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Superintendent's Weekly Update

Superintendent Janet Stutz

Weekly Update: March 16, 2018


Dear Grinnell-Newburg Friends and Family:

Happy Friday!  This weekend offers a wonderful activity if you are looking for a little Jazz time.   On Saturday night our Jazz band will be performing at Grinnell High School beginning at 7:00 PM.  I have learned that there will be guest performers as well. It will be a rockin’ evening! We hope that you can catch the concert. This week has been filled with memorable events for our students. Check out all of the activities that went on during this busy week.  

PLTW Visit from the Director of School Engagement for Iowa

The PLTW Director of School Engagement for Iowa is traveling the state to visit schools that have been recognized as Project Lead the Way Distinguished Schools.  Davis Elementary had the privilege of a visit from Director Terry Ausman and Dr. Sarah Derry, and we gave them a tour of the building, showing them all of the ways we are incorporating science into the classroom. Congratulations Davis for receiving this wonderful recognition!
visit from Director of School Engagement Terry Ausman and Dr. Sarah Derry
visit from Director of School Engagement Terry Ausman and Dr. Sarah Derry
visit from Director of School Engagement Terry Ausman and Dr. Sarah Derry
visit from Director of School Engagement Terry Ausman and Dr. Sarah Derry visit from Director of School Engagement Terry Ausman and Dr. Sarah Derry


Elementary Art Show

The elementary art show will be opening March 19 and will run through April 12.  It will feature self portraits from all k-2 students and a few 3-4 graders.
art show flyer


Admin Update:

We are excited to welcome Josh Ellis as the summer school principal this year. This week I met with members of the AmeriCorps grant team and our new summer school principal to begin planning for our summer program.  It looks like the student portion of the program will begin on June 11 and end on July 27th. Training sessions will run the week before and officially end on July 31, 2018. Parents will be notified after spring break if their student will qualify for the summer school program.  Summer School teaching positions will be posted next week. Please watch for those postings.
Administrators are also working on finalizing the professional development for the new reading and writing curriculum adoption. We are collaborating with Schoolwide to ensure that training will provide the appropriate support needed to implement the new resources.


The first open meeting for negotiations was held on Wednesday, as the GNEA and the District each presented their initial salary packages. The next meeting will be a closed session held on Thursday March 22 at 4:00 pm in the boardroom. This year, under this two year contract, the negotiation discussions center on salary only.  

Des Moines Opera at Grinnell Schools

The Opera performances this week were spectacular.  The Des Moines Opera visited Fairview, Bailey Park, Davis and Grinnell Middle School for a total of 4 performances.  Our students were impressed!
Des Moines Opera visit
Des Moines Opera visit


Middle School Band Concert:

Congratulations to our middle school band teachers and students on another fabulous concert this past week.
Middle School Concert

Board Meeting:

The Board of Education will be meeting this Wednesday, March 21 at 6:00 PM.  This Board meeting was scheduled in order for the district to meet the timelines for the certified budget.   The board will also engage in identifying a date to move forward toward the next bond referendum. I will be asking the board to provide a direction on which date we will host the election in order for me to begin the process.  Another item on the agenda is to amend the fall calendar to begin the first day of school on August 23, 2018, in order for parents to plan. This is one day later than our current approved calendar, in order to be in compliance with the law that designates August 23 as the specific start date. It was my hope that legislators would have changed the legislation to say “start of school can begin after the closing of the state fair”.  I have learned that the hard date for the start of school will remain August 23 at this time.
The Board of Education approved several components to upgrade wifi and connectivity at their March 14th meeting.  This investment will keep student experiences on the internet free from interruption next year. I would like to thank Dr. Monty Roper, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership at Grinnell College, for sharing his students with us to research the effects of the language learner program at Davis.  The board learned a lot about how much the students enjoy this program and made suggestions for the future of the program. This collaboration effort has been fabulous! A special thank you to Barb VanErsvelde for her leadership and guidance, as she has voluntarily directed this program.

Above and Beyond Nominations

This is just a reminder to nominate students, staff, or community members who have gone above and beyond to support our students.  Please send a nomination email to aboveandbeyond@grinnell-k12.org.

Congratulations to Emma Harrington as a National Scholastic Medalist winner!  She is the first GHS student ever to receive this award.  She received it for her Flash Fiction "Aftermath"


FFA South Central District Results from last Saturday:

Congrats to Grinnell FFA Members who competed at South Central Districts on Saturday. Here are the highlights:
  • EXPERIENCE THE ACTION - Gold Advance to State:  Kaylyn Kingery, Nicole Arment, Kaitlin Lleverino, Kevin Werner, Preston Sholley, Hunter Patten, Kevin Vogt, Evan Ely, Spencer Mauss, Brett Clayton, Damon Williams, Jason Nisley
  • CONDUCT OF MEETINGS - Gold Advance to State:  Morgan Peak, Becca Patten, Jenna Tuttle, Kaia Hoffman, Jack Nickel, Jared Nickel and Zac Fillmore
  • CHAPTER PROGRAM OF ACTIVITIES – Gold:  Paige Zhorne and Sydney Anderson
  • CREED SPEAKING - Gold Advance to State:  Ashton Hale
  • PUBLIC SPEAKING - Gold Advance to State:  Theresa Crawford
  • GREENHAND QUIZ - Gold 2nd place:  Madison Elliott, Isaiah Hirschman, Tyler Fenner, Caden Flanagan


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

March 15 - 5-8 Band Concert
March 17 - Night of Jazz Band Concert
March 20 - Connected PTO Family Game Night
March 21 - Meeting of the Board of Education
March 26-30 - Spring Break
April 6 - Meet the Composer Choir Concert
April 10 - Davis Elementary Concert
April 11 - Meeting of the Board of Education
April 12 - Bailey Park Elementary Concert
April 19 - Fairview Elementary Concert
Don’t forget to visit the Virtual Backpack for new events!  
Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!   
Dr. Janet M. Stutz
Grinnell-Newburg Schools