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Weekly Update:  October 28, 2016
 
What is happening around the District?  
 
Bailey Park Elementary School:  
On Thursday, our Bailey Park Students performed several songs of the season for parents and guests.  Students demonstrated their ability to read notes, play percussion instruments, and even performed a line dance.   It was certainly a real treat to see our young students enjoying music.  
 
Middle School Health Fair Program:
I had the opportunity to walk through the middle school’s health fair program this week to witness students engaged in learning about healthy lifestyles.  It was evident many students enjoyed the activity.  
 
Marker Space Program:
The elementary principals have put their heads together to find an after school program for all K-4 grade students.   We will provide more information to the board of education as needed.   Here is the gist of the program that is a collaborative effort between the PTO and the each elementary school.  
 
MakerSpace Monday is a time for students to be inspired to become participatory learners to uncover their talents, needs, and interests by making, producing, solving, creating, collaborating and thinking.  The MakerSpace will include, but not limited to, robotics, Legos, coding, Snap Circuits, etc.
 
Kick off date: Monday, December 5 held at Fairview. Transportation will be provided to Fairview.
Time: 3:10 - 4:00 p.m.
Supervision: This will be run by parent volunteers that will have a background check completed.
Materials Funded by: Student Activities Fund; this money needed to be used outside of school hours and on something that is available to all students.
Who is invited: This is open to all students at the elementary buildings.  Transportation will not be provided at the 4:00 p.m. pick up time, however PTO has indicated that they are willing to facilitate a ride share program.
 
COUNSELING OFFICE
Next week is College Application Week at Grinnell High School.  Throughout the week, there will be activities to promote a college-going culture.  Watch announcements for College Trivia, starting Monday.    On Tuesday, student and staff are encouraged to wear COLLEGE GEAR!  

Envelope Project Update:
I received an email from Jason Cooper regarding the project and he informed me that beginning November 10, the materials will be delivered and we should begin to see progress.   I will continue to keep you updated regarding the project.  

Auditors:
Our auditors completed their work on Wednesday of this past week and shared their results with two of our board members, Lisa Johnson and me.   We were told that the audit results were very good.    I want to congratulate the business office for their hard work and the implementation of checks and balances.    We have a few items to follow up on, but overall an excellent report.  
 
Consortium:
The team met together this week to review guiding principles for the consortium and how we will function and organize using a systematic approach.  This will help the team to make decisions that will benefit all partner schools.  Once the guiding principle/bylaws are completed I will share them with our Board of Education.   
 
GNEE/Foundation:
I met with the GNEE/Foundation board this week to discuss the mini-grants.  The Foundation will be notifying the winners in the upcoming weeks.   I want to thank those staff members that applied for a mini-grant.
 
Downtown Focus Groups:
This week I participated in two different community focus groups. One was with the Chamber who asked participants to highlight features of downtown and to generate a vision for the future of our downtown community.   As a newcomer to Grinnell, I was excited to learn more about the history of Grinnell and the unique businesses in our community.    I also participated in the Grinnell College Hood Design walking tour focus group to generate ideas about a public art piece at the corner of highway 6 and 146.   It was a wonderful experience to view Grinnell through a different lens and offer insights as the design team collected input.    It is an exciting time to be in Grinnell!
 
November 8, 2016
Pete Perez will be here with the Estes team to review our facilities.  I will participate in the walking tour with the team and continue to review our current facility documents.   
 
Capstone Project:
This week I met with one of Grinnell’s high school students who wanted to meet with me to discuss her facility idea for a tutoring center.  It was an honor for me to provide her some guidance as she explored this idea, and researched how to meet the needs of students beyond the regular scheduled day.  We discussed learning environments and twenty first century facility ideas.
 
Planting High School Trees:
We are fortunate that one of our sophomore students, Julia Chamberland, wrote a grant to plant trees around the high school.  Final plans and locations were discussed with our building and grounds team in order to ensure that the trees are safe during the winter and are planted in locations in which they will thrive for many years to come.    
 
Finance Committee:
The finance committee met this week to review projections and the retirement option plan for teachers who qualify.  We will be asking that the board discuss this at the next board meeting.   I will be meeting with the unions to discuss the proposal that we will be bringing to the Board of Education.
 
Friday:
Today I am speaking at the Midwest Social Workers Conference from 1:15-4:30 in Lisle IL.   The topic that I will be speaking on is suicide awareness and prevention.   This project initially began several years ago after a 5th grade student committed suicide in my previous district.  I collaborated with many groups and the state of IL to bring forth an implementation plan in response to new legislation, the “Anne Marie Law”.  Erika’s Lighthouse asked that I speak at the conference to share my work and how my previous district implemented the new legislation.   I was recognized by the Anne Marie Foundation for my work on this project and felt that this session was a nice way for me to give back to the Foundation.  
 
Have a great weekend!
 
Sincerely,
 
Janet