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Weekly Update:  October 14, 2016
 
Dear Board of Education, Grinnell Staff and Friends:
 
The crisp fall air is upon us in our Grinnell Community.  This time of year enters the final weeks of the first trimester and reminds me that parent teacher conferences are just around the corner. Parent teacher conferences are scheduled for October 27th and 28th.    October 27th is an early release day for students, and conferences will be held from 2:00-8:00 pm.  October 28th, no school day, conferences are held between 8:00a.m.- 12:00pm.    This check in is a valuable time for parents to ask questions about how their child is progressing in school, and how they can continue to support their child’s learning at home. It is also a time for teachers to highlight student performance and learning outcomes. This is a collaborative effort to ensure that we are addressing student academic needs.
 
Understanding your student’s assessments:
Later this fall, I would like to host an assessment session for our parents and community.   I will be working with the SIAC committee to schedule this evening event for our parents.  Watch for information that will be coming your way in the next few weeks with the date and time for this event.  
 
Finance Committee:
This past week the finance committee met to discuss our current budget expenditures and revenues.  The finance committee will meet again after the next Board meeting on October 26, 2016 to examine projection scenarios and continue discussions on how to reduce expenditures.  
 
Crisis Intervention Services
This past week our school nurses, Kevin Seney and I met with intervention services to discuss ways in which we can incorporate an educational awareness and prevention program for our students and parents about sexual assault and dating violence.  We will continue to work with the intervention service group, and more information will be forthcoming for students and parents.  
 
Facility Audit Summary:
I have completed the facility audit summary for each building.  The Board of Education approved to hire Pete Perez from Estes Construction as a consultant to assist me in completing the audit. He will focus on the scope of the work that is beyond my expertise; brick, structure, HVAC, costs, and other mechanical operational components.  Please know that I am preparing a document that will include history of our facilities, findings and or concerns that were identified during the extensive audit, and line item costs for any repairs or replacement items as identified in the audit. I have completed the first portion of the draft and will continue to edit this based upon feedback from the Board.   Finally, once all of this has been completed, a recommendation for each property will be brought to the Board of Education for discussion.  This is a long detailed process based upon best practices and research for facility assessment and planning.  I look forward to sharing all of the information as soon as it is complete.   
 
Celebrating Success:
We hosted our first “celebrating success” committee meeting this past week.  Students, staff and administrators came together to identify ways in which we will honor and recognize students, staff, and community members at each of our board meetings.  We will be establishing protocols, recognition criteria, and ways to honor those in our school community who go above and beyond.    
 
CYCLE VISITS W/AEA 267:
The Team from our AEA 267 visited with our administrators this past week to discuss how they can support our efforts in the areas of technology, special education, curriculum, professional development and much more.  I was pleased to learn how we have been able to access their assistance on projects and training.  This is a wonderful resource to our school district.  We are fortunate to have such wonderful resources available to us.   
 
Welding Program:
We are fortunate that our district offers a certified welding program to our high school students.  We partner with Montezuma and BGM.  This past week we met together to work out the logistics of the program and the agreement between all three districts to ensure that funding for the program is equitable. 
 
Partnering with Grinnell College:
This week I met with Dr. Kington, in an ongoing monthly meeting, to discuss how we can continue to collaborate together.  Our discussion included assessments, data warehousing, and blended pre-school.  We will continue to collaborate together and share resource information that will benefit both of our organizations.  
 
GNEA:
Monthly, the GNEA and I meet together to check in on how things are going in the district.   I appreciate the GNEA leadership’s willingness to take the time to discuss our progress and find ways to continue to improve our communication and our efforts for the benefit of our students.   It has been wonderful working with our leaders.   The GNEA members should be proud of their leaders.   What an awesome team.  
 
Language Arts Middle School PLC:
I met with the Language arts PLC at the middle school this week to discuss curriculum, frameworks and differentiation.   It was a wonderful discussion and I look forward to continue our discussions.  
 
AEA TAG program:
I had an opportunity to meet with the TAG AEA liaison this past week.   She assisted me in the scope of TAG program and purpose in Iowa and provided me with resources that I will share with our TAG teachers and principals.  
 
Students present apps in J. Scanlan’s classroom:
This afternoon I am looking forward to the student’s presentations.  I will keep you posted on what I learn.  
 
CEC:
The CEC round table meetings are such a delight.  I learn first hand all of the Educational Programs in the community.  It is our hope that through this partnership we will be able to bring together our resources to support each other in our efforts to provide some of the best services in the State.  Everyday I am more impressed with the efforts of our community groups and the dedication to our families and organizations.  I have not quite seen anything like it!  Grinnell is truly on the cutting edge of how a community can make a difference in the lives of its members.  I am so grateful to be a part of it.     
 
Next Week:
I will be at the Drake Community Library on Monday, October 17 to highlight “Teaching Students Today for Their Tomorrows”.  This presentation will focus on instructional practice efforts that are currently underway in our district, and our plan moving forward toward preparing students in this ever-changing world.  I look forward to this presentation.
 
Out of the District:  
Please know that I will be out of the district from October 18-24.  Kevin Seney will be in charge.   I will be available via cell phone and email if you need to reach me.   I want to thank the Board for affording me the time to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary.   I appreciate your support.   
 
Fire Department Educate our students on safety:
The Fire Department has been visiting our schools.  They have geared up to help our students learn about being safe in the event of an emergency.  Our Grinnell Firemen visited Bailey Park this past week and will be at Fairview next week teaching our students about safety and when to call 911.  Kudos to our Fire Department!  Our students enjoy spending time with you.  

Enjoy the weekend!
 
Sincerely,
 
Janet