Friday, November 18, 2022

AHSTW School Designations - Reporting Period 2022

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

The state has released new information on school performance as required by a federal education law called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

·       The Iowa School Performance Profiles reflects how public schools performed on a set of core accountability measures, such as results on the statewide assessment. The tool displays a school’s score based on overall performance, as well as scores based on the performance of subgroups of students. These subgroups include students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, students receiving special education services, English learners, and students from racial/ethnic minority groups.

·       Based on these scores, some schools in Iowa have been identified for additional support and improvement (Comprehensive or Targeted) and some schools have been identified for extended supports if they continue to be identified after 3 years (Extended Comprehensive or Extended Targeted).

AHSTW Community School District has received the designation of Acceptable for the reporting year 2022 for the Primary, Intermediate, and High School Academic Buildings.

Our school has not received designations for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (which is based on overall performance), Targeted Support and Improvement (which is based on the performance of student subgroups), or any Extended status.  However, our school still receives scores on these accountability measures, and these are updated annually; you can locate our scores and results on the Iowa School Performance Profiles site.


We have many things to celebrate in our school including:

·       Our Primary grade levels have successfully adopted and implemented of a new math text series to support our curriculum and have seen positive increases in fall achievement data.

·       Our HS MTSS system now includes the use study tables allowing designated times for students and staff to meet in areas needed for a student’s academic growth.

·       Our Intermediate MTSS team consistently reviews student data to appropriately provide interventions based on student need. 

We also continue to work toward improvement in the following areas:

·       Social Emotional Learning and Health

·       Increased proficiency in reading, math and science.

We view Iowa’s accountability and support as an opportunity to review our strengths and areas for improvement and to build on the great things we have going on. 


Thank you for your continued support of our school, our staff, and our students.

For more information about the Iowa School Performance Profiles and ESSA, visit the following website: www.iaschoolperformance.gov  

 

Respectfully,

 

Mr. Darin Jones

Superintendent of Schools


Friday, July 8, 2022

AHSTW Facility Update


AHSTW Community School District

Facility Update



In November of 2021, the communities of Avoca, Hancock, Shelby, Tennant, and Walnut approved a $12.9 million dollar referendum to improve our K-12 school facilities.  The referendum was developed to complete a renovation of our existing high school, improve lighting throughout our K-12 facility, and to create a new section of classrooms for our Career and Technical classes.  The future addition of classrooms to the high school would then allow us to create more classroom space across our facility, including our elementary section.  I am sure this feels like a long time ago, but behind the scenes many activities have been happening to move our project closer to reality.

 

I hope the following descriptions provide you with some insights into those activities.

 

AHSTW Facility Activities: 

-       Schematic Design Meetings:  [3 meetings:  January – March]

o   The purpose of the Schematic Design Meetings with SitelogIQ were to ensure the project resolved the identified areas of need determined by the site review and conversations prior to the referendum.

o   Three meetings were held to discuss overall building space and functionality, promote a safe environment for students, educators, and visitors, update our current mechanical systems, move our HVAC units to one control system with individual thermostats in each classroom, and to create a quality experience for students now and into the future.

-       Design & Development Meetings [4 meetings:  April – July]

o   The Design Development Phase of our meetings helped us further define each individual area of the new construction and areas to be renovated.

o   Topics discussed in these meetings involved:  Scope of Projects, mechanical systems, floor coverings, colors, design of areas, ceiling replacements, choice of casework, and further develop pathways to exterior exits.

o   Individual meetings were held with classroom teachers within our Career and Technology courses to gather their input in regards to their needs in the new classrooms.

-       Construction Documents [2 meetings:  August – September]

o   The upcoming Construction Documentation phase will provide us an opportunity to complete a detailed review the project and finalize our needs for outlets, internet drops, selection of furniture, as well as completing a page turn of the entire set of plans.

-       Bidding Process: [Late October – December]

o   AHSTW Community School District and SitelogIQ plan to advertise the project blueprints for bid in late October to early November of 2022.

o   The goal will then be to establish a let date in December.

o   The dates described above are flexible at this time, but will become more defined as we move through the development of the construction documents.

-       Project Start Date:

o   Our goal is to start the project as early as the spring will allow!

 

We are extremely excited for this project as it will certainly enhance our building and opportunities for our AHSTW family!  Keep watching for future updates and potential renderings of the updated facility!


Respectfully,


Mr. Darin Jones

Superintendent


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 Reflection

 Tuesday, May 24, 2022


Tonight, I sit at home concerned.  Concerned because another senseless act of violence occurred in a school district in Texas.  An act that by day's end claimed the lives of 19 students and 1 teacher.  Lives lost because a person elected to take action against innocent people.  In fact, my concerns are further heightened not only due to actions of Tuesday afternoon but also because of the other senseless acts of violence in a Buffalo grocery store and in a subway shooting on the east coast.


