Tuesday, April 20, 2021

From Snow to Sunshine!

Yesterday's mini snowstorm was not what I had in mind for a day in mid-April!  It caused me to become quite concerned about my strawberry patch in my garden box. I took Mr. Burdorf's advice, though, and decided to choose my mindset. I even tried to convince myself and others at the supper table that I had the "joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart"... for some reason, no one seemed to appreciate my singing, so I will spare you the experience.   

This weekend, I attended the Disney musical, "Freaky Friday," at the high school.  Wow, what a fantastic performance by our students.  The theme song, "I Got This!" was quite relatable to anyone who has ever parented or worked with a teenager.  It was a fun experience; I applaud our students and staff for their efforts!

It is April, and that means, as a staff, we are working on wrapping up the end of the year, and we are also quite vested in planning for next school year.  It has been a bit of a different year, and it would be dishonest to say COVID has not been a concern.  However, when I think about the frustrations and challenges that have been present,  I remind myself we have made some accomplishments that have left me "Walking on Sunshine."  I started making a list today that is not quite complete, but I thought you might like to read it.

A large team of staff worked diligently on a COVID mitigation plan and a remote learning option for students. School reopened on August 26th and has remained in session all year. Remote learning has been available by parent choice and for students who were quarantined.

COVID data was reported on the District website to be transparent about the extent of what was happening in our schools.

Staff and students learned new technology skills that have allowed remote learners and face-to-face students to experience success. Something tells me that the skills they are learning will be quite relevant for years to come.

An increased focus on reading intervention has led to improvement and a solid increase in testing results for elementary students.

The leadership team was restructured, and Mrs. Allensworth (High School Principal) and Mr. Newberg (Assistant JK-8 Principal) joined the Shenandoah CSD leadership team.  While the administrators have been working in different roles this year, a strong team has emerged and is focused on creating a strong school culture and climate in our learning community.

Mrs. Andrew has diligently worked to create an alternative program for at-risk students at the middle school. The program has been very well done, and the students have grown tremendously. 

The Iowa Department of Education approved opening the Ignite Online & Personalized Learning program to serve students this fall.  The program will allow students to participate in online instruction full-time, to have a flexible hybrid schedule to meet their learning needs, or to attend classes face-to-face and along with a few online course options.  

I am also doing a bit of a happy dance because we have been able to hire new staff members for next year who will add a lot of value to our team.  Allow me to introduce a few of them here. We are very pleased to have them join our staff. There will be more to add; we are just waiting on pictures! 

Jenna Decker
 5th Grade Teacher

Dan Autry
Business & Technology Teacher and BPA Sponsor
Denise Green,
Secondary Remote Learning Coordinator

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