West Burlington Independent School District hopes this newsletter article finds you and your family in sound health and good spirits. 2017 is upon us. As the new year quickly approaches, I can’t help but think about the incoming millennium and the Y2K scare. I guess I’m showing my age. It is WBISD’s sincere intentions to provide your student(s) with quality instruction, positive experiences, and a safe and secure learning environment each and every day we have your student(s) in our charge. Please communicate with the school district if we are falling short of these expectations.

As we have previously reported the WBISD Board of Education has received a settlement for our KUNO devices. The district is in receipt of a $170,000 check. We haven’t fully recovered our costs, but are pleased to be able to get paid part of our capital outlay. The best news in all of this is the Chromebooks are performing well and doing what we were promised they would do. As they used to say on the old TV show, The A Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.” I know, showing my age again. WBISD is happy the Chromebooks are the instructional tool we signed up for.

Our school district continues to study our technology needs. We are examining ways to more efficiently utilize instructional technology in all of our programs. We certainly recognize technology is an instructional aid and cannot replace teacher to student interactions. WB continues having discussions about the viability of computer labs, interactive classroom technology, and moving toward a reduced-paper environment. Our junior/senior high school Industrial Technology department is looking at purchasing a CNC plasma cutting tool to train students in engineering basics, product design and development, as well as manufacturing. A pair of local businesses are providing resources to help us purchase this machine. If you want to know more, please contact Mr. Fountain at the JH/HS building.

The West Burlington ISD Board of Education is studying our current grade cap limits. Grades K- 5 presently has a 72 student per grade cap. The intent is to ensure grades K-3 have a student range of 18 to 21 students per classroom. The Board appears to be comfortable with a few more students in grades four and five classrooms. There is currently no cap limits in the Junior High School or Arnold High School. We are in the process of studying the impact of potentially implementing caps in these two attendance centers. It is fair to project IF the board decides to set caps in grades 6-12, the caps would be higher than the current K-5 caps. Feel free to contact me david.schmitt@wbschools.us or call (319) 752-8747, option #3 or contact your building principals to share your thoughts on grade caps. The Board would like to make a decision on grade caps well in advance of the March 1st open enrollment deadline.

Patty McPherson, our nutrition program supervisor is reconvening the Wellness Committee. The purpose of the Wellness Committee is to ensure adherence to our nutritional and health guidelines set up by the Federal government, the State of Iowa, and local board policy. If you have interest in serving on this committee, please contact Mrs. McPherson, patty.mcpherson@wbschools.us or call the high school office. The Wellness Committee is a cross section of district stakeholders, hot lunch personnel, certified and non-certified staff, and administrators. Please join us if you would like to participate. The School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) will also be meeting in late January or early February. If you have interest in serving on this committee, please contact superintendent Schmitt at the email address provided above. We are truly interested in what you have to say about what WBISD does well and what we can do to improve.

I hope your New Year is filled with joy as we work together to serve your student(s). WBISD will continue to direct all of our actions to our mantra, Kids First!