Weather Make-up Days

Last night, the Clinton School Board voted to use Monday, April 22 as a weather make-up day.  The teacher compensation day for parent-teacher conferences this spring will be moved to the end of the school year.

Several parents and teachers have contacted me about the district plan for making up the school days.  As I told the School Board last night, I do not want to put forth a plan when none of us know how many more days we may miss. The administration along with the leadership of the Clinton Education Association have been looking at options to minimize the impact of the calendar.  We have decided that extending a school day or utilizing spring break days for make-up are not viable options for our situation.  Hopefully in a few weeks we will get past this weather and be able to finalize the calendar for the rest of the year.

Although the plan is not finalized, we are targeting that Friday, June 7, will be the last day of school for students.  The district’s calendar will be adjusted once we get through this weather to meet this date.

Clinton Community Schools is committed to doing what is best of students in terms of safety and educational programming.  Thank you for your support.

 

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CREATING A BEST PRACTICE HIGH SCHOOL ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM

The Clinton and Camanche Community School Districts are creating a joint high school alternative program for the 2019-2020 school year.  Clinton has offered an off-site alternative program in the past.  As we plan for this program, we want to keep the best aspects of Lincoln,  combine them with best practices in current alternative education, and provide the services needed for students to be successful.

Some of the elements that the new alternative program will provide include the following:

  • Implementation of best educational practices.  The teaching staff will be experiencing blended learning (a balance of on-line and traditional classroom delivery), project-based learning, service-based projects, and work experience opportunities.
  • Additional school supports through state operational sharing.  By Clinton and Camanche school districts agreeing to share this program, we qualify for additional state funding for a social worker and guidance counselor.
  • Inclusion of community agencies.  We have had community agencies in the discussions about their roles in this program.  The hope is to have our local community agencies on site to provide mental health, substance abuse, and other services to our students.
  • Bringing back the successful aspects of Lincoln.  Some students thrive better in a smaller setting.  Other students need an innovative, out-of-the-box approach to education to be successful.  Some students need a real life work experience as part of their high school experience.  Some students need a support system that the “family” program of Lincoln provided.

There is a lot of planning to be done between now and August.  We are excited to work with Camanche in providing better service to our students.

 

Embedded Proactive Mental Health Services in Clinton Schools

The Clinton Community School District is excited to announce a tentative agreement with Life Connections to provide embedded mental health services in every building for the 2019-2020 school year.  We have been experiencing the challenges and needs of students and families and are implementing a more proactive approach in our student services.

Some of the services that Life Connections will provide include the following:

  • Professional training and development on mental health approaches with school staff.  Among the topics that will be covered are mental health first aid, de-escalation, family systems intervention, resilience and trauma care, and bridges out of poverty training.
  • Coaching and mentoring for teaching staff regarding children with mental health concerns.
  • Parent engagement meetings once every nine weeks
  • Aid in de-escalation of situations in classroom settings
  • Integration with the educational and support teams within the school building.
  • Self-care sessions and facilitation of appropriate boundaries training for staff.
  • Group therapy sessions on social skills and mental health management.
  • Management of scheduling and coordination of additional mental health services within the building.

We believe this is the first school district in Clinton County that will provide these student services within the school buildings on a daily basis.  We believe proactive mental health services will put our students and staff in a better position to be successful.

EXTENDING SERVICES TO STUDENTS

The Clinton Community School District is currently having discussions about extending services to students and families.  Among the items that the district is currently considering are the following:

  • Expanding childcare options for parents at the elementary schools.  Given the shortage of childcare options in Clinton County, should the school district offer an option where childcare is made available to families at the school site that their students attend?
  • Offering a Jumpstart program at the elementary schools.  The research is clear that students can drop from 20 to 30% in their academic achievement scores.  These percentages are even higher in low social-economic groups.  A Jumpstart program usually runs 2-3 weeks, from late July to early August, to give students a “jump start” for the upcoming school year and close the summer learning gap.
  • Offering summer school to the middle school and high school.  The middle school summer school program would focus on skill development such as organization, collaborative learning roles, and critical learning strategies.  The high school would focus on credit recovery opportunities.
  • Expanding the alternative school environment.  The Lincoln alternative program served the students of Clinton for many years.  Now the Clinton and Camanche Community School Districts are looking to create the next generation of alternative programming with curriculum that is project-based, blended, and community-based.

