Friday, December 8, 2017

EU Update 12/8

Happy Holidays!

Welcome to December! While it may not look it, it sure is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Weather this week has reminded us of the highs and lows of life in Iowa when it comes to the outdoor temps we see. Monday was quite a switch from morning to night! Funny thing is, that's not really a whole lot different that what we see from students sometimes. They run on highs some days then we see them hit some really low times as well.


Current Events

If you are looking for morning and afternoon hours, love kids and like to drive have we got a deal for you! We're looking for folks just like you to drive our school buses! Each year we look for candidates fo fill our driving ranks. This year it's a little more urgent as we don't have as many substitute drivers as we've had in the past. If you've got an interest you can contact the district office, or our transportation director Herman Chenoweth. 

Fine Arts

It was our pleasure to present the ECC Winter Concert and  7-12 Winter Concert via the HS Cube. In the future if you aren't able to attend these types of events we're going to do all we can to get them broadcast. Stay tuned for more information in this area as there's some exciting opportunities for us on the horizon. 

I'd like to commend our audiences for both nights of concerts. The crowds were attentive and respectful of our performers. Thanks to Mr. Clark and Ms. Killian for putting together two great nights of music. Mark your calendars for these upcoming dates and times:


  • February 12 - Concert Grades TK - 1
  • April 23 - Concert Grades 4 & 5
  • May 14 - Concert Grades 6-12

Activities

All East Union winter activities are in full swing. Currently we have Junior High and High School Basketball (girls and boys), High School Wrestling and Archery competing. After the Holiday Break we will add Junior High Wrestling to the mix. I'm proud of how our athletes have worked hard to prepare for their competitions. As I've talked to our coaching staffs about their respective teams they all agree our kids are bringing the right attitude and effort when it comes to getting better each day in the practice room. There's lots of opportunities to get out and see our students in action - check out the calendar and join in the fun!


Monday, November 27, 2017

EU Update 11/27

I hope everyone enjoyed time with family and friends over this Thanksgiving weekend. Family gatherings are a lot of fun, good food and fellowship. I also hope you were able to find great deals Black Friday! Radio reports this morning indicated that transactions were up over previous years, so somebody sure did. Around our house we use the day to decompress and shop online - we've braved the madhouse in the past and avoid the crowds now!

Current Events

This evening marks the first of our concerts for the year. Our 2nd and 3rd graders will start off the concert season with a fall themed offering, and next Monday our 7-12 musicians will take the stage for their opportunity. Both concerts will be in the Auditorium.

Fine Arts

This is a repeat from earlier this year - but the information is more timely at this point. 

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. 

Facility

Recently we had a firm come in to "balance" the HVAC for the building. I've got a lengthy report from them, and the short story is that when they started the building had a negative pressure (pulling in air from the outside). This isn't a terrible thing, as we need fresh air in the building, but we want to chose where that air is coming from. With a negative pressure it doesn't always come from the most desirable places. When they finished with their work the building had a positive pressure (pushing air out). To do this we do have to draw in outside air through the HVAC system, which is the correct place to do this. This Building Balance Report will be brought to the School Board tonight.

Enrollment

With our certified enrollment complete I'll now give regular updates regarding the students served in the building currently as compared to the previous year. As of this day last year (day 66):

Day 66
11/23/16
KG
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Totals
44
23
29
45
36
38
33
39
43
34
31
33
40
468
Current year day 66:

Day 66
11/27/17
KG
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Totals
43
34
23
32
47
38
40
33
41
42
38
31
36
475

So we're serving a few more students than last year at this time. Good news for us as a district. 

Activities

Winter activities will be in full swing this week! JH Basketball started last week, Varsity Basketball begins games on Tuesday night, and Wrestling starts on Thursday. Once things start they really don't slow down much until the spring, so check the schedule regularly and see what's going on on a given night. Lots of opportunities to see your Eagles in action! Follow this link - East Union Activity Scheduler - and see the most up to date version of the schedule. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

EU Update 11/10

On Service - Thank you Veterans!

Friday we recognized our veterans with a ceremony that included about 20 different service men and women at the school. Telling them "thank you" seems to be a very understated way to let them know we appreciate their service and sacrifice for our country. My grandfather, "Pa", served in WWII as an MP. He arrived in Europe shortly after D-Day and stayed through most of the rest of the conflict. He talked about his experiences and I remember seeing slides of the different places he was stationed as he followed the Allied troops across the continent. I am proud to know Pa served!

