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Weekly Update: February 17, 2017
 
Dear Board of Education, Staff and Friends:
 
Happy Friday!  The weather is warm and there is a feeling of Spring in the air!   Let’s hope it lasts.  This week has been another exciting week for our students as they participated in Valentine’s Day parties, performed in the GHS variety show, and are gearing up for athletic excitement.   
 
Did you know that during the month of February students are committed to being in school daily to beat chronic absences?  We are proud of our students’ efforts to ensure that they are on time and ready to learn each and every day.  Each school has established goals for the entire school to raise their daily attendance percentages.  Students who are on time and attend school regularly establish a routine that will stay with them for the rest of their life.  Keep working toward your attendance goals!  We know you can do it!  
 
Admin Team Meeting:
This week the admin team spent time discussing some of our programs and how we can improve upon them next year.  We also reviewed the Estes report, and then met later in the week to begin formulating a list of facility priorities to present to the Finance Committee.  Next week we will work with the Facilities Committee to establish priorities and move toward building a facilities plan.  Please know that we will continue to keep all of our families and friends updated on our progress.   
 
Board Members:
I am very fortunate to work with a supportive and collaborative Board of Education.  This week, our Board came together to listen to our union leadership as they proposed to open Negotiations.  As many of you are aware, it is evident that the collective bargaining process will change for many unions across the state.  During uncertain times, it was evident that no matter how the process continues, our Board and Administration are supportive of our teachers.  We will continue to collaborate together and work through any issues or concerns regarding the way we do business.  I want to thank our union leadership for their continued communication and positive working relationship.  I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with excellent partners in education.
 
Please know that this evening's board meeting has been canceled due to the recent signature of the new law under collective bargaining.  We will begin again in the next few weeks once we have a clearer understanding of the new collective bargaining legislation.  We are committed to work closely with our union leadership team.    
 
Meeting with Dr. Kington:
I met again with Dr. Kington this week, and we discussed a few creative ideas he had to get our students exposed to art and culture.  I am grateful for his commitment to our district.  Dr. Kington also connected me to the University of Iowa’s gifted program chair, Dr. Susan Assouline. I will have an opportunity to meet with her on March 3, 2017 and visit the gifted center to discuss current and latest research in regards to meeting the needs of our gifted learners.  
 
Variety Show:
The variety show put on by our high school students was superb.  I enjoyed the unique and entertaining performances- it is evident that Grinnell-Newburg School District’s students are very talented.   
 
Poweshiek County Retired School Personnel Meeting:
Today I had the opportunity to discuss several topics with the retired school personnel teaching group at the Bistro at Mayflower.  I discussed our budget shift plan, facilities audit, provided a legislative update, and discussed our current state of the district.  Grinnell is very fortunate to have this wonderful supportive group!  The group asked some tough questions and had insight on the history of Grinnell-Newburg.  I enjoyed visiting with them, and yes… next time I will bring the guitar!  
 
Regional MathCounts Competition:
Congratulations to our MathCounts team who placed 11th out of 35 teams, and particularly Bridget Blanchard who qualified to advance to the State MathCounts Competition at Drake University on March 31. I am very proud of all our GMS MathCounts competitors.
 
Southeast District State Large Group Speech:
Congratulations to our Large Group Speech participants, who presented a total of 13 varsity events at the contest, 5 of which were judged as Outstanding Performer awards.   
 
Tomorrow I hope that you will join me in Ames at the IHSSA All State Large Group Speech Festival that will be hosted at the Iowa State Center.  Three teams will present:  Apple Kingdom  at 9:15am in Center 11, the Celebrity cafe; The Pink Project at 1:15pm in Center 2, room 167-179; and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea at 3:14 in Center 4, the Ballroom.   Closing Ceremonies will be held at 4:00pm in the Stephens Auditorium.  
 
Pie Judge:
I have been invited to participate as a judge in the pie contest, Slices for SEG.  I’m looking forward to tasting all the delicious pies this weekend, and meeting more wonderful Grinnellians in the process.  The social will be held from 5:30-7:00 at St. Rests this Sunday.   
 
Valentine’s Day:
Our elementary buildings celebrated Valentine's Day with parties in the afternoon. The students had a great time exchanging Valentines and candy.  

 

 
District Office welcomes a new member to the community:
The District office welcomed Maya Dee Johnson, born on February 14th at 5:15 am.  She is the daughter of Lisa Johnson, Chief business financial director for Grinnell-Newburg School District.   During Lisa’s absence you may contact Nancy Burchland or Becky Nance if you have any questions.  
 
Upcoming Events:
  • February 16-March 23 - MS/HS Art Show at Grinnell Arts Center
  • February 17 - Kindergarten to the Civic Center
  • February 18-Girls Basketball Regional Game @ home 7:00 PM
  • February 20 - Snow Make-Up Day
  • February 23 - Connected PTO: Family Game Night
  • March 2 - BP Circus Shows
  • March 6 - Kindergarten Registration
  • March 8 - Mush Husky Assembly (GMS)
  • March 16 - MS Spring Band Concerts
  • March 20- 24 - Accentuate the Positive Week (GMS)
  • March 27- 31 - SPRING BREAK

Don’t forget to check the Virtual Backpack for new postings!   There are so many opportunities for students to get involved in the community.   Don’t miss out!

Have a wonderful weekend!
 
Sincerely,
 
Janet
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Janet M. Stutz
Superintendent
Grinnell-Newburg Schools