Thursday, March 24, 2016

Terese Jurgensen, Director of Student Services ~ March 24, 2016

Alternative High School Retreat

Alternative High School students and staff partnered with NICC's Outreach Success team members, Nathan Thompson and Erin Powers-Daly on Tuesday, March 22nd to allow our students a Voice on preparing for educational updates and additional supports for the 2016-2017 school year in the Howard-Winneshiek CSD's alternative program. An additional focus for the day was led by NICC Outreach Success Coach Nathan Thompson in an effort to encourage the students to assist in planning their own high school careers, while also thinking about future educational or professional pathways.

Ms. Montgomery informed reporter, Keri Schatz, "Officials at Howard-Winn are currently striving to make curriculum changes regarding the alternative program, which includes potential revisions to the attendance policy. “Because this is the kids’ program, we want the kids’ input,” Montgomery said. “One of our biggest problems has been attendance, so that’s why we’re going to talk about it and what we can do to get the kids here and motivated.”

The attendance policy revisions that have been in review this school year have had a driving force from the local business leaders and community members of the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District. Attendance is such an important part of post-secondary success as well as the ability of our community to survive and offer services and job opportunities for our school. 
Nathan Thompson of NICC agreed, “A lot of what we’ve heard from employers is that people, especially younger people, are not as prepared as they should be in terms of knowing soft skills when entering the workforce,” Thompson said. “This includes communication skills and attendance. We want to make sure people are prepared for success when they exit these programs.”
Attendance is not the only issue on the table as we look at improving the learning opportunities for our students in the alternative education program. We want to have additional opportunities such as emotional/social supports, additional classes taught in the alternative building as well as improving our online offerings by offering Edmentum/PLATO to our students. Julie Montgomery expanded on these thoughts, “We’ll talk about resumes and applications,” she said, adding, “It’s all about what do the kids need and want? Because they all come with amazing stories and struggles, so whatever we can do to make school better or easier for them helps. We want them to look forward to their futures and what they want to do after high school.”
During the retreat, our students also had the opportunity to hear from some former students as well as Featherlite, Inc. Plant Manager Randy Ferrie, who spoke about a wide range of topics from “dreaming big” to overcoming economic challenges to having a plan in life and ways in which generational differences impact people on the job. Ferrie has worked for the global trailer company for about 37 years. They employ more than 500 people. “Never ever think you can’t do something,” he said, “even if there are challenges all around you.”

Meanwhile Montgomery, who started teaching the alternative program about 17 years ago, notes there are at present about 15 students in the program and five additional female students who graduated at semester this school year. “Where would these kids be if we didn’t have the alternative program?” she asked. “You need an education to do anything these days.” (modified from Keri Schatz's article on 3/22/16)

 Crestwood Elementary
 Social Thinking Book Clubs

In November of this school year, Crestwood Elementary Teachers attended professional development on Social Thinking Strategies and how it affects many of our students and even their reading comprehension!  As a result for continued professional development, we have several teachers reading and learning about Social Thinking and Reading Comprehension through Michelle Garcia Winner's book, "I Get It!" In the pictures here are the lower elementary group of teachers who are sharing on this important work and there is also an upper elementary group of teachers doing the same. Additional professional development book clubs on Social Thinking involve the "Zones of Regulation" and "Thinking About You - Thinking About Me." 

I saw this on Twitter & wanted to share an outstanding reader at Howard-Winn!

Does this look familiar? I wonder if Mr. Steffen's students could have beaten the Howard-Winn Secondary Staff this fall? STEM is a huge part of how we learn here at Crestwood Secondary School. Nice work girls!
Secondary Staff & the Marshmallow Challenge this Fall!

Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports!

The Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support group met this week, led by Tiffany McCabe, elementary guidance counselor to plan for our end of the year event for our amazing students! The elementary staff is looking to partner with the junior high to promote positive learning and culture by hosting a special event for our students. 

Be Caring

Be Respectful

Be Responsible

Be Trustworthy 

That's Cadet Pride!

Please feel free to contact me, Terese Jurgensen
(563) 929-6344

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