G-N Superintendent’s Weekly Update October 27, 2017

Superintendent’s Weekly Update October 27, 2017

Dear Grinnell-Newburg Board, Staff, Family and Friends:

The weather has turned colder and the end of October is here.  This is the time of year when teachers and parents gather to reflect upon student progress and how we can work collectively together to ensure that students are getting what they need to learn and grow.  I want to thank all of our parents and teachers for taking this time to help each other as we navigate in finding various strategies to foster creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking activities that will further engage students in the classroom.  This weekly update highlights a few events from this week that I wanted to share with all of you.  It will also highlight next steps in our facility planning activities.  Please know that I am looking for a few parents and staff that could assist me with a communication newsletter for the Grinnell-Newburg residents in order to ensure that our community is informed about our journey toward our facility plan.  If you are interested in assisting me with this publication please contact Becky Nance at becky.nance@grinnell-k12.org.  My hope is that we have a newsletter that is mailed out to the community by November 10th.  This will be a short time commitment.

Emergency Guide Crisis Planning Meeting:

The emergency district crisis planning team met this week to continue to revise our plans.  We are working on documents that will be generated for teachers that will be a quick reference guide to assist any staff member during an unexpected emergency.  I want to thank Heidi Durbin, Sara Hegg-Dunn, Brian Conway and Bill Gruman for their assistance in facilitating this effort.

Admin Team Meeting:

This week our administrators has an opportunity to hear from our AEA representative, Karen Aldrich about various services available to our district that can support our efforts.  We currently use the AEA to support our literacy work through professional development, special education, instructional coaches training opportunities and much more. We also had the opportunity to examine historical data on student progress that will assist us with programming.   The administrators also reviewed the plans for our upcoming PD day with our Apple consultant, who will work side by side with teachers the week of November 6.  It was articulated as well that teachers who are in the Olweus training will have an opportunity during the next three professional development days to complete their training.  Staff will be provided an hour at each of the next three Professional Development Days.

EDSpaces Conference:

I had the opportunity to attend a national conference in Kansas City this week on School Facilities and future innovative school facility planning.  The EDSpaces conference featured keynote speaker Jaime Casap who is a Google Education Evangelist, Sir Ken Robinson who focuses on school reform related to facility spaces, and many individual sessions that focused on the future of learning classroom environments.  CMBA, our district architects, attended this conference as well.  The conference was extremely informative and timely.

Facility Steering Committee:

The facility steering committee will be meeting this Monday at 6:30 in the High School Library.   We will re-cap the concepts, share a preliminary site diagram and budgetary cost estimates.  The committee will assist us to refine the concept plan and discuss priorities based on overall financial ability.

We will be collaborating to identify ways in which we can fully educate our public regarding our facility plan journey.  We are planning on putting a newsletter together that will be mailed out to all Grinnell residents that will highlight our journey of this work toward these final concepts.  In last week’s update, I explained the concepts to build a new pre-K through 5th grade facility, renovate the middle school and high school to foster classroom learning environments that will create spaces for students to match current instructional pedagogical practices.  The steering committee examined these concepts and provided feedback.  Please know that in order for this to become a reality, a recommendation to the Board of Education to consider a bond vote for this February 2018, is just around the corner.   We will have all of our plans finalized by November 15, 2017.  Our newsletter will highlight our journey, process, and recommendations.  It is my hope that this mailer will be ready to go out to Grinnell residents by November 10th.

Great Job to our Elementary Instructional Coaches!

Our elementary instructional coaches had the opportunity to attend the Project Lead the Way Summit recently, where they presented on “Evidence of Learning in a 1:1 Classroom.” They shared the work they have done to create digital assessments for PLTW.  I’m grateful to all our instructional coaches for the great work that they do!

Time Capsule:

The time capsule is currently travelling to each of our buildings and will be landing ata permanent location at the Drake Library soon!

Parent Survey – Marzano:

Our principals have sent out a survey link to all parents in recent weeks.  Please join me in completing this important survey that focuses on climate and culture.  We need your input.

Upcoming events: Please visit the Calendar page on our website for further details

November 1 – Unplugged Night

November 2-4 – The Skin of Our Teeth

November 6 – No School, PD Day

November 10 – GMS Veterans Day Program

November 22-24 – Fall Break

Please remember to check our district’s Virtual Backpack for activities and events!

Sincerely,

Janet

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