Dear Grinnell-Newburg Board of Education, Staff, Families and Friends:
Happy Friday! The beautiful fall colors are finally lining the streets of Grinnell. This season is my favorite time of the year and being here in Grinnell makes this season that much more delightful. This weekly update will highlight some of our district activities as well as the progress that our steering facilities committee has made. I hope you enjoy the update this week.
Superintendent/Principal School Walkthroughs:
The time when I have the opportunity to walk the school hallways is probably the most favorite part of my day. Many times I tour the buildings taking photos or watching activities, however these walkthroughs are a little different. The principal and I have an opportunity to watch teaching and learning in action together. This detailed “walk and talk” time with the building principal provides me an opportunity to see teaching and learning in a more detailed manner. These walkthroughs will happen frequently throughout the school year. This week I had the opportunity to visit Fairview. There were amazing students, staff, and activities going on at Fairview. I look forward to the next upcoming visits with Bailey Park and GMS to complete the school cycle. Next, I will do similar walkthroughs with our directors in the areas of technology, transportation, buildings and grounds, and food services.
Steering Committee Meeting:
This past Monday the facilities steering committee met to discuss a facility concept plan as presented by the architects and superintendent. The concepts that were discussed and presented to the steering committee were created following four months of community engagement activities, talking to teachers, staff, students, the facilities advisory committee and our administration. Five overarching themes emerged from the detailed engagement encounters that we had during these past four months: Opportunities, Innovation, Inclusiveness, Partnerships, and Career and College Readiness. These themes became the basis for the plan concept.
The architects and I asked the committee to brainstorm pro’s and con’s of the school facilities concept that would include a new Pre-K through 5th grade school, renovating the middle school to be a 6-8 grade building, and renovating the high school. The three facilities would encompass learning environments that would foster the 4 C’s of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. It was also discussed that any renovation or design would include structure that supports best practice such as natural lighting, security entrances, address building code regulations, wayfinding and orientation, etc.
CMBA presented the process, shared the concept with the Board of Education, and provided some considerations for the Board. The space requirements of a new Pk-5 Campus are greater than the capacity of any one of our current elementary sites or the 11th Ave site. Therefore there are some considerations that will need to be made. We will look at the viability of the 4th Avenue Property with additional analysis of the site. We will obtain a valuation assessment on the 11th avenue property, and will make recommendations to the Board regarding both properties. Please know that no decisions have been made at this time for the use of any of our sites. We are looking at all viable options.
Next steps: Continue to develop concept, Create Preliminary Site Diagram and Budgetary Cost Estimates, Meet with Steering Committee October 30, Refine Scope based on Overall financial Ability. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
The Board meeting included a presentation from CMBA on our progress. The Board also approved the superintendent goals, the line item budget, and the contract for George Couros for next year’s opening day. We had the opportunity to recognize student Haley Moyer and the Reunion Committee for the Class of 1957 for above and beyond awards!
Farm To School Day
We served fruits and vegetables on our school salad bars from local farms around Grinnell on Thursday, October 19th. Heritage Farm provided broccoli, Middle Way Farm provided carrots and radishes, and Sojourn Farm provided apples. A special thank you to the Local Foods Connection for helping our food service department get connected with some of our local farms.
Congrats to our Cross Country Teams!
Congratulations to the Boys and Girls Cross Country teams for qualifying for the state meet next Saturday. Both teams finished 2nd in their state qualifying race. Those runners include Mary Blanchard, Anjali Jones, Nola Conner, Mairead Brownell, Phoenix Chang-Roper, Gracee Kivett, Zoe Shinefield, Thomas Clower, Trenton O’Halloran, Joe Simon, Landon Steffen, Isaac Bryant, Matthew Cunningham, and Kendall Praitis-Hill.
Upcoming events: Please visit the Calendar page on our website for further details
October 23 – Flu Clinic at the HS
October 25 – 5th Grade Field Trip
October 26 – 2 Hour Early Dismissal for Parent Teacher Conferences (2:00-8:00 p.m.)
October 26 – No Afternoon Preschool
October 27 – No School, Parent Teacher Conferences (8:00 a.m.-Noon)
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