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Weekly Update, July 22, 2016

Dear Grinnell-Newburg Board of Education:

This week I was engaged in listening and learning.  It was a week of extensive learning about Iowa, our district, our students, and our community.   I thoroughly enjoyed each and every day. I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to serve our district community and families.  

Here are a few highlights from this week:

New Superintendent training:
This past Monday and Tuesday, I attended new superintendent events.  The first day was with the AEA 267 new superintendent's group.  I had the opportunity to network and learn about how the AEA 267 supports our staff and students.   The second day, I had the opportunity to meet new superintendents from across the State of Iowa, as I attended the SAI and IASB collaborative meeting.   This networking opportunity provided me with foundation knowledge on Iowa finances, initiatives, and support for new superintendents to their district, or new to the State.  

Americorp/Grade Level Reading Grant:
I participated in meeting with Monica Chavez-Silva, Nicole Brua-Behrens, and Melissa Strovers to learn more about the collaborative efforts to support our students through this grant.   I look forward to working with this group to assist in the evaluation and progress of our students who have participated in the programs.     

I had the opportunity to meet with Rachael Kinnick from the Chamber to discuss our collaboration efforts between the Chamber and the School District.   Rachael is assisting me to talk to area businesses in a few listening tour activities coming up this August.   I will have an opportunity to meet area business leaders and have an opportunity to build further community relationships.   Tentatively we are scheduling a time to meet on August 8th in the evening, and then again August 10th during lunch.  

Community Outreach:  
I had the pleasure of working with Jeanette Budding on two different community engagement events.   The first one is to meet with the Kiwanis group on August 9 and then have an opportunity to speak to our seniors from the Grinnell Regional Medical Center's Senior Education Center.   They ask if I could present to the group.   My presentation will focus on the importance of challenging our students to become problem solvers, critical thinkers, communicators and collaborators in a world that is ever changing. I look forward to meeting the group.

Grinnell Regional Medical Center:
I will be attending the session Monday night from 5:30-7:00 PM at the Elks Lodge,  to learn about issues related to identified community health needs.   I look forward to participating in this discussion and hope that I can offer some assistance as the group looks for input from the community. 

Board Workshop:
I have started to document priorities as a result of meeting with administrators, talking with community leaders, and what I have learned from you, the Board, from our first meet and greet times.    As I continue to build relationships with members of the district, I continue to gain further insight about our priorities.    It is my hope that we can find a time in August or early September to plan a workshop together where we can come together to establish goals and priorities that will be aligned to the superintendent's evaluation.   The IASB shared with all new superintendent's the importance of this activity.  This will help me to stay the course that is aligned to our Board.  

Facility Walk Through: 
This Thursday, I will be walking through the facilities with Shawn, the architects and two members of our Board (for a part of the time) from the facilities committee.   I look forward to taking a closer look at our buildings utilizing two various audit tools.  One is out of Michigan that is aligned to very detailed life safety items, and the other is a rating scale utilizing Jeffrey Lackney's 33 designed principals.    I use these tools not only to assess the buildings, but also as a teaching tool that I hope will educate the community about school facilities.

Lisa and I attended the 5Cast training session on Thursday to learn about how we can maximize the software to build our budget.   The tool will also help us to examine our revenues and expenditures and examine line items more closely.   

Please feel free to call me with questions or concerns.   It has been an awesome week.  



Janet M. Stutz
Grinnell-Newburg Schools
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