Civic Oration Speeches Rounds 1 and 2
The academic activity for grades 5-8 par excellence is “civic oration.” This gifted and talented activity is completed by EVERY 5th-8th grader. It starts as a research paper and concludes with successive rounds of a speech competition. This year’s topic was great inventions. While not every student advances to subsequent rounds in the competition phase of civic oration, every student does participate in this talented and gifted activity.
Each year at the 8th grade graduation, I mention a little about each student. To aid me, I ask students several questions. One of them is what is your best or proudest accomplishment at JFK. The number one answer, mentioned by nearly 70% of last year’s 8th graders, for example, is always civic oration. Students may not particularly like civic oration themselves, but they still acknowledge that it was one of the best educational experiences for them. It is something that really illustrates to the recognition of everyone that there is a difference in education at JFK.
There are two divisions in the competition aspect of civic oration: 5/6 and 7/8.
Students who advanced from the first round of competition in the 5/6 division were the following:
5th grade: William C., Greyson C., Isabelle F., Laney G., Natalie R., and Paloma S.
6th grade: Caitlyn C., Derek C., Mason N., Cooper P., Sylvia R., and Evy S.
7th grade: Ellie D., Hailey E., Leia P., Natalie S., AvaMae W., and Laney W.
8th grade: Charlie A., Marissa B., Quinn C., Cayden F., Harper M., and Payten P.
Advancing to the final round of competition, which will be held on December 15th:
5th/6th: Greyson, Caitlyn, Derek, Cooper, Sylvia, and Evy
7th/8th: Charlie, Marissa, Quinn, Cayden, Leia, and Natalie
Scott County Catholic Schools and St. Ambrose University 8th Grade Career Fair
Substitutes Still Needed
JFK is in need of substitutes. Prior to the pandemic, we had ten people available to substitute for JFK. We currently have three substitutes on our list. We are averaging about 2.8 staff members absent per day since the school year began, and 4.4 for the past month. Luckily, we don’t always need a substitute to cover a position, but there are times when shifting duties seems like an every day occurrence.
We are in need of substitutes for both long-term assignments (like maternity leaves) and short-term assignments (like when a teacher needs to stay home with his/her own sick child or has an appointment). You do not need a teaching degree to work as a substitute. A minimum of an associate’s degree or 60 college degree hours from a college/university are enough to qualify. The process to become a substitute teacher includes completion of a 15-20 hour workshop, multiple background checks, and applications with the Iowa Board of Education Examiners and JFK. Most workshops, such as the ones below, are now virtual:
- Dec. 12-15, 6:00p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- Jan. 10-13, 6:00p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- Feb. 6-9, 6:00p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- Mar. 7-10, 6:00p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
There is even a self-paced option for the workshop. Iowa’s Keystone Area Education Agency has good information: Substitute Authorization
Recognizing the need for substitute teachers, JFK’s board has authorized a $450 bonus at the pay period following the fifth day of substituting at JFK to the first five people to take advantage of this offer. The bonus will essentially cover the workshop fee, license application fee, background check fee, and pay an amount for the workshop time. Subs earn just over $100 per day at JFK.
For more information about substituting, please contact me.
Mississippi Valley Student Tuition Organization
The Mississippi Valley Student Tuition Organization (MVSTO) funds most of the financial assistance for students attending Catholic schools in Scott County, including JFK. Over 100 students from OLV receive financial assistance to JFK or Assumption. Donations to the MVSTO are not only greatly needed by students, but they also have a tax incentive for the donors: Iowa taxpayers can claim a 75% direct state tax credit for donations made to the MVSTO. A donor making a $500 donation can take a $375 credit off what they would otherwise owe the state of Iowa. Donors may also be eligible for a federal tax credit, depending upon their tax status. In order to qualify for the tax credit on one’s 2022 taxes, donations must be made before January 1st.
For more information, please contact Assumption High School, 563-326-5313.
Things keep getting added to the calendar. Check online for more complete information as the below are only some of the highlights.
- Dec 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
- Dec 13: K-2 Christmas program
- Dec 14: 3 Yr Old PS Family Event
- Dec 15: Civic Oration Final Round. Band Concert at AHS Auditorium
- Dec 16. Red/Green/White Dress Day. 2 Hr Early Dismissal (12:40). No PM PS
- Dec 17 – Jan 1: Christmas break
- Dec 23/26: ECLC Closed
- Dec 29/30: ECLC Closed
- Jan 2: Classes resume. (I know it seems odd, and I even have to keep checking it myself!)
Enough Reading Material?
Do your kids have enough reading material for Christmas break? Whenever we approach a school break, I always assess whether or not I need to go to the library. I’d hate to have the library closed and not have enough reading material!
I also find it interesting that I run into so many educators at the library with their own kids. It’s like they know something.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I spent a good deal of the Thanksgiving break painting a woodworking project. A number of people have asked me what it was or to show them a picture of it. Well, here it is. Now, it’s up to my wife to do the final decorating of the Christmas train!