Principal’s Post

Principal’s Post for April 11, 2021

Fundraisers Hitting at the Same Time

Everything is seeming to converge at the same time this spring!  We have a capital campaign still going on for our summer HVAC project.  We just finished the plant sale.  Candy bar sales began at the beginning of the week, and the STEAM Engine began on Thursday.  We also have the Gala on May 15th.  With many things having been pushed as far into the school year as possible due to COVID, everything’s now converging at the same time!

Home & School sponsors the plant sale and STEAM Engine.  Examples of what the proceeds are used for include the following:  to add mulch to the playgrounds and refinish the gym floor each year, to pay for athletic director salaries,  to support staff through Teacher Appreciation, and to provide unrestricted funds to each teacher to use in their classroom.  National data indicates that teachers, on average, spend over $500 of their own money each year for classroom supplies and materials.  In the past, H & S has provided each JFK teacher with $300 for classroom use.  This year, with COVID impacting fundraisers, that amount has been reduced to $150 so far.

The Gala and candy bar sale support technology, teachers’ salaries and benefits, students’ retreats, and other ministry needs.

As I’ve mentioned before, fundraisers provide OLV/JFK one way to receive support from the broader community.  If it weren’t for fundraisers, tuition would need to be at least $200 more per student.  We are most grateful to our benefactors!

Calendar: 2 Hour Early Dismissal on Friday

End of the 3rd quarter:  April 9th.  Report cards should be emailed by the end of this week.

April 16: 2 hr early dismissal (12:40).  No afternoon preschool.  Blue Out for Autism

Last day of school for JFK:  June 11th.  The DCSD will continue until the 16th.  Because June 11th is not Davenport’s last day, there is no early dismissal at JFK on June 11th.

The full 2021-22 school calendar is finally available:  JFK 2021-2022 Academic Calendar

Charge Tablets and Chromebooks at Home

The number of students who are at school in the morning without their tablets or Chromebooks charged is too high.  Without charged devices, students may not be able to participate in class.  While we may try to let students get some power at school, running electrical cords across the floor to their desks is not safe, and, due to COVID restrictions, we can’t just move students to desks near the wall outlets.  As we come closer to the Iowa Assessments of Student Progress, which will have all 3rd-8th grade students online at the same time, flexibility with uncharged devices will narrow.  Please have students charge their tablets and Chromebooks at home each evening.

Tuition Contracts for 2021-22, Kindergarten Round-Up, PS, and ECLC Registration

Tuition contracts for 2021-22, which represent the official registration document for next school year, were mailed during spring break.  Please return them ASAP so we can plan for 2021-22!

Preschool registration for 3, 4, and 5 year olds and ECLC (childcare) does remain open.  If you have not yet registered for these programs, please contact the school office ASAP.

Ad Hoc Policy Committee Invite

Each year the board of education reviews about 1/3 of the policies contained in the Parent and Student Handbook.  Dress code policies are reviewed every year.  If you would like to be involved this spring, please send me an email.

Anticipated Openings at JFK

JFK will be looking for several teachers, possibly both to replace teachers who may be leaving and for new federally funded positions for 2021-22.  We are casting a wide net regarding licensure and endorsements and will adjust staff assignments to best take advantage of teachers’ qualifications.  In the lower grades, that means we are looking for K-6 licensed teachers, especially those who have an additional endorsement, such as in reading.  In the upper grades, where subject area endorsements are required, we would be interested in talking with those who have K-8, 5-12, or middle school endorsements in ELA, math, science, and social studies.

School Bookkeeper/Secretary Position

JFK has an upcoming opening for a school bookkeeper/secretary as Emily Sanderson will be transitioning to another position at JFK.  The school bookkeeper/secretary position is year round and includes a tuition benefit.  The qualified applicant must be detail oriented with accounting knowledge and have strong interpersonal skills with both adults and children.  The ability to multi-task with frequent interruptions is a must.  Interested candidates should send a letter of interest, resume, and references to chad.steimle@olvjfkmail.com, or complete an application in the school office.  We hope to have the position filled within the next few weeks, and the new staff member will begin yet this school year.

COVID Data

Below is a link to a .pdf file that shows several graphs of Scott County and JFK data.

COVID Data, April 9, 2021

  • The burning questions for me this week were the same as last week:  What’s going wrong in Scott County?  What’s different in Scott County than the rest of Iowa?  The rate of COVID cases per 100,000 and the positivity rates in Scott County continue to rise.  Last Sunday, Scott County had the 4th highest positivity rate among the 99 counties of Iowa.  This Sunday, Scott County has the 3rd highest rate after flirting with having the 2nd highest rate around mid-week.  The positivity rate in Scott County remains at more than twice the state average.  What’s unique to Scott County?
  • With an odd sort of positive indicator, vaccinations do seem to be having an effect.  The average age of a person testing positive for COVID in Scott County has been going down.  In January/February, the average age was about 40.  In March, it was 37.  So far in April, it is about 34 years old.  The health department believes the trend is due to vaccinations in older demographic age groups.
  • In my family, vaccinations have been a large part of our conversations.  Lynn (who is at AHS), Kirsten (who is a teacher in Des Moines), and I are fully vaccinated.  My father-in-law, my father, and my sister, who is the caretaker for my mom and dad, are fully vaccinated.  My mom always has reactions to shots and medications, so they are still trying to determine when/if she should be vaccinated.  My son and youngest daughter received their first shots this week, and my oldest daughter will receive her first shot on Tuesday.
  • At JFK, the number of students absent due to COVID or COVID symptoms or having to quarantine as close contacts this week dropped a bit from last week.  That is a good sign for us.  Anecdotally, however, one of the more troubling things I’ve noticed recently, probably in relation to more indoor recesses due to rain and funerals at OLV, is that students, especially older students, tend to have more difficulty with their masks being on correctly when they are in closer proximity to one another than when they are apart from each other.  That’s the exact opposite of what is needed!  The closer we are to each other, the more important correct mask usage is.
  • Several updates were made to our Return to Learn plan.  The complete plan, with the April 5th updates highlighted in yellow, continues to be available online.

Chad