Friday, September 18, 2015

Terese Jurgensen, September 18, 2015

Attendance Update

September is Attendance Awareness Month, and I am very excited this week to announce that our attendance throughout the district has been excellent, and very much improved since last year. One of our goals at Howard-Winneshiek CSD this year is to improve our building attendance across the district. This week, I have had several comments from teachers and parents that they have noticed a vast difference from previous years. 

During a parent meeting today in the high school, a parent commented, "She is grateful that our school is focusing on attendance because it is so important for all young people to have a good attendance, because it is so vital in the work place and in having a full and rewarding life."

Absenteeism is a growing concern throughout our nation. I was reading this article from the website  It is in relation to the fact that by 2017, if our students in third grade are not proficient, they will be required for remediation, and in many cases, will be required to be held back in school. Some people may blame teachers, but the evidence strongly points to early literacy skills directly related to attendance: 

Our nation is facing a crisis in early literacy: fully two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not reading proficiently, national assessments show. The numbers are even more dire for students from low-income families: 80 percent of them haven’t reached proficiency. Amid the search for solutions — whether through better instruction, improved curriculum or third-grade retention policies — educators and families often overlook the potential to raise achievement by improving student attendance. 

Most recognize that students don’t learn as much when they miss too much school, but few realize how many students are at risk academically in the early grades due to absenteeism or how quickly absences can add up to too much lost instructional time. A growing body of research documents how many youngsters are chronically absent, meaning they miss 10 percent or more of the school year due to excused or unexcused absences. This translates to missing nine days per semester or 18 days in a school year. 

Howard Winneshiek CSD 
Attendance Plan:

  1. We are partnering with families at all grade levels to help remove barriers to help students get to school and stay in school once they get here.
  2. We are running weekly (and sometimes daily) student attendance reports and supporting student attendance with our Success Team's "Check In & Check Out" plan.
  3. We are making phone calls to parents if their student has missed a study hall and then calling parents in for Attendance Meetings with their child. 
  4. We are going on home visits and supporting students in getting to school on a consistent basis.
  5. We are visiting students throughout the school day to find out what is happening in their lives that is stopping them from getting to school and/or getting in their way of good grades. 
  6. We are connecting students who may struggle with social issues (WILL) matters of the heart that may get in their way of good school attendance. 
  7. We are meeting with students who have previously struggled with attendance and giving them lots of positive feedback and praise to support their outstanding attendance! 
  8. We are putting together a team of educators, community members, students, business leaders, law enforcement and most importantly - parents to help us look at our Attendance Policy and creating higher standards/clear parameters for student attendance. 

Would you like to be a part of this attendance committee? If you would like to serve our students in this capacity - please call or email me, Terese Jurgensen. We would love to have you! Collaboration and partnership will be the key to creating a policy that works for kids! Attendance Works!

GAT - Gifted and Talented Program

A fourth grade student working with & creating electricity!
Todd Knobloch and Rhonda Vobr are the teachers who work with our Gifted and Talented Students (GAT) in our school district. It is my belief that all students are gifted in one aspect or another and some of our students are Twice Exceptional - they may struggle in one area and be gifted in another. 

The State of Iowa defines GAT students as “Gifted and talented children” are those children who are identified as possessing outstanding abilities and who are capable of high performance. Gifted and talented children are children who require appropriate instruction and educational services commensurate with their abilities and needs beyond those provided by the regular school program. 2. Gifted and talented children include those children with demonstrated achievement or potential in: a. General intellectual ability. b. Creative thinking. c. Leadership ability. d. Visual and performing arts.

As the Director of Student Services this year, I am the administrator working with our GAT teachers. If you have any questions about this very important opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact me or the instructional leaders, Todd Knobloch (K-8) or Rhonda Vobr (9-12). 

Project Lead the Way
NICC Meeting
Honored this morning, September 18th, to listen to and watch Crestwood High School students present projects they are creating and refining in Mrs. Steffen's Principals of Engineering, PLTW, class. They were both engaged and humorous as they presented to educators at HWCSD, NICC staff and business leaders of the community. 

PreSchool ~ Zones of Regulation
The teachers at HWCSD are working hard to teach and implement the Zones of Regulation to our new preschool and prekindergarten students. Shari Marr, prekindergarten teacher is reading a fun story that teaches about numbers and counting using a fun, furry snake and some little mice! What I really loved, was that as she taught, she asked the students about how those story characters were feeling and what Zone they were in. It was super exciting to watch our young people learn how to regulate their emotions!                                


                  Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest

We've got tours to the Borlaug Farm, meal packaging event, Inspire Day, Hospital Auxiliary Quilt Auction, Cruise to Cresco, 5K Run/Walk, PARADE, great food, tractor shows, Bean Bag Tournament, live music, games for kids, crafts, flea market, Farmers Market, and so much more!  Every thing happens in downtown Cresco. To promote the vision of Norman Borlaug, a meal packaging event is part of the NBHF experience. We will be packaging over 100,000 meals on Sunday, September 20th at the high school, and you can be a part of the experience! Call 563.547.3434 for more details!

High School Omelette Breakfast - Sunday, September 20th
The Crestwood Cadets Chorus Students will be hosting the annual Omelette Breakfast at the high school from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the high school. Come, bring your appetite and then have fun packaging meals with Meals from the Heartland!

High School Students showing their CADET Pride!


It has been a great week across the board for our Crestwood Cadets. The Boy's Cross-Country team won their meet in Osage, Ladies Volleyball swept Clearlake last night in Varsity Volleyball 3-0, and we are expecting a big win tonight for our football team! 

Thank you for reading!  Have a great week!  

Always love to talk and collaborate! Please call me, Terese Jurgensen @ (563) 929-6344 or email me,

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