Friday, August 12, 2016

Terese Jurgensen ~ Director of Student Services ~ Welcome to the 2016-17 School Year!

Looking Forward to a Great Year!

In just a few days, the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District will open its doors to the new and exciting 2016-2017 school year. This is my favorite time of year and for as long as I can remember, it has brought with it an air of expectation, hope and wonder that truly makes me almost giddy. This year marks my last year as a mom of sending my children off to school as my youngest, and only daughter, Emily, will be a senior in high school. As I take the last "first day of school" picture before she goes off to college next year, it is only fitting that I reflect on all of the years as a parent that I sent my children off to school entrusting teachers, administrators, cooks and recess people with the very ones that are the most important and precious things in my life. It is a sacred and high calling to work in the public school system and one that we hold in high regard and with the utmost respect at Crestwood Schools. I was reading a blog by David Geurin this week ( and came across a wonderful piece that is a challenge to all educators:

Let's Look at this from a Parent Perspective:

As the Director of Student Services, I have the amazing opportunity to interact and share with many of our parents and caregivers of the students we serve. Many of you may not know this, but the reason I went into education was to support parents and make a positive learning environment for students. At the core of my educational pedagogy, I believe one of the most important things I can do as an educator is partner, share and communicate with parents. So, I thought I would take this wonderful opportunity, the first blog of the school year, to share with parents how to have a wonderful school year. As well as how we, at HWCSD, are striving to give each of the children that walk through our doors, a future-ready education that meets not only educational needs, but supports our students socially, emotionally and allows them to find their passions to become global citizens. 
  • Come to our First Day of School Open House on August 23rd! Just like teachers greeting students at their door, we want to start our school year off by connecting and greeting our parents at the door before classes start. We want to get to know you, answer your questions, and support you.  Most importantly to know - You are always WELCOME here!
  • Attendance Matters! Sometimes when students think of their 1st day of school, they think it is just going to be rules and expectations...boring. :(  However, many of our teachers teach a GREAT lesson to students on the 1st day of school. In other words - if a student misses one day at school, they miss a lot!  Attendance is so crucial to student enjoyment of school as well as student achievement. Please make sure your children are in school on time and (unless they have a fever or are critically ill) in school every day! 
  • Ask Questions! Communication between parents and school is so very important! Many things happen during a school day and if your son/daughter comes home and are upset about something or if you have any questions, please call or email your teacher first. If you still have questions, you are always welcome to contact me or a building principal. We are here to support you and make sure your children are well cared for educationally as well as socially and emotionally. 
  • Support your children in the Driver's Seat! Student achievement is first and foremost a passion that as a team (parent/school) we ignite in your children. You will be hearing us talk a lot about "Growth Mindset" this year. We want our students to be able to "work hard - persevere - have grit - tenacity - and not be afraid to fail or "failing forward!" if you will. Staying tuned into PowerSchool, helping your child stay organized and making sure they are doing their homework, will help put your child in the Driver's Seat!
  • Global Communication! "Our mission is to prepare and empower our students to think creatively, serve, contribute and succeed locally and globally." We believe that your children are living in and being prepared to work in a global society. Please be sure to check us out on our Facebook Page and on Twitter #2020HowardWinn. 

Teacher Leadership Initiative!
We are excited to begin a new chapter of Teacher Leadership in our school district that has been an initiative across the State of Iowa. The Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) System rewards effective teachers with leadership opportunities. The overriding philosophy of the system is multi-pronged, but boils down to this: Improving student learning requires improving the instruction they receive each day. There is no better way to do this than to empower our best teachers to lead the effort. Through the system, teacher leaders take on extra responsibilities, including helping colleagues analyze data and fine tune instructional strategies as well as coaching and co-teaching. Three full-time teacher leaders have taken on the role of Instructional Coaches and they are Kim Kerian, Heather Suckow and Kelly Sorenson. There are a number of other teachers that will continue with their regular teaching positions and support our school in additional supports. Pictured here is a collage of these teachers as we met to discuss district goals and strategies. 

Welcome Casey Bouska to High School Special Education
Crestwood High School is very fortunate to welcome Casey Bouska to our high school special education department. Mr. Bouska is a Crestwood graduate and is very excited to return to his alma mater. As the year begins, the special education staff have been meeting and preparing for a wonderful start of the school year. One of our focuses this year will continue to be Social and Emotional Learning for our students as well as continuing to grow and develop our transition program to support our students and prepare them for their post-secondary dreams and goals!
Jill McConnell, Casey Bouska, Karen Parks,
Terese Jurgensen & Alicia Martin

Pictured to the right with me are special education teachers, Jessica Cummings and Stacie VerMeer. Jessie and Stacie will share student rosters from Notre Dame Catholic School and the 6th grade students of Howard-Winneshiek.

I am a Ragbrai statistic!  All is well! 

Looking forward to seeing our 
9th grade students at orientation
 on August 18th!

Looking forward to seeing all of our parents at the Open House parents on 
August 23rd!

Looking forward to seeing all of our students 
on the 1st Day of School on
August 24th!

Please do not hesitate to email or call me,
Terese Jurgensen
(563) 929-6344

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