Superintendent's Weekly Update
Weekly Update: January 18, 2018
Happy Friday! It feels like a warm front has reached us as compared to earlier this week! A little sunshine is always a wonderful feeling during the middle of January. I hope you find time to enjoy a little bit of outdoor fun this weekend.
Parent Teacher Conferences February 1-2:
Please watch for upcoming information regarding parent teacher conferences that are scheduled for February 1 and 2, 2018. Building principals will be sending out information regarding parent teacher conferences. Check your weekly update from your school to find out more on parent teacher conferences.
Press Release Information: January 16, 2018
This past week I sent a press release to our local media outlets regarding the facility plan and bond referendum. I am including the press release in this weekly update for you to review. Please let me know if you would like to schedule an informational meeting in the next few weeks. I am happy to answer any of your questions regarding the facility concept plan.
Press Release January 16, 2018
Grinnell Newburg Community School District Bond Proposal
February 6, 2018 Referendum Vote Information
The Grinnell-Newburg Community School District has spent the last year and a half listening to the community, staff and students while assessing current conditions of district facilities. Internal and external audits indicated the need for an immediate remedy.
The average lifespan of a school facility is 65 years. The average age of our five school buildings is 62 years old. Critical updates to major systems will cost the district $33-$47 million dollars, without providing any educational improvements, and leaving many necessary updates undone. Knowing all of this, the district has developed a new plan to build a new PreK-5th grade elementary school on the 4th avenue site, completely gut and renovate the current middle school, as well as renovate major critical systems and upgrade spaces at the high school, including a safe and secure entrance. These concepts would extend the life of our school facilities for many years to come.
If the bond and levy were to pass, the plan would include secure entry ways, safety enhancements, storm shelters, new HVAC systems, and upgrades to electrical and plumbing. In addition to these necessities, the district would be able to meet the desired outcomes of the community, which include opportunities, inclusiveness, innovation, partnerships, and career/college readiness. The concept plan was developed to align with the community desired outcomes that were collected during three public meetings in the summer and fall of 2017. Specific building designs would be drawn following the passing of a bond vote. This would be done with teachers, administrators and parents in collaboration with the architects.
If the bond were to pass on February 6, 2018, the plan would be for the PreK-5th grade building to open in the fall of 2020, and the Middle School would be ready for students in the fall of 2021. The High School upgrades would be completed in phases, with critical Wifi upgrades done this summer, and the remainder of the High School projects completed by 2023. Current elementary school facilities would be used during phases of the middle school renovations. Once the projects are completed, the district would collaborate with neighborhoods to obtain feedback about property plans prior to the sale of any buildings.
The District is asking for proceeds from bonds up to $60 million dollars. The sale of bonds, while interest rates are low, would enable the district to complete the proposed projects. The district would use $8 million dollars of SAVE money toward the construction and renovation projects. Voters who reside within the Grinnell-Newburg School District’s boundaries may vote on February 6, 2018. The ballot, on February 6, 2018 contains 2 questions in which each question must pass by 60% +1 of the total votes. The first question is for the district to do the projects; the second question is to raise the debt service property tax levy to $4.05. The district would balance the total school levy so that taxpayers would see a net increase of $2.60, approximately $20.00 per month for the average residence. Even with this increase, Grinnell would have one of the lowest tax rates of all other Little Hawkeye Conference districts. The district paid the last bond levy off 7 years early saving taxpayers $287,000 in interest charges.
If you would like more information regarding the School District’s Bond Referendum, please feel free to contact Dr. Janet M. Stutz at 641-236-2700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may find more information at http://bondissue.org/grinnell/. Dr. Stutz is hosting small group informational meetings to clarify your questions. Please feel free to contact the District Office to schedule a meeting prior to February 6, 2018.
Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fairview kindergarten classes read stories about MLK as well as watched short video clips. Mrs. Smith did an activity about appreciation of all kinds of friends. Fairview’s character trait that they are focusing on during the month of January is FAIRNESS, and they incorporated MLK day into this theme.
The High School had a unique experience for our students to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Teachers were sent a document of MLK quotes, and were told to select one or more quotes from Dr. King that resonates with them. Teachers chose their quotes, and then printed them out. During morning passing periods, teachers were instructed to take their printed documents into the hallway with a roll of masking tape and ask students passing by to help tape the papers on the wall. Teachers were instructed not to explain what they were putting on the wall, but just to ask for their help and thank them when they finish. By midday students were surrounded by meaningful quotes that spoke to values such as the power of love, nonviolence, and equality, reminding us why Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an important American holiday.
7th grade students in Mrs. Moore’s class had the honor of a visit from our new Mayor! The Mayor assisted in reading a novel to students, and he facilitated questions about the novel. Thank you Mr. Mayor, for stopping by!
5th and 6th grade students learned about the design process for Engineers this week. The target of the lesson was for students to understand the process of building, testing, and modifying their design to get a perfect prototype. The students will be sharing their work at the Grinnell Middle School Engineering Fair on Wednesday, January 24 and Friday, January 26 from 4:00-6:30. The event will take place in the middle school gym.
Last week our sixth grade Social Studies classes visited the underwater reefs of Australia and walked the Great Wall of China among other adventures using virtual reality goggles.
Davis Elementary had the GHS Debate Team drop by and work with some of our students this week! These awesome role models were able to work with some of the students in Mrs. Beck’s room.
Davis also had some outstanding student role models at Davis Elementary that have earned the right to go and read at the lower elementary buildings. We have had different students throughout the year take advantage of this reward and have loved doing it. Below are some pictures of their experiences.
Did you Know about Dental Health Month?
To celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, there will be a FREE dental clinic for children ages 3-18 years old on Friday, February 2nd from 7:30am to 3:30pm put on by the local Poweshiek County Dental Coalition. This is a no-school day for Grinnell students. The clinic is for those who have Medicaid/Title 19 or no insurance. An appointment must be made at one of the local dental offices before January 26th by calling Dental Associates in Grinnell at 641-236-6174, Family Dentistry in Grinnell at 641-236-6169, Family Dentistry in Montezuma at 641-623-2013, or Family Dentistry in Victor at 319-647-2141. Appointments will be scheduled on a first come first served basis. A parent/guardian is encouraged to attend the clinic with the child, although if cannot a consent form must be completed at the office prior to the clinic day. There is also FREE brunch after the dental appointment for those who attend the clinic day.
January 20th - 7th & 8th grade Honor Band Festival at Iowa City West High School
January 24 - GMS Engineering Fair (grade 5 & 6)
January 24 - Meeting of the Board of Education
January 26 - GMS Engineering Fair (grade 7&8)
February 1 - Two Hour Early Out, Parent Teacher Conferences (2:00 - 8:00 p.m.)
February 2 - No School, Parent Teacher Conferences (8:00 a.m. - noon)
February 5 - No School, PD Day
February 19 - No School, Presidents Day
March 26-30 - Spring Break
Have a wonderful weekend!
Dr. Janet M. Stutz