April 16, 2018

Bell and Bus Times for Next Year

Prior to the April 9th Davenport Community School Board meeting, I received word that the bell time issue has been postponed now until the May 14th meeting to allow the consultant more time to investigate other options.  That’s a good sign.  We appreciate the willingness of Dr. Tate and his administration to continue to look for other ways to reduce routes and reduce transportation costs by $300,000 or more.

Honestly, I am more concerned about bell times this spring than in the summer of 2014, the last time bell times were significantly changed in the DCSD.  In 2014, it was the ONLY issue that threatened major disruption to the DCSD, and several public hearings were held throughout the community.  It was a BIG issue.  This time around, moving bell times seems to almost be a minor issue when compared to other elements of the district’s Vision 2020 plan, which includes cutting millions of dollars, closing one to two schools, and changing the district’s school structures such that elementaries are either PS-6 or K-6 and the middle schools are only grades 7-8.  Having the most significant bell time changes affect only those who are already not in the DCSD’s schools might be something the district is willing to tolerate.

For these reasons, it is even more important that the DCSD’s board hear from both public school and faith-based school parents.  They need to hear the personal stories about how changes to bell times will affect families.  Board members are real people too.  If they are presented with ways to save the needed money and not upset the apple cart for everyone, they will respond.

Please consider contacting the DCSD board.  To email the board, you can use the following address:  BoardComments@Davenportschools.org.  Communications that contain your name and address will be distributed to all board members; anonymous messages are not distributed.

Scott County Catholic Schools

Another step was taken toward strategic planning for all of Scott County Catholic schools last week.  A small group interviewed three consultants, and each was impressive.  Follow-up questions will be submitted to the consultants this week, and a decision should be made by the end of the month.

Back in November, I had mentioned that pastors, board presidents, and representatives from the AHS Foundation (which operates the financial assistance program for Scott County Catholic schools and has agreed to pay for strategic planning) agreed to pursue a consultant/consulting firm that could help determine how Catholic school education in Scott County can be made stronger and meet the needs for the future.  A sub-group was formed to interview the consultants.  On this sub-group are Fr. Richard Adam (Sacred Heart), Rosie Barton (foundation member with connections to St. Paul’s and now Holy Family where her husband serves as a deacon), Andy Craig (president of AHS), Joe Creen (foundation member and member of OLV), Matt Henning (AHS board president and member of OLV), and me.

Strategic planning for Scott County Catholic schools is born out of the diocesan strategic plan for Catholic school education which called for separate strategic planning to be done for Scott and Johnson Counties.  Gone are the days of dramatically falling enrollment and widespread school closures and consolidations.  It’s time to plan for how Catholic schools can be strong and prosper in the future.  With the end of the school year fast approaching, I anticipate parent surveys, conversations, and focus groups taking place in the late summer or early fall.

Time to Buy Gala Tickets — Still Time to Volunteer

The Gala is only three weeks away!  It’s time to step forward to purchase your tickets to attend or raffle tickets for $1,000 off of tuition or both!  I never know what to donate for auction at the Gala so I always just provide money ahead of time that can be used by others to develop class packages or to go toward underwriting.  Having all the expenses of the Gala covered by donations means all the proceeds the night of the event can go toward our educational needs!

The Gala is the largest fundraiser of OLV and JFK and supports all of our educational needs.  This year we’re trying to do a “super Gala” with funds raised above our normal net of $25,000 – $30,000 to go toward establishing the seed money for an air conditioning project.  The Gala is May 5th beginning at 5 p.m. at the Elks’ Lodge on Central Park Avenue near Emeis Golf Course.  The Gala includes amazing food, fun and fellowship with live and silent auctions.  The Funktastic 5 will also be performing at this year’s Gala.  Tickets are $40.  For the flyer, please click HERE.

The Gala still needs people who can help with many different activities — everything from making phone calls, setting up a stage for the band, decorating, and cleaning up, Please contact Angie Hillebrand at the school office.

Donations are also being accepted.  Just mark them OLV/JFK Gala.

To view a few of the items for the auction, check out our JFK Facebook page.

Survey from the Iowa Department of Education:  Response Rates Monitored

The Iowa Department of Education is conducting a survey of parents of all students in public and non-public schools.  While the survey is intended to fulfill reporting requirements under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), which require that states report the percent of parents with a child receiving special education services who report that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with IEPs, the data is being gathered as a census for both students with and without an IEP using a brief (four question) survey.  Below are the survey questions:

  • How old was your child on January 1, 2018? (choose 3-21)
  • What is your child’s race or ethnicity? (choose American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Two or More Races, White)
  • Does your child have an Individualized Education Program – IEP? (y/n)
  • Did the school your child is currently attending facilitate (request, encourage or initiate) your involvement as a means of improving services and results for your child? (y/n)

The survey should be completed once for each child in the family.  You can access the survey by using the following link/url   https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2018AEA9.

The survey is open through June 30th, and the DE has indicated that it will be monitoring response rates throughout the survey window.

Tuition Contracts for 2018-19 and Kindergartners Still Being Accepted

Take advantage of an early bird registration discount by returning your family’s tuition contract ASAP.  Kindergarten spots are also still available.  Please contact the school office, to reserve your spot for next year.

Preschool and Childcare Registration for 2018-19

3, 4, and 5 year old preschool and/or childcare registration has begun.  Please contact the school office before the spots you want are no longer available.

2018-19 School Calendar

Our school calendar on our website is filling up fast.  The 2018-19 school year looks like it will be just as busy as this year!  Check it out HERE.

Home & School Dates

4/16 – Chick-fil-A  Spirit Night (this Monday)

4/23 – final Skate Night (80’s theme)
5/3 & 5/4 – Plant Sale pickup
5//15 – HSA Meeting & Elections
5/18 – Fun Night

Results of the first Plant Sale fundraiser are in:  we sold almost $11,000 of plants!

The plants are scheduled to arrive by truck (at JFK) on Wednesday, May 2nd, and we were told we should have at least 10 people to help receive and organize the plants. At this point, I don’t know yet if we are the morning drop off slot or early afternoon. (We should know soon.)

National Speaker:  Silent Strength

National speaker Doug Reavis will share his Silent Strength presentation with middle school students in the Catholic schools of Scott County on April 27th.  A high school presentation will be held on the 26th, and a parent presentation is in the evening on the 26th (6:30-8 in the AHS auditorium). Silent Strength centers on kindness and, in faith-based settings, seeing God in every other person. It has been said that he gives the best anti-bullying message out there without ever using the word “bullying.”  Many thanks to AHS for sponsoring Doug Reavis and providing transportation to the Catholic elementary schools.