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Weekly Update, October 7, 2016
 
Dear Board of Education, Grinnell Staff and Friends:
 
Happy Homecoming Weekend 2016!
 
The Board of Education Meeting will be held on Wednesday October 12th at 6:00 PM.  This meeting has a very light agenda for recommended approval items, however important topics regarding the facility audit, and my ability to complete the cost analysis of the audit.     I will be highlighting the facility audits and next steps for the Board of Education.  I will also be asking the Board to consider affording me the opportunity to hire Pete Perez from ESTES/iCAT/IASB that will assist me in completing the audits.  I have completed most of the audit work, however my need to have an outside look at costs is imperative. The cost to hire him will be around $10,000.  I am hoping much less since he would not have to do the facility audit portion, as I have already completed this piece.   I will be getting a proposal on Monday from him.  I will attach it to the agenda for you to review.  
 
I have reviewed FEH’s work and history around facility costs and much of this is outdated and not aligned to current realities and I am finding limited information about the specific needs for each facility.  This hire will enable the board and the community to see line item cost analysis for facility issues and assist me in examining the middle school facility more closely.  I need to know if we could potentially renovate that facility.  This answer will assist all of us to narrow our potential options down the road.  Pete Perez has worked with Pella, Pleasantville, and other Iowa Schools.    
 
Good News:
Liz Hansen will be inducted into the Iowa High School Speech Association's Hall of Fame on Friday, October 14.    I would like to recognize her at our second October meeting. 
 
Speaking of Recognition: 
I will be meeting with the celebration committee this Monday to discuss our process and recognition program.   Students, administrators and staff will come together to formalize our recognition program.  
 
District Communication:
We will be sending a district wide parent email that will highlight the virtual backpack and direct the community to our website.   We continue to edit and streamline our website so that it is easier to find information.  
 
11th Avenue:
As you are aware we were approached about the 11th Ave property.  At this time, we cannot meet the interested parties timeline.   Therefore, we are holding off on any further action regarding the property until our audit and cost analysis has been completed. 
 
Professional Development Day:
The professional development opportunities were shared last week with you.  It was another successful workday for our teachers.  I want to thank our principals for their hard work and dedication in making these days very valuable for our staff. 
 
Completion of the facilities audits:
We have completed the checklists, identified design principles and areas of concern, and identified specific equipment that is either outdated, or at end of life.   The next step to complete this project is to work with an expert to complete the cost analysis as previously stated.    
 
Superintendent/ High School Principal meeting:
On Wednesday Kevin Seney and I attended a superintendent/high school principal meeting that focused on how Iowa is looking to create partnerships around career and technical training for students in grades 6-12.   We are fortunate that we collaborate with Iowa Valley around these opportunities for our high school students and are ahead of the game.  At this point we are waiting to find out more information on the requirements.  We will be working with our AEA once we have more information.   Also at this meeting, Noelle Ellerson, AESA Lobbyist, discussed ESSA and the impact of potential funding concerns that could affect us in the way our dollars are allocated.
 
Apple Vanguard Cohort:
Our Coaches attended the first session of work towards the completion of the Apple Vanguard Cohort certification that was facilitated by Apple Karen.  A larger group of teachers will begin in November.  This training will continue our efforts toward our goals for addressing best instructional practices using technology.
 
Music Therapy:
A few months ago, Dr. Pohlson approached me to see if the district would have a need to incorporate music therapy for those students who suffer from special education needs, anxiety, autism, or need additional coping skill development.   I met with Stephanie Johnson from Music Speaks.  We have an opportunity to assist our most needy students.  Funding for this would come from our special education dollars as determined through an IEP, and potentially for next year, title one dollars.   I will also be submitting a grant for additional funding for the remainder of this year for about $5800.  Next year we will be able to sustain this through our title one dollars.  
 
Homecoming Parade:
I want to thank everyone for participating in the Homecoming parade.   It was a wonderful event.   I hope to see everyone at the game tonight!  Go Tigers!
 
Please feel free to give me a call if you have any questions.
 
Sincerely,
 
Janet
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Janet M. Stutz
Superintendent
Grinnell-Newburg Schools