Demolition scheduled to begin on old stadium complex
Tue, 01/24/2017 - 11:15am admin
HOWARD COUNTY - The big news at the Jan. 9 Howard-Winneshiek School Board meeting was the resignation of Supt. John Carver.
In other news at the meeting, Carver provided an update regarding the construction of the new activities stadium complex, noting that demolition of the old stadium should begin as early as Monday, Jan. 16. It is anticipated to take about two days to demolish the old stadium, and as early as Wednesday, Jan. 18 Cresco Building Service, Inc. would like to begin construction of the new concession stand. The aluminum bleachers that were in place at the old stadium have been removed and donated to the City of Cresco for intended use at East Park.
Note to district patrons: The stadium area is a designated “hardhat zone” and as a safety precaution, patrons are advised not to set foot on the premises without permission while demolition/construction is occurring.
While the construction schedule is yet to be finalized, the stadium project is expected to be completed by the start of football season this fall. The Board is considering holding a stadium dedication ceremony, potentially during “meet the team” night or at the first home football game.
• As noted in the Weekly Administrative Update on Friday, Jan. 6 office staff at Howard-Winn received a “Platinum Star” rating from the Iowa Department of Education (DE). Iowa school districts are required to submit several important annual reports to the state DE regarding, for example, enrollment, nutrition, and school finance. District staff was recognized with the rating because their reports were on time and required zero modifications or corrections. While most school districts in Iowa submitted their reports on time there are only a handful of districts that submitted reports with no errors.
• January-Term students from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, have been spending the month observing educators in classrooms at Howard-Winn, taking special note of the way technology and 21st-century learning has been embedded into instruction. Relatedly, the U.S. Department of Education Policy Paper for December 2016 recognized Howard-Winn for their collective realization that “an innovative 21st-century learning system” combined with the development of a “vision” and “action plan for a digital learning initiative” was needed. The policy paper highlighted teacher-preparatory programs and the need to advance educational technology.
“Howard-Winn noticed an immediate, marked improvement in the way students and teachers engaged with technology,” according to the U.S. DE’s report.
“For example, students and teachers are now regular creators of their own digital content, not just consumers, and through the #2020HowardWinn [Twitter] hashtag, interact more frequently and more productively with other learners, experts, and practitioners.”
• Carver, who also serves as activities director, additionally spoke about sportsmanship, noting that the previous week had been “bumpy.” “We did have a patron at a wrestling meet who was thrown out,” he said, adding that two fans at a Girls Basketball game were close to being asked to leave as well.
Then at a Boys Basketball game, a student from Howard-Winn was chosen to be the “victim” and the other team persisted to pick on the student and call them out by name throughout the entire event. “I want to let everybody know publicly that I have been in contact with the administration [at the other school], and we do play them again. The sportsmanship will be addressed.”
He added, “We’ve had kids make bad choices as well, but it’s really important that we do our due diligence. If one of our students is acting out at an event, it’s okay to say ‘Hey, knock it off.’ And if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, tell [an attending administrator] and we’ll go tell them to knock it off.”
Poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated from our students or the opposing teams’.
Old Business: The Board approved, all ayes, the second reading of the policy 407.3.1 regarding “Voluntary Early Retirement.” With the Board’s approval the District will go forward with making the policy available to qualified staff members who might opt to retire early at the conclusion of the current school year. The superintendent recommends that the Board consider amending the “No Rehire” section to allow coaches to potentially come back and coach, and to allow educators to potentially come back as substitutes.
“Philosophically I think it’s a good idea to have teachers who are coaches in the building, but realistically it is hard to find coaches,” he said. “I do think that the early retirement policy hurts us as far as finding coaches and substitute teachers.”
• The Board unanimously approved the second reading of eight updated board policies, including: 104 (Equal Educational Opportunity); 107 (Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Policy); 302.1 (Superintendent Qualifi-cations, Recruitment, Appointment); 304.2 (Administrator Qualifications, Recruitment, Appointment); 401.1 (Equal Employment Opportunity); 405.2 (Licensed Employee Qualifications, Recruitment, Selection); 411.2 (Classified Employee – Qualifications, Recruitment, Selection); and 500 (Objectives for Equal Educational Opportunities for Students).
These are mandatory policies, all of which have had verbiage changes since their adoption. Best practice is for all Board policies to be reviewed at least every five years.
New Business: The Board approved, all ayes, the 2017-18 Dropout Prevention/At Risk budget. Most recently, the budget has been utilized to add Student & Family Case Worker Denise Headington to the team at Howard-Winn. She used to work for the Department of Human Services and holds relationships with outside agencies, bridging the gaps between the school and those agencies. Typically her caseload is between 20-30 students, K-12.
• Officials at Howard-Winn are considering the potential addition of iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates) services, a “dropout prevention” and “school to career” program. “They would work closely with the Alternative School,” said Terese Jurgensen, Director of Student Services & Special Education. “They’d come in and work with our people and outside agencies. They’re a missing piece that we just don’t have the services to do. It really brings more purpose and direction; coupled with what we’re doing with NICC [Northeast Iowa Community College] it would be a very positive addition.”
Brenda Lentz, head of the At Risk program, notes that the “academic piece” is working well at Howard-Winn, however, the highest need is regarding the “social and emotional learning” students and also assisting students with career direction. “We’re not only finding that in our struggling learners but also in our higher achievers,” she said. “They’re not sure what they want to do, where they want to go, or what they want to be. Even though we have the Alternative program setting, and some of the kids are really high achieving students, [some] are floundering.”
• The Board approved, all ayes, representation for the District Advisory Committee (DAC) for the remainder of the school year. The Board-created committee was initiated in 2014 and is comprised of District patrons. The intent of the group is to keep patrons informed, exchange thinking, and to seek their input.
• The job description for a “Literacy Interventionist” position was approved by the Board, all ayes. The position was created with educator input based on the need that they perceived in order to provide students with opportunities to address reading difficulties as early as possible.
“Making sure that our students are on track with reading skills is not only a large focus in our school, it is required by state law,” writes Elementary Principal Sara Grimm in an email to administration, which was included in the Board packet. “Iowa’s early literacy law emphasizes identifying and addressing reading difficulties early on. We have been screening K-6 students for reading difficulties, making adjustments in instruction based on results, and then monitoring the progress of our students. This ‘early warning’ approach gives us valuable information so we can remedy reading difficulties before they progress. This is important because making sure students have the skills they need to succeed starts with the ability to read.”
Funding for the Literacy Interventionist position is provided through the state’s Early Intervention Supplement. The purpose of the position will be: “To provide strategies for teaching and supporting students in the literacy skills needed to learn to read, read to learn, and comprehend.”
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be held on Monday, Feb. 13 at Crestwood High School.