Grundy Center Community Schools

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Welcome back!

It’s going to be a fantastic year! I can already feel it in the air as teachers spend later days of their summer preparing their classrooms and curriculum for their students.

This is the beginning of my fourth year as Grundy Center Elementary principal. It is hard to believe four years have passed so quickly, but I am proud of the work staff have put into the past three years to make our school great! We are fortunate to have highly qualified staff and resources to support them. This summer, several staff have taken coursework including: Get Moving, Get learning: Tips and Techniques for Action-Based Learning; ACES: The adverse childhood experiences; The Global Leadership Summit; FOSS science kit implementation; Maker Meet Up (Makerspaces); The Magic of Motivation; Learning in a 1 to 1 Environment; and the AEA Summer Literacy Conference!

A few new staff members join us this year as well. Ms. Ally Jansen joined our kindergarten team, Pam Mauer joined the custodial staff, and Cheryl Stockdale joined the cooks.

Literacy initiatives are continually a focus at the elementary school. Celebrating reading is our culture. It’s the way we approach the many literature based activities we provide for our students. This year, we will continue many of the exciting activities which help our students engage in and grow their love of reading. Our most celebrated activity is

Read to Lead

CALDECOTT honor award winning author, Lauren Castillo, who will be visiting us from Pennsylvania in October! This will mark the first time we will be hosting an author who
has been honored by the Caldecott committee.

We are also continuing our One Community, One Book initiative. The book chosen for the 2018-2019 school year is Misunderstood Shark by Ame Dyckman and Scott Magoon. This initiative is a great opportunity to build community through literacy and promote reading and book discussions with a common book everyone can enjoy! Trust me, you will enjoy this book! Flyers for this initiative are currently circulating around town. If you would like to download the flyer, please go to my blog at mrbsammons.weebly.com

Another highlight for students this year will be the Mock Caldecott activity. Students LOVE to read and study some of the best books of the year and choose their own Caldecott winner!

We will, once again, be collaborating with Broadway actor, Hayley Podschun to learn about the fine arts and New York City. Hayley has plans to visit our school this fall as long as her work schedule allows. Hayley’s visit will be made possible with a grant from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

As with every new school year, a few new changes have been made you need to know. First, we are moving our elementary specials schedule to a 6-day

cycle instead of a Monday through Friday cycle. This was a necessary change in order to better utilize our art
teacher, who is shared
50% of the time with

Gladbrook-Reinbeck as well as equalizing the amount of minutes per specials class, avoiding an empty Wednesday afternoon of specials due

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to an early out every other Wednesday,
aligning our days with the m.s./h.s. for our
shared district librarian, and keeping two
professional learning community sessions per
grade per cycle and not having them scheduled
at the end of the day where they could be lost due to an early school closing or a scheduled special activity. Another benefit occurs when there is no school. Instead of students missing out on those specials and teachers rewriting their lesson plans to reflect the next day’s schedule, the entire school day can roll right over into the next day. Nobody misses a beat! Having taught with a 6-day cycle for many years, I have found it beneficial for students, teachers, and families.

Another change is the increased awareness we will have of visitors to the building. We do ask that ALL visitors enter through the front door of the school

building and stand on the maroon painted feet while pressing the doorbell. This will allow us to visibly see all guests who enter the building. All guests must also check into the office and receive a guest badge before continuing. We have also upgraded our intruder awareness and emergency procedures.

I am happy to announce we will continue our school wide multiage groups called Kids Club. Kids Club allows students from every grade to form their own smaller community within the school. Kids Club is held twice a month for 20 minutes and

focuses on group building and positive character traits. This year we will incorporate A SPARTAN PROMISE.

We have a new addition to the playground! The Grundy Center High School class of 1993 has donated a beautiful new Buddy Bench! We teach our students to be inclusive on the playground, but sometimes when someone feels left out and needs a buddy to play with, they can go and sit on the Buddy Bench. Thank you very much Class of ’93!

Our Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) program at the elementary is as strong as ever! We have Jan Lindeman returning as the student achievement coordinator (works

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Football Game Expectations

I am so glad many students are able to attend home Spartan football games. Here are a few reminders for students:

Students may play on the grass to the east of the stands before the game and at halftime only. Touch football is permitted, but no tackling or piling on other students.

Students should stay seated in the bleachers during the game and not run around.

Be respectful of others. Watch the game and cheer on the Spartans!

Use the restroom and get concessions during quarter and halftime breaks.

Students are not allowed to stop and hang out under the bleachers.

Students are allowed to sit on the first row of bleachers, but not stand at the railing. Keep the walkways clear.

Thanks for your cooperation!

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with data and PLC groups), Sue Graham returning as

the lead teacher (implements reading and math strategies), and Abby Hendershot returning as the mentor teacher (mentors new to the school staff). Joining them will be Jama Johnson and Geselle Steenhoek as building improvement team members (creates innovative ideas for future implementation).

We will again be collecting BOXTOPS! Last year, we raised over $1,000 of those tiny little squares! We spread the work of preparing the BoxTops for mailing in among all the grades throughout the year. Thank you for your participation!

If you have not heard, there is a free app you may download that will give you allergen and nutrition information for our school lunches. The app is called YumYummi. Download it and give it a try!

Communication between teacher and parent is a critical component of student success at Grundy Center Elementary. Parents are encouraged to contact teachers via email or phone call to share successes and concerns.

All of us here at Grundy Center Elementary look forward to a great year!

Brian Sammons, Elementary Principal

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