Thursday, December 15, 2005

Iowa Teacher of the Year for 2006

Congratulations to long-time Association activist and fourth grade teacher, Jackie Warnstadt, of Sioux City in being named Iowa Teacher of the Year for 2006!

For those of us that have known Jackie over the years, we know that when she has a passion for an issue--whether that be her students, the Association, or politics, there's no harder worker then Jackie Warnstadt.

We are so proud of you, Jackie! Congratulations from all Team ISEA!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Great educators I met in Carlisle EA

Pictured with me (left photo) is Anna Johnson, an elementary teacher at the Carlisle Elementary building. Anna had the most inviting classroom, I'd want to come back everyday if I were a student in her room!

In the Carlisle Elementary Media Center (photo at right) is Media Specialist Kristi Smith. Kristi said how student readership is up and students have tremendous enthusiasm for gobbling up great literature. Kristi is the sister of a long-time friend and long-time association leader Vicki Grote of Underwood.

Third year High School Chemistry teacher, Kari Shields, is pictured here with her life-sized cardboard cutout in her classroom. Iowa State University focused on a handful of graduates as part of their display at 2005 Iowa State Fair and Kari was the educator they chose to highlight. ISU obviously knew what a quality educator Kari would be...she is now mentoring a new Science teacher down the hall from her!

The final set of educators I met as a part of the Carlisle Community School District were teachers in the 5th and 6th grade building in Hartford. Pictured here (photo at right) is Peggy Gruss. Thanks, Peggy, for your Association leadership and your leadership in the classroom.

A Visit with the Carlisle EA

Carlisle EA co-presidents, Bill Fink (left) and Ben Barry (right) were two of the Carlisle EA leaders that came out on a cold December morning to greet me with bagels and coffee in the Carlisle High School Media Center on Tuesday, December 6th. I had an opportunity to share with members concerns that I've heard from their colleagues from my travels around the state. Carlisle EA members shared their concerns of the volume of additional assessments and having to spend so much time away from their family and community responsibilities to complete the added work.

Bill Fink (center) was able to take Association leave for a 1/2 day to serve as my host and tour guide throughout the district. Here Bill is pictured with two awesome EA teacher/leaders Mike Giesler (left) and Leah Heideman (right). Team ISEA knows you are working harder then ever before to provide challenging opportunities for all of Iowa students. Thanks for all you do!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Raising money for the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education

Raising monies for the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education should be a year-round activity. Pictured here are sock monkeys, hand-made by retired Council Bluffs EA member, Wanda Synhorst. If you've been a delegate to the
NEA-RA over the past 10-12 years, you know how Wanda makes at least one sock monkey each year during the RA to be auctioned off on the last day at the morning Iowa Caucus. Wanda's sock monkeys have made hundreds and hundreds of dollars for the NEA Fund. What creative projects can you come up with to raise awareness and funds for the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Association Leaders in the North Polk EA

Pictured at the district office are Association leaders (from left to right) Rosalie Eimers, North Polk EA Secretary; Connie Boyd, North Polk EA Vice President; Martha Sheldahl (center), North Polk EA president; Sarah Sanders (far right) North Polk EA Treasurer.

The North Polk EA hosted an early morning breakfast for association members, school board members and district administration to meet Polk Suburban UniServ Director, Randy Richardson and myself.

North Polk High School

I had the opportunity to address two separate Government classes filled with 12th grade students on Monday. Teacher, Mr. Fedders, had prepared the students for my visit by reviewing the structure of both the U. S. Congress and the Iowa General Assembly. I shared with students my experience as a member of the Iowa House in 1993-1996. Students were surprised to learn the impact state government has on Iowa school's as well as the impact on their own personal life.

Central Elementary in North Polk

My first stop on December 5th was at Central Elementary in Mrs. Boyd's fourth grade class. Mrs. Boyd had selected the book, An Amish Christmas, for me to read. The fourth graders have been studying the northeast region of the United States and the book fit perfectly with their classroom studies! Students shared how the Amish celebration of Christmas was similar and how it was different from their own family celebrations. Being in the fourth grade made me miss my own classroom all over again!

The second stop of the day was in Mrs. Sheldahl's first grade classroom. She had selected the book Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star for me to read aloud. As I read a line aloud, the students echoed my words. At the end of our reading we all joined together in singing aloud the musical version. Oh, how sweet the young children can be!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Listening to books on tape/CD on the road

I've just finished listening to Frank McCourt's latest work, Teacher Man on CD. McCourt is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis.

As I travel the highways and byways of Iowa, I have listened to dozens of books on tape (mostly nonfiction) and was really moved by Teacher Man. McCourt taught in the public High Schools in New York City for over 30 years. His stories are your stories. As I've listened to you in your school hallways and staff lounges, there is a common thread. We must meet the human needs of our students first before we address their academic needs. McCourt's book will touch your heart!

