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?     

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