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Weekly Update, December 16, 2016

Happy Holidays!  It is hard to imagine that in just one week the Grinnell-Newburg School District will recess for winter break.   This first six months as your new superintendent of schools has been very rewarding!  I have met so many wonderful people and I am grateful for the support and kindness as I learn more each day.   This week we has been filled with wonderful news and music!  I hope you enjoy this weekly update. 
The Promise of Iowa
A very important initiative is underway across the state. The Iowa Association of School Boards launched “The Promise of Iowa” campaign, the purpose of which is to focus on the future of, and to rally support for, Iowa public education. The Grinnell-Newburg Board of Education pledged their full support at the December 16 meeting, committing to the campaign to ensure support for our students.  Please review the Board Packet item in New Business outlining the details of the resolution. Following the reading of the resolution, they had 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.
To view the resolution, click here.  For more information on this campaign, and ideas on how you can support the campaign too, please visit http://www.promiseiowa.org/about/.  
State of the District Report
The administrative team presented our State of the District report to the board, articulating district facts regarding demographics, assessments, goals, celebrations, and the financial overview.  This information has been aggregated and presented to our community and the Board of Education as a record of baseline information about the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District.  The presentation is linked here, but will also be made available with a voice-over narrative via a YouTube account soon.
7th Annual AP District
I am very excited to announce the District has recently been selected as one of 433 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 7th Annual AP®District Honor Roll.  To be included on the Honor Roll, Grinnell-Newburg had to, since 2014, increase the number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. Reaching these goals shows that this district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for AP.  To view the list of all schools selected, click here.  I would like to congratulate all our teachers and administrators who have worked to make this happen.  

Boardsmanship Awards
Two of our board members were recently honored at the Iowa School Board’s Annual Convention. Board President Barbara Brown was honored with an individual Award of Achievement, the Better Boardsmanship Award, which highlights board members who have put forth extra time and energy to strengthen their boardsmanship abilities.  Board member Dustin Smith was awarded a certificate for completing the Basics of Boardsmanship Certificate, after completing four components focused on essential board learning concepts.  Congratulations to both of them!
Our science teachers met, along with AEA representatives, to discuss Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and to begin planning for the implementation the standards in 2018.  For more information on NGSS, click here.  
Celebrations & Recognitions
I had the privilege of recognizing 6 members of our staff and student body at this week's board meeting.  Trent Edsen was named the Class 2A Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year by the Iowa Association of Track Coaches. Food Service Director Carrie Nachazel was recognized for her work in the District’s Wellness Initiatives. Lastly, four of our high school students were recognized as All State Music Festival Participants: David Gilbert, vocal musician (‘17);  Robert Clower, oboe (‘18);  David Krumm, tuba (‘19);  and Nick Jacobson, bassoon (‘18).  Congratulations goes out to all of them.

Tiger Paws
Congratulations to our Tiger Paws, who won first in state.  Your hard work has certainly paid off!  
High School Character Awards
High School Character Awards were presented last week that I did not recognize.  Six students received character awards for exemplifying characteristics like kindness and helpfulness to others, building others up, leading in a positive way, either quietly or actively in school leadership roles, always being respectful to adults and students, and lastly, always being responsible, both inside and outside of the classroom.  
New Recipients (with plaques)-
Front Row (L to R) - Ireland Flanagan, Jean Paul Dugas, Kasey Ronfeld, Madelyn Topliff
Back Row (L to R) with plaques - Cecelia Bagnoli, Jason Nisley
Former recipients - (no plaques)-   
Back Row (L to R) - Jessica Moore, David Gilbert, Danica Nolton
Winter Concerts
This week I had the pleasure of attending more of our fabulous winter concerts.  I was so impressed with each concert, and extremely pleased to see so many of our fine students up on stage participating in our music programs.  Our music teachers are doing a fine job developing such fantastic talent in our students.  I was particularly delighted to be a “guest soloist" for the 5th & 6th grade Winter Concert, playing a special piece titled "Concerto for Triangle".  It was a most enjoyable time, and I was honored to be invited to participate.  
Dr. Stutz performing "Concerto for Triangle" with the 5th and 6th grade band.
Mr. Van Arkel leading the 7th & 8th grade band.
Please stay safe and warm during the winter storm this weekend!  I will be out of the district next week on Monday and Tuesday.  Please contact Kevin Seney or the district office if you need assistance.  I will be available via phone and email.  
Janet M. Stutz
Grinnell-Newburg Schools
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