Monday, April 27, 2015

JCC April 24, 2015

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

PROM 2015 was a wonderful success! Crestwood students looked stunning!  A special THANK YOU to staff, parents and student leaders for making this a special memory. For more pictures visit the attached site.  CADETS ROCK!

It seems we are heading into the "home stretch" of the 2014-15 school year at breakneck speed! Looking back it has, and continues to be, an AMAZING adventure full of challenges and opportunities! For me, it is inspiring how together we meet and move through each challenge and seek to leverage opportunities. The Howard-Winneshiek Community School District is a very special place. Change is hard. Howard-Winn is moving forward!

CADET NATION: Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest Food Packaging Event
Howard-Winn has a "dollar for dollar" match for funds the school raises between now and the end of the school year for the September Meal packaging event. This is WAY COOL. Last year the CADETS raised $1,974.00 with events that included "$s for JEANS" from staff. Be thinking of ways we can surpass this total from last year!     

7-12 Principal Selection
The process is underway for selecting the next 7-12 principal! Representatives from grades 7-12, Board Members, administration, NICC and District Advisory Committee reviewed 27 applications, screening down to 6 candidates for the initial SKYPE interviews. From the SKYPE interviews, 3 candidates were selected for the formal interview. Barb Schwamman, currently PK-8 Principal at South Winneshiek, Christopher Rogne currently PK / 2-8 principal, Junior High Athletic Director at West Fork Schools, Rockwell, Iowa and David Ross, Secondary Principal, Harmony Community School District, Farmington, Iowa. Formal interviews to occur between April 27, 28 and 29. A recommendation will be brought forward to the Board of Education at the regular May 11, 2015 meeting.

Staff Restructuring
  • The 7-12 Family and Consumer Science will be a shared position with Turkey Valley and tentatively Business Education will be shared with New Hampton. 
  • Elementary staff will be reduced. The goal is to keep lower elementary class sizes smaller but upper elementary class sizes will increase. It may be August, after registration, before exact elementary class sizes are set. 
  • Talks continue on collaborating Transportation and Business Office staff with New Hampton, South Winneshiek and Turkey Valley. 
  • The Activities Director position is being developed for the 2015-16 school year. Historically this position's responsibilities have been connect to other duties. Previously it was connected with a classroom assignment. The past year at Howard-Winn the AD position/responsibilities were connected with the Dean of Students position. Historically New Hampton also has connected the AD responsibilities with other duties as well. New Hampton and Howard-Winn are exploring sharing the AD position for the upcoming school year. More information and updates will follow.      
Howard-Winn Lime Springs Campus Update  
This Fall all elementary grades will be in Cresco. Discussions with Lime Springs City officials on the direction forward for the Lime Springs campus are ongoing. The plan today is that there will be a Howard-Winn Pre-school class in Lime Springs for the 2015-16 school year. Space for this class will be utilized in the Springs Ahead Learning center. More information and updates will follow.  

Howard-Winn Elma Campus Update
The Elma City Council has decided to accept the gift of the Howard-Winn Elma campus as is. Public hearing, legal protocols, and timelines for the transfer of the property come next. More information and updates will follow.  
Sharing the Howard-Winn Story
Over the next couple of weeks, two different video production crews will be on campus. Both are here to capture the GREAT things happening at Howard-Winn. The US Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, Future Ready initiative film crew will be on site Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1. The Howard-Winneshiek Community Foundation will be shooting a promotional video at the school Monday, May 11.  CADETS Forward!   

Howard-Winn models using technology for State Legislators
April 9, 2015 Howard-Winn teachers and students showed state legislators what it is like to use technology to create and learn. To see more check out:

  • ROCK ON CADET Golf and Track Teams!
  • Band Students: Safe Travels and have a GREAT adventure in Kansas City!
The 5th-6th grade concert was FANTASTIC! Wonderful voices, talented students!  
Learning at Howard-Winn last week looked 
like this.....................


