In an attempt to increase transparency to the public as well as the efficiency of board meetings, the Belmond-Klemme School Board has now placed all their agendas and meeting materials online in public view. All the agendas, minutes, and action sheets the school board will use at its meetings may now be viewed at the link below:
The school board will meet this coming Thursday (October 19) at 7:00 P.M. in the high school library.
On Friday, September 29, 2017, area school superintendents met with the leadership of Prestage Foods to learn about the projected effect of the new Prestage plant on our local communities and their social services and supports. We met with COO Jere Null along with his Plant Engineer Tim Schelle and his communications director Terry Friesth. We met at their temporary headquarters in Eagle Grove.
Prestage Foods is planning to have their new pork plant near Eagle Grove fully operational in November 2018. Although the opening could be delayed by a matter of weeks, they predict it will be open no later than a month or two at the extreme. When the plant opens, they plan to have it staffed with 950 workers.
Preparing for the opening, they will have six more executives on site starting in January 2018. By early summer, they will be hiring installers to install the machinery and robots. Other management positions will be added over the summer. They plan to hire their remaining 700 to 800 workers during September and October for their November opening.
Prestage expects to be an attractive employer and draw from the existing area workforce. Their starting wage will be $15 per hour for production workers, comparing favorably to other area production plants currently paying $12 to $13. The lowest-paid workers will begin at more than $37,000 per year plus benefits. Average annual wages at the plant are expected to be more than $47,000 plus benefits. They say they will also be offering a very good single health insurance plan and an attractive benefits package.
Prestage predicts against a sudden rush of students into area schools in October and November. They said the increase is likely to flow in over time. They initially will be hiring from the local workforce. As other area employers refill their positions, families will come into communities and students into schools. A number of real estate development companies already have projects in the works based upon what happened in communities where similar plants have located like Guymon, Oklahoma, and St. Joseph, Missouri. Preparing for the demand, housing plans are already underway in Eagle Grove, Clarion, Fort Dodge, and Webster City.
The new pork plant will also have “tag-along” industries that will increase local employment opportunities and populations, like laundry, uniform providers, food service (40 jobs projected), cold storage, natural casings, and CO2 pellets.
For our area students, the best jobs will be working with the robotics in the plant. Workers in this field will need backgrounds in electronics, circuitry, and computer programming. At the outset, Prestage will employ 35 to 40 mechanics maintaining the robotics. Those numbers are expected to double. Other good jobs will be connected to refrigeration and boiler operations and food safety inspection.
Our wrestling program had great sportsmanship ratings this past year. With 1.00 being the best, the B-K program received the following scores:
- Average Coach’s Rating was 1.00, compared to the 1A average of 1.20 and the state average of 1.20.
- Average Athletes’ Rating was 1.03, compared to the 1A and state averages of 1.17.
- Average Student Spectators’ Rating was 1.00, compared to the 1A average of 1.16 and the state average of 1.15.
- Average Adult Spectators' Rating was 1.00, compared to the 1A average of 1.19 and the state average of 1.18.
Keep up the good work!
Iowa HS Music Association Fall Bulletin just came out. Within it they list the Academic Achievement Awards for 2016-2017 for Concert Band, Jazz Band and Marching Band (schools must submit). Of the over 300 districts in the state, BK was one of only twelve districts who received the Distinguished Academic Achievement award in all three areas.
In Concert Band, the students had the 4th highest GPA (3.71) in the state (of those who submitted)
In Jazz Band, the students had the 6th highest GPA (3.81)
In Marching Band, the students had the 3rd highest GPA (3.68)
Under Iowa law, school boards can decide when neighboring school districts may or may not cross their district boundaries with buses to pick up open enrolled students. This decision varies from district to district. I polled our neighbors, and here is what I learned from those supts who responded to me:
- CAL does not allow any neighboring school district to cross its boundaries to pick up open enrollment students.
- Clarion-Goldfield is willing to reciprocate with all districts that allow them equal access. They have only one agreement, and it is for a two-mile driving limit with West Hancock.
- Clear Lake has agreements that allow neighboring districts to come one mile into their district to pick up open enrolled kids, and they can also go a mile into the other district also.
