May 10, 2020

Into a Routine with the BIG Questions Still Unanswered

For much of this past week, it seemed as if we had gotten into a routine.  Even with all the Zoom meetings, we were able to actually get some things accomplished too!

We have been eagerly waiting for additional guidance on start dates, a school calendar and the “Return to Learn” plan guidance from the Iowa Department of Education.

Governor Reynolds did sign the official proclamation waiving the requirement that school cannot start before August 23rd.  The proclamation does, however, state that any time before August 23rd must be in excess of the required days/hours for a school year.  That aspect will certainly change many conversations.  We, of course, at JFK, will also still want to see what the DCSD does so we have an idea about what bus transportation might look like.

On Friday, the Iowa Department of Education released its guidance for “Return to Learn” plans that districts and schools will have to create and submit.  What we’ve all been waiting for — what school will look like when allowed to re-open — has been pulled aside as separate guidance being called “Return to Open.”  That guidance has not yet been released.

We do, however, continue to make plans for the fall.  We’ve been estimating how much hand sanitizer we’ll use, considering how to arrange furniture in classrooms to accomplish social distancing, re-examining how much “traveling” students in upper grades do, etc.  We’ve also been doing some “what if” questioning, and some of the questions/answers are quite interesting.  Did you know that, for example, if face masks were to be required for all staff and students and we were to use a disposable one each day, we’d use about 67,500 masks in a year at a cost that could be more than $30,000?

If you have ideas or just additional questions, please pass them along to me.  Even though it may not be possible to think of everything, we want to think about as much as we can while we have the chance.

General Concern About Engagement Levels Backed by National Survey

Last week, I mentioned my general concern about engagement levels of middle school students.  Catching up on some reading this past week, I saw that, in an EdWeek Research Center survey of 1,000 teachers across the country, the average “truancy rate” for remote learning was the highest in the middle school grades.  No matter where one goes, there’s just something about those middle school years that make them tough!

Algebra Aptitude Testing Timeline for 7th Graders May Be Extended

Normally, we would use a paper/pencil Algebra aptitude test for all 7th graders to help make recommendations regarding students who might want to consider taking Algebra at Assumption as an 8th grader.  This year, we will be using a digital tool associated with the ALEKS program used at the high school.  Seventh grade students/parents will be receiving a “snail mail” letter with log in and password information soon.  I said that AHS wanted the testing done by May 15th, but there may be a delay depending upon AHS’ timing of the mailing.

Graduation Ideas

We did not have too many responses to our request to 8th grade families for ideas about graduation, but we will likely be sending out what we’ve put together for graduation later this week.

School Office Hours

The school office will be staffed 8:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Mondays – Thursdays.  Emily Sanderson will be in the school office on Mondays and Thursdays, and Angie Hillebrand will be there on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  They are also available via email.

Donations, Tithing, Tuition Payments and Registration for Next Year

Both the school and the church are still dependent upon your regular contributions and payments.  Donation buttons are located on the front page of both the school (green) and parish (blue) sides of our website.  Tuition payments can be mailed, dropped off at the parish office, or made via debit/credit card over the phone.  Emily Sanderson is in the school office on Mondays and Thursdays.

Tuition payments for this school year:  Fr. Jake and Finance Council approved the following statements regarding flexibility for tuition payments.  They want to work with people even if it goes well into or through next school year too.

“From March 30th, 2020 through August 31, 2021, the Finance Council gives the Pastor authority to negotiate with families on how to pay their tuition payments.

All families who request a school contract for the 2020-2021 school year will not be denied a contract based upon how much tuition they owe the parish.

Any questions or concerns about tuition payments or contracts can be directed to Fr. Jake Greiner, or by calling 563-391-4245.”

Tuition Contracts for Next Year:  We still want to continue the registration process for next school year.  Returned tuition contracts helps us plan for next year as well.  Please return your tuition contract as soon as you can, even without paying the registration fee now.  That can be paid later, if necessary.  At the present time, we are extending the discounted registration fee (discounted to $100) until June 1st.  If you need another copy of your tuition contract, please contact Emily Sanderson at  Emily and Angie Hillebrand are also contacting families via phone to offer reminders and help.

School Meals

Recognizing the need that some families have for meals, ANY child between the ages of 1-18 years old may receive a lunch and breakfast at no cost at one of the following locations beginning on Monday, March 23, 2020, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.  It is not a requirement that the child currently be receiving a free/reduced price lunch; it is available to any child.

  • Achievement Service Center, located at 1702 N. Main Street
  • Davenport Sudlow, located at 1414 East Locust Street
  • Davenport Williams, located at 3040 North Division
  • Davenport Frank L. Smart, located at 1934 West 5th Street
  • Davenport Wood, located at 5701 North Division, Davenport

The child no longer has to be present to receive the free meal.  A sack lunch and breakfast for the following morning will be handed out on Monday through Friday.

Please open the trunk of your car or leave a seat open where staff can place the food.  This step will help reduce contact and practice a higher level of social distancing.

OLV parish bulletin:  Click HERE or use the following link/url:

Fr. Jake’s Ordination

Fr. Jake’s class visit this week is about his ordination:


Stay well!  Our Lady of Victory,…pray for us.