School Report (1/23/17)

Superintendent Steve Hanson · Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council gathered education, community and business leaders from across the state to vet the top STEM programs [Science, Technology, Engineering & Math].

The selection process resulted in the approval of nine high-quality STEM education programs, two of which are already implemented in West Liberty: Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) and ST Math.

Jackie Henderson and Karen Morrison took a group of seventh grade students to a bridge-building competition at the Putnam Museum in the Quad Cities during the first week of February. One of the teams from West Liberty (Jahsaih Galvan, Rachael Aird, Raquel Even and Mylei Henderson) earned 2nd place among 20 teams.

Teams were given supplies and asked to construct a bridge within a three-hour time span. Engineers tested the bridges, and calculated an efficiency score for each bridge, based on the weight of the bridge and how much weight it could support.

WLHS teams performed at State Speech Contest on February 4, and all did well; every team earned a high score.

The Improv team of Luke Dennis, Dylan Clifford and Elizabeth Pearson earned three Division I scores, as did the Acting team of Zach Haskell, Michael Aragon, Ahtziri Aragon, and Mariela Filerio.

We deeply appreciate all the help and support offered by staff and community members for Stars on Stage earlier this month. This annual show choir competition is our major fundraiser for our fine arts programs.

Congratulations to Noah Feldman, Joe Baker, Alyssa McMichael, Gracie Danner, and Morgan Nichols for earning their Iowa FFA Degree, the highest award for their experiential learning programs.

They were required to earn over $1,000 working in an ag-related area, do 25 hours of community service, participate in 5 major activities above the Chapter level, serve on a major committee, and have at least 10 local activities.

FFA District Proficiency Awards were judged earlier this month. These are 25-page assessments of a student’s SAE program (Supervised Agricultural Experiences). The following students and their projects advanced to State:

-Gracie Danner: Beef Production (District Champion)

-Hailey Daufeldt: Diversified Horticulture (District Champion)

-Chris McMichael: Home and/or Community Development

On Thursday, February 16, six trainers came to West Liberty to provide a workshop on Youth Mental Health First Aid for all teachers of grades 6-12, plus other staff and community members.

The main goal of the course is to help people who work with youth identify the signs and symptoms that indicate a young person might be experiencing a mental health issue, and to provide some tools adults can use to support young people until professional help is available.

More information is available at the Youth Mental Health website: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/take-a-course/course-types/youth/.

The winter screening window has closed for the FAST reading assessments.

See some of the results in the table below. At the ELC, 32 students moved up (from red to green) and 14 students moved down (from green to red) -- that is, from not meeting benchmarks to meeting benchmarks, or from meeting to not meeting. At Elementary, 45 students moved up and 15 students moved down, from Fall to Winter.

See the graph entitled Reading Assessments 2016-17: FAST & IGDIs to learn more.

Last week the WLCSD school board came to an agreement with the WLEA (local teachers association) regarding the 2017-18 master contract.

We firmly believe that our employees are our most important resource, and we understand that wages, benefits and working conditions are critical to our ability to attract and retain great employees. We are grateful for the high quality educators who work for our district.

Recently there has been growing concern among some of our students, based on the uncertainty of how the government’s actions to deport undocumented immigrants might affect them.

We want to reassure them, and their families, that we are here to protect them to the fullest extent of our ability, as allowed by law.

Our schools are safe places for learning. In 1982, the Supreme Court issued a decision (Plyer v. Doe) holding that states cannot deny students a free public education on account of their immigration status.

Given that it is our obligation to provide a free public education to all of school age who reside within our district, we do not ask or collect information about immigration status; that is not something we need to know.

In addition to the protection of federal law, students are further protected by WLCSD School Board Policy 505.5 (Interrogations of Students by Outside Agencies), which does not allow a student to be interviewed by someone from an outside agency without the principal present; furthermore, an interview will not be granted unless the principal deems it essential to the welfare of the student.

Congratulations to Will Esmoil (106), Joe Kelly (152) and Bryce Esmoil (195) for their performances at the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines.

Will and Joe each earned a 3rd place finish; Bryce was the champion at 195. Congratulations also to the coaches, parents, and other supporters.

On Sunday at about 3:45, the wrestlers and coaches arrived at the high school from Des Moines, escorted by police and fire vehicles. A crowd was present to congratulate them.
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