October 2019 School Leader Update

school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

October 2019

Think CTE is just technical training? Think again

director ryan wise

A highlight of my weekly school visits is a trip to career and technical education (CTE) classrooms. Without fail, I see students engaged in their learning and teachers committed to preparing them for postsecondary success. The combination of technical, academic and employability skills in hands-on environments provides deeper learning, which in turn makes learning relevant for students. And we know that when coursework is relevant, students thrive.

High-quality CTE programs are preparing students for a wide range of careers in high-demand fields, including agriculture, business, computer science, advanced manufacturing, engineering, health care, and human services. More students now have choices with clear pathways aligned to regional workforce needs and college opportunities.

Legal Lessons

attorney nicole proesch

Fall is back and we are ready for the change in seasons. Time to break out sweaters and sweatshirts and to enjoy fall football and pumpkin spice lattes.

In this October edition of SLU I bring to you A Student Who is Almost 21, School Compliance with Physicians Orders for Scope of Treatment, The Skinny on Laptops, Chromebooks, and Other Technology Fees, and Athletic Reminders.

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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Are your teachers looking for real-world experiences for their classrooms?

Clearinghouse for Work-based learning, Future Ready Iowa, photo of student and teacher working at a desk

Are your teachers looking for real-world, hands-on experiences to make their classrooms even more relevant? You’ll want to check out the
Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning, where you can connect teachers with a business project.

This isn’t pointless busy work, but real projects requiring real outcomes.

There’s a whole range of projects on the clearinghouse that could readily match up to content being taught in the classroom – anything from math to social studies to science – and more. For instance, one non-profit organization is seeking students to interview people for an oral history project. Some chambers of commerce want students to help market their towns.

Though most projects are for older students, there are some that seek out grade schoolers, too. Many projects will be done online.

The projects are designed to give students a deeper-level of learning, making classroom content come alive. It also enables students to test-drive various careers and college paths.

Projects change regularly so teachers will want to come back to the website on an ongoing basis to see new projects being offered. Download a clearinghouse poster and share!

For more information, contact Jake Welchans at jake.welchans@iowa.gov.

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Iowa Learning Online fall and spring enrollment open now

Iowa Learning Online logo

Iowa Learning Online (ILO), the Iowa Department of Education’s initiative to expand high-quality online learning opportunities, will be available through the 2019-20 school year. After that, districts will either need to create their own online classes or work with a
third-party vendor. ILO will no longer directly provide courses after the 2019-20 school year because there is no long-term, sustainable funding source available for operating the program.

Enrollment for fall and spring ILO courses is under way now. Also, ILO staff will be happy to work with your district regarding options for your transition to the use of Department of Education-approved private providers of online courses or to your own
district-developed online courses.

Thank you for allowing ILO to serve you and your students. For questions or concerns, contact Gwen Wallace Nagel at
(515) 419-3275 or gwen.nagel@iowa.gov.

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Updated Seal of Biliteracy guidance now available

Graphic of Seal of Biliteracy 2020

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award to recognize students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages. Updated Seal of Biliteracy Guidance is now available for districts who wish to participate in the Seal of Biliteracy. For questions, contact Stefanie Wager at (515)  725-7842 or stefanie.wager@iowa.gov.

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Social Studies standards overview for administrators

Education administrators meeting

Iowa’s social studies standards are required to be fully implemented by the start of the 2020-21 school year. Administrators can check out this two-page overview to get a snapshot of the standards and find resources to help implement the standards. For questions, contact Stefanie Wager at (515) 725-7842 or stefanie.wager@iowa.gov.

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Opportunity Myth -- Do you know the impact on students?

Elementary students at desks raising hands.

Adults have always told students that doing well in school will prepare them for their futures. But too many students who earn As and Bs still graduate from high school unprepared for the lives they want to lead—not because they can't master challenging material, but because they're rarely given a real chance to try.

This fall, the statewide mathematics leadership is learning about the impact of the new report, The Opportunity Myth. Researchers followed nearly 4,000 students in five diverse school systems to learn what they experience in school every day—and how schools can create experiences that will help more students reach their goals.

These resources can be used to learn more.

  1. The Opportunity Myth
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Full 68 page report
  4. Interactive Website

Additional resources are also found in the Q & A Iowa Mathematics Blog. For questions, contact April Pforts at (515) 314-6243 or april.pforts@iowa.gov.  

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Fall Student Reporting in Iowa and Certified Enrollment

Deadline graphic with stopwatch

Thank you to all the participants of the recent trainings on the new data collection system for Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) and Certified Enrollment.  As those who attended can attest, it will be a challenging and exciting October! Some items to remember:

  • Count day this year for Certified Enrollment is Tuesday, Oct. 1. Only students being served on that day are eligible for funding – students expected to move into your district and students that may come back any day are not eligible to be part of your count.
  • Per Iowa Code (257.6), the certification deadline for Certified Enrollment (public and nonpublic) is Oct. 15. Be advised, there will be no SRI consultants available to assist districts on Saturday or Sunday of that weekend. 
  • Districts are encouraged to wait until the November Board meeting to share any counts from Certified Enrollment with their school board or the public. Due to the new collection process, this is even more important this fall.
  • Make sure that your contact information is up-to-date on the Fall SRI application. This is the source for all emails, announcements and notifications.
  • If districts have a superintendent or business manager that are brand new to the Certified Enrollment process, contact Margaret Hanson at (515) 281-3214 or hanson@iowa.gov, or Rachel Kruse at (515) 281-4153 or rachel.kruse@iowa.gov.

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Ready to learn: Success with School Breakfast

Photo of grab n' go breakfast display at Hoover High School in Des Moines.

Only 19.7 percent of Iowa students participate in the School Breakfast Program, though the direct impact of breakfast on academic performance is well documented. Late busses, busy morning schedules, lack of awareness and stigma are some reasons that students go without eating.

Hungry students are distracted by the discomfort of growling stomachs, headaches, drowsiness, inability to concentrate, and overall restlessness. When kids have needed nutrition, academic outcomes improve, absenteeism and behavioral referrals decrease.

Here’s what school administrators can do to support the School Breakfast Program:

  • Team up with Food Service: understand participation trends and challenges, ensure students have ample time for breakfast at school, explore creative delivery models (i.e. grab n’ go, breakfast in the classroom, 2nd chance), and assess staffing needs. 

  • Teacher Support and Parent Communication: Share information with teachers about the link between breakfast and academic success. Encourage them to reinforce this message with students and families by promoting serving times;menu options; and paid, free and reduce  income eligibility meal benefits for lunch being the same for school breakfast. 

  • Be a School Breakfast Leader: Talk with other school administrators about school breakfast challenges and solutions. 

Share a summary of what has worked to increase school breakfast participation in your school with Carrie Scheidel at (515) 281-4758 or carrie.scheidel@iowa.gov and be showcased as a best practice.

To learn more, join a webinar on Strategies to Increase School Breakfast Participation on Oct. 28, from 2-3 p.m.

(Photo at top right features a Grab n' Go breakfast food cart at Hoover High School in Des Moines)

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