The aforementioned events of the past two weeks make no sense and lead me to consider so many questions.  Some of the questions are simple and obvious, while others are ones that I can't yet identify.  So, I will start with the obvious: 

  1. Why?
  2. Why would someone decide to take action against innocent people?
  3. What clues did the perpetrator show us or persons close to them?  
    • In on-line activity, daily actions that may have been out of the ordinary, journals or manifestos that may present themselves in upcoming days.
  1. Why didn't someone say something prior to the event, if they did see something?
  2. How could the acts have been prevented?


Reflection brings me back to my office around 4:45 PM and the voice of a news anchor, a reporter, and a therapist who all seem to believe that this event will not be the last.  With that thought my mind snaps back to the now and a search for proactive steps designed to make our environment safer, inviting, and even more comfortable for all.


The evening news then takes me to another concern, one that discusses stories of suicidal events, some close to AHSTW and others afar, for both HS and College students who are taking their lives for various reasons:  peer interactions, stress in regards to the pressure facing them in areas of athletics, depression, and overall mental health needs.  Again, I find this hard to understand and find myself asking, Why?  What can I do?  What can we do?


Well, here is a start:

  1. Say hello and listen for a response
  2. Let each person know we are happy to see them!
  3. Create routines to provide consistency for students.  Routines help create a safe environment and lessen anxiety
  4. Foster positive relationships and classroom expectations
  5. Focus on outcomes
  6. Be respectful of others
  7. Speak kindly
  8. Ask to know if a person is okay
  9. Listen, truly listen.
  10. See Something, Say Something


Now on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, our students will return and potentially return with questions about the recent events and how do we answer them?  I wish I had THE exact answer, one that would put everyone at ease, but I do not and that is okay!


So, if I find myself in conversation tomorrow or any upcoming day, I might start like this:


Question:  Why did an 18-year old student in Texas hurt innocent kids?


Answer:  I do not know why senseless acts of violence happen.  They could happen for a variety of reasons, so I personally ask myself the following question, 'What can we do to make our school safer?'  


[Pause & Listen for an answer].  


With no answer,  I would start by prompting to expand the conversation:

  • Could we check in with people? [Both Friends and others who might not be friends, yet!]
    • What would that look like?
    • How might we start the conversation?
    • How and when would I follow-up if the answer was, "Fine", but the body language did not match?
  • Could we hold ourselves to high expectations in how we positively interact with others!
  • Do you know of someone in our school who might be struggling and need a friend?
  • How do we ensure positive relationships develop?


Well, I know you are preparing for the day and I am very appreciative that we have staff who want the best for students.  Thankful for people who are willing to have the conversation to make our school safer and our students comfortable.  So, thank you for your efforts and what you are about to do over the final two days of the school year and the summer for our students and colleagues!


Know that I am available to talk with you on this topic and others as we can figure this out together.  But if you are looking for ideas I have also attached a link to some supports:  https://www.pbis.org/current/returning-to-school-during-and-after-crisis.


Have a great day and please let me know how I can help you on Wednesday or Thursday if the conversations begin.


Mr. Darin Jones

Friday, December 10, 2021

Community Assistance

 Good afternoon,


Parents and members of our AHSTW Community, we need your help. Recently, we have been made aware through reports from students and parents regarding inappropriate/harmful/hurtful social media accounts, primarily on Instagram.  It appears that students are creating multiple accounts within their profile, creating private groups, or creating anonymous AHSTW accounts designed to publicly shame others, disclose embarrassing information and spread rumors.


At this time, we are working to find ways to have the accounts taken down. However, we are fearful that other accounts will soon appear and replace the removed pages.  Some of the sites only have a few followers, but other accounts that we may not be aware of may have more viewing and anonymously posting content. 


So, at this time we are asking for your help!


What can parents do to help?


• Let your child/ren know they can always come to you to talk about what they are experiencing online.
• Have conversations with your child/ren about their social media usage. Check their phones and their social media usage.
• Remind your child/ren that what they post on social media never really goes away. Sites can be shut down or images removed, but people's lives and feelings can forever be affected and harmed.
• Encourage your child/ren to report any inappropriate accounts to Instagram and have them block the account on their social media.
• Teach your child/ren that if they wouldn’t say out loud to you what they post online, they shouldn’t be posting it.


And to our AHSTW students – we know that you are better than this. You also have a role to help solve this problem. Stand up for those that are being bullied. Report these accounts yourself to Instagram, or even better yet don’t be a follower of these accounts. You can always unsubscribe from following an account and we would suggest this would be a great option. Words can hurt for a lifetime. We are above all of this and should spend our time promoting the positives that are happening for our school, students, peers, staff, and community!  At this time, we ask that you individually STAND UP for each other and continually strive to be better.


Collectively, we can make a difference and promote kindness and connections for all!


Respectfully,


Mr. Darin Jones 

Superintendent

AHSTW Community Schools

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Thank you!