April 24, 2015

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

Special Events for the Week of April 27- May 3, 2015
Tuesday:          Evacuation Drill Meeting - 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday:    Weekly Admin Meeting - 7:45 a.m.
                         PLTW Regional Partnership Meeting - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday:        ISU President Leath Lunch - 12:45 p.m.
Friday:             NICC Welding Presentation - 8:30 a.m.
                         Weekly At-Risk/Guidance Meeting - 1:00 p.m.

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. The last event for 2014-2015 is May 1. Remember to wear your #cadetnation t-shirt!

Northeast Iowa Art Show

Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools Spring Conference

At Crestwood Secondary School, we want students to be in school and learning. We care about their success in school and in life. When students are suspended, a “spiral down” effect often occurs—they are not in school, they are more likely to fail classes, and more likely to drop out of school. When students drop out of school, the course of their lives may be totally reset. Dropouts typically earn less than their peers with more education, and they are more likely than high school graduates to end up in prison (Education Week, October 18, 2013).

What will occur?
Based on the data below, a comprehensive, focused plan of action will be developed and set into action. Staff are developing relationships with students which are grounded in mutual trust and respect; we will move from punitive classroom discipline to positive and respectful interactions with all students.

Class of 2015 Future Intentions

Terese Jurgensen; Elementary Principal 2-6; Director of Special Education

Looking Forward to an Iowa Assessment Celebration!
Iowa Assessment Scores Have Arrived!
You may remember that a few months ago Grades 3 - 6th, in partnership with our teaching/administration team set an elementary goal to increase our Iowa Assessment Reading Scores for the 2014 - 15 school year. When all of our students' scores were tallied (this includes SES/Special Education subgroups) our average was 57% proficient. Our goal was to increase our scores to 62% as an elementary.  Hold onto your hats!  Our students averaged an amazing 72% proficiency!  That is an increase of 15% of the average scores for all of our students in the area of reading. Our students shot over their goal by 10%!  What does that mean for our SINA status?  At this point, we do not have this information. It is my hope that within the next few weeks, we will be able to report this news to our public along with our Math and Science Scores which were equally as impressive! 

Iowa Assessment Celebration!

We are so excited about our students' accomplishments and our teaching staffs' hard work over the years, that the Howard Winneshiek Community School District wants to take some well-deserved time to celebrate! When I first arrived at Crestwood Elementary, I was so surprised that our students struggled in their reading scores. I walked through classrooms, met the teaching staff, and knew there was a disconnect between what the mandated Iowa Assessments were showing and what our students knew and were doing in their classrooms. Over the last few years,  Crestwood Elementary has undergone some critical changes and the  "hard work," our teaching staff  has done, must be outlined here for the parents and stakeholders of our community. The changes were and are researched based and as we like to say, "If its good for kids, let's do it!" Here is a brief outline of the changes:
  1. Students experience a daily protected 90 minute literacy block.
  2. Students experience a daily 30 minute literacy intervention complete with daily direct instruction in areas of the core that they may struggle in. These small group interventions are based on formative assessments and change with the child's needs. 
  3. Students experience additional Iowa Core literacy materials outside of the Lead 21 Curriculum - supplementing the curriculum with the core. 
  4. Students experience the critical change in their direct instruction based upon their teachers collaborating 3 - 4 times weekly, looking at student data and designing interventions based on their needs. 
Because of our students' outstanding efforts, we are going to set aside a day of Celebration! 

The date set is for Friday, May 15th!  We are planning some great surprises for this event ~ Stay tuned for the outline in next week's update!

Mr. Bieber brings Broadway Musical to our Community with our 5th & 6th Grade Choir Students on Thursday, 4/23!

5th & 6th Grade Students had an amazing Choir Concert last
Thursday evening!  Here are some students that were
very excited before they are about to perform!

This 6th grade student brought down the
house with his amazing solo!


ST Math (STEM) Grant Awarded for Grades K - 6 for the 2015 - 2016 School Year!

In the fall of 2015, elementary students at Crestwood will begin using new blended learning software for math ~ Thanks to a STEM Scale-Up grant that will save the school district an estimated $21,500. 

Crestwood Elementary is  excited to accept a STEM grant that has been awarded for the upcoming school year - Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math. The program, geared toward helping students enhance their math capabilities at the elementary level (grades K-6), will begin implementation at Crestwood starting with the 2015-16 school year. 

