Sunday, October 15, 2017

EU Update 10/13

School Threats

The safety of our students and staff is a priority for the East Union Schools. We are aware of incidents at districts across the state of individual students and parents receiving anonymous messages threatening the safety and security of students. At this time no threats to our students, staff or buildings have been reported. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the district office.

School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) Meeting

The East Union SIAC will be meeting later this month to begin our work for the year. Our focus will be reviewing the district Vision, Mission and Student Goals as well as developing a community needs survey. This is something the Iowa Department of Education requires school districts across the state to do every 5 years. If you are interested in being a part of this group, YOU ARE INVITED! Meeting agendas will be structured to last 90 minutes or less and we will met a minimum of 4 times on the days and times designated. Be a part of the progress of the East Union Schools!

Enrollment

Certification for enrollment is 10/15. We've checked and double checked our end of things and as of Friday end of the day we were showing an increased enrollment of .3 students. Obviously that isn't a staggering amount of new students, however, in the case of East Union this small increase is a positive one. Last year we lost a significant number of students, but many were open enrolled students who were already attending another school. Here's what the summary comparison between last year and this year look like:


As all enrollments are finalized we may see some changes in these numbers but they should be very minimal. 

Activities

This will be a busy week for East Union Activities. Cross Country and Volleyball both begin their tournament trails. Cross Country will visit Mount Ayr on Thursday, while the Volleyball squad will host Murray on Tuesday night. Friday will be our final football game and we will recognize our Seniors participating in Band, Cheerleading, Cross Country and Football before the game. We also are designating Friday night as a "Pink Out" night, in honor of Breast Cancer awareness. Some great opportunities to catch our Eagles in action!

Monday, September 25, 2017

EU Update 9/22

Welcome

Thanks for checking in! We're five weeks into the school year and there are great things happening daily!

Current Events

How do you stay connected with Current Events! A great way is to use the rSchoolToday Activity Scheduler Mobile App. This connects you on a mobile device to the day to day happenings with the district. Since we are utilizing this calendar as our basis for everything East Union, using the app, or accessing the web version of the schedule gets you the most up to date information regarding events at the school. You can even set up the app for schedule change notifications to come direct to your smart phone. You can also see the current roster for the sports that are in season and check scores. It's a really handy app and helpful for lots of the information we need to keep you informed regarding all our scheduled happenings!

Fine Arts

During the summer months our two music teachers and I sat down to discuss the program and how we could keep improving. One of the things that came up was our concerts and how they are structured, perhaps not being the best so we met this fall to discuss this further. As a result we have decided to approach this a little differently for the 17-18 school year. We've established concert dates and also decided to group our students differently. Here's the concert schedule for the year - all concerts start at 6:30 p.m.

  • November 27 - Concert Grades 2 & 3
  • December 4 - Concert Grades 7 - 12
  • February 12 - Concert Grades TK - 1
  • April 23 - Concert Grades 4 & 5
  • May 14 - Concert Grades 6-12
You'll notice our Elementary groups are broken down into 2 grades rather than having the whole school perform as in the past. We did this for a couple of reasons, to give the students a longer time to perform at the concert and also keep the concerts to 30 - 40 minutes in length. It will also enable us to use the auditorium rather than the concourse for seating. While the Secondary concerts may look similar we are using a whole group approach (grades 7-12 on stage together) to hopefully bolster the numbers of the groups, as well as provide an opportunity to challenge and stretch our young musicians. 

Policies/Enrollment

Each fall all the schools across the state go through the enrollment process. We double check how students are coded, if where they transferred to, if they are open enrolled and many other factors that affect how students are counted. It's a pretty intensive process and very time consuming, and there are times where it doesn't make a lot of sense. In the end we certify our enrollment as of October 1, and that bases our funding for the following school year.

My last blog showed numbers that were very positive, my numbers this time are probably a bit more accurate. The numbers you are seeing here come from JMC, this date last year and corresponding date this year. We can see this time the numbers are pretty close.

Last year:

Day 23
09/23/16
KG
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Totals
43
25
29
46
37
37
35
40
42
35
31
33
40
473

This year:


Day
22
09/22/17
KG
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Totals
42
33
23
33
46
38
38
33
42
42
36
30
35
471

We will be doing a lot of work to verify that these are correct over the next few days!

