August 04, 2021

Stender: August Panther Pitch

What happens at the school during the summer? Summer is a busy time for custodial staff and administration as we prepare the facilities for the return of students and staff in August. In fact, summer is also when staff participates in professional development and sharpens their skills. This is also when much of the maintenance and financial work is done as we close out the current fiscal year and prepare for the new fiscal year on July 1.

Due to the pandemic, the federal government has provided ESSER funds to the state of Iowa who works with school districts to support and approve expenditures for projects based on the district plan and strict state and federal regulations. Through four rounds of ESSER funding, the district was awarded $4.3 million dollars to address mitigation practices for COVID. As valued partners, your feedback is important as we allocate ESSER funds to support six essential standards of the district plan:

  • Student & staff safety
  • Mental health & wellbeing
  • Student learning & achievement gap recovery
  • Indoor air quality
  • Social distancing

Sanitation and disinfecting

The district is required to dedicate 25% of ESSER III funds to instruction, learning, and closing achievement gaps. Currently, the district is identified by the department of education as “targeted” in special education at the elementary school and we plan to use dedicated ESSER funds to support a Director and Instructional Coach for special education to help address the identified learning needs. In addition, the district is committed to preparing our youngest learners for the transition to our kindergarten program and is offering two sections of quality preschool. The two instructional positions will be supported by ESSER funds. Limited openings are still available for families interested in the district’s quality preschool program.

As our country and state address political expectations, our state has passed legislation that prohibits the instruction and influence of Critical Race Theory. As always, the district will comply with the state law as we continue to focus on a safe, respectful learning environment for all students. We are also required to have a flag in every classroom and recite the pledge of allegiance. While it is recommended, students are not required to stand or recite the pledge of allegiance.

You are invited to attend Trevor Ragan’s Growth Mindset workshop on August 10 from 9:00-12:00 in the high school gym. This opportunity is sponsored by the Union County Development Association and tickets are $30 and includes a lunch. Tickets can be purchased at the Union County Development Association office.

Our community is vital to the success of our students and schools and your feedback is important to the decisions we make. Please visit the district website to review the proposed ESSER plan and share any questions, comments, or concerns you may have with me. Thank you for making our schools the PRIDE of the community.