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Weekly Update: December 18, 2020

Janet Stutz

Weekly Update: December 18, 2020
Dear Grinnell-Newburg Board of Education, Staff, Families, and Friends:


Happy Friday!  2020 will soon come to a close and I look forward with optimism that 2021 will be a wonderful year. I think back on our challenges and realize that in times of crisis we have truly come together to be creative problem solvers to figure out the unknown.  We even discovered that how we navigate as educators in our “new norm” has taught us valuable lessons about teaching, learning, connecting, and communicating. Although we have had to change how we “do school” in our physical spaces, where we have grown is in how we instruct and interact with our students with a greater focus on intention and purpose. This feedback resonated among many teachers that I have talked to who have been highlighted in our “Knocked Your Socks Off” recognition. Some have shared that “I have become a better teacher as I am more intentional about our lessons to meet the needs of our students in a much more individualized way. I look forward to when we are all back together and we can continue bringing this daily to our students face to face”.  


Just a reminder: This will be the last informational update for 2020! Next week we will highlight photos of our students! We will resume the Knock your Socks off nominations in January!  


  • No school starting December 23- January 4. 

  • January 4, 2021, is a Professional Development Day for Staff

  • We will return to school on January 5, 2021


Governor's Proclamation regarding spectators:

Governor Kim Reynolds released another update to her November spectator proclamation. The new update allows members of a participant's immediate household to attend activities. The High School Athletic Association sent clarifying information that allowed conferences to maintain current protocols that were in place.  Since the Little Hawkeye Conference created spectator rules in November which were agreed upon through the month of December to create consistency, we will continue to follow the two ticket rule until the conference has time to create a plan within the member schools. 

As a conference, we will be meeting over the break to determine the best way to implement any new procedures. As this happens, we will keep everyone posted on our spectator guidance for the beginning of 2021.


Knocked Your Socks Off!   

I am grateful for the number of nominations that are coming in so we can share these amazing stories of how our staff continues to meet the needs of our students in ways that we would have never thought possible only a year ago. Way to go Tiger Staff! Keep those nominations rolling it to janet.stutz@grinnell-k12.org. We are booked with interviews and stories for February already- but that is ok… We will get them all in! Keep reading and keep watching for your nominated staff member to be featured. 


Mandy Losing & Jess Kite, I bet your feet are cold!  You have knocked your socks off!  

I enjoyed our conversation! It was evident to me that these two team members support not only our students but each other, parents, and colleagues. It is a great team effort! Mandy and Jess work with students to build reading stamina and target skills to engage them in reading! They get very excited when the students' faces light up and they let them know “I am a reader”! See the Grinch Game, the perfect feature for this time of year, that students enjoy! Thank you for supporting our youngest students.  Did you know that they make mini-lesson videos for kids in K, 1, 2? This adds up to about 78 videos between the two of them in a week. Also, they have zoom lessons with groups k-2. They prepare and send materials weekly. They both have

2 sons of their own who they are trying to help learn at home when remote. So a big shout out to them for all they are doing to go above and beyond! Way to go!


Kite & LosingGame


Tami Smith is a Kindergarten teacher at Fairview! Her love for teaching and care for her students is catchy among parents. One of her three nominations read, “Mrs. Smith is responsive, encouraging, and open, which allows us, parents, to act with confidence that we are not messing things up too badly. I was in the room during my child’s Zoom calls with Mrs. Smith, and found myself laughing and engaged with her as much as my kiddo was – she was able to cross over the technology and truly ‘be there.’ My child loves to learn, thanks in large part to Mrs. Smith. I was continued to be impressed by Mrs. Smith. She’s a Rockstar and a Hero, and is highly deserving of recognition”. Tami shared in our conversation that she loved this “town” , Grinnell, and it has been her home her whole life. This is her chance to give back to the community that has brought her so much joy. She expressed that it is a team effort with Cheryl, Brittany, and Candi and could not do this without them. Finally, she said that her students’ parents are fabulous! 

Smith Kinder 2020


Lori Elliott & Jon Kotz are a 4th-grade teacher team at Davis Elementary School! It was not a surprise to me that Jon was on a zoom call in his most spirited red and white light-up jacket as Lori was smiling from ear to ear with excitement as she talked about their Tag Team efforts and keeping happiness in their classroom! They shared that students are their priority and it is important they are happy and connected as well as healthy emotionally. They both shared that they are impressed with how their students are handling this new norm both online and in the classroom. “We can’t believe how much we have grown in technology to survive this new norm. It pushed us to be better at what we do intentionally during our pre-planning. Students have options to demonstrate how they learn and we utilize digital tools that meet the needs of our students”. One parent shared in response to the first day for online learning, “I was already a huge cheerleader for Mr. Kotz and Mrs. Elliott but they never disappoint. I think I would like to join their zooms”. Way to Go Team! 

Kotz & elliott

REDI GHS Student Representative Serves As State Panelist for Equity and Social Justice:

Annika Ford, a GHS student participated as a student panelist sponsored by the Iowa Department of education this week. “Nothing brings home the power and impact of education like hearing the voices of our students talking about social justice and equity issues in Iowa”.  (Iowa Department of Education) Annika served as one of six panelists to answer questions and share stories. I was fortunate enough to attend this webinar and it can be viewed on the Department of Education’s website! Way to go Annika! You did a great job representing Grinnell and bringing to light how we can make a difference for our students!


National Board Certification Teachers

You can find the full Press Release Here


The Grinnell-Newburg School District would like to Congratulate our newly recognized National Board Certification Teachers! It is with extreme enthusiasm that I share with you that the following staff members have completed this challenging program and will be recognized formally later this year:


  • Gina Beck, TAG Teacher Davis, and GMS

  • Staci Harms, Instructional Coach Fairview

  • Amy Skouson, Family and Consumer Science Teacher GHS

  • Jessica Kite, Reading Specialist, Fairview

  • Holly Kuesel, Third Grade Teacher, Davis 


This program is rigorous and reflective. Certified teachers who enter into this program must meet the standards and pass the Board Certification process to be named Nationally Board Certified.   


Farren Johnson receives KIX 101.1 “Pack the Backpack” award!  Check out this link on our FB page


Upcoming Events:


Friday, Dec. 18th

JV Wrestling @ Roland Story- 5:00

B 9/JV/V Bball vs PC- 4:45

G JV/V Bball vs PC- 4:45


Saturday, Dec. 19th

V Wrestling @ Roland Story-10AM

B V BBall @ Greene County- 5PM

G JV/V BBall vs North Scott- 1 PM


Monday, Dec. 21st

MS Wrestling @ L/S-4:15 -NO FANS

B Swim @ SEP- 5:30


Tuesday, Dec. 22nd

V Wrestling @ EV- 5:00

G JV2/JV/V Bball @ MTown 4:45


Have a great weekend!   Happy Holidays!   Be safe, wear your mask, don’t attend large gatherings, wash your hands and socially distance.   We can do this Grinnell to limit the spread of the virus!   




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