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The 2016-17 School Year

Highlight Report

July 18, 2017

Joe Stuttng, Superintendent Reflection

As I reflect back on the 2016-2017 school year, I am proud to say that we had another successful year. Even though we have had our challenges, we have had many more accomplishments of which to be proud.

During my third year as Superintendent, I have continued to be visible in our communities. I organized two meetings with the mayors of all our communities. The first meeting was informational and the second meeting was regarding a potential Y facility. I am on the Community Development Committee for the City of Eldridge. The City of Donahue and the school district worked together to provide public access to the SAFE room at John Glenn Elementary. The City of Eldridge and the school district agreed to share the cost of a new digital sign on the corner of LeClaire Street and 1st Street. Our partnerships with our communities continues to grow.

I continue to be visible in all of our buildings and walk through each one on the average of once a week. I attended most of the construction meetings for the new Lancer Athletic Building (LAB) at the high school and the current high school kitchen remodeling project. Along with Nick Hansel, I am leading the Lancer Legacy Campaign which has currently raised over $400,000.

We had several administrative changes for the 2016-17 school year. Michael Kline transferred to Virgil Grissom Elementary replacing Liz Mashek as Principal and also became our Director of Special Education. Mr. Kline had a great first year in both of these positions and has created a positive environment focused on learning. He has spent a great deal of time learning his role as the Director of Special Education.   Frank Wood filled in as the Neil Armstrong Principal due to the transfer of Curt Rheingans to our building and grounds position. Mr. Wood did a great job at Neil Armstrong keeping a positive climate and the staff and students focused during the second semester. Tim Green was hired to be the Neil Armstrong Elementary principal for the 2017-18 school year. Mr. Green will be a great addition to our school district. Chad Ruth was hired to replace Mr. Kline as the Assistant Principal at Ed White Elementary. Mr. Ruth had a good year as a first time administrator. The district administration, which includes all mid-management and administrative staff,  continues to work on their team and leadership skills. We did two book studies and spent one meeting a month working with our coaches on teacher observations. As a team, we understand the district comes first and then the buildings and departments. We continue to breakdown the silos and build trust amongst each other.

I have been actively promoting the school interests at the State level which included visiting the Iowa State Capitol four times during the session. I also hosted each of our local legislators in the district and attended two luncheons with them. Good working relationships have developed with all our local legislators.

One of the greatest challenges we had this year was negotiating under the new bargaining laws of Iowa. The law change caused stress on my relationship with the unions. The teacher contract and handbook settlement went fairly well under the circumstances, as well as the bus drivers. The mixed staff union negotiations was much more contentious. I will need to work on repairing that relationship during the 2017-18 school year.

The following sections are highlights written from each of our school buildings and departments.

Alan Shepard Elementary Highlights

We started out our school year with six new teachers; in my 14 years at Shepard, we have never had that many new teachers in our building.  The only grade level team that remained intact was our Kindergarten team; all other grade levels had transfers, additions, or changes.  We had a lot of adjustments to make as we started our school year.  We started with 425 students which, ironically, is exactly 100 more students than Alan Shepard had in my first year as principal.

We continued with the strong implementation of Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy.  In our third year, we feel it is nicely embedded into our instruction.  The position of Literacy Coach is truly the best thing that has happened in education in my 30+ years; it’s integral to providing teachers with strong professional development.

Our 6th grade class dealt with the death of Mrs. Wenndt during their 3rd grade year.  Also that year, a student’s father passed away.  This year, another student lost his father and as we know, Francis Nass (a 6th grade student) died shortly after spring break.  It was an extremely difficult situation, but our teachers and our counselor did an amazing job with our students.  I am grateful for the support of the entire district and community.  We held a dedication ceremony for the tree and rock that we placed in front of our school during the month of May.

