Friday, October 30, 2015

October 30th ~ Terese Jurgensen; Director of Student Services

Matt Carver, School Administrators of Iowa Legal Council
Iowa Attendance & Truancy Laws

On Tuesday, October 27th, I attended the School Administrator's of Iowa Legal Lab outlining Iowa's Attendance and Truancy Laws.  It was very interesting, and I brought home a great deal of information we will utilize as we update a more cohesive Attendance Policy for Howard -Winneshiek Community School District. I have included here a number of interesting facets of Iowa Law that I hope you find interesting as well as challenging. 

Discipline & Attendance:
A school districts primary obligation is the education of its students. 

Compulsory Attendance Age is the age when a child MUST attend school. In Iowa, children who are at least 5 and not yet 16 years of age by the date, September 15th are of compulsory attendance age. 

Parents who do not send their students to school who are of Compulsory Attendance Age, can and may be held legally responsible for not sending their children to school. 

School districts have an obligation to provide a learning environment that is safe and orderly to support the academic success of all students. This means that school districts must set reasonable expectations for student behavior, including school attendance.

For a secondary student, failure to attend school may be considered as behavior that is subject to disciplinary sanctions. 

School districts may define by policy what are deemed as excused and unexcused absences. The determination of whether an absence is excused is made by the school, not by the parent. 

In order to facilitate practical administration and to facilitate the communication of district student expectations, the district may adopt a number of "allowable" unexcused absences. The district also has the ability to determine what is the number of "allowable" excused absences. 

An attendance policy may provide that students will receive no credit after exceeding a  set number of unexcused absences. Any attendance policy providing students may be "dropped" from a class because of excessive unexcused absences should make provisions for alternative classes or activities. 

This attendance mandate recognizes that the primary purpose of school districts is educational, rather than disciplinary. 

The attendance policies of public schools should be reviewed at least every five years as required by 281-IAC 12.3(2).

Attendance Committee Meetings:
As noted in earlier weekly updates, the HWCSD is in the process of reviewing its attendance policy. During the course of this school year, multiple teams have reviewed the attendance policy, made notes, shared ideas and worked hard to review and define our current policy. 

We are now at a place to include our community, business owners, faith community, parents and anyone who is passionate about our school district and student achievement. Community members who have responded are being contacted. We will be having 2 meetings in November, 1 in December, with the hope to bring it to the School Board for approval in January. 

If you would like to be a part of this initiative. Once again, please contact Terese Jurgensen at (563) 929-6344.  

Great Things Happening at HWCSD!

Please watch the exciting PLTW (Project Lead the Way) class video for 8th graders called Automation & Robotics.  They learn how different mechanisms work and then design, build and program a robotic car.

Students love this class, instructed by Nick Ferrie, and HWCSD is creating amazing opportunities for students to experience Competency Based Education Initiatives! Education has shifted from ~teachers instructing ~ to students learning! Listen to how one student experiences learning with PLTW. 

Decorating Contest
In the Library

Decorate a pumpkin like your favorite

BOOK character!
Shown here are several students with Mrs. Shekelton who continuously goes
above and beyond for students to experience hands-on learning experiences
incorporated with reading excellent literature!

Social Thinking ~ Whole Body Listening 
                 Whole body listening is more than just hearing with the ears:
  • listening with the eyes (looking at the speaker) listening with the mouth (closed and quiet - no talking, humming, making sounds, etc.) listening with the body (facing the speaker) 
  • listening with the hands (quietly at the side of the body or in the lap) 
  • listening with the feet (standing still or quietly on the floor) 
  • listening with the brain (thinking about what the speaker is saying) 
  • and listening with the heart (caring about what the speaker is saying)* 

Whole Body Listening is a strategy that many teachers are using at Crestwood
Elementary. Listening is so much more than just "listening with our ears."
It is our whole body that engages in Social Communication! (

For a super fun video created by Sesame Street ~ please see:

          Meet Megan, a Junior at Crestwood High School Pursuing her dreams!


                               Talking with Megan was the best part of my day!

                    Please feel free to reach me, Terese Jurgensen
                                           (563) 929-6344
             Have a SAFE & Wonderful Halloween!

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