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Weekly Update: August 5, 2016

Weekly Update August 5, 2016

Dear Board of Education, Grinnell Staff and Friends:
Several trees and our tennis court fence were damaged last night due to the storm.  The fence that was damaged is the one around the old tennis courts.  I will provide further information once I know if there is a need for any claims due to the damage.  

This week was once again an exciting one for me, as I had an opportunity to meet with the administrative team to discuss our opening day plans, current goals and begin the process to identify specific actions in order to meet those goals.   Together, we examined the current 2013-2018 district goals and had an opportunity to bridge goals to initiatives, and over the next few weeks, we will generate action plans on how we will meet those goals.     During our upcoming Board meeting, I will share the beginnings of this strategic plan with the Board.   I will demonstrate on how all of this will come together, so that when we meet on August 31, we can continue the discussion and finalize our plans as we look toward the future.   

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with very talented administrators.   It is evident that they are student focused, action oriented, and servant leaders.   

This work will enable us to provide a focus and direction to the staff at the 2016 kick off event on August 19.   The administrative team and I will continue to develop the action steps needed to meet our goals.   Next week we will be developing our action plan for the Teacher Coaches and our PLC teacher leaders so that they are on the same page with district initiatives and district goals.  This work will enable us to provide consistency across the schools.

Infinite Campus Update:
Brian Conway and Becky Nance have been working diligently to prepare our registration process.   Next week we will be sending out information to the parents that will provide instructions on how to register their students.  Each parent will be provided an on-line code in order to verify registration.   Brian is also working on inputting the criteria in Infinite Campus in order to generate report cards from the teacher's grade book.   I want to thank both of them for their hard work and dedication as they have taken on an extremely challenging software system.   The administrators, directors, and administrative assistants have jumped in "with all hands on deck" to support the effort.    We recognize that there will be some glitches and we will work with parents to continue to support them in the process.
SAI conference:
I attended the SAI conference this past week and learned quite a bit about the state’s initiatives in the areas of literacy development, differentiated accountability, and legislation.  

Board Meeting: Wednesday August 10, 2016 6:00 PM
Becky has shared the board agenda with you and here are a few highlights:

Parent discussion regarding off site filtering:
I will be providing you an update regarding the parent feedback we received on the filtering of our machines.   The parents brought a perspective that assisted Amy and I to make a recommendation to implement the use of Securely.  The parents offered further insight on how the devices are being managed at home.  Following this discussion and listening to the parent input, we believe that a filter in the cloud will enable us to be flexible and offer a flexible range of filtering for students, as they get older.    The cost for the software is about $7,000 per year.   We will save some money by no longer using components of other off site software. 

High School Student Handbook:
Kevin provided a summary in the board packet about the changes to the handbook for board approval.   I believe that these changes will be beneficial for the students. 

We have a couple of presentations during the superintendent’s report.  One will highlight how our students are utilizing their skills outside of the classroom.   This STEM group, includes students from our Middle School who will share their recent project a visit to Washington DC.   Although this was not a school-sponsored activity, I thought that the Board would like to see how students are taking what they have learned and applying it outside of the classroom walls.

The GNEE will share with the board the mini grant winners.  We will be recognizing our grant winners on opening day as well.

I will walk the Board through the current 2013-18 goals in the district and share how the administrative team collaborated this past week to begin the process for identifying the initiatives and actions to align with our goals.   

Have a great weekend.
Janet M. Stutz
Grinnell-Newburg Schools
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