Alan Shepard continues to do well on our Iowa Assessments and on MAP testing.  However, the work our teachers are doing – in the classroom on a day to day basis – is simply amazing to me.  They are working so hard on writing and I sincerely believe we will continue to see gains in our reading as we implement new (research based) strategies and interventions.

Due to our high, and ever-increasing, numbers in our special education programs, we have added another teacher such that we will have a program for K-1, 2-3, and 4-6 students.  We have new families tell us that they are specifically moving to the North Scott school district so that their children can participate in our specific programs.

    

Neil Armstrong Elementary Highlights

Neil Armstrong highlights were the Battle of the Books, Math Bee, Family Literacy Night, Mock Trial, Lego League and our Eagle Marathon where all students grades 3-6 completed a 1.9 mile course throughout Parkview. We realized an overall increase in our building test scores even with the increase of students and transfers of students - in and out throughout the 16-17 school year.  We also weathered the transitioning of administrators mid-year and the selection process of the new building principal (Tim Green) for the 2017-18 school year. The end of the year R&R was icing on the cake where we recognized students for their academics, fitness and citizenship, as well as, the passing of the torch from interim principal - Frank Wood to new hire - Tim Green

 

John Glenn Elementary Highlights

The staff completed a book study on “A Mindset For Learning,” that helped them move forward with building relationships and understanding for all students.  From this study we introduced Lancer Leaders as a way to recognize students in a positive manner. Student Council set a goal to raise money to build a Gaga Pit.  The pit was built this past spring and is a big hit with students! Our 5th and 6th grade students continued work with the planting the Pollinator’s Garden on the south edge of Donahue. Classroom teachers are making the shift of using the Workshop model into the areas of math, science and social studies.  Staff is also continuing to strengthen our science units created to address the Next Generation Science Standards. We held our first Literacy Night for students and parents in April.  Nearly 30% of our K-3 students took home over 500 books for summer reading (this doesn't include free books that were given away).  Classroom teachers and interventionist spent time visiting each other’s classrooms to watch lesson and do some peer coaching.  Seemed to be a great learning opportunity for both groups! The relationship survey indicates that 98% of our students believe they have an adult that cares about them here at school.

 

Ed White Elementary Highlights

2016-17 was a great year at Ed White Elementary.  We continued our positive school-wide approach to behavior management as students worked to ‘Be a Champ’ all year long.  Students who are CHAMPS Choose to be responsible, Help and respect others, Actively engage in learning, Make safe choices, and Solve problems. When students form positive relationships with teachers, staff, and their peers, they are prepared for the many learning opportunities throughout the school day.

Professional learning for our teachers was focused on differentiation for students achieving at all levels.  We focused on the gradual release of responsibility within the workshop framework and the power in teacher language.  We also read Good to Great: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters by Dr. Mary Howard.  Our focus with the book study was to first identify those instructional practices (across all content areas) that were not making a positive impact on student achievement. By setting clear goals to stop doing those things that did not work for students and identifying and enhancing our practice of those that were highly effective for students, we were able to move from good to great in our teaching and student work.  

We saw great progress on the assessment wall as a result of our professional learning focus. The data we use for the assessment wall is based on the Iowa Core Standards and instructional work in the classrooms. We use the results of common formative assessments and authentic classroom work samples when moving the cards on the assessment wall for each student.  The placement on the wall indicates where the student is along the literacy and math continuum of mastery.  The wall serves as a check point for teachers and the system at Ed White to ensure that the diverse needs of all of our students are being met.  Outside assessments, such as the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) and Iowa Assessments are not used in placing students on the assessment wall continuum; however, both sets of data are analyzed.

 

 

Virgil Grissom Elementary Highlights

This year Virgil Grissom Elementary focused on being GREAT! The year’s highlights included some firsts and some GREAT traditions. One of those Grissom firsts was the whole school book club. Every family in the building was given a copy of, Beezus and Ramona, by Beverly Cleary. Each week an email was sent out with discussion questions for the chapter and/or brief family activities. The capstone of the club was a movie night on March 9. Another new activity to the school was the Guest Reader Week. Every classroom had a guest reader for every day during the week of February 27-March 3. Guests ranged from a school board member to local sports athletes and everything in between. Another highlight was the Grissom Lego League team was the first ever North Scott team to qualify for the state competition.

