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Grinnell-Newburg Weekly Update November 13, 2020

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Grinnell-Newburg Teachers and Staff for their hustle in preparing online learning sessions for our students who have been on campus for the next two weeks. It has been a difficult decision to send students home. We will begin with online learning on November 16 and 17th. If the Department of Education approves our waiver, we will return to school on December 3, 2020.  

I should know Tuesday evening if it has been approved. The Board of Directors will be scheduling a special meeting on Tuesday the 17th at 6:00 pm, to approve the extension to December 2, 2020.  In the meantime, all after school activities are canceled beginning Monday, November 16, unless it is a virtual activity.  

It is hard for us not to connect with our students each day in person. However difficult this decision was to make, I believe this will enable us to limit the spread of the virus. Today we had 68 students who are quarantining due to a family member testing positive, or awaiting test results or a recent positive test. Staff members too are also in a similar situation. Our ability to cover classes, and serve our students on campus has been challenging. We believe that by moving to online/remote learning, we will be able to get the spread under control. This can only happen if we all take part in wearing masks, washing our hands, staying away from large gatherings, stay home if you are sick, and socially distant, especially when eating.  

If there is one thing that I have learned from tracking the data each day, is that people who are in close proximity to each other, less than 6ft while eating,  are more likely to contract the virus.  We also know that the spread of the virus happens more often in the home. Although we have not seen student/student spread at school, my concern is that it would only be a matter of time with the widespread that is currently happening in our community that cases would rise. We are being proactive in trying to get ahead of a larger spread. We all need to do our part to limit the spread so that our hospitals are not overwhelmed and our students and staff stay safe. 

Please watch for more information from your building principal regarding specific schedules, trimester finals, and materials.  

Child Care needs until December 3, 2020:

If you are interested or in need of childcare services during this online/remote learning, contact Chad Nath at link director@linkgrinnell.org.   

We are working on our plans to provide programming during the District’s remote learning period, beginning Monday, November 16. As part of this, we are asking for folks to help us determine staffing needs by completing this survey.

LINK is committed to being part of the solution but recognizes the community spread of COVID-19 is at an all-time high thus the reason for virtual learning. As such, we intend for this program to be available primarily to families for whom having children at home during the workday is not an option.

Please note, if you are not a current LINK family you will need to submit enrollment paperwork for your child(ren) before they are able to attend. 

FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH FOR ALL ENROLLED STUDENTS  

  • To be eligible to pick up free meals your students just have to be enrolled at one of our schools.  You must fill out the form https://forms.gle/NLVRDoSEDouaARLG6 by 8pm the day before you want to pick up meals. This means that if you want Monday’s meal you will need to sign up by Sunday night.
  • Pick-up for all schools will be at Grinnell High School at the kitchen parking lot (northeast corner of the building, the lot has the dumpsters). 
    • This location is different from the summer pick up location. 
  • Pick up days will be Monday through Friday on scheduled school days.  
    • Pick up times will be from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm.
  • You will receive lunch and breakfast for the next day. 

We are working on options for delivery for families that can’t pick up meals. This will possibly be ready by mid-week next week.  

Staff who have “Knocked their Socks Off” recognition!    

The following staff has been recommended to be highlighted in this weekly update for their instructional practices in engaging students in learning! You too can nominate a staff member simply by emailing me at janet.stutz@grinnell-k12.org to feature a staff member.   Just tell me why they should be recognized, and then I will interview them and highlight their practices in this update. This is an awesome opportunity for me to chat with the staff and tell their story to you! Each recipient will receive a “new socks” award in the near future! (once they arrive)

Erin Darrah is our first recipient this week! Erin is the 8th-grade math teacher at Grinnell Middle School. I had an opportunity to talk to Erin about the focus on math instruction in a manner that has been different in years past. Erin shared, “when I realized that we were going to have online learners and in-class learners, my first thought was to find a way to survive while making math engaging for students”. What was exciting about Erin’s story was her passion not only for her students but for how she learned the “flipped classroom” model through her master’s program”. She stated, “I may never go back to teaching like I used to before. This model allows me to guide students when they need my help the most, during practice, and affords me the opportunity to pull students into small groups so that I can either re-teach or extend the learning experience”. The bonus, as she appeared to be skipping down the hallway, is that former students and others from all over visit my youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCePKPDATZ5-kXSsT5AD-pqQ) page to learn, review, or remember how to do a concept”.  What a fabulous idea. She does not think of this as surviving during these difficult times anymore, she now assists others to learn this method to engage students! Way to go Erin!   

Our second recipient is Carly Sis, a 6th-Grade science teacher at Grinnell Middle School. Carly, known for her energy, musical science lessons and activities, and at times thought of as a modern-day “Ms. Frizzels”, engages students to take chances, get messy, and step outside of the box to learn and problem solve!  Carly shared that she had to think outside the box when it came to the science lab work as students could not share materials during this time of a pandemic.  She re-structured her labs that are inquiry-based, through lab demonstrations.   Check on the photos of her conductivity lab!    Carly likes to engage students through the world of science and seeks exciting and fun ways to learn.   Distant learning students join in virtually and participate!   Way to go Carly!  

High School students team up with Middle School students!  

Inspired by our 6th graders’ love of candy corn and with the help of Mr. Winkleblack and his students, we had fun making this fall project.  We are really grateful and appreciate Mr. Winkleblack and his students’ time and skills to help our younger ones enjoy this activity!  We truly are better together! (Rebecca Flannigan)   Even Mr. Harrold joined in on the fun!  

Kindness Day in our schools! Better Together!

Good luck to our Debate Club tonight! They will be participating in a virtual debate! 

Best of Luck to our Tiger Paws who will be competing in a virtual State Competition event this weekend!  

Just a reminder that beginning Monday all on-site activities will be canceled. All virtual activities will be able to meet.  

Have a safe weekend. Please watch for emails and listen for voice reach announcements. I will continue to update our families during this time of remote learning. 

Sincerely,

Janet

— 
Dr. Janet M. Stutz
Superintendent
Grinnell-Newburg School District

— 
Amber RobsonAdministrative Assistant to the SuperintendentGrinnell-Newburg Community School District

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