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Weekly Update, December 9, 2016

Weekly Update, December 9, 2016
Dear Board of Education, Grinnell Staff and Friends:
This is just a reminder that with the weather turning colder it is important for parents and staff to keep the following information close at hand.  Here are several ways to stay informed about either a delayed start or school closing:
  • An emergency voice reach will be sent to parents, staff and community outreach contacts.   
  • Information will be posted on our website at http://www.grinnell-k12.org
  • The following local media will also announce school closings or late starts:
    • KGRN 1410 am radio
    • KBOE 104.9 am, 740 am, and 99.5 fm radio
    • KCOB  95.9 am, 1280 am, and Energy 106.7 fm
    • Z102.9  1600 am, 102.9 fm,  106.3 fm, and  107.5 fm
    • KCCI-Channel 8
    • WHO-Channel 13
    • WOI-Channel 5
The winter weather also brings musical cheer as we enter into the concert season.   I hope that you will have an opportunity to join our students as they perform for all to enjoy.   This is a special time of year to celebrate the season as we say goodbye to 2016, and hello to 2017.   
Please join us for the following concerts:
  • December 12 - HS Winter Concert - 7:30 PM, GHS Auditorium
  • December 13 - 5th & 6th grade Choir and Band Concert - 6:15 PM, GHS Auditorium
  • December 15 - 7th & 8th grade Choir and Band Concert - 7:00 PM, GHS Auditorium
  • December 16 - BP Kindergarten Carols and Cookies Music Concerts
GMS Jazz Band performing at the Festival of Trees.
Respect Retreat:
On Tues., Dec. 6 all 9th graders participated in a Respect Retreat led by facilitators from Youth Frontiers and the GHS Junior & Senior Ambassadors. Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization out of Minneapolis, MN,  that has been delivering programs to schools for over 20 years to build positive school communities and help young people realize the importance of respecting themselves and others.  
Students are encouraged to play, laugh and connect with one another. Community-building activities  designed to break down social barriers help foster stronger relationships among students.  Throughout the day, students also met in small groups, facilitated by the GHS Ambassadors, to talk about what they were learning and experiencing. At the end of the retreat, students had the chance to stand up and commit to how they will stand up for respect in their school community.  
Grinnell High School Counselors first brought Youth Frontiers to GHS in 2011.  Jill Allen, GHS Counselor, says,  "We believe the Respect Retreat has a positive impact on our 9th graders, but maybe even a bigger impact on the 40 upperclassmen who are helping facilitate the Retreat. We are so proud of how the GHS Ambassadors interact with the freshmen throughout the day." Research shows that students with high social-emotional learning and character skills perform better academically and take responsibility for the culture of their school.

Hour of Code:
The Hour of Code started in 2013 with the goal of getting students excited about programming and computer science.  It is evident that this skill is needed in the workforce.  This year the hour of code week, December 5-11, was implemented around the world.  Our students participated in several various activities to help them gain interest in computer coding.  Here is the link to the various activities that students could do.  We hope that you try some of these out with your student.  Maybe they can teach you about coding!   Enjoy!   Coding activities