Finally, as a building our MAP numbers showed greater than expected growth. Of our 78 students that took the MAP in the fall and in the spring, we had an average expected growth of 8.42 points per student per test and our overall average observed growth was 8.97 points. Within this data, there were highlights at certain grade levels. We made sure to celebrate these successes with students and staff. There were also some areas of growth to focus on for the future.  As a building that is constantly striving for growth, we have numerous plans for improvement. We have plans for improving attendance through specific positive incentives. We have plans for connecting with families and the community through additional volunteer opportunities. Finally, we have plans for academic improvements through more interventions. As we look forward to next year, it is about GROWING GREATER DAILY.

 

Junior High Highlights

Professional Development

I am happy to say that our professional development, both embedded and on district professional development days, was productive and well received by our staff members.  All teachers, counselors, and the Dean of Students took part in individual coaching cycles.  Teachers were able to gain skills in areas where they wanted to see increased student success.  

All the 7th-12th instructors took part in learning focused on Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR).  At the Jr. High, our coaches, administrators, and some teachers designed differentiated lessons based on readiness and interest to further the learning of our staff in meaningful ways.   We offered two different book studies and a more traditional class.  The first year goal was for all teachers to have the same knowledge based on the four phases of GRR.  The second year goal will be to implement the strategies learned.

Professional Learning Communities

We continue to make progress with our PLCs.  The English/Language Arts teachers in both 7th and 8th grade have compiled solid curricula.  Social Studies has also built a strong foundation.  However, the State has just released new standards for Social Studies and they will begin that work this year in preparation for the year 2017-18.  Science has also made good adjustments in moving around units based on changes made to the NGSS standards.  The math department made some important decisions which involved eliminating the two year advancement.  Advancement in math will now consist of learning three years of standards (grades 7-9) in a two year period.

Building Goals

Our two most important building goals for the calendar year 2017 is to increase the knowledge base of our staff in the areas of Growth Mindset and Student Ownership.  Although we are just beginning, we are enthusiastic about learning what teachers do to increase or decrease students’ mindsets on learning and their habits.  

Career and Civic Opportunities

Our students benefited from many opportunities to expand their learning this year.  With regards to careers, our students participated in two exceptional events.  The first occurred when we partnered with Dutrac to host a financial literacy fair where students learned about salaries, mortgages, insurance, housing...etc.  In the spring, we hosted our biennial college and career fair.  Our students learn about careers from experts in the field in a variety of career clusters.  In terms of community service, our students were able to help Living Lands and Waters by harvesting trees (8th grade) and wrapping them for delivery (7th grade).

 

High School Highlights

Our vision at the high school is to ensure all students will learn at high levels to be college and career ready through a collaborative culture.

We have been working hard on the following areas connected to our vision:

Work Experience Opportunities with Job Shadows and Internships -

We have been selected as one of seven schools in the State to be able to create an Apprenticeship program.  The program will be connected to our Student Built Home Program.

College Classes

These are classes that can be transferred to other colleges as well as classes that give a good start to certification programs.

Access and Project Search

These are for special needs students to help with the transition out of high school. North Scott will have nine students in Access and three in Project Search for the upcoming school year.  These twelve students have met graduation requirements.  However, the IEP team has determined that they need more support with transition for post high school success.  These two programs provide that transition.  This is the best for the students, and will drop graduation rate by 5-6%

Working through Professional Learning Communities

We are working on this to build a guaranteed and viable curriculum in a system that works towards continual improvement.  We have teachers working with administration, teacher leaders and other teachers to improve their practice.  Continuing to use student input from surveys to build stronger relationships as well as more engaging instructional practices.

