New supt. suggests some changes

Supt. John Carver shows an app to board members Doug Berg and Jim Kitchen.

By Marcie Klomp

New Howard-Winneshiek Superintendent John Carver has been in the district for just a month and is already shaking things up.

He introduced a resolution at the July 23 school board meeting to have two board members and himself on various sub-committees (board policy, facilities and transportation, negotiations, school improvement and 28E agreements-SAVE and PPEL). In the past the superintendent has been privy to the information and gave information to board members at the meetings.

Questions inevitably arose and discussions took up valuable meeting time. By having two board members involved, they can ask questions at the committee meetings and then present their recommendations to the rest of the board.

Board President Karlos McClure joked, “We’re asking you to volunteer for free!” (FYI: Board members do not get paid for the huge job they have taken on.) The board voted in agreement of the resolution.

Carver also stated earlier that day the district hosted the first STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) meeting in Northeast Iowa. He serves on the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Attending were representatives of Luther College, NICC, Keystone AEA and University of Northern Iowa. There are six districts in Iowa for STEM, with each receiving $900,000 to implement vetted educational STEM programs. He joked he was hoping to get $500,000 of that for Howard-Winneshiek.

• In other business, new staff for the 2012-13 school year were officially recognized. They include Justin Denner, High School Math; Allison Ginther, Elementary Special Education; Sally Godwin, ELL Teacher; Kristi Holthaus, Preschool Teach-er; Trish Johnson Ninth Grade Volleyball; Lorrinda Kisley, Kindergarten/First Elma Elementary; Betty Koschmeder, High School

Alternative Teacher; Katie Malek, Lime Springs-Chester, First Grade Teacher; Christie Schmitt, Preschool Teacher; and Jennifer Vsetecka, Second Grade Teacher.

• Carver said if the school board proposed to go ahead with the 1:1 initiative for laptops at the high school, “I will continue to look into it.”

• The building and grounds committee will review the energy audit. The superintendent said, “We want to make the campuses energy efficient.”

• The board needs to agree on the five priorities of the district and give the data to IASB (Iowa Association of School Boards).

Board member Duane Bodermann gave a couple of statistics he took away from a meeting that he and Carver went to at Ames. “The number one thing I took home is that Iowa hasn’t done well compared to any other state.”

Iowa is only one of eight states who have not doubled their population in the past 100 years. Bodermann noted, “Iowa hasn’t even gotten to 150 percent. We haven’t done a good enough job in providing jobs for our graduates. We need to retain them in our community.”

He also mentioned Iowa has one county that has a higher population of over age 65 residents than under 18 residents. That number is on the rise.

• Heather Klenke of the technology department told the board the district was already one year behind on the cycle to upgrade computers. She said 18 teacher laptops need to be replaced and two added for new teachers. “The laptops we’re replacing we’ve had since 2004-05.”

The old laptops will be recycled, with many going to Lime Springs-Chester and Elma Elementaries as they have G4 computers from the 1990s.

Carver was surprised at the age. “We want to make sure our kids have the technology.”

• Oakleigh Natvig, who was turned down for a .875 FTE elementary physical education and high school social students teacher, was hired at this meeting. Since Natvig is a retired teacher, the discrepancy was on his status. He was turned down in June for being hired at step three but hired at the lates meeting at step 10, with 10 being the highest.

• Grading will be consistent throughout the district. It used to be students could receive an ‘A+’ in junior high and not in high school. Now, there are no ‘A’ pluses given at any level.

• The reading of the iPad policy was put off until a meeting on July 30, to clarify some wording and costs to students. It was learned students at the junior high level will be able to personalize their computers and add appropriate programs.

Carver has had experience with school-owned iPads/laptops in a 1:1 initiative. “The more you let them personalize their device, the better they take care of it.”

• Another board meeting was held July 30. The next regular board meeting will be Aug. 20.

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