“ST Math is a uniquely visual, non-language based approach to teaching math,” according to the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. “The game-based instructional software is a whole class instructional supplement designed to boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning. The software games help students make connections between visual representations from ST Math and symbolic representations found in the Iowa Core math classroom instruction making it an effective blended learning math solution for classrooms.”

The  ST Math program is not based on students’ abilities to read; making the program effective for all students, including those who might struggle with reading, younger students (e.g. kindergartners) who might not be reading yet, or for students who might be English Language Learners (ELL).

Sue Runyon, of Keystone Area Education Agency (AEA), informed us of the grant, and Crestwood was one of 16 school districts throughout the state of Iowa who received this opportunity to increase student achievement in the area of math.  Melissa Adams, one of our 3rd grade teachers who had learned of ST Math a few years ago, was also very intrigued by the program and urged us to apply. 

ST Math would normally cost each building $1,500, a one-time start-up cost, and $29 per student per year. What does that mean for Crestwood Elementary School for 2015-16?
 • K-6 students: (584 students) x $29 = $16,936 + $1,500, resulting in a total cost savings of $18,436.

Additionally, because of the implementation of ST Math, there are also programs the district will no longer need to purchase:
• First in Math: at $5 per student for grades 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, the approximate cost for the 2015-16 school year would be 512 students x $5 = $2,560.
• ALEKS: Online Math Tutor: to purchase eight licenses per grades 4 and 5 for the 2015-16 school year, cost would be 16 licenses x $31.50 = $504.

This is a total cost savings to our district of $21,500 for the upcoming school year! You may read more about ST Math in the Cresco Newspaper this week. I would like to extend a huge "Thank You!" to Keri Schatz who wrote the news article and from which I took some of the information for this weekly update. 


April is Autism Awareness Month

Schuyler Bieber, Rachelle Branum and myself attended an amazing Autism and the Arts Symposium together this week at University of Northern Iowa.  It was a day to learn about techniques using Artistic Expression, the World of Music and the Theatrical Arts to teach students with social thinking and social skill struggles how to thrive in their lives.  Alyson Beytien, who works for Hills and Dales Hospital in Dubuque, gave key points to remember when working with students or raising children who are on the spectrum.

  • 1 in 55 children born is somewhere on the Autism Spectrum (The number 15 years ago was 1 in 10,000).

  • Assume Competency - We must believe in our students!
  • Understand the Sensory Needs of our students.
  • Communication is more than just words.
  • Teach Social Skills - they are more than just academics - they are relationship skills.
  • Explore the Creative Options - Art; Dance; Theater; Music
  • Advocate ~ teach our students to advocate!
Fourth Grade Students Co-Writing a Story!

Ms. Soukup and some smart girls!
Flowers of Spring I stole this week!

Have a great week!  Please do not hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions or concerns!


Mrs. Jurgensen

Grimm 4/24/2015

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

PLTW Pint-Size Science Scale-Up Grant
Congratulations to our Preschool and Transitional Kindergarten teachers for being awarded a grant for their Pint Size Science Program.

The Northeast Iowa Regional STEM Advisory Board reviewed many applications from teachers, administrators, and non-formal educators eager to implement exemplary STEM programs. The northeast region received more than 160 applications requesting a STEM Scale-Up program for 2015-2016.

This is the 2nd consecutive year the Preschool/Transitional Kindergarten Teachers have been awarded a Scale Up Grant for Pint Size Science.  The Northeast Iowa Regional STEM Advisory Board has been a tremendous supporter for providing STEM opportunities for our students.

Enrollment guidelines for Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten
If you are the parent of a 4-year-old we would like to invite you to enroll your child in our preschool program in Cresco or in Lime Springs. This is not a mandatory program, but it will help provide your child with learning experiences that will prepare them for a more successful learning experience when they reach Kindergarten. If your child will be age 5 by September 15 they are of compulsory attendance age and you must enroll them in either our Transitional Kindergarten Program or our Kindergarten Program. The only exception to this is if a parent notifies the district, in writing, of their intent to withdraw the child from the school district. If you have questions or need more information we invite you to call us at (563) 547-2340.

