Thursday, February 16, 2017

Terese Jurgensen ~ Director of Student Services/Special Education~February 16, 2017

Big Changes in Education
I was driving to Decorah to attend an IEP meeting the other day, and I was listening to NPR radio talk about the appointment of Betsy DeVoss as the U.S. Secretary of Education. The words the announcer used to describe Betsy DeVoss were, "She is the powerful person in education today."
I don't know what your political stance is, and this is not the point I am making here. My point is not whether you are happy or unhappy about our political world - this is a moot point. The bottom line is that no one in education is more powerful in a student's life than their teacher(s). 
As I stated last week, I didn't go into public education until I was in my 40's. I wanted to be with my own children and there were areas (especially special education) that I was passionate about and wanted to make an impact. What surprised me was how demanding the job was - even more than being a social worker in the heart of Detroit, Michigan!  The simple fact was that 8 hours in a public school as a classroom teacher, an associate, a lunch aide, bus driver or as an administrator is nothing like other jobs in public service. A public educator is "on" 24/7 and the overwhelming task of education is a very demanding, emotionally charged, all-consuming task. And yet, so incredibly wonderful! My only disappointment in my later-in-life career choice is that I waited until my 40's!
I wanted to give our educational staff here at Howard-Winneshiek CSD a shout-out and encouragement. There is no one in a political party that can take away from your passion and relationships with students and their families! Thank you for all you do!  
YOU come in direct contact with students and their families.  YOU are the most powerful educator, in spite of what the media is telling us:
Thank you for knowing and caring about: to teach them, so they learn according to their needs. 
…what your students like.
…what they dislike.
…what makes them happy.
…what makes them sad.
…what has been bothering them today… or all year.
…where they’ve come from.
…and where they’re headed.
The direct relationship you have with your students makes YOU the most powerful educator. Let's continue to partner together and stay positive!

  Howard-Winneshiek Offers Growth Mindset Class:
The Howard-Winneshiek Community School District has been focused on "Growth Mindset" this school year. Simply put, it's all about having a positive mindset, understanding that we are in charge of our brains, and how we see the world. The fact is, our brains can actually CHANGE and BE IN CHARGE OF - whether we see the glass half-full or half-empty. This is a true fact and is brain research-based. 
If we operate with a perspective that's focused only on the negative, our reality as well as our relationships will always be forced to operate from a deficit. But if we instead fix our focus on the good in your relationships, on the strengths, you can actually multiply that. Our relationships may not be where you want them to be today, but if we offer support instead of criticism, we make it possible for real, lasting change to occur. 
On Monday, February 13th, the HWCSD school board approved of a new course offering which will focus on Growth Mindset and will support our students be prepared for a 21st century job force, how to problem solve, learn the soft skills of building and empowering relationships and utilizing and focusing a positive mindset. It is an exciting step and one that will unique and meaningful for the Howard-Winn High School Students. It is exciting!
YouTube Video that has wonderful Growth Mindset Quotes

Great Things Happening @ Cadet Nation!

Howard-Winneshiek will have a 
We will have a new Therapy Dog in the 2017-18 School Year! Alicia Martin, proud owner, shown here with HOWIE! When he is 1 year old and fully trained as a therapy dog, you will find Howie working alongside Denise Headington our Family & Student Case Manager!

A group of students partnered together to raise awareness and support for a staff member who has a husband who has had surgery. The students help raise over $600 in one night in support of this family to help pay medical bills. The students baked these goodies on Sunday with the help of Karen Parks, our Foods Teacher!  

 State Wrestling Qualifiers!
Ryan Steffen, Trey Pecinovsky and Trevor Trende, qualified to grapple at the State of Iowa High School Wrestling Tournament this week! As Alicia Martin states in her Twitter, "Go Get' Em Boys!" 

Girl's Basketball!
Dale Dennler shown here with his daughter, Ella after the High School Girl's Basketball team defeated New Hampton last night! It has been an exciting season for the Cadets led by head coach, Doug Sickles & partnered with Dale Dennler. Go Get' Em Girls!!!

Parent-Teacher Conferences were a huge success!  I want to thank each and every parent who participated along with their students in their educational journeys. Our goal at Howard-Winneshiek is to prepare our students to pursue their dreams and passions for their futures! Parents and caregivers are a huge part of the educational process. Thank you!  Enjoy the 4 day weekend! 
           Have a wonderful week! 
If you would like to reach me, Terese Jurgensen at (563) 929-6344 or by email at, please do so! 
                      Thank you!
                   Terese Jurgensen

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