In response to the direction of the state legislative agenda in the past few years, a group of parents in central Iowa created Iowans for Public Education. Their mission is below:
Iowans for Public Education is a grassroots movement to protect Iowa’s tradition of quality public schools. We plan to achieve this by—
• Defending against legislation that poses a threat to public education in Iowa
• Educating Iowans and their political leaders about issues affecting public education
• Providing tools, resources, and support for community action on these issues
Defending and supporting public education is a nonpartisan mission, as a strong public school system benefits us all. We welcome people from across the political spectrum who value Iowa’s rich tradition of high quality public schools, and we will embrace political leaders from any party who support our mission.
To join the closed discussion group, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/360981620961306/.
In subsequent weeks, I will be discussing the upcoming legislative session that may have major impacts for public education. I suggest checking out their facebook page and starting a Clinton County chapter. I have spoken to this organization and they realize we need strong advocates for public education in all 99 counties and 333 public school districts across the state.
When I taught at Clinton High School in the past, I always told my students they needed to do two things to be successful in my classroom: attend regularly and always try their best. I would then ask them who controlled their attendance record and who controlled their best effort —and the answer was that they did! I wanted students to know they were in total control of their success.
I also believe attendance and work ethic are critical skills in the workplace. In conversations with employers, I have been told a primary reason for an employee to lose a job is poor attendance. Attendance in the workplace is important. For students, school is their workplace. I believe attendance is a habit or skill that is learned. Therefore, it is really important that parents, teachers, and administrators work together so student attendance becomes a high priority. The reality is that a student with poor attendance habits becomes an unemployable adult if he or she keeps those same habits.
Instilling a work ethic in our children is another important workplace skill, especially when learning becomes difficult. I believe it is important to teach and expect grit in our students. Grit is perseverance. Grit is not quitting. Grit is character.
Today’s workforce demands more than the traditional 3 R’s, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Parents and school personnel need to work together to develop the employment skills of attendance and work ethic in our current students to assure their future success in the workplace.
As we begin the school year, I’d like to share some of my core educational beliefs with you. I introduced these values during the opening day session with all the staff.
I have one expectation for students–RESPECT. This is an acronym for the following:
Responsibility: for personal actions and proper language
Effort: give 100% and show grit when challenged
Sportsmanship: represent you team and school in a positive light
Pride: proud of the traditions of the school district
Excellence: strive and push yourself in all facets of school
Courtesy: address adults with Mr., Mrs., Miss, Coach, etc
Teamwork: collaborate with others to be successful
My one expectation of school personnel is PROFESSIONALISM. My definition of professionalism is to model RESPECT for our students. I believe if the staff is professional in developing healthy respectful relationships with students, we will have a very successful school year.
Teaching core values is a partnership between school and parents. Reinforcing the lessons of RESPECT at home will be very beneficial as we shape our future generation. Working TOGETHER we can make a difference everyday!
As the calendar flips to the month of August, most of our mindsets are strongly shifting to the start of school. And given this timeline, I’d like to share some of my educational core values that I use to make decisions.
One of my major criteria to make a decision is based on “what is best for kids”. One example is the decisions based on parent requests for a particular elementary school. Given four elementary buildings, there are some differences in class sizes. My goal is to keep class sizes as low and even across the district as possible. Therefore as the district considers a parent request, class sizes will be primary factor considered. I believe that if class size is 5,6, or even 7 students higher in one building as compared to another in the district, it affects the success of each student and the teacher. Keeping class sizes as low as possible is “what is best for all kids”. Therefore if a parent request helps lower class size across the buildings, it will be honored. If a parent request happens to increase class size compared to other classrooms in the district, we will notify you that we will not be able to grant the request. The lowest class size that the district can offer given the financial constraints set by the state is what is best for kids.
This is only one example. As we make decisions about resources, textbooks, staffing, procedures, policy, and other educational options, the criteria of what is best for kids should always outweigh the wants of adults. As a school district working directly with you, we need to keep these priorities straight.
By working together and keeping in mind what is best for kids, we will be off to a great start to the school year!