 Referendum Question #1: Approved


We would like to thank all community members of the AHSTW School District for your support of AHSTW Schools and our current and future students by approving Referendum Question #1 on November 2.  The unofficial results indicate that 65.98% of voters approved Referendum Question 1, which will allow us to remodel, repair, improve the existing PK-12 facilities, along with classroom additions.  The building projects will certainly impact our Pk-12 learning environment.


AHSTW Community Schools thanks everyone for the time and effort to learn about our proposed projects by reviewing our district website, viewing our on-line videos, reading shared information, and by attending our community meetings.  It was enjoyable to meet with you along the way and to provide information that you hopefully found meaningful in your decision-making process.


Your support of question #2 and the construction of the auditorium is also appreciated.  Even though the measure did not pass, we value your consideration of the project.


Our work with SitelogIQ will continue in effort to finalize project design, develop a timeframe for upcoming events, and plan for the phasing of the school projects and future school calendars to maximize learning opportunities for our students.


Again, thank you for your support of our school community and students!


Mr. Darin Jones AHSTW Community School Board

Superintendent

AHSTW Community School District

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

November 2, 2021: Referendum

 AHSTW School Referendum


On November 2, 2021, AHSTW voters have an opportunity impact the future of AHSTW Community School District.


Recent additions to our AHSTW school facilities, including our PK-6 building [2009], HS Science classrooms, new activities center, and intermediate [7th-8th grade] classrooms [2016], have provided updated learning environments for our students.  Although our High School section, which was built in 1972 [nearly 50 years old] of the building has been well maintained, the facility has gotten older and certain aspects are becoming outdated and in need of upgrade.  


With that said, in September of 2021 the AHSTW Board of Education voted to approve two questions for our communities to consider in the November election.  Public approval of referendum questions would allow the district to issue general obligation bonds to upgrade and develop additions to our current facility.  The renovations and additions would help to provide space for student opportunities in the area of Career and Technology classrooms, fine arts [addition of an auditorium], and general high school classrooms, as well improvements to our high school HVAC system, a transition to a new K-12 lighting system, ADA accessibility upgrades, fire suppression systems, and more.


On Tuesday, November 2, 2021 our communities have the opportunity to vote on the following two measures with each measure providing great value to our learning environment and the ability to provide additional classroom space for our students.


ï    Referendum question one would authorize the AHSTW Board of Education to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds not to exceed $12,900,000.  The funds would allow the school district to remodel, repair, and improve our existing K-12 facilities; and build and equip additions to and renovations of the learning environments, including related site improvements.


ï    Referendum question two would authorize the AHSTW Board of Education to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds not to exceed $6,750,000.  The funds associated with this question would allow our school district to build, furnish, and equip a new Auditorium at our existing K-12 facilities.


It is important to remember that each measure is independent of the other and will require a response on the ballot sheet.


If you are in need of additional information prior to voting, please feel free to contact me or review our district’s website [ref21.ahstwschools.org].  We are happy to assist you in your understanding of the projects and overall impacts.


We hope you are able to participate and vote on the proposed measures on November 2, 2021!


Respectfully,


Mr. Darin Jones

Superintendent

AHSTW School District

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Tik Tok Challenges

 Dear Parents,


Social Media can be a tremendous tool for students and adults.  The positives include increased opportunities for communication and an increased ability to remain in contact with old friends!  Unfortunately, there is another side of social media.   The other side is often not positive and can certainly have a negative impact on our school environment.  In fact, the negative posts and communication can lead to bullying, sharing false information, and inappropriate activities.


Currently, our students who have access to Tik Tok are being presented with a year’s worth of challenges.  These challenges are not positive and  will certainly have a negative impact on students, staff, and learning environment if acted upon.


Tik Tok challenge includes the following monthly actions:


September – Vandalize school bathrooms

October – Hit a staff member

November – Kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school

December – Deck the Halls and show your b**** (show your private body parts)

January – Jab a breast (aggressive behavior towards females)

February – Vandalize  school signs

March – Vandalize the school’s courtyard or cafeteria

April – Grab some eggs (stealing challenge)

May – Ditch Day (skip school)

June – Flip out in the school office

July – Spray paint a neighbor’s fence


At this time, we ask that you speak with your students about the impact of social media to gain an understanding of their knowledge of the challenges, discourage participation, and to promote the positive aspects that social media.


While we hope that our students will not elect to participate in these activities, we have been made aware of instances beginning in schools across the state.  Please know that if events do occur our handbook will be followed and potential consequences could include detentions, suspensions, expulsion, and or potential legal implications.


We have great things occurring in our buildings and we certainly want to highlight these activities and continue to develop a system built on Kindness, Compassion, and Pride in our school community!


Thank you for your assistance,


Mr. Darin Jones

Superintendent

AHSTW Community School District


AHSTW School Designations - Reporting Period 2022

Dear Parents and Guardians,   The state has released new information on school performance as required by a federal education law called the...