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Weekly Update: February 5, 2021

Janet Stutz

Weekly Update: February 5, 2021
Dear Grinnell-Newburg Board of Education, Staff, Families, and Friends:


Happy Friday and Happy February! During February, the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District will commemorate and celebrate the contributions of African Americans throughout history. Students will participate in many activities and studies that focus on the accomplishments of Black Americans. Each week we will highlight a featured lesson.  Please feel free to share with me stories and lessons during Black History Month that you would like included in this update!   We are grateful to the Grinnell College Department of Humanities for the donations of resources for our students. 

5th grade Black History Month Featured Lesson:

Ms. Sarah Shull, 5th grade Science, worked with her students to create a memorable wall face and quotes wall as a part of Black History Month studies.  She stated “ I wanted to ensure, especially our BIPOC students, to walk by these faces and see themselves in those pictures. Some of the quotes exemplify perseverance through the toughest of times. I purposefully selected these types of quotes because the middle school can be so tough for kids, and I felt that they would find motivation and strength in the words of some of the most courageous black men and women in our history”.  This project was all about amplifying the voices of some of our most influential and inspiring, yet often ignored, historical heroes.

Bklack history month


REDI (Reimagine Equity Diversity and Inclusion) Facilitators met to highlight current progress toward Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in our district.


You may find yourself wondering who is working on this committee? What Progress have they made? How can I get involved? Last summer this committee came together as a group to discuss ways in which our Grinnell-Newburg School Community could make a difference through action steps to make a difference in the lives of our families of color. This effort moves beyond a school initiative and collaborates on how we can create action steps to make a difference right here in Grinnell. We are organized to examine and focus on curriculum, social community engagement, policy, identifying community partners, communication, fundraising, and training. It was this past summer when more than 80 participants joined to establish our groups to create short term and long term goals, and are currently working on action steps to meet those goals. As a community, we are making progress toward equity, diversity, and inclusion. You can be involved in this effort. These committees are made up of teachers, administrators, community partners, parents, and leading educators who have assisted and guided our DEI efforts. If you are interested in joining this community effort please email me at janet.stutz@grinnell-k12.org and I will be happy to connect you to a facilitator who leads one of these groups. Soon we will have a landing page on our website that will outline our work and share with our community our efforts!   


School Counselors Week:

Happy School Counselors Week! I have been in many districts during my 35 plus years of education, and I have to tell you that our school counselors and social workers here in Grinnell are among the finest that I have met!   They are caring and kind individuals who focus on what students need, whether it be in school, on the job, with friends, or families to get connected and find success. I want to thank Cass Stubbs, Amanda Pierce, Emily Gielau, Casey McDermott, Paula Simon, Amy Miller, Amy Harper, Nikki Laug, and Shauna Grewe for all that you do to support our staff, students, and their families. This week we celebrate you!  

Registration for the 21-22 school year is coming soon!    

Please watch next week’s update for the link. We will begin with Kindergarten registration on February 15th and all 1-12 grade students on March 1. We would like to get this done early so we can plan accordingly for next school year! Keep an eye out for further information coming your way. 

Vaccines for Staff:

Later today all staff (240) who signed up for the vaccination will receive a time and date to receive their vaccination at the high school either on February 9th or 16th.  There will be a form that you will need to complete before coming for your vaccination. The form will be included in the email. Please watch for this email. Due to confidentiality, each time slot will be sent to you as a blind copy with your group of 10. Please be patient as I send this out throughout this afternoon. Thank you for your patience. Bus Drivers and Cooks, your supervisor will follow up with you on your time slot if you do not have a district email account. I believe that I have accommodated every request at this time.   I ask that you please keep your time slot and appointment. You will need to bring with you an ID, your insurance card, and your form completed. Only staff who are on the list will be able to receive the vaccine at this time. I will work with IDPH to accommodate those of you that might have a conflict for a makeup date, but it is not a guarantee that it will be soon. 

2021-2022 School Calendar

This calendar was officially approved by the board. Please take a look at the planning for this fall.  

Knocked Your Socks Off:

It is time to share three stories this week about staff having an impact on student learning, social and emotional well being, and knocking their socks off to make a difference in our district. It has been a joy sharing their stories.