I believe any and/or all of these ideas have the potential of being a benefit to our students.  I welcome the discussions as we look to improve the learning opportunities for our students.

 

 

KINDERGARTEN ROUND-UP

The Clinton Community School District will be offering three opportunities for parents and students that will be enrolled in either transitional or regular kindergarten classes on Tuesday, January 22.  The three time opportunities are from 10:00-11:30, 1:00-2:30, and 4:00-5:30.  All sessions will cover the same content, so please select one that best meets our family schedule.

Kindergarten round-up is a great opportunity to get information and have your child experience next year’s teachers and classrooms.  Current preschool teachers will work with the kindergarten teachers that day with students while parents will receive information about transitional kindergarten, registration requirements, introduction of the school personnel, and an opportunity to ask questions.

If you have any questions about Kindergarten round-up, please contact the principal of the elementary school you are anticipating your child will attend next year.  Here are the elementary schools in the Clinton district, principals, and phone numbers:

Bluff Elementary School       Mrs. Kristi Cooley     242-1606

Eagle Heights Elementary    Mr. Rhett Weis           243-4288

Jefferson Elementary            Mrs. Theresa Shultz   243-0479

Whittier Elementary              Mr. Brian Kenney      243-3230

Reminder, there will be no school for current kindergarten or transitional kindergarten on January 22.

CHANGES IN THE HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULE FOR 2019-2020

Clinton High School is planning to change from the current trimester schedule to a semester schedule for the 2019-2020 school year.  There are many reasons for this change—all for the benefit of students.

  • Philosophically the argument for a trimester schedule is 2 trimesters equals 2 semesters, thus creating opportunity for students to take more courses.  However, over the last fifteen years, Clinton High School has discovered that this is not the case. We have had to change some core classes to three trimesters in order to cover the content.  This adjustment shows 180 days of instruction at 50 minutes each year is more academically rigorous than 120 days of instruction at 70 minutes.
  • Students will have more choices every day.  Clinton High School is looking at a seven period day for next year, along with an early bird period.  This is two more class opportunities everyday which will actually allow more opportunities for elective classes and more choices.
  • Plans are in the works for a future Career and Technical Center for Clinton County, which will serve high school students in five Clinton County School Districts and Eastern Iowa Community College.  This regional career center will offer capstone, high quality programming in advanced manufacturing, welding, auto/diesel, culinary, agriculture, health services, etc.  This will require coordinating schedules and calendars between the school districts and Clinton Community College.  DeWitt, Camanche, Northeast, and Cal –Wheat, as well as Clinton Community College, currently use a semester system.
  • Alignment with Clinton Community College’s semester schedule will also provide more opportunities for concurrent courses, in which Clinton High School students can earn both high school and college credit for the same course.

There is still a lot of planning to be done in terms of curriculum, schedule, graduation requirements, and professional development before next fall.  We will continue to keep you informed through this blog and the high school newsletter.

UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Now that we are about one-half of the way through the school year, I’d like to get you an update on the international student experience at Clinton High School:

  • Fourteen students took classes during the first trimester.  Two more international students will begin classes the first day of second trimester, November 27.
  • CIEG is allowing the Clinton Iowa Big program to be hosted at the Durgin Center on the New Six Arts International Education Park.  The Iowa Big programs across the state have a premise on being hosted off campus and the Durgin Center will serve as home base as our students.
  • We are still waiting for our I-17 SEVIS application to be amended to include the New Six Arts International Educational Park as an instructional site for Clinton High School.  CIEG has agreed for the school district to offer classes in the state of the art facilities that were renovated by Ashford University.  However, we cannot educate international students in Clinton High School classes other than the 817 8th Avenue address until SEVIS approves amending our application to include the second address.  This amendment was sent in June.
  • The Pangaea International Academy received its Iowa Department of Education accreditation in November.  The next step for Pangaea is to submit its own SEVIS I-17 application.  The motivation for Pangaea to issue I-20 to international students is that federal law allows private schools to offer up to four years while public schools are limited to one year.  Nearly all of our international students are freshmen or sophomores and would like to complete their high school educations through Clinton High School.

Lastly, the international students have blended into our Clinton High School population very well.  I believe as time progresses, the international students will begin to participate more in the extracurricular activities that Clinton High School offers.