February 13th @7 p.m. in HS Auditorium

The IKM-Manning Board of Education has hired the firm of Iowa Schoolhouse Construction and Planning Services to evaluate and plan for the future of all buildings in the district. The activities the firm will provide include and not limited to:

• Evaluate all attendance centers for their minimum and maximum student capacities and present use.

• Evaluate enrollment trends and projections for future enrollment.

• Review current school locations, potential building sites, and school district growth areas.

• Provide the district with recommendations, all relevant information and an Action Plan for future building use and possible new buildings.

 
The IKM-Manning Board of Education has hired the firm of Iowa Schoolhouse Construction and Planning Services to evaluate and plan for the future of all buildings in the district. The activities the firm will provide include and not limited to:

• Evaluate all attendance centers for their minimum and maximum student capacities and present use.

• Evaluate enrollment trends and projections for future enrollment.

• Review current school locations, potential building sites, and school district growth areas.

• Provide the district with recommendations, all relevant information and an Action Plan for future building use and possible new buildings.

• Conduct a minimum of four community wide discussions and planning sessions.

They have scheduled four stakeholder feedback meetings for Kirkman, Irwin, Manning and Manilla. 

The first has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Kirkman Community Center on October 29th followed by another meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Irwin Gym. 

Stakeholders have the opportunity to meet on November 4th
at 7:00 p.m. in the High School Auditorium in Manning and on November 6th in the Old Gym in Manilla starting at 7:00 p.m.
 
From the desk of the Superintendent

One of the most important times of the year is rapidly approach and that is our first sessions of Parent Teacher Conferences. On October 16th preparation for those meetings scheduled for October 17th p.m.–8:00 p.m. Both of those days will also be early release at 2:30. All parents need to be prepared, not only with questions but as an active listeners. 


Below are some questions parents need to ask during conference time.
• Is my child performing above or below grade level in school?
• What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses in the major subject areas?
• What subjects does my child enjoy most?
• Does my child need special help in any academic subject?
• How does my child interact with other children?
• Has my child regularly completed homework assignments?
• Has my child attended class regularly?
• Have you observed in changes in learning progress during the year? Has the learning improved or declined?

The district has received its AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) for the 2012-13 year. The AYP is No Child Left Behind’s accountability of state standards and testing, which is broken down by buildings and sub-groups. Unlike how the state accounts for testing, the federal government looks for accountability by breaking students down into groups. As a district we did not met the scores for two consecutive years in our middle school. This puts the Middle School in “needs of improvement” Year 1. Plans are in place and with our focus on the “four questions” we will meet the requirements for the federal government. Middle School Principal Sharon Whitson, Elementary Principal Wendy Hammrich and Title One Reading Specialists Rhonda Sievertsen are actively engaged in developing a plan which will be submitted to the state. The fallacy with the calculation of AYP nearly every school or district will be on the “needs improvement” list. It is in this educator’s opinion that the goals of NCLB are noble; the current law unjustly labels schools that are doing an excellent job of educating the future of our students. 

The Board has hired Iowa School Construction Firm as consultants for the purpose of future consideration for the IKM-Manning School District. The Board had previously set the time table for November to make a decision of the buildings and grade configurations. With the hiring of this firm the time has been moved to January for the group to deliver its findings and recommendations to the board. 


The scope of services includes these following activities:
1. Future attendance center locations planning recommendation,
2. Review building conditions and assess potential issues,
3. Conduct four community meetings,
4. Building capacities.

During the week of August 7, the District ordered an indoor air quality and mold investigation for the Manning Elementary. Air samples were collected in five classrooms to evaluate the presence of mold spores. Indoor spore levels were well below the EMC Insurance Company benchmark of 900/m of air and similar to the spores identified in the outdoor samples. The highest reading for any of the five classrooms was 290/m. The total summary can be reviewed in the Central Office or on the District 

Congratulations to our two newest board members, Sam Hansen and Jim Thraen who will serve through 2017. The board also elected Dave Heller, President and Amy Ferneding, Vice-President. The other members of the board are Eric Ramsey, Scott Hodne and Lynn Barry.



All questions or concerns can be brought to my attention by calling the Central Office at 712-654-2852 or e-mail at tward@ikm-manning.k12.ia.us.

Yours in education,

Dr. Tom Ward
 
It won’t be long before the alarm clocks will be signaling the start of another school year for the IKMManning CSD. Before we can send those students off to school we need to start the registration process.  This year registration packets will be sent out to all families with a JMC e-mail address and mailed to those that do not. If you do not have an e-mail packets can be picked up at all offices or call the Central Office to have one sent directly to your home. All information can also be accessed at the IKM-Manning website. The registration needs to be filled out and returned to the school; with payment by August 9.  If you prefer to pay in person, you may do so on Monday, July 29 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

Just a reminder on some of the changes parents will encounter for this 2013-2014 school year. In an  effort to get all of our classes together Irwin Elementary will house all 1st and 2nd graders, along with one kindergarten and an all-day preschool. Manning Elementary will house all 3 a morning and afternoon preschool, and an all day AK, and one kindergarten. Manilla will still house grades 5 thru 8. Any changes to bus routes and shuttle times will be distributed the first of August.