Professional Development

The focus has been on Gradual Release of Responsibility and Professional Learning Community work.

SMART Goal #1 (Knowledge)

By December of 2017 all teachers will deepen their knowledge of the Gradual Release of Responsibility Framework as measured by the coach-developed Gradual Release Assessment.

SMART Goal #2 (Application)

By December of 2018 all teachers will improve implementation of intentional teaching within the Gradual Release of Responsibility Framework as measured by Fisher and Frey’s Gradual Release of Responsibility Quality Indicators rubric.

Leading Goal for Next Year

Applying GRR, peer coaching, what would this look like (visiting other classrooms and/or video reflection).  We want it to be business as usually to have other educators visiting our classrooms.

 

High School Activities Highlights

Thespian Festival Participation

State Team Qualifiers

Girls Basketball (State Champions), Wrestling (5th Place), Silver Shakers State Champions in Pom, Jazz and Lyrical routines, Cheerleading State Champions. (1st ever State Title)

MAC Championships

Wrestling (Team), Girls Soccer,  Football (District Champs)

Individual MAC Champions

Erica Loussaert (HJ, 100 Hurdles), Kayla Slowick (Discus). Jacob Shipper (Wrestling),  Caleb McCabe (Wrestling),  Collin Lewis (Wrestling),  Wyatt Wriedt (Wrestling)

State Individual Qualifiers in the Following Sports: (30 total events/entries)

Cross Country, Wrestling (Wyatt Wreidt State Champion),  Track, Girls Swimming, Boys Tennis

Conference Host

Boys Tennis

Hosted Regional/District Events in the following:

Football, Basketball, Wrestling, Track, Tennis (Class 1A and Class 2A), Soccer, Baseball, and Softball)

All State Athletes in the following Sports

Football, Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball

2 Quad City Times Athlete-of-the-Year Recipients

Wyatt Wriedt (QC Athlete-of-the-Year),  Karli Rucker

National Honor Society has new inductions for the 2017 school year.

Band Trip to Walt Disney World

Performed at Disney Springs.

State Participants and All Staters in the following Activities or Co-Curricular

Choir (All Staters), Jazz Band (All Staters), Orchestra, Band (All Staters), Speech (All Staters),  FFA,  Mock Trial (Heidi Redmond State Coach of the Year), Special Olympics, Lancer Productions, Robotics Club,  FCCLA,  History Day,  History Day National Qualifiers (Traveled to University of Maryland in June)

 

Transportation Department Highlights

The Transportation Department experienced a few rough times during the 2016-17 school year.  We lost four drivers before the end of the 1st semester and didn’t have any drivers to replace them.  Additional drivers were eventually trained and hired, but until then the staff did a great job of helping and getting the students to school.  I was able to eliminate two routes this year which helped with the staffing shortage.  The weather again this year was good.  We had a few colder days, but no snow days were needed. Our department had about 775 field/athletic trips so it was another busy year.  Our propane buses are doing well and we have three more being delivered in July. We traveled to Ames with a propane bus and had a AgVantage customer in that area come and fuel our bus.  It worked very well.  Our department had our usual fun times for the year -- our beginning of the school year potluck/meeting, Homecoming Parade Float, Angel Tree/Senior Basket Day, and our Food Pantry Drive.  I appreciate the great group of people that work in the Transportation Department.  It was a very challenging year, but we worked together and got things taken care of.

 

Food Service Department Highlights

Total Student Meals Served 2016-17 = 403,252

Total Adult Meals Served 2016-17 = 16,614 (Increase 30% from 2015-16)

Received $1,700 from The American Dairy Association for a new breakfast smoothie blender at the Junior High, and implemented smoothies for breakfast and lunch.   

Received additional USDA commodity funding for 2016-17 totaling $205,841.00 (Allowable funds $110,000.00 - Received an additional $95,841.00).

Successfully closed the high school kitchen as of May 15, 2017 in preparation for the kitchen remodeling project.

