November 10, 2019

Last Spring’s Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress Results Released

The results of the spring’s administration of the new Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) for grades 3-5 will be mailed this week.  Look for a three page parent letter and a two-sided report for each student who was in 3rd-5th grade last year.  They’ve been a long time coming!

Repeated Content Regarding Cell Phones and Social Media

Over the years, I have done several postings regarding cell phone usage and social media.  They are still relevant today with nearly every significant issue at school somehow tied into social media, either because it happens through social media or it is discussed and persists through comments on social media.  So far, the youngest students at JFK we have seen with issues regarding cell phone use have been eight years old.  Will you be ready?

With about 45% of 10 to 12 year olds in the US having not only their own smartphones but smartphones with a service plan (Nielsen report from February 2017), do you know what the kids are doing with their phones?

  • What apps are they using?  Have you tried them yourself?
  • What social media accounts are they using, how are they using them, and how often do you monitor their activity?  Just because a social media company says that no one under a certain age can have an account, doesn’t mean kids don’t fudge on their age.
  • Are they “roasting” each other or doing “burns?”  How should they respond when they are the target of the burns?  You’d be shocked at the vulgar and vile language that students will use in the “anonymity” of the electronic age.
  • What will they (and you) do when they receive inappropriate pictures taken off the Internet and from people they actually know?  The average age of first exposure to pornography is around eleven.  If eleven is average, what will they and you do if they are even younger?
  • What shows are they watching in an era when family members are watching more and more shows independently on their own Internet connected devices than gathered around a television as a family?  What are the ratings on the shows they watch?  Are they just “Youtubing” random videos?
  • What group chats are they in?  Who monitors them?  What will they (and you) do when the chat turns ugly?
  • Do you know how to block things on phones or restrict settings?
  • Do you know how to not only “delete” but then to empty the “trash” on phones?
  • Are you modeling good social media use yourself?

The following is an interesting blog post on how cell phones and social media have changed the landscape.  Click here to read the story:  Comparing 2008 with 2018.

Issues of social media and technology cross all demographic and geographic groups.  St. Paul’s has recently started a parent group, NTT (Navigating Technology Together) that is now expanding to the other Catholic schools. This month’s topic is “pornography and our children” with Dr. Lyndsey Day.  NTT is an evening of awareness and discussion.  The November meeting is Tuesday, November 19th at 6:30 p.m. in St. Paul’s Denning Hall.  All are welcome.

Social-Emotional-Behavioral Well-Being of Students

The social-emotional-behavioral well-being of students remains a high priority at JFK.  Research reveals that social and emotional skills are critical for success at school, work, and in life.  These skills impact academic achievement, attendance, and attitudes and behaviors in school.  They impact job satisfaction, performance, and income.  They impact positive health behaviors, life satisfaction, and happiness.  The best part research is revealing is that these skills can also be learned, and students can grow and develop in these areas!

In grades 2 and 4, we use a screener called  SAEBRS to help identify areas upon which teachers and Mrs. Wolf should focus.  In grades 6-8, we will be teaming with ACT to use their Tessera assessment system and lessons.  More information will be sent home shortly for 6th-8th grade families.

Highlighted Upcoming Dates (See Website for Complete Calendar)

Nov 11:  Staff in-service.  No classes.  ECLC is open.  JFK staff members have an in-service on November 11th, Veterans’ Day, which allows us to take off on Good Friday in the spring.

Nov 14:  Home & School meeting

Nov 27:  Thanksgiving break.  ECLC open.

Nov 28-29:  Thanksgiving break.  ECLC closed.

Dec 21 – Jan 5:  Christmas Break.  Check the school calendar for dates when ECLC is closed.

HVAC Project Meetings Went Well

Fr. Jake and I discussed our updated HVAC plan for JFK with the parish finance council and the diocesan building commission two weeks ago.  Both meetings went well, and there was consensus regarding the scope of the work needed.  In the fall of 2016, a complete Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) plan for JFK was developed.  That plan acknowledged that our heating issues were twofold:  an aged boiler and pipes that were beyond their life expectancy.  The boiler, water heater, cafeteria and north stairwell fin tube/fan units, and controls were replaced in the summer of 2017.  Now, we’re ready for the next phase to deal with the pipes.

This next phase would install a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system to the 1964 and 1987 parts of the school building.  (The 2011 sections of the building are up-to-date.)  The VRF system can not only provide heat, allowing the worn heating water pipes to be shut down, but it is also efficient in providing air conditioning!  When coupled with a new mechanical ventilation system, also included in this next phase, we can efficiently control humidity and filter and condition the air.  Also included in this phase would be a significant electrical upgrade to power everything.

Having modern HVAC systems would allow JFK to continue to lead the way in Catholic school education in Scott County.  Now, we just need to pay for it!

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

Not Cut Out for Shopping?

I don’t think I’m cut out for shopping any more.  I used to do more when our kids were younger as I did much of the grocery shopping each weekend and would usually go to HyVee one weekend and Walmart the next.  Now, I’m not sure I can handle shopping any more.  On Friday, I set off to run some errands.  I went to a “big box” store where it seemed like everything that I was looking for had been moved to other areas.  Or, at least, that’s what I’m assuming happened as I didn’t find most of what I was looking for, and I’m sure they still sell it.  I wandered from one aisle to the next and, oddly, even down some aisles that just dead ended.  No one seemed happy to be there either.  Kids were crying, parents were frustrated dealing with crying kids, and everyone seemed to be in everyone else’s way.  I don’t know about the employees because I don’t think I ever saw them as I even did self check-out!  My next stop was a store at the mall to look for some new pants.  Entering and exiting the store, people at least seemed happy as they all held doors for each other and greeted one another.  I did see employees at this store, and they did seem happy, although they probably shouldn’t have been using their two way radios to have personal conversations where they can be overheard in public.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find what I was looking for at this store either.  Rack upon rack of pants and not a single pair in my size!  By the time I was done running errands, I just had a headache to show for it.  Amazingly, however, when I went to Menard’s and Lowe’s on Saturday, I found exactly what I was looking for and even some extras!  I think I’ll just have to stick to going to Menard’s, Home Depot, and Lowe’s.  If they don’t have what I need, I must not need it!