The maintenance staff has been very active in getting the school ready with an added sidewalk to the 

greenhouse, moving classrooms to and from both elementary buildings, new lockers in the high school 

and added commons in the front lobby, and drainage/parking lot work to the entrance at Manning 

Elementary.

Enjoy what time you have remaining with your family and if you have questions I can be reached at 

712-654-2852 or e-mail tward@ikm-manning.k12.ia.us. Let’s make this the best year yet for all of our 

students in the IKM-Manning CSD.

Yours in education,

Dr. Ward
 
It seems the pace of legislative action is picking up in anticipation of the first legislative funnel which is March 8. A bill must have passed at least one committee to remain alive, with the exceptions of Ways and Means and Appropriation bills. The budget subcommittees have turned their attention to presenters offering their thoughts on what the budget priorities should be for this coming year. From
the standpoint of this administrator the hope is to have allowable growth set at a percentage of at least breaking even and to make modifications to the Education Reform bill. The allowable growth needs to be resolved rather quickly so we can prepare and have budgets approved for FY 13-14.

The House Education Committee made significant changes to the governor’s education reform bill. Two of the most significant changes came in a more rigorous assessment process that is aligned with the core standards and will be given to every student in grades 3 – 11. If the Legislature fails to provide sufficient funding, districts would not be required to administer the assessment.

Second, the teacher ladder and compensation program would no longer be a mandate and districts will have greater opportunity to opt into the program.

It is that time of year for basketball fever! Both the boy’s and girl’s teams are having great years and at the printing of this article the girls are one win away from the state tournament. Good luck to all!

This past weekend the IKM-Manning Foundation sponsored another successful youth basketball tournament. All the funds raised go back into the IKM-Manning CSD through mini-grants available to all teachers across the district. A big thank you to all those that volunteered time and supplies to the running of the tournament.

Everyone have a great week!

Yours in education,
Dr. Ward
 
It has been another busy week in the Iowa Legislature working on the Governor’s Education Reform. The
House Education subcommittee completed its review and next week members will begin to discuss the
bill in the full Education Committee. It was passed out of the House subcommittee Tuesday on a party-
line vote. The Senate Education subcommittee will begin review this week. There has been indication
each party will offer amendments to the bill as it reaches the legislative process. As educators we
believe that it is in the best interest of our students, not only in IKM-Manning but across the state for
education reform and the imperative need to include the appropriate funding. What our legislatures
need to do is listen to school leaders with concerns and suggestions to what can be done to improve the
education bill.

Allowable growth still seems to be the issue with the education reform bill. The governor is interested in
changing from the current allowable growth model to a new model of “supplemental state aid,” which
would be depended on state funding. The question with this model is what happens down the road
when the state can’t adequate provide the funds?

Again this is a great time to make those supportive contacts and share your opinions. I greatly
appreciate your help in these matters.

Tournament time is approaching and if you haven’t had the opportunity to get out and see our kids play
this would be a great week as they prepare for the “Road to Des Moines.” Speaking of tournaments the
IKM-Manning Foundation is sponsoring a youth tourney this weekend at all three facilities. Get out and
support the youth of the area.

I would appreciate any comments or concerns. The door is always open, the phone is never busy and I
do look over my e-mails. No excuse on getting in contact with me. Have a great week.

GO WOLVES!!

Yours in education,

Dr. Ward
 
Our legislatures just finished week two of the 2013 legislative session. This week was spent in committee and subcommittee meetings. The House began work on education reform while the Senate turned its attention to four percent allowable growth. What is really distressing to this educator is that the content of education reform is far from being settled, as it appears many legislators have concerns about the tiered teacher leadership system and the cost that could be associated with the system. As I write this update the fact that there is no agreement on allowable growth agreement for FY 14 and FY 15 is distressing, especially when the Central Office is preparing the FY 14 Budget.

Legislators are telling superintendents they need help in working through the technical issues of the Governor’s proposals, as well as setting an allowable growth. Along with this goes how increased allowable growth minimizes property taxes as fewer districts become dependent upon the budget adjustment. The budget adjustment is an adjustment to the regular program district cost of a school district for districts in which the regular program district cost for a year would be less than the regular program cost for the previous year. For IKM-Manning would be a dramatic loss in budget adjustment.

I would like to recognize Mr. Struve and the IKM-Manning Jazz Band for a One Rating over this past weekend. This group of performers is one other reason to attend a home basketball game. They do an outstanding job of entertaining during the games. Also, a high five to Coach Rasmussen and Coach Wagner for both of the basketball teams advancing on to the semi-finals of the WVC Tournament this week at the IKM-Manning Gym. The state tourney is right around the corner.