 

Technology Department Highlights

It was another busy year for the Technology Department.  Key areas (but not limited to) were:

The expansion of the Wireless coverage in all of the buildings

Updated all primary network servers in the school buildings.

Replaced the Unitrends Systems Backup Solution.

Redesigned and implemented a new security camera system in the High School.

Installed, configured, and maintained the new district Internet Firewall and URL Filter.

Continued monitoring and support of our district network

Continued monitoring and support of our many enterprise systems such as Power School, Destiny (Library System), Transfinder (Bus System), and many more too numerous to list

Supported the High School Tech Team and the Junior High with the 1:1 initiative

Managed and supported 4610 Google Accounts

Managed and supported over 4000+ devices used by both staff and students

Support all of our staff and students in the use of their devices

Awarded the Platinum Award for State Reporting in October.

Finally, we as a department continue to work with the staff and administration to continually look for new and innovative technology to enhance the education experience here at North Scott.

 

Administration Office Highlights

FY17 year-end financial information is not currently available as we are in the process of wrapping up the fiscal year, but every effort is made to spend funds in the year they were budgeted for and without large increases or decreases in any given year to the General Fund Unspent Balance.

Certified enrollment decreased from 3078.20 (October 2015) to 3062.05 (October 2016) or approximately 0.5%.  Supplemental state aid was set at 2.25% for FY17 and 1.11% for FY18.  Due to these factors, the board passed a 1% budget guarantee for next year.

Health insurance costs continue to go up.  The most recent renewal came in at over a 12% increase.  A committee has been established to study the continued increases in health care and, hopefully, find ways to mitigate these rising costs.

The 2017 Legislative Session was historic with extensive changes to Iowa’s collective bargaining laws.   

During the bargaining process for the current year, raises were maintained at an affordable level and plan design changes were made to keep monthly contributions at the same level as in prior years, with a $10 contribution for single plans.  During the bargaining process for next year’s wages, the district had to look closely at ways to afford raises for staff.  It was also agreed that employee health insurance contributions will increase next school year.

All bond projects that were in progress last year, and including the fitness center, have been finalized.  All bond proceeds from the 2013 and 2014 issues have been spent.  Now the district is working on spending funds on hand through additional projects.

The Administration Office is in the process of implementing an electronic time clock with its use currently being rolled out to staff.  It will slowly be rolled out to all employee types.

During the 2016-17 school year, the business office received the following recognition's:

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA)

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO)

 

Curriculum and Instruction Highlights

Teacher Leadership

This was the second year the district was involved with the Teacher Leadership Compensation (TLC) funding from the state.

Second year positions: 7-12 TLC Coordinator, 10 Instructional Coaches, 37 classroom teacher leaders/content leaders, 40 trained mentors – 18 currently mentoring 1st or 2nd year teacher.

Training: Elementary Coaches – On-going professional development with national PCL network: 7-12 TLC Coordinator and Secondary Instructional coaches – New Teacher Center – Year 2; Content Leaders – 7-12 TLC Coordinator or elementary instructional coaches; Mentors – district professional learning sessions

Curriculum Development

Curriculum Writing – the district has provided summer writing time for the on-going development and refinement of core curricular units. Over 100 teachers are writing in June with the support of instructional coaches. Elementary interventionists, FACs teachers, and teacher librarians are also working on curriculum development in order to expand beyond core subject areas.

Curriculum Cabinet

The change in the Curriculum Cabinet membership and format from last year to include all administrators and the 7-12 TLC Coordinator was continued this year. Meetings we held in buildings allowing for educational walkthroughs to become a routine part of the meeting agenda. A survey was given to determine if this should be continued in 2017-18. Results showed we will continue for a third year.