The preschoolers’ journey with recycling continued as they were busy creating boats out of recycled materials and testing them out in water. First they made sink and float predictions about their boats. After predicting, the preschoolers set their boats to sail in water and were surprised by the results. The preschoolers have also been working hard on their final portfolio assessments! It has been rewarding to watch the preschoolers grow throughout the school year.

Preschoolers have also been learning about static electricity and how lightning is static electricity just in a bigger form. Students were able to explore with static tubes, which are plastic tubes with little Styrofoam beads in them. They then rubbed the tubes on their hands, the floor, and their shirts.  It made the beads move up and down the tube. Then they rubbed a balloon on their heads, shirts, and the floor and tried to get it to stick to the wall. They also touched a spoon to the balloon after they had rubbed it on one of these things to see if it would make a little spark they could see. They never saw the spark, but they could hear a little noise when they touched the spoon to the balloon.

As part of learning about farms the students planted some vegetable and flower seeds to see how things grow. Over the next couple of weeks the seeds will start to sprout, and the students will be able to watch them grow.

Officer Godman and Eddie Eagle!
Officer Godman talked with the preschoolers about things that are “Safe” and “Unsafe." He showed the preschoolers pictures and asked us to give a thumb up for “Safe” and a thumb down for “Unsafe.”  Officer Godman showed the students a video about Eddie Eagle that taught them what to do if they see a gun. It has actions and is like a dance. If you see a gun…. STOP, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult!

Transitional Kindergarten
The Transitional Kindergarten students have been focusing on their insect learning. They are working on recognizing the difference between living and non-living things and talking about habitats. They are excited to go outside and look at habitats up close.

Spring AssessmentsThe end of April will include spring skill checks, Get Ready to Read screens, and spring FAST and Reading assessments. We are excited to see how much growth the students have made over the course of the year.

Thank you all for attending Kindergarten Round-Up last week. The children had fun and it was a great opportunity for the students to see the rooms, meet the teachers, and do some fun activities. The next step is a parent meeting, which will be held May 5th at 5:00. More information will be coming to you soon. We look forward to partnering with you in your child’s education.

Title I

This group of students is working on phrasing, fluency and reading with expression. They are using the book "He Bear, She Bear" for their Reader's Theater. The book discusses that it doesn't matter what gender you are, you can do anything you put your mind to, whether you are a boy or a girl. Students will be working on making their reading sound fluent, just like talking, and they will also have to work together to read in unison for parts where both bears speak. They hope to video tape the Reader's Theater and possibly use Berenstain Bears stuffed animals or puppets to tell the story. 

These students have been using Keystone's Playaway MP3 players to listen to books. They listen to the stories then read them independently. They've found that reading along with the MP3 player first really helps with their reading fluency and figuring out tricky words when they read silently. The kids love them. There are 5-8 books on each playaway, and they come with all the books and head-phones. 

These students are practicing sight words with the app "Word Bingo"

First Grade teacher, Casey Rausch, and Second Grade teacher, Karen Kuhn, are culminating their studies with the University of Northern Iowa Master’s Degree in Elementary Education program. For the past three months, they have been developing and executing an Action Research Project. This Wednesday, April 22nd, Karen and Casey presented to our elementary teaching staff at in-service.

This study explores the relationship between utilizing nonfiction text in primary-aged classroom and explicit teaching of reading comprehension and vocabulary strategies, in comparison with utilizing fiction text. For 8 weeks, students in classes 1B and 2C participated in this study. Data was collected and analyzed. Findings provide evidence that utilizing nonfiction text had a positive effect on student attitudes, comprehension, and vocabulary development. Statistically Significant evidence was shared with teaching staff, with the implications that students prefer to interact with nonfiction text and it is found that they learn more effectively!

The Title I teachers had the opportunity to attend the National Reading Recovery & K-6 Reading Conference in Ohio this year. On Wednesday, April 22 they presented what they had learned to the staff.

Several teachers had the opportunity to win “prizes” that will be utilized during their classroom instruction.

Band Together Campaign