2019 May School Leader Update

school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

May 2019

Finishing strong

director ryan wise

The transition from April to May often brings unexpected challenges. Just when we’re anticipating sunshine and rainbows, Iowa weather brings us cold and snow. And as I remember well from my days in the classroom, exactly when I thought I could hit cruise control for the remainder of the year, the unexpected behavior challenge or the learning objective that took longer to reach than anticipated pushed me to maintain focus all the way through the finish line.

I find it helpful when I need that extra boost of energy to reflect on the many things that have gone well and to peek, and plan, ahead. A small dose of reflection and planning can do wonders for warding off the temptations to either coast through the remainder of the year or to hunker down and just grind it out.

At a state level, there is much to celebrate as we prepare to close out another academic year. 

Legal Lessons

attorney nicole proesch

Now in this May Edition of Legal Lessons I bring you Spring Cleaning, Student Records, and Retention, The Top Six GRADUATION DON’T’s, and U.S. Department of Education Guidance on School Climate Resources.

Contact Nicole Proesch for all Legal Lessons items - nicole.proesch@iowa.gov or (515) 281-8661

For questions regarding students with disabilities  contact Thomas Mayes at (515) 242-5614 or thomas.mayes@iowa.gov.

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2019 Best Practices in Social Studies Institute

Implementing Iowa's Social Studies Standards, globe with hand

Registration is now open for the 2019 Best Practices in Social Studies Institute. This year’s institute provides support on implementing Iowa’s new social studies standards to elementary and secondary social studies teachers and those who support social studies teachers. One day of the institute will feature an in-depth workshop and the opposite day will feature targeted breakout sessions. The institute is free to attend and license renewal credit will be available. For more information, visit the Professional Learning Events in Social Studies webpage. For questions, contact Stefanie Wager at (515) 725-7842 or stefanie.wager@iowa.gov.

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Our Kids Summer Institute registration now open

Children arm in arm with conference dates and location

Registration is now open for the Our Kids Summer Institute, scheduled for June 18-19, at the FFA Enrichment Center, 1055 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy in Ankeny. Register yourself and your team at Our Kids Summer Institute 2019 (Course #: 180032). Participants will receive a book from keynote speaker Diane Staehr Fenner titled, “Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators”.   

Keynote presentation and breakout session topics are full of information for classroom teachers, English Language Learner (EL) teachers, administrators, instructional coaches and Pre-Kindergarten instructors. District teams will have the opportunity to network with other educational professionals, discover new strategies for working with EL in Iowa, and meet national and local experts to enrich practices for increasing EL achievement. For more information on learning topics and keynote presenters, visit 15th Annual Our Kids Conference Presenters and Topics.  

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Teacher Leadership and Compensation highlights

Group of professionals meeting

TLC Statewide Conference:  TLC:  What Works!  July 16, Iowa Events Center Teachers, Teacher Leaders, Administrators, Instructional Coaches, Leadership Team Members, and other Educators and Stakeholders are invited to join us as we focus on four components that contribute to a successful teacher leadership system.  See the Conference Flyer for full details including registration information.

TLC End of Year Reporting:  Due July 1

Details on reporting can be found on the TLC Webpage.  The content of the report remains the same as in previous years, however, the reporting format is new.

The TLC Reporting and Plan Application is now available on the Iowa Education Portal for superintendents and other district TLC contacts. The application provides a centralized location to view, edit, and submit annual End of Year Reports.

Iowa Instructional Framework System: Ninety districts have signed on to be participate in the Iowa Instructional System.  If your district is one of those participants, be sure to register for the summer training session at:  District Training Form .

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Guidance on training and protocols available

Human head profile with gears and cogs inside the head, brick wall background

In 2018, the Iowa legislature passed Senate File 2113 requiring school districts to adopt protocols and training on suicide prevention and postvention, and the identification of adverse childhood experiences and strategies to mitigate toxic stress response.  The requirements of Senate File 2113, Iowa Code § 279.70 and IAC 281—14.4 apply to all public school districts in Iowa. The school district’s board must require annual trainings by July 1. The trainings do not have to occur until after July 1 and must be provided annually. For guidance and technical assistance, visit Guidance for protocols and training on suicide prevention and postvention and identification of adverse childhood experiences and strategies to mitigate toxic stress response.

