We have had a reprieve from the typical cold, long, and snowy winter. I know, I probably just jinxed it. The 2016-2017 school year has passed the midpoint and we continue to have an excellent school year. West Burlington Arnold High School has been identified as one of the top 500 schools in the nation who are overcoming the odds and providing a quality education to our students. Newsweek magazine did an in-depth study of all high schools in the nation. The first criteria is a cut score on standardized test results. After a school cleared the first bar, then consideration of college readiness, graduation rate, college bound students, and poverty were used to measure effectiveness and determine the ranking. We are proud to say West Burlington ISD is one of 15 Iowa high schools receiving this distinction. Our national ranking is 373rd out of 500 selected high schools. Here is the link if you want to read more, http://www.newsweek.com/high-schools/beating-odds-2016. It takes a PK-12 effort to get exemplary results.

The Iowa Department of Education has released its annual report card. West Burlington Elementary received a commendable rating this year, improving upon an acceptable rating the previous school year. West Burlington Junior High has a needs improvement rating, compared to an acceptable rating last year. West Burlington Arnold High School came in with a commendable rating, matching last year’s rating. We recognize all three attendance centers must strive to get better. We are especially concentrating our efforts in the junior high school and hope the new strategies will result in our improved rating in the State of Iowa Report Card. If you want to review the State Report Card go to the Iowa Department of Education website and search for “report card”. You will be able to see all of the schools in the state. We will work together in a PK-12 effort to improve the educational experience and results for all of our students.

There are a few important dates I’d like you to be aware of. These dates are invitations to provide input to school officials. We are progressing well in our efforts to educate our students, but we need your input to make improvements. If we are not progressing, we are digressing. February 22, 2017 is the date of our annual School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) meeting. We will have a light supper available starting at 5:00PM. The actual meeting will start at 5:30PM and should wrap up by 7:00PM. Topics on the agenda will include district APR goals, standardized testing results from 2015-2016, Wellness policy, district facilities, Bridges Out of Poverty, literacy instruction, interventions, and TLC implementation. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please contact Shawna at the central office at shawna.brown@wbschools.us or (319) 752-8747, option #3. We are also sending out invitations to current members or prospective new SIAC members.

The second important date will be February 27th. On that date I will post on our website a DRAFT of the proposed school calendar for the 2017-2018 school year. If you have questions, input, or comments please send them to me, Dave Schmitt at david.schmitt@wbschools.us or call (319) 752-8747, option #3. We will abide by the State mandated start date and are planning to continue our early dismissal on every Friday at 2:15PM. I don’t foresee any major changes in the calendar format. Watch for the posting and send any comments to me. The board will take official action at the March 20th regular board meeting.

The board of education has implemented grade caps in our K-12 educational program. Grade K-5 will work with a 72 student cap and grades 6-12 will have a cap of 80 students per grade. Resident students are always accepted, of course.

Thank you for entrusting the education and safety of your student(s) to us on a daily basis. We are proud of what we are doing and achieving at West Burlington. We also recognize we have much work to do. We will keep working for all students and continue holding teaching and learning as our number one priority. Kids First!