Principal’s Post

Principal’s Post for September 19, 2021

5th Grade X/Y Coordinates Project

JFK fifth graders were learning about x/y coordinates outside on Friday.  Below is a photo taken from one of two drones that were helping the classes.

 

Ignite Sundays

See below for the list of IGNITE Sundays.  We are very excited to begin this journey with you. There is no cost or registration required to participate. Come to as many of the opportunities listed below as you are able on IGNITE Sundays.

All are welcome, invite a friend or two or three…. Families are encouraged to participate together.  There are small group activities and family activities at each session.  Those not participating in the family component will remain in their small groups to finish the evening.

Typical schedule for IGNITE Sundays:

  • 4:30-5:30pm Mass
  • 5:35-6:05pm Meal in the Parish Center
  • 6:10-7:15pm Group Gatherings

Ignite Sundays:

  • Sept 26:  When Mass feels like going through the motions
  • Oct 10:  Why does God let bad things happen?
  • Oct 24:  What is hope and why do you need it?
  • Nov 7:  Jesus came for all of us
  • Nov 21:  What’s my motivation to go to Mass?
  • Dec 12:  Finding your place in the Advent story
  • Feb 13:  Anawim (Hebrew word meaning “poor one”)  Poverty and the dignity of work
  • March 6:  “I thirst” Lent
  • March 20:  “I hunger” Eucharist
  • April 10:  Family: The foundation of society
  • April 24: What does God want me to do?

Other Highlighted Events

Both a summary and detailed school calendars for JFK are available on our website.  Highlighted events are below:

  • Sept 14:  Step It Up fundraiser begins.  The success of this fundraiser should allow H & S to reduce other fundraisers and provide support for students and staff.  The culminating event to this fundraiser is a “Day of Awesomeness” for students with inflatables, obstacle courses, games, etc. in the spring.
  • Sept 20:  First Reconciliation Parent/Child mtg, 6:00-7:30, cafeteria/gym
  • Sept 22:  End of first mid-quarter
  • Sept 23:  7/8 Band students in elementary schools perform with the AHS band at homecoming
  • Sept 28/29:  NET Retreat
  • Oct 1:  JFK day at the pumpkin patch

No Hard Copy Principal’s Posts

In an effort to save paper and reduce office work, the hard copy Principal’s Posts have been discontinued.  Principal’s Posts are written each weekend and posted on our website, available off the front page.  I also send a link via email and post it to the school’s Facebook account.

Occasionally, we will “blast” a text message to families.  A good example of a mass text message would be a last minute school closing due to weather.  If you are not registered to receive text messages from JFK (primarily families new to JFK and/or preschool), type “Y” or “Yes” to 67587.  You will not receive text messages from JFK if you do not take action yourself.  There is no action required to receive email or phone messages.

Lack of Substitutes Seems Widespread and Dramatic

As I was sending some information to The Catholic Messenger for an article they are doing on the widespread lack of substitutes, it became all too apparent just how dramatic of a change it has been at JFK.  Two years ago, before the pandemic, we had ten substitutes, the most we have ever had.  Today, we have four, and some of them are limited in the length or types of assignments they can take.  Our workforce, which is about 40% support staff and whose duties also often need to be covered when staff members are absent, is averaging about 1.3 people gone per day through the first four weeks of school.

JFK is 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).  You do not need a teaching degree to work as a substitute.  A minimum of an associate’s degree may be 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.  Workshops are being held almost every week throughout the state, and many of them are virtual so geography does not need to be a limiting factor.

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.

If you are interested in being a substitute, please contact me and/or the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency at 563-359-1371.

Free/Reduced Lunch Applications Still Needed

We encourage families to continue to complete applications for the USDA’s National School Lunch Program’s free and reduced lunches.  Even though ALL students are receiving free lunches this year, our “regular” free/reduced lunch counts are used for other purposes.  Examples are below:

  • The discount JFK receives on internet services is based upon our free/reduced lunch rate.  Our discount, for example, is supposed to increase from 40% to 50% based upon our increased free/reduced lunch rate.
  • Federal Emergency Assistance for Non-public Schools (EANS II) is tied into our free/reduced lunch rate.

Regular free/reduced lunches are approved based upon a sliding scale that takes into account household size and household income.  The regular eligibility needs to be renewed each school year.  Paper copies of the application were sent home to all families.  We will also try to get the .pdf file uploaded to our website for 2021-22.

COVID Guidance for 2021-22

Click on the JFK COVID FAQ, 2021-22 to have your questions answered.  Please note that the information is, however, subject to change.  The latest changes are highlighted in yellow.

As I indicated in my email on Thursday, accredited nonpublic schools were not given relief from following House File 847, which prohibits schools from enacting mask mandates.  Therefore, for the time being, Catholic schools in the Diocese of Davenport will continue to comply with state law that prohibits accredited nonpublic schools from requiring mask mandates.

Many of you may have heard that the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa granted a temporary restraining order to the State of Iowa’s current ban on school mask mandates.  Public school districts are free, at least temporarily, to enact mask mandates, if they so choose.  The Davenport Community School District, as a named defendant of the lawsuit in question, will begin a mask mandate on Monday.   

The temporary restraining order was granted at the request of parents whose students are served with special education services in public schools across Iowa. The court found that there was enough documentation that these students were denied their civil rights guaranteeing a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

The Diocese of Davenport is continuing to consider possible courses of action.  While we are not applying a mask mandate at this time, we continue to promote and support mitigation strategies such as vaccination, consistent and correct mask use, practical physical distancing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing with isolation and quarantine, and cleaning and disinfecting.

COVID Data and Comments

Below is a link to a .pdf file that shows several graphs for Scott County and JFK.  Below are also some comments related to the pandemic.

COVID Data, Sept 10, 2021

  • Scott County data remains relatively stable, with slight decreases in some areas and increases in other areas.
  • In several of the JFK graphs, I changed the red trendlines to 7 day moving averages, which is what we’re often accustomed to seeing in COVID graphs.  I can’t quite decide whether I should use 7 day averages or 5 day averages, however.  Either way, it should be noted that these are SCHOOL day figures as we don’t have attendance data for weekends and holidays.
  • I also added graphs for the JFK PS-8th grade averages each week.

Chad

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html , and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866-632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  2. fax: 202-690-7442; or
  3. email: program.intake@usda.gov

Iowa Nondiscrimination Statement

It is the policy of this CNP provider not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or religion in its programs, activities, or employment practices as required by the Iowa Code section 216.6, 216.7, and 216.9. If you have questions or grievances related to compliance with this policy by this CNP Provider, please contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Grimes State Office Building, 400 E 14th St, Des Moines, IA 50319-1004; phone number 515-281-4121 or 800-457-4416; website: https://icrc.iowa.gov/.