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Addition to the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP)

Professional Development written on computer key

This year,districts will be asked to upload a professional development plan, as required by Iowa Code section 284.6.  CSIP professional development plan requirements include:  

  1. Describe how the district professional development program includes evidence based instructional strategies aligned with the district's student achievement needs and long-range improvement goals.
  2. Describe how the district professional development program includes instructional improvement components including student achievement data and analysis, theory, classroom demonstration and practice, technology integration, observation, reflection and peer coaching.
  3. Describe how the district professional development program meets the needs of individual teachers and is aligned to the Iowa Teaching Standards.
  4. Describe how the district professional development program includes an evaluation component that documents the improvement in instructional practice and the effect on student learning.
  5. Describe how the district professional development program provides access to all teachers in the district to professional development offerings
  6. Indicate the district's professional development provider(s).

The professional development plan should be completed in a document format that may be uploaded to the CSIP. The plan uploaded to the CSIP should be a brief summary of the six requirements listed above in a PDF format. A summary report of the status of professional development will be made available in the spring of 2020. For questions, contact Marietta Rives at (515) 281-6038 or marietta.rives@iowa.gov.    

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Work on new CTE standards nearing completion

Career and Technical Education logo

New state standards and benchmarks for five of the six career and technical education (CTE) service areas are nearing completion and will soon be ready for public input.

The standards were developed over the last year by program management teams consisting of secondary and postsecondary educators and administrators, business and industry partners, and staff from the Department and the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. The standards are focused in the areas of agriculture, food and natural resources; business, finance, marketing, and management; health sciences; human services; and information solutions. Work will begin on standards for applied sciences, technology, engineering, and manufacturing later this year.

This work is in response to HF 2392, state legislation signed into law in 2016, which is helping shape the future of CTE in Iowa. The legislation provides the State Board of Education with authority to adopt standards for school districts to incorporate into their CTE programs. The new CTE standards and benchmarks will set clear and consistent foundational expectations for what students need to learn in high-quality CTE programs across the state.

Public input will be sought via an online survey starting in mid-May. A formal announcement will be made once it is available. The feedback from the survey will be used to provide guidance to the program management teams, which are expected to submit final recommendations to the State Board of Education by this fall. If adopted, the CTE standards will be a mandatory requirement for school districts.

For questions or comments, contact Pat Thieben at 515-281-4707 or pat.thieben@iowa.gov.

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New website sets the stage for work-based learning clearinghouse

Students  studying with Iowa Word Based Learning at the bottom of the photo

 A new website has launched that will eventually house a virtual space where business partners can post projects for Iowa K-12 students to gain in-depth work experience, bringing real-world application into the schools.

The Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning site currently includes work-based learning resources, success stories and toolkits for schools and businesses.

The virtual space housing hands-on business projects for K-12 students will go live July 1.

The website’s projects will expand student access to in-depth work experiences and help build interest and awareness of high-demand careers in Iowa.

Work to expand high-quality, real-world experiences for K-12 students is in line with the Future Ready Iowa goal that calls for 70 percent of Iowans to have education or training beyond high school by 2025.

For more information, contact Jake Welchans, project manager, at jake.welchans@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-5494.

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Emergency Operations Planning webinars

Three dimensional word RISK inside a maze

The Iowa Department of Education is offering monthly webinars to establish high-quality emergency operations plans (EOPs) in school districts and individual schools. Participation in the webinars is encouraged to complete high quality emergency operations plans by June 30.

The second to last webinar is scheduled for May 21 at 10 a.m. Join by clicking on the following link. Each webinar is designed to provide step-by-step assistance in developing high quality EOPs. These webinars will be recorded and posted to the Department’s website. The last webinar is on June 11 at 10:00 a.m. to answer questions, review any important reminders, and wrap-up the last details for your EOP.