Monday, September 11, 2017

EU Update 9/8

We've gotten off to a quick start! As we look back after the first 12 days it seems that staff and students are settling into the daily routines. As I move about the building and visit classrooms I see students engaged in their learning.


Current Events - Homecoming Week!

This week is East Union's Homecoming! It's a pretty busy week for all activities with JH Football starting their season, they travel to Corydon tonight along with the JV Football team. Our Cross Country runners are headed to Pleasantville on Monday, in a change from the normal schedule due to all the different events held on Thursday evening of Homecoming week. The theme this year is "Out of This World" - inspired by the movie Space Jam. This is a great week for students to show their school spirit! We even have the elementary participating on a daily basis with dress up days.

Fine Arts

The band has been preparing for it's fall season by marching around the building on a regular basis. They marched in the Watermelon Days parade, will march in Creston for Balloon days and will compete at Clarinda later this fall. It's good to hear them as they work on their marching skills.

Facility

It seems to be that since I began in this position a little over 2 years ago that our HVAC system has been a constant source of facility news. I hope this will be changing in the near future! This year we have entered into a preventative maintenance contract with the Baker Group and for the past 4 weeks now we've had technicians onsite working through all our different HVAC components. They've done a lot of work fixing and some much needed cleaning for the different parts of our heating and cooling system. Fortunately along with the preventative maintenance contract we've added our HVAC equipment to our insurance covering these types of items so these fixes are getting done with a minimal impact to our general fund!

Another facility project recently completed was the repair of the north parking lot. We extended the repair to encompass about 2/3 of the lot and all the major issues that we were currently experiencing with pot holes and cracks. Another summer project completed was painting several of our interior spaces. We followed the color scheme of the commons up the hallways into the secondary building, repainted several classrooms as well as the library. It's amazing how much of a difference fresh paint can have on the building. 

Enrollment

Fall is enrollment time and we anxiously await count date of October 1. Last year at this time our students served number was:


Day 13
9/9/16
KG
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Totals
43
26
29
46
37
38
35
40
42
35
31
33
40
475
As of today - here's our students served:


Day 12
9/8/17
KG
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Totals
53
41
26
37
47
41
39
35
44
43
37
30
36
509
It's a little early to say for sure we've experienced a big growth spurt, but indications are we are serving more students at this time than we were last year. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Welcome Back!



Week 1 Almost In the Books!

It's been a good first three days - having the teachers and kids back in the building is what education is all about. The summer months are nice for a respite, but in the end we're about educating students and to do that they have to be in the building. Hopefully this shortened week has allowed you to reestablish some of your school year routines with your students. It will take a week or two here but the students and staff will begin settling in here as well.

Activities will be getting into full swing with the start of the football season this evening vs. Essex at Essex. The game starts at 7:00 with a tailgate provided before hand by the Essex Booster. They will start serving grilled hamburgers at 5:30. The Varsity Volleyball squad heads to Osceola tomorrow for the Clarke Varsity Classic and our FFA members head to state Livestock Judging in Ames. Your first opportunity to catch your Eagles in Afton is on Monday night when our JV Football team takes on CAM. It doesn't take long for things to get pretty busy! Remember you can keep track of all things East Union by following this link: East Union Schedule or by the rSchool today app on your mobile phone.


This summer we didn't have any major changes that we worked on to the building, we did do some outside work on the parking lot closest to the activities entrance. This will complete the second phase of the work done on our concrete lot to the north and clean up most of the issues we have in that space. During the past two weeks we've had technicians from the Baker Group onsite for the first of 4 different preventative maintenance visits. We entered into this agreement to try to limit our HVAC repair costs over the coming years. The 3 techs have been onsite full time during these weeks to get the classroom work done so that teachers and students won't be disrupted by their presence. Because of the age and state of our secondary building they've been very busy. The elementary also had a few things that needed to be addressed and those have been fixed.

Another group of new faces in the building is our new custodial crew. We contracted these
services with ABM last year and that contract ran out without ABM wanting to renew. We're now working with FBG Services, and using resources a little differently. Specifically there is a person onsite during the day, they call the person a "day porter". His role is to clean up any messes that are made, keep restrooms stocked and do any regular cleaning jobs that can be done while students are in the building. Then there are two other positions that come in later in the day and stay after hours to take care of the cleaning of classrooms and the big jobs that need done throughout the year. 



