I am writing this newsletter on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. There is a winter weather advisory for most of Eastern Iowa for Friday night into Saturday morning. I remind you if you aren’t signed up to receive the school closure text messages from West Burlington’s Technology Director David Roed, to sign up now. This is an efficient and timely way to receive notice of a cancellation or delay. As you have probably noticed, we continue to increase our use of this service. It is no longer an emergency only message. Anyone is invited to sign up and receive these messages either as a text or email, or both. Contact David Roed, david.roed@wbschools.us with questions or to sign up. We try to make a decision by 6:00AM on days when the snow is falling or a winter storm is lurking. West Burlington has many considerations when making this decision. All considerations focus squarely on the safety of our students, staff, and parents.

The district technology committee continues working on the decision as to which device(s) we will implement for the Fall of 2016. We are exploring various options and hope to have a recommendation ready for the board by the January regular meeting. We all agree that we want to get this decision right. If you have ideas, input, or opinions about which device is best, please contact David Roed or your student’s building principal. We welcome your input. On a side note, a court date has been set for the civil suit that was filed on our behalf in Federal court. The KUNO’s case will be heard in January 2017. Yes, 2017 is correct. We sometimes think schools move slowly, but our judicial system obviously moves even slower. We can’t reveal too much information since this case is now in the discovery phase of the litigation process.

West Burlington ISD has applied for the State-wide Teacher Leader Compensation grant. Every school district in the State of Iowa has been approved or has applied. We will be notified in December if we are successful. This grant provides resources to place teachers into leadership roles in an effort to achieve our most important goal: improving instruction, which in turn helps students learn. I believe a significant number of our teachers are great leaders in the process of teaching and learning. I believe the State-provided funds will compensate our teachers for the extra time and work required of the grant criteria. WBISD will communicate with you when we hear the news.

West Burlington’s enrollment grew again this fall. We have 40 more students (K-12) sitting in our classroom seats than we did last year. The best news is we increased 22 resident students and decreased the number of resident students who open enroll out or are tuitioned out. Fourteen resident students open enroll out of our school district. We have a total of 469 students open enrolling into WBISD school district. The grade cap in the elementary building has denied 10 students from attending this year. We have 452 resident students sitting in our classrooms. West Burlington Schools continues to be the school of choice in SE Iowa. We are very proud of that!

Our new math program, Everyday Math, continues to move to full implementation. We realize there is a degree of frustration from parents and students as to the change in philosophy of our math program. Everyday Math challenges students to not only get the answer, but challenges them to understand how they got it. We all learn more efficiently when we use different approaches. Students seem to be responding in a positive manner to the hands-on aspects of Everyday Math. This is a big change and we recognize the learning curve. We are holding/held a math night at the elementary building on December 1st. I hope you will/did attend. Please contact your child’s teacher with questions, concerns, or comments.

Thanks for allowing WBISD the opportunity to educate your student. We continue striving to get better; providing top level instruction every day of school. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, please contact me at david.schmitt@wbschools.us or (319) 752-8747. Happy Holidays. Kids First!