Tressa Watts:  Davis Elementary Teacher finds joy and a love for learning each day. She shared with me that “I let students know how much I care about them and how important that they are to me. I want to ensure that each student knows that someone cares about them every day and I can be that person”. Tressa shared that she has been focusing on student choice in the classroom and has found that student writing has greatly improved and she sees first hand the passion that students put to paper on the topic of their choice. Her nomination read, “my daughter has been virtually learning in her class this year and Ms. Watts has been phenomenal in managing virtual and an in-person classroom even as a first-year of classroom teaching. She understands what her students need and ensures that all in-class learning and virtual learning students are welcomed and included”. Way to Go Tress!  


Tressa WattsWatts ClassWatts 2021


Aly Ballard:  You too have knocked off your socks! Aly finds joy in teaching because she knows, as well as all of us, that if there is a challenge to be met she is your go-to person to make it happen. Aly finds joy in working with students who have a variety of learning needs.   She is the rock in their world that provides stability, a safe place to learn and grow, and to have a lot of fun! Her nomination stated, “We were very worried about our child starting school with all his health and academic limitations. Not only has Aly made us feel comfortable over the last couple of years, but she has also truly become more like family. She has gone above and beyond by finding my student’s favorite things to have in her classroom, trying her best to engage my student when we went to online learning, window visits during the school year, and outside and home visits through the summer. She is the true definition of a special education teacher. She adapts to each of her students and does her best for every one of them. She wants them to succeed, for whatever that may look like for each student. We couldn’t be more thankful for her teaching, friendship, and love she has shown us the past couple of years”.  Way to go Aly!  

Aly & MasonBallard 2021


Mindy Kostow:  Mindy, our technology director, has knocked her socks off too!  Mindy quietly works behind the scenes to ensure that we stay connected. This is a challenge that she takes on with her ability to problem solve, kind and caring compassion, and love for helping others.   The joy that she finds in her work is to see that all staff and students find success when working with their devices and or applications. She likes to take on challenges as she works across all buildings. She is so grateful that she has the opportunity to work with so many teachers and staff members. Although this can be challenging at times to keep the connection happening, she enjoys taking care of people. Her nomination read, “We had trouble getting our zoom to work from home on the iPad so that my child could join in on classes. Mindy jumped in her car right away so that my child would not miss a class. Without her help, we wouldn’t have been able to do at home learning. She takes things in stride and is so kind and caring”! Way to go Mindy!


Mindy KostowKostow 2021

Legislative Coffees News Release

The League of Women Voters will host three Legislative Coffees on February 6th, March 6th, and April 3rd from 9 to 10 AM via Zoom due to Covid-19 restrictions. The events will be moderated by Marta Miller, who will be conveying questions supplied by the audience. 


Senator Dawn Driscoll and Representative Dave Maxwell will make brief remarks and then answer questions on issues expected to be considered by the Iowa Legislature in the current session.  Senator Driscoll represents Senate District 38, and Representative Maxwell represents House District 76, both of which include Poweshiek County.

To register for the coffees, please use this registration link (also available at the Grinnell League of Women Voters Facebook page): https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIqdeiuqDItEtarDDxr3KnkavMPJxyBoI9X


Legislative coffees are sponsored by the League of Women Voters to provide residents the opportunity to learn about current legislative proposals as well as to ask questions and raise concerns. 

The event will be recorded.  The recording belongs to the LWV and we respectfully ask that others not record the event.


Free Food Box


Upcoming Events:


Saturday’s Activities:

State Large Group Speech – 8:00 am

GHS Auditorium

Zoom Link to watch performances


Boys State Qualifying Swim Meet at Davenport Central HS – NOON


Wrestling Sectionals at Nevada - NOON

Live Stream: https://www.youtube.com/nevadacsd


Monday, Feb. 8th

8th B Bball vs Pella- 4:30

7th B BBall @ Pella- 4:30


Tuesday, Feb. 9th

B 9/JV/V BBall @ Pella-4:45

G JV2/JV/V BBall @ Pella- 4:45


Weds. Feb. 10th

FFA Sub Districts- FFA Enrichment

Center- 9AM


Thursday, Feb. 11th


7th B Bball vs PC- 4:30

8th B Bball @ PC- 4:30

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

G JV2/JV/V Bball vs DCG- 4:45


Have a great weekend and stay warm!




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