Friday, January 29, 2016

Terese Jurgensen - Director of Student Services - January 26th, 2016

Northeast Iowa Community College 
Expands Opportunities

My daughter, Emily and I had a great conversation this week about college and creating your own business.  Emily told me that she wondered why so many people went on to spend countless thousands of dollars in a four year college when you can get so many college credits at Howard-Winn in an area that you are passionate about. Emily told me, "Too many people don't understand that with creativity and passion, combined with the power of technology, that creating your own business and doing something you love is a reality."  Her college classes at NICC have been a critical step in this 21st Century mindset.

What is super exciting about these words is that Emily never thought like that until she came to school at Crestwood. She is truly living and experiencing the "mission of Howard-Winneshiek CSD is to prepare and empower our students to think creatively, serve, contribute and succeed locally and globally."

Erin Powers-Daly, the NICC Cresco Center Director sent me the above video this week. Please watch it - it's good!  Our partnership with NICC has afforded our students and families countless opportunities, not only to earn college credit, and save thousands of dollars, but is helping our students find their passions. 

Of all the U.S. high school students who graduate high school and go on to college, a large proportion will never earn their degree. How can educators better train those who may struggle in trying to pick a course of study?  One solution may lie in putting greater emphasis on high school vocational training.

PBS NewsHour did a segment on workforce training for high school students in Boston.  This model is similar to the goals and programming that NICC is now offering to the students of Howard-Winneshiek and are hoping to continue to expand.  Educating students with purpose and passion, as well as educating them on life skills and soft skills are apparent across the programming offered to these students and a mirror image of what we offer our students.  It's exciting!

Crestwood Alternative Program Partners with NICC Success Model 

Look for exciting updates for the Alternative High School Program at Crestwood! Earlier in the year, NICC and Crestwood High School began meeting to implement the Success Model in the Alternative Program to prepare these students for post-secondary success. Nathan Thompson of NICC meets with students two times a week and helps the students discover how their passions, interests and talents connect to post-secondary employment opportunities. Mr. Thompson  is also reaching out to students who may have dropped out of high school and are interested in support in getting jobs, finishing up their high school diploma or their high school equivalency diploma. Combined with these efforts the alternative students and Julie Montgomery, the Success Lead Teacher for the students are visiting schools to increase their vision for the program. On Thursday, January 28th the above students pictured here with myself and Ms. Montgomery visited Mason City's Alternative High School. The students even sat in an English class! 
David Ciccetti, principal of the Mason City Alternative 
High School, was a gracious host!

Attendance Update:

Attendance letters have been sent home updating families on their children's

current attendance - both excused & unexcused absences. These letters are 
not meant to upset anyone, but to remind the importance of children of all 
ages need to be in school. Even if an absence is excused, it still has an 
on student achievement. Here are some good points to remember:

Some of the ideas the students said they liked about Mason City's program was the very nice building and classrooms, the option to take classes within the program and how quiet and calm the environment was. 

Our group also stopped by Charles City's Alternative Program that is located in a church off-campus. We got some good ideas to include for the handbook that is being updated. 

Social Thinking Update

I have had an absolute blast meeting with parents and discussing Social Thinking ~ what it is, what it is not and utilizing a social thinking observation checklist to help develop a treatment plan for our children. Social Thinking is a very complex subject area and one that I continue to learn more and more about. Human beings are created for relationships. We are social beings and yet the Social Mind is very complex and if a student is not naturally gifted socially, their lives can be very difficult. Even more importantly, it is very difficult for the people who love them to understand and know how to help them. If you would like to meet with me and talk more about this subject because it involves your child or someone you care about, please reach out and contact me at (563) 929-6344. 

Michelle Garcia Winner
The founder of Social Thinking - you may also learning more about Social Thinking at


I found this on Twitter this week!  I really like it - it might be something meaningful to share with your kids! 

Have a great week!
(563) 929-6344

Terese Jurgensen

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