Friday, February 24, 2017

Terese Jurgensen ~ Director of Student Services ~ February 24, 2017

Great Things Happening!

Looking forward to Cadet Girls Rocking State Basketball!
1st Game is Tuesday, February 28th @ 1:30 
School Cancelled to Support the Cadets!!

Front row (L-R): Addie Sopha, Emily Reinhart, and Abbe Foote.
Back row (L-R): Abbie Bergan, Anna Ptacek, Sarah Mashek, and Annie Fye.
Not pictured: Jenna Peckinovsky

Eight Scholastic Art Students at

Crestwood High School!

ELPA21 Testing has begun for our English Language Learners!
Alicia Martin gives a "Shout Out" to Mrs. Adams 3rd grade class!

Second Order Change

Second Order Change is defined as, "creating a new way of seeing things completely. Second order change requires new learning."  I have learned and experienced Second Order Change as an administrator for the Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools. I had never heard of such a thing, nor had I seen it in action before I was employed here. If you read between the lines, it is not an easy task, nor is it always pleasant. It takes time, commitment and humility. It creates systems that empower teachers and educates students. It is good for kids!

The reason I am writing about Second Order Change this week is because of (ongoing) conversations with administrators, Instructional Coaches and teachers reaching out to me over the last few weeks on the Social Emotional Learning article. Social Emotional Learning and connecting to our stake holders with positive relationships, is one of our design essentials here at Howard-Winn. The number one question I am being asked by the educators reaching out to me is, "How do you get all of your teachers onboard? What curriculum are you using?" My response, "Second Order Change." Second Order Change takes away confusion, creates buy-in, and removes the anxiety and resistance that many schools face because there are many philosophies that come and go in education and educators do not want, nor do they need, "one more thing to do." When it comes to educating kids today, we cannot and will not ignore the Social ~ Emotional ~ Cognitive needs of students today.

I remember when I was a little girl growing up in Butterfield, Minnesota, overhearing a teacher say about one of my classmates, "That poor little boy is so hungry every just can't teach a hungry kid." Maslow, a psychologist who studied human motivation outlined that the basic needs of humans: food, water, shelter, clothing, were the most primal needs. Without them, people cannot go on to higher forms of learning or becoming the best person they could be ~ could not be happy or enjoy a quality of life. 

I agree with Maslow, but I believe and have experienced over the last 30 years, that students (dare I say society?) today are coming to school with Social ~ Emotional ~ Cognitive needs that are as equally detrimental and a barrier to learning because of these needs. These needs are easy to see. Let me walk you through my work day on Thursday, 2/23/17.

My morning began with a little boy who frequently has melt-downs and becomes frantic when asked to transfer to another bus. What is wrong? We really don't know - when he becomes upset, he cannot use his words. Immediately following this, I spoke with a high school student who had just abandoned where he lived because he believed no one cared about him there. By 9:00 a.m., I was called by a parent who informed me that her child was feeling uncomfortable in a class because another student had no boundaries and would not listen to the word, "No." The day went on and by 10:00 a.m. I was reaching out to a student who wanted to skip school and just couldn't focus because of all of the "crap" in his life. As I worked through these issues and began investigations and connecting kids to the supports they needed, two girls came into my office and needed to "vent" because of "drama" that was happening on social media after school hours. By 1:00 p.m., I was rescheduling an important appointment because of weather on Friday and spent approximately 30 minutes speaking with a distraught parent. By 2:00 p.m., an educator was reaching out to me because students were not engaging or going to class.  At 3:00 p.m., I was meeting with the local police on an issue and at 5:00 p.m., a parent called me because something had happened in their community and the authorities were being called. She wanted and needed direction and support. 

Whew!! I don't write this to make the public think I was "earning" my money or God forbid, have anyone feel bad for me. By no means! I LOVE MY WORK! I truly love and am committed to the Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools. I am committed to kids! The point I am trying to make is that our school is no different (I believe we are far better) than other schools across Iowa and the nation. Social - Emotional - Cognitive struggles are the new, "Kids can't learn if they are hungry." Reality is, society has changed, traumatic experiences of divorce, poverty, alcoholism, busy family lives where parents need to work constantly and the over-abundance of technology being a babysitter or being used to an excess by America's children is a reality. It is not going away. 

So what do schools do in response to this reality? We are going to need to change! And not just any kind of change. We don't need a new curriculum - a new theory - a new discipline matrix or a new program. We need to change! It will have to be Second Order Change. It is going to come from seeing things totally different than we do today. I am excited that we have started this journey at Howard-Winn. We are not perfect, and there is always room for growth, but we recognize the issues, are implement Individual Learning Plans for all students, not just students who are in special education or on a 504 plan. We are looking at students and their families (key word) and helping them recognize the needs their brains have and teaching them to take ownership and implementing change from the inside out. 


Illinois Computing Educators

The administrative team and the TLC Instructional Coaches of Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools have been invited to present next week at the ICE Conference. It is a conference that reaches out to educators in Illinois and beyond. Mr. Carver will be on a panel talking about 21st Century Learning on Wednesday and on Thursday, we will give three different presentations and later that same day, a Virtual Tour of what is happening back in our school will be presented to people at the conference. I am looking forward to presenting on behalf of Howard-Winn as well as learning new things to incorporate in our district. Please look forward to more information next week. 


Have a great week! 
Be sure to cheer on the Boy's Basketball Team as they continue on their journey to state! 

Looking forward to our Girl's Basketball team winning their first round on Tuesday!  

Please be sure to reach out to me, Terese Jurgensen, if you have any questions or concerns. 
You can reach me at (563) 929-6344 
or at

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