Inservice Days

Elementary district PD: The coaching team coordinated many of the professional learning opportunities for elementary teachers. Whole group presentations were held for common learning on Gradual Release of Responsibility. Differentiated professional learning sessions were offered around the topics of Reading and Writing. Grade level meetings were held and further supported by optional monthly Zoom meetings. Book studies were completed by elementary teachers in the fall using books they selected from a menu of options.

Secondary district PD: The focus of professional learning was Professional Learning Communities and the Gradual Release of Responsibility, much coordinated and presented by the secondary coaching team. Administrators and coaches worked collaboratively to build a purposeful agenda for inservices. Differentiation occurred when multiple sessions were planned using knowledge levels of GRR after a teacher survey.

Professional development in the district is shifting to being more teacher driven than administrator driven. It is becoming more responsive to teacher needs and providing opportunities to learn and apply that learning immediately in their classrooms.

Buildings continue to have time on Inservice days to have their own targeted PD

Special area teachers completed book studies and began working on their standards to develop a more aligned curriculum.

Professional Learning

I have had the opportunity to continue my professional learning and readings throughout the year. Some activities and books include:

On-going professional development sessions with a national PCL network.

Fierce Conversations at the Grant Wood AEA as part of my administration renewal process.

SAI Conference in August, 2016

Year 2 of New Teacher Center with secondary instructional coaches

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek; Better Learning Through Structured Teaching by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey; Building Teachers’ Capacity for Success by Pet Hall and Alisa Simeral; Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst; Who’s Doing the Work? How to Say Less so Readers Can Do More by Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris

 

Maintenance Department Highlights

This has been another busy year.  We have been able to start and finish a lot of building projects this year with the largest being the completion of the Fitness Building and the starting of the high school kitchen remodel.  Along with these two, we have already started the planning on hopefully next year’s update to the high school auditorium.

In addition, we are still working on the medium and small projects throughout the district.  Some of these projects include the Junior High new gym is being painted and the wood floors are being resurfaced, the High School auxiliary gym and band area rooms are also having the wood floors resurfaced, and each of the the five elementary buildings are  having a set of bathrooms updated.

District-wide projects this year will include beginning the process of replacing and updating the HVAC systems and controls in the district.  We plan to replace 12 heating and A/C units, along with starting to update the digital computer system that controls and monitors the buildings.  Some of the systems are 20+ years old and we have managed to get extra years out of them, but now it’s time.

We were able to keep up on facility maintenance this year, but will need to put more focus on custodial training and cleaning next year.  We did see a drop in the cleanliness in some of the buildings, but with additional in-services and an emphasis on cleaning, we should be able to get this back up to an acceptable level.

All in all, this was a good year for us and next year is off to a good start.

 

Grounds Department Highlights

 

The Grounds Department has had a normal busy year. We had all of our normal duties of mowing, trimming, cleaning up litter, winter plowing, spring clean-up, district moving responsibilities, commodity truck, athletic event field set-up, irrigation repairs, herbicide and fertilizer application and cultural practices for the safety of our students and student athletes.  We had projects to get done also.  

Late summer we created a parking area of nine spaces at the east entrance of Alan Shepard Elementary for faculty and parents.  We started with creating a practice space for the football program because of the new fitness center facility site.  These areas of expansion were Ed White’s soccer area, baseball outfield, and the competition soccer field.  We may need to look at this for the upcoming fall due to late spring overseeding and irrigation replacement.  

It was another mild winter which allowed us to install goal backstops at the soccer complex to help prevent chasing balls into the surrounding fields.  We did maintenance to all of our equipment, the athletics utility vehicles, and the baseball/softball maintenance equipment.  We helped the transportation department start buses early on the extreme cold days.  Spring time brought extremely wet weather which made it hard to keep up with the mowing rotation and other grounds responsibilities. We added a second pitching bullpen at the softball field per request of Coach Raines.  Also at the softball field, we took down the chain link fence material at the batting cages and replaced it with netted batting tunnels which seems to be safer for the players.  Re-striping of the running track at the stadium was done.  It made the track look brand new.

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