Many of you probably have a similar story to tell, perhaps it was a father, mother, brother or sister. We value all their experiences and look to the things we do regularly (our Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem) as small ways of showing respect for their work and the country where we reside. 

End of First Quarter

The end of the first quarter brought our first formal opportunity for parents and teachers to meet and converse about students and celebrate the growth and learning our students have gained over that time. Last week I sat in on the secondary professional development as they discussed parent teacher conferences and the current model we use, the student led conference. We rely on data to drive our decisions and as of that time we had 85% of our parents at the secondary level that had taken part in PT conferences. Thats OUTSTANDING! Thanks to all who attended and heard your son or daughter present their learning thus far. 

Staff discussed other approaches to conferences and came to the conclusion that since we're trying to emphasize our communication it's hard to argue with 85%. We'd like to get to 100% however, and will be discussing ways to make this happen. If you have any thoughts around this subject please share them with me via email, or with Mr. Weis. We'd be happy to hear any suggestions you might have. 

The end of First Quarter also brings about a change in our sports seasons. Monday, all our winter sports will begin. Remember to check our activities calendar http://www.prideofiowa.org/public/genie/590/school/4/ to see when your favorite EU squad will be in action. 

Eagle Pride Boosters

If you are looking for ways to serve the district and what you are willing to do is give of your time, have you considered helping the Eagle Pride Boosters? This organization does a great deal of work behind the scenes to provide opportunities, uniforms and other equipment for our different activities programs. This group is small in numbers, but they have some great ideas and goals to help out the programs here at the school. 

The one thing they need more than anything else is volunteers to assist in the work they are doing. 100% of the money this group brings in goes back to benefit East Union Students and programs they are involved in - get involved! You won't regret it!

Final Enrollment Numbers

As I mentioned a few weeks back, we certified our enrollment mid October. I recently received notification from the Department of Education that all adjustments were final, here's the final summary comparison that shows our enrollment changes from last year:



You can see our "Actual Enrollment" dropped by 1.7 students. For a school district our size this is good news! 

Friday, October 27, 2017

EU Update 10/27

Conferences Next Week

The week of October 30 is conference week. You should have been contacted by a teacher regarding your conference time so please come in and see how your student(s) is(are) progressing! I've heard a lot of good things from our principals as well as teachers over the past 9 weeks, now I hope you will hear similar things next week.

At the Secondary level we do have student led conferences, and teachers also have time in their schedules to meet with parents with questions regarding their students. Each teachers schedule is posted outside their door and their openings are listed. If you'd like to make sure that the time is reserved for you contact them via email (first initial - last name @eastunionschools.org) and set up a time.

Because of conferences our schedule for the week will look a little different. Tuesday and Thursday will be 12:30 dismissal with conferences starting shortly after that. Wednesday will be a regular dismissal, and Friday will be a day off from school for the students and teachers. 

SIAC Meets

The East Union School Improvement Committee met on Wednesday night. This was the first of four meetings for this year. The minutes from the meeting can be accessed at the SIAC Website. The main focus for the SIAC this year will be to review the School Vision Statement, Mission Statement, Student Learning Goals and issue and review the Community Needs Assessment. If you have an interest in any of these items please contact me at 
641-347-5701 and I can add you to the list of SIAC members. In future meetings this year we are going to review course enrollment data, the Iowa Youth Survey responses and other educational data from assessments. Next meeting is Monday, January 15 at 6:00 p.m.

End of Fall Sports

Thursday night marked the end of the Fall Sports season at East Union. Our Volleyball team lost to Southeast Warren in the Regional Semi finals, this is the second year in a row that an EU team has made it this far. Football finished up on Friday 10/20 with a win vs. Wayne to finish 5-4 and out of the playoffs. Cross Country ran at Mount Ayr and while there were some good individual performances we won't have anyone representing us at Fort Dodge for state this fall.
Its a tough time of year for Senior athletes. I think the reality that this is their last year of high school begins to set in for them and their parents. The boys were able to go out on a high note winning their final game at home, but walking off the field for the last time can be pretty impactful for the players and parents. The way Volleyball is configured there will only be 5 teams (one per class) that get to end on a win - a state championship. This is hard for our coaches as well since they've spent a great deal of time and effort over the years with their players. 

All these things considered we've had a great start to the school year. Our kids have worked hard in the classrooms and in their athletic venues. They've showed determination and toughness and the ability to adapt and overcome. All of these things will do them well as they move on in their lives. Thanks to our parents and players for making our fall sports season a successful one!




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!