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Weekly Update, August 12, 2016

Weekly Update, August 12, 2016

Dear Grinnell-Newburg Board of Education:

Happy Friday!  You will find this email to be rather brief as we just met together on Wednesday night.   I do however have a few fun facts for you.

Today the piano arrived, and yes, I had an opportunity to play it before we covered it and placed it into the storage room for safe keeping.   It sounded fabulous, not my playing of course, but the piano itself.    The high school accompanist, however played the piano for the first time on stage and the sound was gorgeous.    I want to once again thank the GNEE and the Board of Education for this beautiful instrument.  Our students will benefit from this generous donation.    

Below are a few highlights of my week:
This week, our work began to finalize our upcoming welcome back activities.   I also had an opportunity to speak to the Lion's Club group about education today.  I emphasized how it is imperative that students are prepared for not only their world today, but well into their future in order to compete in a global economy.   I had many questions about our school facilities.  My answer to the community is that:  "I am working through the facility audit and once it has been completed, I would like to meet with the facilities committee to discuss.   I do have a sense of what I think would be the best plan moving forward, but I need to complete my work".   

In the event that any community member asks you about the facility plan and what I plan to do... I thought this statement may help all of us to respond.   Please know, I have some ideas formulating for all of the buildings.   However, I do not want to jump ahead of the process as that would create confusion.  There needs to be a plan for each piece of property.   My hope is that I will be able to finish the audit by mid September.   

This week I had an opportunity to meet with the Chief of Police to discuss safety and security of our schools.   There is an emergency plan document that we will be working through together.  The Chief and I also discussed the need to search for a safety grant that may assist us to target building numbering, communication devices in the event of an emergency, and hosting police, fire, principal "table top" scenarios in the event of an emergency.  

Once again, I was at Fairview visiting a second grade classroom.  This time I had the opportunity for students to read to me.   The summer school program in conjunction with the AmeriCorp program has significantly impacted student reading outcomes for the better.   Teachers have expressed that they have seen students develop confidence in their reading and have seen an increase in foundational skills.   

I attended the Kiwanis meeting this past week as their guest speaker.   I even met a few alumni from Elmhurst College where I went to school for my undergrad work.   This event was held at the Mayflower Bistro.   As we continue to work through our community volunteer sign up program that Lee Smith has initiated through several community groups, we think we can sign up our senior volunteers through the use of a kiosk system over at the Mayflower.   Many Kiwanis members who reside there would like to volunteer in the schools.   

Our administrative team met this past week to plan for our Teacher Coaches and our PLC facilitators.   We will be working with this group on Tuesday of next week to outline expectations and roles as they move forward through the implementation process. 

I had the opportunity to meet with Connected PTO this week, thanks to Sara Seney for bringing us together, and Lee Smith as we collaborated on the volunteer program.  

The Chamber assisted me this week as we met with several business community members and former teachers who attended a listening tour.  These tours generated very thought provoking information and how to develop a plan to further communication beyond our e-blast system, the local media, and website. I also gained further insight about strengths of the district and areas for further opportunities.   I look forward to continue to work on this plan. 

Finally, I met with leaders from our AEA today to discuss our TLC process and plan.   After meeting with them, I feel that we are on the right path to develop our coaches as we move forward with the implementation.  

Monday is the Bus Driver welcome back Breakfast.   Our Chief of Police will be there to meet and greet our bus drivers.   Please let me know if you would like to attend.  We will begin at 8:00 at the high school.   

Have a wonderful weekend. 

Sincerely, 

Janet

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Janet M. Stutz
Superintendent
Grinnell-Newburg Schools