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

Yours in education,

Dr. Tom Ward

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