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Weekly Update, September 8, 2016

Weekly Update, September 8, 2016
Dear Grinnell-Newburg Board of Education and Administrative staff:

As we enter mid-September school activities are picking up and students are now into the swing of things.  This has been a short week, but packed with many exciting activities.   

This week I had an opportunity to speak at the weekly Rotary event and was officially inducted as a member.   I know that there are many service organizations that I could personally join as a member of the community.  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to serve the community in an additional capacity.   

On Wednesday I attended the A 267 Superintendent's meeting.   This meeting assisted me to understand required reports, upcoming ESSA rules, and to network with area Superintendents. 
  • I have learned of a grant opportunity: Progression in early literacy.  This grant just opened and can be found on the DE website. (grants.gov)  
  • We will begin the new Assessment, Smarter Balance,  informational meetings this Spring, and next fall staff  will participate in intense training.  The official assessment will be in April of 2018.   
  • The Science assessment is still up in the air.   The requirement is for all students in grades 3-11 to take the assessment, but teachers have not fully unpacked the new NGSS standards.  A recommendation to only test in three grades was proposed, however there has been no final decision.  
  • Soon our district will be required to complete a desk audit.   I will be attending an upcoming training.   This is apart of the new differentiated accountability requirement.
  • Basically we were told to hold steady as many new processes are worked out prior to implementation. This is ok with me as I am learning.
  • I will be attending the State Advocacy Day in Des Moines in February asking our legislators to support funding our schools and programs. 
Today I attended the CEC meeting at Mayflower and learned about how this group is collaborating with several community groups regarding education.   Amy Harper and Kevin Seney presented an idea to host host parent education opportunities.  More to come on this effort.   I want to thank them for their wonderful presentation. 
I have the opportunity to have host a Grinnell College Intern beginning in January.   This is a wonderful opportunity for us to have an extra set of hands to focus on communication with our hard to reach parents,  and an opportunity for someone to help me with data crunching.   I am excited about this opportunity to assist a student.  

Board Meeting:  The Board voted to appoint Stephen Sieck to fill the board vacancy.   He will be officially sworn in on Wednesday September 14, 2016.  I look forward to having him join our team.   

Tomorrow I will be heading to Illinois to check in on family.  However,  I will also be on a phone conference with FEH and Garling to get the quote for the change order regarding the color of panels in the morning.  I am hoping that the quote and change order are ready for next weeks board meeting as I am concerned that it will take 6 weeks to get the materials.  My hope is that the envelope is completed by the middle of November.   

Kevin Seney will be in charge tomorrow in the event of an emergency.   Please feel free to call me.  I am available by phone and email.  

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