Parents and community members in the East Union Community School District: Do you have an interest in providing input on major educational needs, long-range student learning goals, and much more?  The School Improvement Advisory Committee, or SIAC, is made up of stakeholders like you representing our students, teachers, parents, community members with no children in school, administrators, and school board members.  It serves as an advisory group that meets four times this year! Please contact the superintendent's office at 641-347-5215 if you are interested in serving on this committee.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

New East Union Calendar coming August 1!

One Location for ALL events


New East Union calendar coming August 1

In an effort to more accurately communicate scheduled events and important dates for the East Union Schools, we will launch our new calendar on August 1. This master calendar will be used for all district events and our goal is to provide our communities & staff with accurate start time, location as well as other detail information that will be helpful. You can easily access the calendar on our district website as well as the convenient mobile app, and it can be synced to your Google - Outlook - iCal and other types of calendaring programs. By syncing with the District Calendar, all changes to school events will be automatically updated providing you allow updates to your calendar. Instructions on how to sync with various calendars can be found on our website.

As we listened to community members this past we heard your frustrations and feel we've found a solution that will work well for all involved. Thanks to all who shared their suggestions and ways we could make this a more effective communication tool.


Friday, May 5, 2017

EU Update 5/5

Welcome to May!

It's amazing how quickly the year moves along and all of the sudden we are rushing around


trying to get last minute assessments in, check computers in, make decisions on summer projects and on and on. May has certainly come in with some great weather, so as our students minds start to turn towards outside activities it's a good thing that our year is winding down.

Current Events

Each month the Green Hills Area Education Agency hosts a superintendent meeting in Red Oak. I've attended these regularly throughout the year and they are beneficial times to take in new information. This week Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds came and spoke with us. It was good to hear from her about her passions and especially her close ties to education and how important the TLC program is to her vision for Iowa's future. 

As one of the first cohort group of schools that implemented TLC I think as a district we've learned a lot over the past 3 years and the model we are using is a good fit for us and our personnel. Having the flexibility to mold our program to better fit our situation (Instructional Coaches at the Secondary and TAP at the Elementary) has provided a good blending of what our staffs need. Lt. Governor Reynolds expressed her commitment to the program after seeing it's worth in many districts across the state. This is good news for us as each year the people in these roles ask, "Will we have our jobs next year?" I'm committed to supporting TLC at East Union as well. 



End of the year concerts were lined up, and now have been adjusted to fit the busy schedule of our facility. Thanks to Mr. Clark for understanding and adjusting the 6-12 Instrumental and Vocal concerts. Now on one night, May 15, I anticipate a great night of music from our student musicians. This change was necessitated due to the move of the POI Conference meet from Monday night to Tuesday this week. 

Facility

As we head into the summer months we begin to gear up with a variety of physical projects around the complex. We will be doing some more concrete work in an effort to replace damaged areas to the north of the auditorium and gym areas. There will be regular maintenance to complete in various areas around the building as well. Another area where we will be doing some work will be the outdoor classroom. Due to time and pressure a portion of the pond wall has collapsed so we need to address some issues there.




The East Union SIAC will meet Monday, May 15 at 5:00, in the Secondary Library. This will be the annual meeting of the 16-17 SIAC. Consider this an open meeting and all interested community members may attend. The tentative agenda is:




Welcome - purpose of the SIAC reviewed
District Report
Building Report(s)
Purpose setting for 17-18
Discuss quarterly meeting dates
Adjourn

If you have an interest in improving the East Union Schools and would like to take an active role in the process please attend, or contact me at 641-347-5701 or lridgely@eastunionschools.org.
We seem to be growing! We've got some new families and children in the building over the past few weeks. Spring and summer tend to be "moving" seasons for families so the charts below show 3 comparisons - the first is our current enrollment, second our enrollment on count date in October of this year and the third is our enrollment on this school day last year:
Membership Count Report
Day 167, 5/5/17
EC
KG
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Totals
51
41
25
32
47
40
38
35
42
43
35
32
32
41
534

Membership Count Report
Day 29 10/03/2016
EC
KG
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Totals
51
43
25
29
46
37
37
35
40
42
35
31
33
40
524

Membership Count Report
Day 165 5/06/2016
EC
KG
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Totals
47
31
29
40
35
38
30
38
43
34
28
34
40
36
503

According to our numbers this year has seen an upward trend in the students we are serving in the building. This is a good thing!