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Weekly Update April 14, 2017
 
Dear Board of Education, Staff, Families, and Friends:
This week has been yet another exciting week for our students and families in the Grinnell Newburg School District.  This is the time of year when many families have the opportunity to enjoy outdoor events and activities. Just last evening, Grinnell High School was a hopping place to enjoy the Bailey Park K-2 concert, catch a tennis match, or enjoy students participating in a track meet.  Our school community offers many opportunities for students and families to come together.  We welcome all members of the Grinnell Community to gather at any of our events during the last weeks of the 2016-17 school year.  Take a look at our calendar and come on out and enjoy an outdoor event.
 
Professional Development Day Highlights
Our staff development days have enabled teachers to collaborate and learn together during the course of the school year.  These days are valuable research supports that when teachers have an opportunity to develop their craft, students benefit in the classroom.  This past week teachers began the process for earning badges and becoming an apple certified teacher.  Our goals is to have 75% of all staff to be apple certified.  Currently, 58 staff members, that include teachers and administrators, have become Apple Certified Teachers.  It is our hope that many more staff members will continue to obtain this certification.  The training enables staff to learn various software features and navigation on their computer or iPad that will aide in the manner in which instruction is delivered.     
 
The K-8 literacy teachers came together this past week and engaged in discussions about beliefs in the teaching of literacy, as well as examining what the research tells us about best practices.  Next month we will continue with these discussions on pedagogy that will enable us to further develop our curriculum and pilot new literacy resources next year in the areas of reading and writing.   
 
Negotiations
This past Monday our negotiations committees met to engage in opening negotiations with our GNEA.  I look forward to engaging in a positive process with our unions.      
 
Administrative Team Update
It is that time of year again when the administrative team begins to plan for the 2017-18 school year.  We examined the five phase plan: initiatives, staff development, monitoring, curriculum plans, and what we have accomplished this year in order to begin the goal development process for next school year.  Developing our goals during this time of the year, for next year, will enable our administrators to align professional development.  Our theme for next year will be to focus on “Highly Reliable Schools”.  We will focus on culture and climate and begin the curriculum process in the area of literacy and Next Generation Science Standards.  We will also continue to build our staff’s capacity in the integration of technology as aligned to researched based instructional practices.  Once our draft plan is put together this May, we would like to engage our SIAC committee to review the plan before the end of the school year.   
 
Davis and Bailey Park Elementary School Performances
Davis and Bailey Park students and families gathered this week at Grinnell High School to enjoy each school’s Spring Concert.  The performances were wonderful.  I would like to congratulate the staff and students on a superb performance.  Bravo! Bravo!
 
 
 


Senior Chamber Meeting
This past week I had the opportunity to speak to our Senior Chamber group at St. Francis Manor.  I shared our progress in the areas of professional development, facility planning, the selection process for the new architect, financial budget shifts, and programming for our students for next school year.  I want to thank the Senior Chamber group for affording me the opportunity to share and highlight the wonderful opportunities, goals, and successes in the Grinnell-Newburg School District.  
 
Board Meeting Update
The Board of Education interviewed four architects this past week: Haila Architecture,
BLDD Architects, Cannon Moss Brygger (CMBA), and Invision.  Our Estes representative will be working to schedule visits to sites that were designed and constructed by two finalists, before making a final selection.  We would like to have the final selection completed by the April 26 board meeting.    
 
IASB Session
Board President Barbara Brown and I attended the full day IASB session “Navigating Collective Bargaining Through a Time of Change” this pastThursday.  The session was very informative.   The new rules under chapter 20 are rather complex and exhibit components which have not been completely defined.  Please know that we will continue to work collaboratively with our unions to fully understand the new rules.  We are very fortunate to have a wonderful working relationship with our union and I am confident that we will work together to have a cohesive understanding of the new law.      
 
Physics Team Rocks!  
Congratulations to the our High School Physics Team and Mr. Molitor for winning the Iowa Physics Competition at UNI this week!  This is their 3rd time in 3 years to win this State competition!  Wow!
 
 
Participants included Steven Sharp & Nehal Petal Isaac Kracht,  & Calvin DreesmanDanica Nolton & Damon Williams, , Ieland Flanagan & Hope Roland, Steven Sharpe & Lucas Chamberland.
 
Math Team Rocks Too!
Congratulations to our High School Math Team and Mr. Baker for winning the Little Hawkeye Conference Math Competition this week at Central College!
Front Row (sr's) Steven Sharpe, Reanna Campbell, Naomi Veldboom, Lucas
Chamberland
2nd Row (jr's) Robbie Shore, CiCi Dugas, Rob Clower
3rd Row (sophs) Kendall Pratis-Hill, Daniel Rebelsky, Cori Dahlby
Albright, Matthew Cunningham
4th Row (fr.)  Mary Blanchard, Gaby Dahlby Albright, Aiden Brownell,
Micah Benning-Shorb

 
Teachers Complete their Mentoring Program
On April 5th, a celebration for the district's second-year teachers was held at Grinnell High School.  Teachers who enter the profession are required to complete a two-year mentoring program to earn their standard license. First and second-year beginning educators as well as their mentors attended the celebration that included snacks prepared by the GHS Culinary Arts III class and a presentation from Diana Buter, former GMS teacher and 2003-04 Iowa Teacher of the Year. The program also included recognition of two mentors who will be retiring this year, Ellie Arsenault and Elizabeth Hansen.
 
Those finishing the program this year include the following teachers: (L to R)
Nicole Ellis, GMS Special Education Teacher
Nicole James, GMS Science Teacher
Kelsi Walter, Davis School Counselor
Amanda Loucks, GHS English Teacher
Paula Simon, GMS School Counselor
Amy Skouson, GHS Family and Consumer Science Teacher
Jeanine Link, GMS Music Teacher
Alison Blankenfeld, GHS Special Education Teacher
 


 
Upcoming Events:
  • April 1-12 - Pre-K Registration (Fairview)
  • April 13 - Bailey Park spring music program
  • April 18 - Career Fair for Sophomores
  • April 20 - Fairview spring music program
  • April 21 - Middle School to Des Moines
  • April 26 - Meeting of the Board of Education
  • May 1 - No School, Professional Development
  • May 2 - 2nd Grade Civic Center
  • May 2 - 5th & 6th grade Spring Choir
  • May 4 - 7th & 8th grade Spring Choir
  • May 3-5 - Y-CAMP
  • May 28 - High School Commencement
 
Dear Grinnell Parents:  Below please find a survey link for a Grinnell Mutual Internship Project. The goal of this project is to find out how students and alumni find job opportunities in the area and to gauge their interest for them to return to the Poweshiek County area to seek employment.  This survey is specifically related to job openings for your children.
 
It is my best hope that everyone enjoys a wonderful weekend.
 
Sincerely,
 
Janet
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Janet M. Stutz
Superintendent
Grinnell-Newburg Schools