The legislation requires high quality emergency operations plans for all public and accredited nonpublic schools, both district-wide and individual school buildings. The plans must include (but not limited to) responses to active shooter scenarios and natural disasters. The legislation also requires an annual emergency operations drill based on these plans in each individual building.

For questions about the webinars and requirements, contact Rob Olsen at (515) 281-4743 or rob.olsen@iowa.gov.

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Changes to Student Reporting in Iowa and MTSS collections

Word training written on keyboard key

In an effort to better coordinate data collections and minimize burden on districts, we have partnered with vendor Cedar Labs to manage our Student Reporting in Iowa and MTSS collections, resulting in significant changes in the look and feel of the data collection process for SRI and Certified Enrollment in the fall.

Later in May, an email will go out to all MTSS technical contacts, SRI Contacts, and superintendents (as identified on Spring SRI) with details about training opportunities on this new process. With that, we need all districts (and SRI nonpublics) to have accurate contact information in the Spring SRI application, both for the current spring, and anticipated going into next fall.  

All staff that currently do (or will be doing) SRI data collections (VRF), or will provide data support to Fast Bridge/MTSS collections need to be aware of this training.

For questions, contact an SRI or MTSS consultant.

SRI consultants:

  • Margaret Hanson  (515) 281-3214
  • Rachel Kruse (515) 281-4153
  • Gary Kirchhoff (515) 281-6278

MTSS consultants:

  • Connor Hood: (515) 326-5284
  • Janell Brandhorst: (515) 281-3033

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Spring state student reporting

Road sign that reads Data Entry Straight Ahead

The long winter is over and it is again time for spring state student reporting.

Important dates:

  • April 7 - VRF/SRI test sites opened
  • May 10 - Spring VRF/SRI test sites close
  • May 15 – Spring VRF/SRI and Assessment Accountability production sites open
  • June 20 – Spring SRI 2019 certification deadline (public and SRI nonpublic)
  • June 21 – Spring 2019 Assessment Accountability certification deadline (public districts only)

As a reminder:  Spring Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) is focused primarily on 1) Graduates; 2) Attendance; 3) Non-fall Supplementary Weighting for courses; and 4) Discipline Removals.  Spring SRI data are also used for Participation Rate and Partial Academic Year calculations for Assessment Accountability; and Regular Education Foster Care Claim.

For questions, contact an SRI Consultant.

  • Margaret Hanson  (515) 281-3214
  • Rachel Kruse (515) 281-4153
  • Gary Kirchhoff (515) 281-6278

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Deadlines for targeted and comprehensive building requirements

Deadline now sign

May 15 is the deadline for submission of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements to the district for approval. Each building must complete the following three requirements found in the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA):

  1. SAMI (to be marked as complete before the action planning process)
  2. ESSA Action Plan Questions (must be marked as submitted by 5/15)
  3. ESSA Action Plan Table (must be marked as submitted by 5/15)

June 7 is the deadline for district approval of submitted action plan questions and table submissions for all targeted and comprehensive buildings. Guidance for the district approval process is posted to the CASA webpage.

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Preschool Desk Audit – Session ID Information

preschool children sitting on classroom floor listening to teacher

Current action is required to prepare for the Preschool Desk Audit - Session ID Information submission that will open this fall between August 1 – September 15. To complete this requirement, preschool location information must first be certified in the School Information Update (SIU). Access the SIU, found in the Education Portal under EdInfo, as soon as possible, but no later than June 30, to correct information for the upcoming school year or to certify that the information remains unchanged. Districts must ensure that the PK grade level is included for existing buildings and Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP) partners, and that any new buildings or SWVPP partners are added before June 30. For questions about the SIU, contact Margaret Hanson at (515) 281-3214 or margaret.hanson@iowa.gov.

For questions about the SWVPP, contact Jennifer Adkins at (515) 954-5652 or jennifer.adkins@iowa.gov, or Mary Breyfogle at (515) 326-1030 or mary.breyfogle@iowa.gov.