Free dental Clinic Day:  
Please see flier link regarding the free dental clinic.  This information has also been posted on our virtual backpack.  The free dental clinic  day is scheduled for February 3, 2017 during parent teacher conference day.
Board Agenda:  December 14, 2016 at 6:00PM.  Policy Committee Meeting will begin at 5:00 PM
Next week the Board of Education meeting will be held on December 16th, in the boardroom, located at the high school.  The following items are a few highlights for this agenda and we look forward to our community joining us.    
  1. The administrative team will be presenting on the “state of the district” in order to articulate district  facts regarding demographics, assessments, goals, celebrations, and the financial overview.  This information is provided to our community and the Board of Education as a record of baseline information about the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District.  This presentation will also be made available via a youtube account later next week.   If you have questions regarding this presentation, please feel free to contact Dr. Stutz at 236-2700.
  2. Celebrations: We look forward to recognizing students, faculty and board members for their recent accomplishments.  Also the GNEE mini grant recipients will be officially recognized.   We would like to thank our GNEE for sponsoring these activities: Wobble Chairs for High School Library and Independent Learning Center, Music Therapy for At-Risk Students, PebbleGo Online Databases, Storyworks Jr.:  Connecting Students with Rich Text. Total Amount Awarded:  $9,190.18
  3. The Board will engage in reading a resolution and commit to the “Promise of Iowa” campaign to ensure support for our students.  Please review the Board Packet item in New Business outlining the details of the resolution. Following the resolution, we will take a picture of our Board and have a ceremonial signing of a banner.  Please join me in thanking our board for their service and continued efforts to support public education through this campaign.
  4. Project Lead the Way agreements:  Please know that this is not a new idea or initiative.  We are asking the Board of Education to formally recognize the agreements as this was missed in the transition between superintendents.  We have made it practice that the Board signs all agreements.   
    1. The Project Lead the Way Launch - A Bemis grant was awarded in the Spring, 2016 for a 2-year funding to support training, licensing, and purchasing materials to implement Project Lead the Way Launch curriculum in all K-4 science classes.  Launch lessons meet the Next Generation Science Standards, which have recently been adopted in the State.  There are four modules, or units, at each grade level.  This school year, teachers are implementing at least one module with an intended full rollout next school year.
    2. PLTW Introduction to Computer Science - A Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Scale-Up Grant is supporting the training, licensing, and materials necessary to support an introductory computer programming course at the high school.  Jill Scanlan taught the course during the first trimester of this school year with strong enrollment numbers.  Students learn fundamental programming skills while building computer tablet applications.  
    3. FIRST Robotics Competition - A Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Scale-Up Grant is supporting the mentor training and registration for one season for the FRC Tech Tigers team at the high school.  The team is scheduled to compete at the Cedar Falls Regional on March 22-25, 2017.  Teams will have 6 weeks to design and build a robot, beginning January 7th.  During the competition, they are paired with other teams to face a wide variety of challenges.  The robot may weigh up to 130 pounds and the competition area is about the size of a volleyball court.  Students work together to design, build, and program a robot from scratch.  The team meets throughout the school year.  In their rookie season last school year, a Monsanto grant covered these same costs.
SIAC Meeting:  
On Wednesday evening the SIAC committee met with our administrative team to review the state of the district presentation and provided the team with feedback and suggestions to enhance our presentation that will be presented on December 14, 2016 at the Board of Education meeting.  
Athletic Events:
This past week I was able to attend a few events to watch our athletes compete.  I am very proud to be a Tiger Fan.  Below are a few photos from this past week.
AEA Superintendent’s Meeting in Marshalltown:  
This week I met with other area superintendents and community college representatives at this month's AEA meeting.  We were provided information about new legislature regarding CTE redesign.   (HF) 2392 was signed into law on May 26, 2016.   The primary goals of this legislation are:
  • Raising the quality of CTE programs and encouraging alignment of secondary CTE offerings to in-demand occupations to meet the needs of employers.   
  • Growing awareness of opportunities  aligned to a student’s interest through career guidance, CTE courses and work based learning opportunities.  
  • Improving access to CTE through a statewide system of regional planning partnerships.  
The AEA/Community Colleges will assist in the facilitation of this plan.  This year, we just learned that the requirement is to create partnerships.   Next year will be planning.   We will encourage local business officials, CTE staff and our administrators to a part of the plan.   There are a lot of logistics that we discussed with a mandate of this nature.   I will continue to keep you informed on how this progresses.   This is new, therefore we are working through the legislative requirements.  
2016 Iowa State Report Card: Today members of our team participated in a webinar to learn of the new features of the Iowa State Report card.  We anticipate that the report card will be made available to the public by December 20, 2016.
Lunch with FV (listening tour)
Today, I had the opportunity to visit with the Fairview staff for the first listening tour.   Staff had an opportunity to share with me what is going well, ask questions, and provide me with feedback on how the district is moving forward. Thank you Fairview Staff for your participation.  I will be attending each school in the near future and will keep you posted on these listening tour visit dates.   
Summer learning meeting:
Yes, It does say summer!   Hard to believe that summer learning plans are underway.   We will keep you posted as to the plans about our program.   I just wanted to keep everyone informed that plans are underway, and we will provide a SLICK program once again during the summer of 2017.
Triangle solo practice:
I am delighted to have been invited to be a “guest soloist" for the 5th & 6th grade Winter Concert.  I will be playing a special piece titled "Concerto for Triangle".  I had an enjoyable time practicing with our students today, and I look forward to the performance next week.
Davis Elementary assembly:
I was also able to attend an assembly at Davis Elementary today recognizing trimester 1 attendance, and those students selected to receive character awards.  I am proud to be a part of a district that values and celebrates these qualities, and to have such excellent students!
Hy-Vee bell ringing with Doug Cameron:
I hope that you stop by the Hy-Vee this Saturday to see Doug Cameron and I ringing the bell from 9:00-10:00AM then again from 11:00-12:00PM.   Yes there just may be some holiday singing to enjoy as you pass us by.  Doug assured me it will not be he who sings, but I am hoping to!  
Enjoy your weekend!    Stay Warm
Janet M. Stutz
Grinnell-Newburg Schools
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