252 pages
published by Scribner

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bettendorf Middle School visit

Our stop at Bettendorf Middle School introduced us to two great school leaders. Media Specialist, Ethel Hegeman (left) and Assistant Principal (and former Bettendorf EA Negotiations team member), Lisa Reid (right) took us on a whirlwind tour of the 6th-7th-8th grade; one thousand fifty member student body Bettendorf Middle School. We saw staff engaging students in meaningful challenges throughout the building! There is much to be proud of at Bettendorf Middle School!

Neil Armstrong Elementary in Bettendorf

One of my most favorite things about traveling throughout Iowa are times when I get to reconnect with friends I've known over the years. Pictured here with me is long-time friend and past president of the Bettendorf EA, Margie Schwaninger. We are actually in the Media Center in Armstrong Elementary (where Margie is the Media Specialist), not on a warm island location in the Caribbean! I would like to applaud the Bettendorf Schools for acknowledging the critical importance of having a part of every school team of professionals, a certificated Media Specialist!

Pictured here by the portrait of astronaut Neil Armstrong are our
"tour guides" (EA leaders from Armstrong!), Lisa Wilson (left), Patricia "Patty" Tapping (in green), and Patty's student teacher, Whitney Menold, from Augustana (far right). Thanks for all that you do every day-- Neil Armstrong teacher leaders to give great opportunities for all of Iowa's students!

Herbert Hoover Elementary in Bettendorf

Bettendorf Education Association president, Cindy Ferguson (seated at left), served as my host when visiting four Bettendorf area schools on Wednesday, November 30th. Our first stop of the day was at Hoover Elementary where we visited the school's Media Center. Media Specialist, Sharon Dixon (standing at left) and school Principal, Jeff Johannsen (standing at right) shared how both the community and school have created so many opportunities to use the Media Center. Mr. Johannsen lead our school tour, stopping in every classroom to introduce us to staff and students. We felt most welcome at Hoover!

Pictured here from Hoover is Art teacher, Candy Egger. There were so many terrific projects throughout the building and in classrooms that Candy worked with students to produce. As educators we realize the value fine arts has as an integral part of a rich and varied curriculum. You're awesome, Candy!

Muscatine EA visit

Here I am pictured with Team ISEA leader/Muscatine EA President, Becka Jones. Becka, an elementary counselor, gave us a tour of her elementary building in Muscatine on Tuesday, November 29th. While in the building I had a chance to read to Sarah Manjoine's Kindergarten class.

In addition, Becka and I visited a terrific Math lesson taking place in the multi-age (3rd and 4th grade) classroom of Deb Wieskamp and Luann Garrett. Deb and Luann address their students as "Juniors and Seniors". These two awesome educators are working harder then ever before to make sure that all their students have opportunities to be successful. Thanks for all you do, Deb and Luann!

Becka also set up an interview for me with Cynthia Beaudette of the Muscatine Journal. Thanks for your leadership, Becka! Check the article out for yourself!

Eastern Iowa Community College HE EA

With my entire thirty-one year education career in the elementary classroom, I now have the opportunity to learn about the work of our colleagues in higher education. I had a chance on Monday, November 28th to be a part of the Eastern Iowa Community College Bargaining Team meeting combined with their Executive Board. Pictured here are (left to right) Charles Krumbein (bargaining team member), Chris Eichmeier (EICC president), and Alan Shaw (EICC representative to the ISEA HE Standing Committee). Once our meeting was over, the EICC leaders treated me to a yummy dinner at a local Daveport restaurant! Thanks, EICC for all you do as Team ISEA leaders!

Clinton EA Building Representative Meeting

Pictured by my side are Clinton EA leaders: Julie Wolbers, Member Rights Chair; Dee Smith, Clinton EA President; and Jane Halverson, Clinton EA Past-President.

I had a chance to address the Clinton EA Building Representative Meeting on Monday, November 28th. The EA had a great turnout of enthusiastic leaders from across the district.

Team ISEA congratulates the Clinton EA for all their dedicated leaders!

ISEA-R leader, Sue Wiele

For the past seventeen years, ISEA-R leader, Sue Wiele of Davenport, has continued her education connection to children at Lincoln School for the Performing Arts. Sue served as my "tour guide" when visiting Lincoln School. How lucky the children and families of Lincoln are to having such a valuable "volunteer" as Sue Wiele!

Lincoln Elementary in Davenport

I was welcomed by fifth grade students at Lincoln School for the Performing Arts in Davenport on Monday, November 28th with the "Funga" dance. It is amazing to see the impact that educators have with students when cross-curriculum lessons are integrated in the school day! Wonderful learning opportunities are taking place at Lincoln Elementary!