Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21, 2015

PK-6 Principal
Sara Grimm
Twitter:  saramarleygrimm
SKYPE:  saramarleygrimm


The halls have been empty this week, but that will soon come to an end and WE CAN'T WAIT!  We are so excited to welcome students back for the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.
Hallways will soon be full again . . .
Our custodial staff has been working incredibly hard getting our building and grounds ready for the students to come back. A big shout out to Larry Trende and his staff for their work, our building looks great! We are also excited because all K-6 Howard-Winn students will be on one campus for the first time in history. This will enable us to better serve our students and utilize our resources to meet the needs of all students. Teachers are planning more cross-grade level collaboration and student projects. This will be a great opportunity for our students to learn with students in other grade levels and to show and share their learning with many students on campus.  

New Resource for student and family support! 

Denise Headington has joined the Howard-Winn TEAM and will serve as the District Social Worker. Mrs. Headington will be working to support families and will work collaboratively with our Howard-Winn staff. She brings many experiences including working for the Iowa Department of Human Services, Lutheran Services in Iowa, and Holy Family Catholic Schools Dioceses of Dubuque.

We are EXCITED to have Mrs. Headington join our team and welcome her to CADET NATION!  

New Art Teacher for HW Elementary Students

We are pleased to announce Rebecca Ortner as our new elementary art teacher. Mrs. Ortner comes from Greenleafton, Minn. She graduated from Fillmore Central in Harmony, Minn., and then went to Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, for Graphic Design-Art and Elementary Education. She taught third grade last year at Notre Dame. She likes to be in or on the water, whether it's teaching swimming lessons or kayaking with her husband. She enjoys all forms of art from designing and ceramics to printmaking and weaving. She is excited to explore the wide world of art with students this year and seeing them grow in their creative thinking and abilities. Mrs. Ortner has been working steadily for the last month putting the new art room together and organizing supplies for student projects. Stop in and see this new creative space for students.   

Teacher Meetings
You may know that teachers have been working in their classrooms to get ready for the students' return, but you may be wondering what exactly is it that teachers do during those days? Well . . . many teachers have been coming in steadily since the beginning of August. Even though their contracted time doesn't start until August 20th they have already put in many hours prepping and preparing. They move furniture, organize their classroom structure and get their supplies ready. They create bulletin boards, label items with student names, begin creating lesson plans for instruction, and meet with their colleagues to plan for meeting student needs. Once all staff return together we will be holding meetings and trainings before the students are here to help teachers prepare for the school year. Items teachers learned about on August 20-21 include: 
  • PowerSchool (our new student management system for attendance, grading, student information, etc);
  • Addressing challenging student behaviors;
  • PLC Meetings (Professional Learning Communities--teachers will be meeting with their grade level/subject teams to create schedules, plan activities, and write curriculum); and
  • ST Math (a new instructional tool to be used to help students with math skills).


Our students this year will have the opportunity to utilize a program called ST Math. The elementary was awarded a STEM Grant to purchase the licensing for this program. ST Math is a math software program that includes game puzzles that start off simply and get more challenging as a student progresses. When they reach a challenging problem, the students attempt the problem and then use the visual feedback provided to help them figure out why their answer did or did not work.

Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math incorporates visual math instruction. It is game-based instructional software that is designed to boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning. Integrating with classroom instruction, ST Math incorporates the latest research in learning and the brain and promotes mastery-based learning and mathematical understanding. The games use interactive animations that visually represent mathematical concepts to improve conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills. Stay tuned for more information to come home with your child.

Who is JiJi?
JiJi is the beloved penguin in the ST Math software games. Children help JiJi get past obstacles by solving math puzzles – and they associate JiJi with challenge, learning and the thrill of success. Every time a child demonstrates understanding of a math concept, JiJi crosses the screen, signaling success and leading the student to the next, more challenging puzzle.

What is Adequate Yearly Progress?
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) provision that established a timeline under which schools must raise all students to the proficient level in reading and mathematics. In Iowa, proficiency is established through scores obtained on the Iowa Assessments. Using biennium data (combining two years of data), each school and district must meet an annual measurable objective (AMO). A school that does not meet AYP for two consecutive years will be identified as a School in Need of Assistance (SINA). We are pleased to announce that because of the hard work of our students and staff, our elementary students made significant growth in their achievement last year. If we continue to make growth this year we will be taken off the SINA list. 
Congratulations to everyone for this tremendous accomplishment.

Transitional Kindergarten Back to School Meeting

Our transitional kindergarten parents attended a meeting with teacher, Mrs. Shari Marr, on Tuesday, August 18. Mrs. Marr explained arrival and dismissal procedures for students, then explained curriculum and activities that would be taking place in the classroom. She also discussed with them the expectations for the students and things that they could do at home to prepare. Our TK students will start school on August 24.


It was wonderful to see so many happy students and parents in the building during our annual Back To School Night. Meeting the teacher, making connections with staff, seeing the building and enjoying refreshments are a great way to start the school year. Thank you all for coming. We are excited to partner with you this year in your child's education.

Kessel Kids 25th Anniversary and Natural Playground Dedication
Kessel Kids is celebrating their 25th anniversary and we are also celebrating the dedication of the new natural playground on the site for use by the Kessel kids and the Cresco preschool students. 

Please join us on Thursday, September 10th from 4:30 - 7:00 p.m. for cake and punch to help us celebrate! Moo Mobile malts also available! The Natural Playground Project was made possible by your generous support! Thank You! The address is: Early Childhood Development Center, 1135 Canterbury St., Cresco, IA.

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