The year is off to a great start. I have had the opportunity to walk through all of our classrooms and I see great things happening everywhere. We are refining literacy instruction and further implementing ‘Everyday Math’. We continue to apply Fisher’s instructional principles of Gradual Release of Responsibilities. Our staff works hard in the early dismissal Friday professional development time. Our students are engaged and it is a lot of fun to see the teacher and student interactions. Falcon Pride abounds!

The Iowa Department of Education has submitted our action plan to the Federal Department of Education for review. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will be reviewed by Federal officials and the state will be notified if it passes or needs a rewrite within a couple months. Under the new Federal guidelines, the states will be responsible for identifying which schools need improvement. The following indicators will be used for the State Department of Education to decide which schools need to improve: student participation, academic achievement, student growth, graduation rate, progress in achieving English language proficiency, conditions of learning, and post-secondary readiness. In my eyes we do pretty well in a number of these categories. Our 2016 graduation rate is 98.11%. The states target is 95% for all students. Post-secondary readiness, our 2017 graduates’ composite average is 22.7 compared to the state average of 21.9. Our annual improvement goals, which are board-approved each year, strives for 100% of our students to be at or above proficiency or achieve a minimum of one year’s growth on our state assessment. We typically score in the 80’s and 90’s in regard to the percentage of students who are proficient for their grade level or achieve at least a year’s growth. Our attendance is good and our school provides a safe and orderly learning environment in all three buildings. The state ESSA plan calls for a half percentage increase each year over five years. I know we can meet this ambitious growth goal. If you have questions about West Burlington’s efforts to meet ESSA criteria, please contact My last comment on this topic is West Burlington will not change our Kids First approach just to meet state standards. We believe every single one of our students is capable of doing great things in and out of the classroom. Please let us know what we can do to further assist your student.

We hope your child(ren) is/are doing well. We are here to help. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to serve your student(s) and your family. Kids First!