers have also kicked off their study of garbage and recycling by thinking of ways to reuse garbage items in their classroom. The show, Sid the Science Kid, had an informational episode about recycling. After watching a short clip we learned a new vocabulary word, landfill. The preschoolers are concerned about all of the garbage our classroom is sending to the landfill. We are working to find ways to recycle “garbage” items in our classroom. One great idea we had was to dip our dried out markers in water and try to watercolor paint.

Thankfully the janitor Mary helped them clean their town by recycling all of the paper…nothing had to be taken to the “real” landfill!

Transitional Kindergarten

Transitional Kindergarten students were excited to celebrate the Big Blast. They got to explore the different bounce houses and share in a special snack. It was a great way to mark the start of spring!

Their classroom work included literacy, science, and math as well as becoming more independent in specific parts of the day. Students have been working on identifying beginning sounds using a variety of materials. Students worked on identifying and ordering numbers 1-10. They continue to practice writing numbers. Right now they are focusing on the numbers 6-10. 

Their science investigations this week brought clouds to their classroom. Using a special liquid mixture and a foot pump they created clouds in a bottle. Students also explored static electricity using special static tubes

Science at Home
One of the books they shared this week had investigations that students could try at home. They tried some of them together at school: Place three cups next to each other in a row. Put water and food coloring in the two end cups. Leave the middle cup empty. Roll up a piece of paper towel, dipping one end in a colored cup and the other in the empty cup. Do this for both colored cups. See what happens next. Try other materials to move the colors.

Sharing stories with 5th grade friends - and in some cases - siblings!

Making a pop-up book during Daily 5

First Grade
Using pattern blocks and following directions to create a new shape

Even on a snow day kids are learning—they go to their classroom Facebook page to see what their assignment is.

Our students have the opportunity to participate in Food and Fitness. Recently these first grade students got to try beef sticks. After finishing up their food, they got up and danced. They had so much fun!

In one classroom the students have finished their unit 5 inquiry projects! They had been learning about the messages they can find in stories of our past, why we tell stories from long ago, and what we can learn from people of the past.

They read several fables during their small group reading time, so the kids practiced reader's theater scripts of famous fables, made costumes, and found the message or moral of the story. When they were ready, with the help of a student director, they made them into videos!

They are all wonderful and the best part is, the students did these all on their own! They explored iMovie together and then the kids were in charge of exploring the app and making their own film! Here are the links to the videos on YouTube!

Jaxson, Kayde, Jennah, and Sydney:

Isaiah, Kiernan, Mason, and Leif:

Brooklyn, Kadyn, Lydia, and Luke:

Reese, Tyler, and Ethan:

Karlee, Baileigh, Aden, and Lizzy:

Hilsabeck 3/27/15

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

Week Ahead-
Saturday 3/28: State Solo and Ensemble @ HS, JH, Elem.

Sunday 3/29: Costa Rica Breakfast @ HS 8:30-12:30

Monday 3/30: All-State IE Fest. @ UNI

Thursday 4/2: Girls Track @ NFV 4:30 (NOTE the Change)
                       Boys Track @ Waukon 4:30

Friday 4/3: NO SCHOOL

Monday 4/6: NO SCHOOL

*** We are looking for volunteers for the home track meets to help with events and other duties.  Please contact Mr. Hilsabeck if interested.  

 Challenge yourself to do better each and every day.

 The choice about your future is in your own hands, decisions, and actions.

 Each day teachers/coaches provoke and sculpt the minds of many students in many different ways.

 Leaders-Lead, Challenges make you stronger.

 Being a team player and picking up others around you will help create overall success.  Overall success is more beneficial than individual success.

Shout out to Coach Sickles for winning the District Coach of the Year award.  Amazing accomplishment and well deserved.

Congratulations to Coach Denner and Coach Natvig on being recipients of Assistant Coaches of the Year by IBCA.  Thank you for your hard work.

Go Cadets!  Have a Great Week!