Questions, concerns or if you just like to discuss any issues give me a call or e-mail tward@ikm-manning.k12.ia.us. Have a great week!

Yours in education,
Dr. Ward

 
The Holidays are a special time for us to celebrate the season with the good news of hope, joy and love. As 2013 approaches let us focus on renewal and raising expectations for more learning and personal success for all who are affiliated with the IKM-Manning CSD Schools. The power of civility, service, friendship, optimism, generosity, understanding, and gratitude are more important than ever during these hard times. The commitment to excellence of dedicated teachers, support staff, and administrators should reassure all stakeholders that the IKM-Manning Schools are moving forward with renewed optimism. We thank all of the taxpayers in Kirkman, Irwin, Manilla, and Manning for their support and for caring so much about the future of their children.
Of course, I believe the faces of our children best express the true meaning of this holiday season. They radiate a sense of unbridled enthusiasm, untainted hope and unabashed joy for life and the opportunities that await them. Indeed, no matter their circumstances or position in life, all children deserve to feel nurtured, accepted, valued, safe and loved.

This holiday season, my hope is that every child will have at least one caring adult who understands and shares the joy that comes when family and friends celebrate this time of year. To the students, parents, teachers, staff and friends of the IKM-Manning CSD please have a safe and joyous holiday season.

As we enjoy the upcoming holidays, it is my fervent wish that each of you receives and returns the seasonal bounty of blessings and good tidings that make these days truly special. It is also during this time that I am reminded of my own good fortune to serve as Superintendent of IKM-Manning CSD.  Indeed, my lifelong career as a public school educator has afforded me vast, varied and richly rewarding opportunities to teach and learn from young people.

We, at the IKM-Manning CSD Central Office, wish you a safe and joyful Holiday Season with family and friends. Thank you for sharing the gift of your children with us. Their future is getting brighter each and every day!

Yours in education,
Dr. Ward
 
Safe Routes to School
Region XII Council of Governments is in the process of completing a Safe Routes to School Plan for
the IKM-Manning CSD. The plan focuses on routes in the towns of Manning, Manilla and Irwin. The
Safe Routes Program is an opportunity to build new walking or biking routes to schools or improve on
routes already in place. With the focus on wellness in our schools, what better way to stress this to our
students than with improved surfaces and safe crossings?

The plan must identify the barriers that exist within our communities. The District is asking parents to be a part of this process by filling out a survey on our website to help identify those barriers.  Once a plan is in place, the cities and school may be eligible to apply for grants in assisting in creating
safer routes to and from our school buildings.  Dave Heller, Amy Ferneding and Eric Ramsey represent the IKM-Manning CSD in this process.

Veterans Day
As we start into the holiday season there is no better way than by kicking off by honoring our Veterans. This has and will always be a very special time to recognize the men and women that have served to insure our rights and liberties. The IKM-Manning Middle School, under the direction of Deb Musfeldt, has put together a special celebration on Friday, November 9th, starting at 10:30 a.m. in the new gym in Manilla and culminating with lunch for all vets. All veterans and patrons are invited to attend.

Spending Authority
How do we measure financial health for schools? When it comes to the financial health of schools we
have a different set of standards besides fund balances and days net cash. Schools look at budgetary
health in the General Fund. Districts are held accountable by the State Board based upon our spending authority.


Spending authority is the measuring stick used to enforce equity of expenditure among districts. Every
child is worth about the same and we can’t spend more than what the state says on a per student
basis. The state controls the amount we get per student by setting the allowable growth rate. Because
the amount of money we’re allowed to spend is also student-based, when we lose students, we
lose ability to spend, but generally costs don’t decline the same way. We hold reserves of Spending
Authority, called Unspent Budget Authority. This is the reserve that has been generated by controlling
expenditures and is our “rainy day” fund. If a district runs out of Spending Authority the state can and
has closed down a district.

Spending Authority is measured differently than our accounting set of books because there are times
the state gives us Spending Authority, but not the cash to fund it. In those cases we have to use our
reserves to give us the cash to spend the Authority we’re given. The only method of replenishing cash
is to levy property taxes and if you have the cash but not the authority you can’t spend it. This is only in the General Account.

Site Visit
Beginning with the end of last school year administrators and staff have been preparing for our school
improvement site visit. The purpose of this process is to assess the progress of our comprehensive
improvement plan and making recommendations to improve educational practices.

The onsite review will begin on November 12th and culminate on the 15th. Nine members from the
AEA, Department of Education and area school administrators will consist of the site visit team. Much
of the site visit schedule consists of staff interviews, board interviews, student and parent interviews
and special area interviews. Those areas include special education, preschool, equity and career and
technical education.

Activities and process that are implemented in all site visits include document review, district overview, interviews, building tours, written report findings, and site visit highlights shared at the conclusion of the site visit.

Please feel free to give me a call (712-654-2852) or e-mail (tward@ikm-manning.k12.ia.us) with any
questions.

Yours in education,
Dr. Ward, Superintendent of Schools