What will LS campus look like in 2014-15?

Concerned Elma citizens Tom Platte, Bruce Weigel and Erin Ludwig talk to board members Duane Bodermann and James Kitchen after the meeting on Jan. 13.

Concerned Elma citizens Tom Platte, Bruce Weigel and Erin Ludwig talk to board members Duane Bodermann and James Kitchen after the meeting on Jan. 13.

By Marcie Klomp

At the December Howard-Winneshiek School Board meeting, members voted to close the Elma campus. At the Jan. 13 meeting, which was held in Lime Springs, Supt. John Carver reminded those present, “A teacher group is helping to explore which grade levels will be at which campus.”

The team had been to Lime Springs-Chester Elementary a week prior to walk through the campus. He is encouraging the group to look at having two grade levels in Lime Springs, rather than one. “We will have a decision before the board for next month. The reason we are doing this is for the collaboration. Instruction was not the same at each location.”

He added the problem was not the teachers. “The teachers are excellent.” The problem lies with the outlying centers where teachers are on their own and can’t mingle with teachers of their own grade easily.

He pointed out, “As far as Howard-Winn. goes, we will provide our kids with the best educational experience on the planet.” The current sixth grade class will graduate in 2020. That is the class that is holding to high standards. “Those graduates will be the best prepared kids on the planet [when they walk across the stage],” Carver contended.

He reiterated how important collaboration is when teaching students.

Six teachers verified reasons behind collaboration.

Three teachers from Crestwood kindergarten (Clarissa Einck, Julie Franzen, Michelle Timp) and three from fifth grade (Becky Halverson, Kelly Sorenson, Julie Wilson) spoke about how working together is great for teachers and students alike.

By having more than one teacher per grade, classes in Cresco can easily have individualized groups, based on the students’ needs. At the outlying centers, groups can only be divided between one teacher, who may also be teaching another grade level. Franzen noted there are large and small groups, the small groups being four to six students. “Learning for them is fun when they move from class to class.”

Wilson said, “We pretested the kids to see what skills they had. The students changed groups for units.” Fifth grade started working together in literacy and found it worked so well, they started doing it with math.

Working together with coworkers is exciting for the teachers. Sorenson said, Common time is wonderful. We can collaborate with the other teachers. We do it during lunch and recess as well.”

Principal Greg Adams added, “Other staff members get involved, and all of a sudden you start working in smaller groups. The other neat part is one teacher is not always known as the teacher for struggling students or excelling students.”

Board member Scott fortune observed, “The interaction between the kids is great. It may even help the bullying issue in the future.” (Bullying was another issue discussed at the school board meeting.)

Wilson thanked the school board for the use of technology for the students. “We have kindergartners who don’t want to go out for recess. They want to work on their iPad!”

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