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Weekly Update, July 29, 2016

Weekly Update, July 29, 2016
Dear Grinnell-Newburg Board of Education
It is hard to believe that July has quickly come to a close.   There is much to do before we welcome our students, families and staff back to school.    Here are a few highlights of what has gone on this week. 
This week I had the opportunity to me with our City Manager, Russ Behrens.  We spent a few hours discussing history, city plans, and facilities.  He was a wealth of information.  We finalized our discussion through touring the city.  I had the chance to learn about the area businesses as well as the city's construction plans.  
Summer School:
Summer school is back in full swing this week at Fairview.   I had an opportunity to read to our Kindergarten students and even sing a few bars to them.   It was wonderful to see students learning and enjoying the summer program.   I will be reading each week to the students throughout the program. 
Technology Update:
Today I met with Amy, Bill, and Kevin so that we could participate in a conference call with our Apple trainer to establish a plan of action for the 2016-17 school year as we implement best instructional practices for integrating technology into our lessons.   I feel great about our plan and the support that our teachers will have during the course of the year.   What we need to focus on next is to ensure that the Coaches and the PLC leaders are also on the same page with our direction related to instruction.   The admin team will be meeting Tuesday to discuss this component.  
Media Comm Update:
At our last Board meeting, there was a question regarding the Media Comm Bill.  This item was tabled until our August Board Meeting.   Here is a summary to answer the Board’s questions.  
July 28, 2016
The Grinnell-Newburg contract for Mediacom as an Internet Provider expired on June 30, 2016. Previously, Grinnell paid Mediacom about $1,200/month to provide internet service and $1,275.60 in TLS service (connection between schools).
On 5/23/16 the new Mediacom TLS agreement became effective. This agreement was signed by Todd Abrahamsen agreeing Mediacom would up the bandwidth between the schools and the charge for their TLS service would be $4,390/month. Usually eRate discounts this bill dramatically (almost by half), but that has not yet been approved. Grinnell-Newburg will now pay UPN $1,195.00 a month for internet service. The Mediacom quote for 400 mbps was approximately $600 more than the $1,200 Grinnell was paying already; therefore, about $1,800 monthly.
Therefore, Grinnell will save about $605 monthly switching from Mediacom to UPN. Internet service for 400 mbps will be $1,195.00 monthly for UPN, where it would have been about $1800 monthly for Mediacom.
We will use Mediacom TLS through the 2016-2017 school year. We are hopeful to hear of eRate approval for TLS through Mediacom soon. We will investigate with UPN the best manner of moving forward with fiber between district buildings.
Two Policies:
We will need to schedule a time for the Board’s policy committee to review two policies.   The first one is the Acceptable Use Policy.    We are working on scheduling a parent meeting regarding home filtering.  I will keep you posted on this meeting.  We would then like to update the Board’s Policy committee regarding the AUP and if there is a need for any changes.  The second policy, which is not as urgent, is our Distribution of materials policy.  As relayed in an earlier email to the Board, I would like to offer a virtual backpack for our community members, parents, teachers, and students to access that would host information, fliers, participation events, etc… that are applicable for students and or support for our school programs.   
Board Workshop:
Please take a look at your calendar for August 31, 2016 at 6:00PM in order for us to participate in a goal setting meeting.  Let me know if this will work out for everyone to be there. 

90 Day Plan Update for learning the community: 
Please click to view: 90 Day Plan Update

SAI conference:
I will be attending the SAI conference next Wed and Thursday in Des Moines.   I will be focusing on the following activities while there: TLC initiative, leadership evaluation, Iowa Legislation, and general Iowa initiatives in the state. 

Registration update:
An email has gone out to our parent community regarding registration opening on August 8, 2016.   There are also post cards located in many businesses with registration information.  Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Facility walk through and audit. 
The facility audits are underway.  We have only scratched the surface, but I feel good about the progress and my level of understanding about our needs at this time.   I created a learning environment tool that is aligned to Lackney's 33 design principles.   I also use another tool that will provide further safety, structural, and orientation information.   It is my hope that I will be able to use this data to help inform our community about today's learning environments and the needs of the district.  

Please let me know if you would like to review either tool with me.  I am happy to share them with you or explain them at any time.   

Have a great weekend.
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