Saturday, October 24, 2015

October 23, 2015 ~ Student Services

Living Life on Purpose
When I was a classroom teacher, I always started my class with a presentation which I titled, "Living Life on Purpose." The reason I would start the class with this presentation was because I wanted my students' to know "who I was" and "what I was all about." I also wanted to challenge them to believe in their dreams and to live a life that would make a positive impact on the world.  I have to smile as I think of countless students' faces as I shared with them the experiences and places I had traveled as well as the interesting people I had met.  My experiences were told in stories and the heroes were always of people who many may have scorned at or shunned. Everyone loves a story, and my favorite story to share was about the best birthday party I ever went to....

When I was 25, I was called to be a missionary in Montreal, Canada. I was a team leader of just a handful of young woman from around the globe. Our purpose was to go into the heart of the city of Montreal, reach out to the homeless teens who lived on the streets, sheltered by abandoned buildings they called, Squats.  Our larger purpose was also to connect with churches, community agencies and businesses to create a drop-in center for these homeless young people - to offer safety, shelter, a warm meal and hopefully to help get them home or at least off of the streets. Living on the streets is a dangerous place and tragically, many of these young people, grow up there and are forced to do horrible things in order to survive. 

Upon our arrival in Montreal, our team was shocked at the heart-breaking things we saw, and even worse, no matter how much our hearts were breaking, we just could not connect with these young people. One night, I bravely walked up to a young woman standing on the street corner and told her, "Hi, my name is Terese, and my friends and I were wondering if you would like to go grab a cup of coffee and talk...or something." She looked at my with disgust, shook her head and hacked a big wad of spit on my face and marched away. I was thrilled!  A connection at last!

My friends and I went home and that night prayed that a door might open to have an opportunity to do something really wonderful, a blessing to that young lady. We didn't have to wait long. The very next night, I saw her again, standing in front of a dance hall with a new mink coat on. I overheard her tell her friend in line that it was her birthday and she was given the night off to celebrate. We wasted no time in taking this opportunity, this open door, to reach out again.

The next evening, it was rainy and cold. Our group of 6 excited, yet nervous women trudged downtown, hunkered against the wind and the cold.  Regina, who was from Switzerland, carried her guitar, I had a white cup wrapped up  from the Dollar Store that read "Happy Birthday" and Christine, from Australia, carefully carried the birthday cake she had decorated that afternoon. As we entered into the doorway at the multi-level Harvey's (Hardees) franchise, our knees were literally shaking as we began to sing, "Bona Feta du twoi! (Happy Birthday to you!) To our surprise, the entire fast-food restaurant joined in! As we sang, my friends and I joined the circle of 20 or more of this young lady's friends. As the song ended, I reached out and gave her the wrapped cup, telling her, "The other day we said we cared about you - today we wanted to show you." 

You could have heard a pin drop as she carefully unwrapped her gift, being careful to not rip a piece of the paper. She smiled, said thank you, looked up and told me, "My name is Casey." As we hugged, the other girls started chanting, "Cut the cake! Cut the cake!" Casey picked up the cake and asked me, "Would it be okay if I took this cake home to my little girl? I am 19 years old today, and I have never had a birthday cake in my whole life." The words were spoken so softly, touched with tears, that my friends and I just nodded yes. As she made her way out of the group and carefully through the door with her cake, it was a moment I will never forget.

 As the door closed behind her the other girls started all talking at once, "My birthday is in September, my birthday is in December!" We all started laughing and as we wrote down dates of countless birthdays yet to come. 

There are many reasons why I believe in and invest in the Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools. I believe in our teachers, our support staff, the school board, but more importantly our community of learners, both the students and their families. When I consider our mission statement, "Our mission is to prepare and empower our students to think creatively, serve, contribute and succeed locally and globally," it inspires me. As a district, we want all of our students to life their lives on purpose and to create an educational opportunity that will help them get there. 

Respect : yellow/gold
Think the Golden Rule
Responsibility : green
Think being responsible for a garden or finances; or as in being solid and reliable like an oak
Fairness : orange
Think of dividing an orange into equal sections to share fairly with friends
Caring : red
Think of a heart
Citizenship : purple

Think regal purple as representing the state 
Trustworthiness : blue   Think "true blue" 

Crestwood Celebrates Character Counts Week!
Crestwood Schools celebrated Character Counts Week by reminding students of the pillars of character during their daily lessons as well as having staff and students wear the Pillar Character Colors on specific days of the week. It was fun to see the students and staff all wearing same colors during the week.  For those of you who do not know what the pillars are I have listed them above and what the colors represent. 

It is important to note that the pillars of character also represent Executive Functions that support all of us in making good decisions, understanding and knowing how to form good relationships, and how to treat each other with respect. This is why it is so important to teach and celebrate Character in schools today. In doing so, we are strengthening our student's brains to enable them to make good, positive decisions that will affect their lives today and for years to come. 

In honor of Character Counts Week, I have videos to share with you from Tiffany McCabe, our Crestwood Elementary Guidance Counselor. Watch here as she teaches kindergartners in Mrs. Franzen's class how to use "Their Hands for Helping!" Enjoy!

Crestwood Elementary
Mrs. McCabe ~ Celebrates Character Counts Week!

Special Olympics Event @ Luther College

The Student Advisory Committee at Luther College, will be hosting the "1st Annual Norse Unity Bowl" on November 15th. It will include watching the Home Opener for the Men's Basketball team, introductions at Half-time of our guests, and bowling at Oneota Lanes with a pizza supper afterwards.  Attached you will find our event flyer and an information sheet describing the event in greater detail.

If you know of individuals who may be interested in participating, please encourage them to sign up using this link ( Or distribute the flyer as you deem appropriate. Our registration deadline is November 8th.
Thank you in advance for you help in promoting our event! We are very excited to be hosting the "Norse Unity Bowl!"
Patrick Larson - Luther College

Howard-Winneshiek CSD - 
Celebrates Bus Safety Week!

Katie stands at the door to welcome students
to the Bus Safety Evacuation Drill

The HWCSD practiced bus safety this week as all of the students grades K-12 practiced what to do if there was an emergency on the bus.

Some people questioned, "Why do all students practice this safety drill?" The reason is because all of our students will be on a bus at some point - whether it be for a field trip, bus ride to a home, or when they participate in a sport or musical event.

The safety drill went very smoothly, and I really enjoyed when the bus drivers spoke to the students about the importance of safety on the bus.

Have a great week!
If you have any questions for me,
Terese Jurgensen
Please email me:
or call my cell:
(563) 929-6344

Our mission is to prepare and empower our students to think creatively, serve, contribute and 
succeed locally and globally.

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