Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Rainy Iowa Day Didn't Dappen Spirits in Nevada

Not leaving quite early enough had me doing what I dislike the most--being late! I arrived about 10 minutes late to the Nevada Elementary School where I was greeted by Doxie Weber. Doxie (seated on the left) led me to the area that is currently being used as the Media Center. A dozen or so staff members gathered for bagels, juice and conversation before their day with students began.

The Elementary teachers shared with me for the last year and a half, their building was being under construction and is being added on to. Moving dayinto the finished part of the building was the week before Christmas. The building is still under construction and if everything works out as planned, the last area will be open for the coming fall semester.

Teachers shared concerns over the so-called No Child Left Behind law and in particular--moving to a growth model of actually tracking student progress from year to year!

It was fun to share the news of passage of SF 277, the revision of the Teacher Quality Law, by both chambers of the General Assembly. I invited them all to join us at the state Captiol this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. when Governor Culver will sign the bill into law. They had obviously been keeping track of the legislative action as they knew those in the majority party insisted that there would be "no new hoops" to jump through in order to access the salary increases.

After a quick tour of the building by two third grade students, I visited the classroom of Collene Wrage (seated at right). Collene and her associate Chris Burling (on the left in grey) are quite a magical team! They have been working together with the Pre-School Special Needs students for 7 years. The students were having their first opportunity to discover how magnets work.

I had the chance to read to two classes today at the elementary building. Pictured (at left) is Amber Olson, a first year teacher, with her homeroom of Multi-Age 1st and 2nd graders.

The second group of students I read to was in Doxie Weber's 2nd grade. Doxie and her homeroom are pictured here at right. At the end of my day today, I had a special treat--I got to meet Doxie's daughter who is a teacher at Nevada High School!

In both classrooms I read Take Me Out to the Ball Game (and then we stretched and sang the song) and the poem, Casey at the Bat. The students informed me that they liked stories with 'happy endings'.

Thanks Nevada Elementary staff for your warm hospitality! And thanks for the great work you do every day for Iowa's students!

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