School Report (12/22/16)

Steve Hanson · Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Longterm facilities

This past summer, the school board contracted BLDD Architects, and RSP & Associates, to lead us through a process that will result in the creation of a long-range facilities plan.

Facilities Advisory Committee members met with architects on July 20; the first step in the planning and visioning process was to build a database of physical needs.

Architects and personnel from Estes Construction gathered data about our four school buildings, including dates of construction, gross square footage, information about the foundations and structures, roofing, exterior, interior, walls, finishings, plumbing, HVAC, electric, elevator, fire protection and special equipment.

They also gathered data related to the costs of operations and maintenance:  salaries and benefits; the cost of water, sewer, gas and electricity; trash hauling; repair parts; maintenance supplies; snow removal; vehicle and equipment repair; pest control; etc. A team of professionals then conducted a walk-through of all the school district facilities.

The next step was to determine the functional adequacy of our existing facilities.  WLCSD school administrators met with architects; using the CEFPI School District Evaluation Tool, we came up with an educational adequacy score for each building in our district.

After giving each building a score for educational adequacy, we estimated the capacity of our current space -- that is, the maximum number of students that could be accommodated at each building.

Concurrently with our long-range facilities planning, the City of West Liberty has embarked on a drainage study project that could impact the high school property.

The district is also gathering information related to a possible new bus barn.

The Facilities Advisory Committee envisions the district moving towards a three-campus district in the next fifteen years.  We would like our classrooms to be up-to-date for active learning (not passive learning with desks in rows).

We want good technology tools, and good spaces for the fine arts and other programs such as FFA. BLDD Architects will develop a presentation of findings to date, and make a presentation to the school board at 5 p.m. on January 16.

Enrollment

Rob Schwarz, from RSP & Associates, completed an enrollment projection for the school district. Although our district enrollment is increasing, it is likely that we will not exceed the capacity of any of our buildings within the next four years.

However, we must keep a close eye on developments, because projections could change during this time period.

Although our enrollment may not exceed actual capacity during the next few years, the suitability of our facilities does not fully meet our instructional needs:  the ELC needs more space for special services, and the middle school needs more space for music and special programming.

Social Studies Standards

Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise announced that he is seeking input from Iowans on a draft of proposed statewide social studies standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

An online survey will be open through January 9; public forums will be held in January. The proposed social studies standards were written earlier this year by a team of Iowa educators and leaders.

The draft standards are now subject to review by the Social Studies Standards Review Team, which will take into consideration public feedback. The team’s final recommendations are expected to go to the State Board of Education in the spring.

The online survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RLVQ52P?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.

A public forum will be held on January 12 at Grant Wood AEA in Cedar Rapids from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Remote video conferencing for the January 12 forum will be available at the same time at Mississippi Bend AEA in Bettendorf.

Music, council and

presents

Vocal music teachers Robin Evans, Brenda Miller and Nathan Shivers put together a great Cocoa & Carols concert, held on December 11 at the high school.

There were about 250 student performers, and there must have been at least 600 (possibly 700) parents and community members in attendance. Many thanks to the WL Rotary Club for providing punch and cookies.

The WLMS student council has wrapped up another successful food drive. Students from the middle school donated over a thousand items, all of which will go to local families in need.

The donations were split between the local Backpack Program, that provides food to local students each week, and the Voluntary Action Council that runs the local food bank.

Students who participated in the project included Brookelyn Buysse, Finley Hall, Sadie Peters, Aniya Montelongo, Martha Pace, Emily Bierman, Allie Wickman, Madison Kleier, Raquel Even, Grace Evans, Caleb Wulf, Chance Thrasher and Ben O'Donnell.

The Middle School FFA officer team purchased $200 worth of gifts for the Star Tree project. The High School FFA officers bought six gifts for $125.

Calendar

The District Leadership Team has put together a draft of the school calendar for 2017-18; the draft will  be presented to the school board on January 16.
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