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MyTeachingStrategies™ GOLD Assessment System checkpoints for 2019-20

Male preschool teacher working at table with three students

The three checkpoint dates for the 2019-20 school year will be November 15, 2019, February 21, 2020, and May 22, 2020. Districts are encouraged to complete the fall and spring checkpoints to represent the beginning and end of the preschool program year. This is represented in Iowa Code § 279.60.  

Districts are encouraged to utilize the three checkpoint periods as best practice in administering the assessment in a valid and reliable manner. Additionally, data from the three checkpoints is best used in both formative and summative means as teachers and administrators are determining appropriate instructional decisions for students.  Decisions to alter the frequency of completing checkpoint reporting will affect the availability of various reports in the MyTeachingStrategies system. Also, the MyTeachingStrategies system may also require additional checkpoints be completed when utilizing the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) reporting function.

For information about GOLD® checkpoints, contact Mary Breyfogle at (515) 326-1030 or  mary.breyfogle@iowa.gov, or Teaching Strategies Tech Support for Iowa (866-246-5352).

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FY21 Shared Visions competitive grant process timeline now available

The timeline for the FY21 Shared Visions competitive grant process is now available:

Shared Visions Application Process

Preschool Critical Dates

Parent Support Critical Dates

Application available

Nov. 15, 2019

Jan. 13, 2020

Recorded webinar available; Review program requirements and application process

Dec. 13, 2019

Feb. 14, 2020

Questions submitted to Amy Stegeman at amy.stegeman@iowa.gov

Jan. 6, 2020

March 9, 2020

Application deadline

Jan. 22, 2020 by 4:30 PM

March 25, 2020 by 4:30 PM

Notification of awards; Contingent upon the 2020 legislative appropriation.   

March 6, 2020

May 8, 2020

Contracts issued/Awards finalized

Within 45 days of final state appropriation

Within 45 days of final state appropriation

Information related to the FY21 competitive grant process may be found on the Shared Visions Preschool Program or the Shared Visions Parent Support Program web page. 

For questions, contact Amy Stegeman at (515) 725-2273 or amy.stegeman@iowa.gov.­­­

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2019 Iowa Farm to School Conference, June 21-22

Iowa Farm to School Conference 2019 logo, graphic of bunch of radishes

Farm to school activities in Iowa are helping put local food on school meal trays, supporting Iowa farmers, and connecting students to local food systems through school gardens and nutrition education activities. Want to learn more about how farm to school works, or ready to take your farm to school activities to the next level? Join us at the 2019 Iowa Farm to School Conference, June 21-22, at Central College in Pella. Workshop tracks, keynotes, field trips and intensive courses will be offered over two days to help you build new skills in local procurement strategy, farm to school curriculum, and community partnerships and collaborations. New this year - two additional tracks will be focused on topics for high school student leaders and early childhood practitioners. Registration is now open! Learn more and register today.

The Iowa Farm to School Conference is held in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. 

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Measles in Iowa update

In light of the two confirmed cases of measles in northwestern Iowa, school leaders may want more information on what they can do to be proactive in their schools to address parent concerns and preventative measures. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) presented a webinar on April 15 for Iowa school nurses that can be viewed here. The Iowa Department of Public Health also has resources and answers to frequently asked questions for schools, colleges and childcare centers regarding measles. For questions related to measles, contact the IDPH Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology at 1-800-362-2736 or locate your nearest field epidemiologist by clicking here to access the map. For additional questions related to vaccination requirements, contact the IDPH Bureau of Immunization at 1-800-831-6293 or email, Don Callaghan, IDPH Bureau Chief at donald.callaghan@idph.iowa.gov. For school nurse or school health related questions, contact Melissa Walker, School Nurse Consultant, at (515) 281-5327 or melissa.walker@iowa.gov

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Iowa Department of Education
400 E 14th Street
Grimes State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Ph: 515-281-5294