- Eagle Grove allows no neighbors to cross their boundaries.
- Forest City has agreements with all neighbors that buses may cross lines by up to two miles. Their agreement with North Iowa is three miles. Their agreement with West Hancock is four miles.
- Garner-Hayfield has reciprocal agreements with all contiguous districts, except B-K, to allow buses into each other’s districts. It is a two mile agreement with West Hancock and Forest City and a one mile agreement with Clear Lake.
- Hampton-Dumont does not allow any neighboring school district to cross its boundaries to pick up open enrollment students.
- LuVerne allows no neighbors to cross their boundaries.
- Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock allows neighboring schools into their district and has reciprocal agreements with all of neighboring districts that range from one to two miles.
- West Fork (Sheffield, Chapin, Meservey, Thornton, Rockwell, Swaledale) has reciprocal agreements with Clear Lake, Mason City, and Rockford for buses to enter up to one mile.
- West Hancock has an agreement with neighbors Clarion-Goldfield and Garner-Hayfield that buses from both schools may cross by up to two miles. They have an agreement with Forest City and the distance is four miles. They have no such agreement with Belmond-Klemme or LuVerne.
Authentic Intellectual Work will remain our primary teacher professional development initiative again this year. Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW) focuses academic instruction on student construction of knowledge, conceptual understanding, and elaborated communication to answer questions resembling the complex intellectual challenges of work, civic participation, and managing personal affairs in the contemporary world.
AIW was developed by Fred Newmann and colleagues at the Center for Organization and Restructuring of Schools, University of Wisconsin–Madison. There are three defining criteria of the AIW Framework:
1 Construction of Knowledge
Skilled adults in diverse occupations and participating in civic life face the challenge of applying basic skills and knowledge to complex problems that are often novel or unique. To reach an adequate solution to new problems, the competent adult has to “construct” knowledge because these problems cannot be solved by routine use of information or skills previously learned. Such construction of knowledge involves organizing, interpreting, evaluating or synthesizing prior knowledge to solve new problems.
2 Disciplined Inquiry
Constructing knowledge alone is not enough. Authentic adult intellectual accomplishments require that construction of knowledge be guided by disciplined inquiry, striving for in-depth understanding rather than superficial awareness, followed by developing and expressing their ideas and findings through elaborated communication.
3 Value Beyond School
Value Beyond School refers to real world applications. When adults write letters, news articles, organizational memos or technical reports; when they speak a foreign language; when they design a house, negotiate an agreement or devise a budget; when they create a painting or a piece of music — they try to communicate ideas that have an impact on others.
I am honored and excited to have this opportunity to be part of the Belmond-Klemme school system. I recognize the strong sense of community that is held throughout Rowan, Goodell, Klemme, and Belmond, and I understand the important role the school plays in the community. It is very apparent it is a great source of pride and pleasure.
I was born in Guthrie Center, Iowa, the son of two teachers, and I grew up in Harlan, Iowa. I attended Morningside College in Sioux City. After graduation, I took my first job as an English teacher at Lewis Central in Council Bluffs and earned my masters degree in school administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I later crossed the river and taught several years in Millard Schools in suburban West Omaha. It was in Millard I first became a school administrator.
I went on to earn my specialist degree at Drake University and my doctorate at the University of Nebraska. I have a number of years of service as a school superintendent in two states and on a U.S. Army base overseas. Most of my career is in Iowa, so I am most happy to return to my home state.
My family and I join the Belmond-Klemme district having lived in some other places, so we appreciate the feelings of pride and community present here. My wife Deanna is a reservist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). She often reports to areas of national emergencies and assists with FEMA relief efforts.
The Belmond-Klemme school board, staff, and community are to be congratulated on their decision to become a one-to-one school, providing a digital device to every student, 5 - 12. Our world is changing. If Iowa schools are to remain competitive on an international level, we need to offer a 21st Century curriculum, and we need to provide digital learning tools to fuel more powerful and purposeful instruction.
Over the next few months, I will be working hard to get into the community, introduce myself, and learn about the people of the Belmond-Klemme school district. I welcome you sharing your thoughts, ideas, and concerns for how we can improve our school system. Many of the most successful schools enjoy a fully-engaged community, so I welcome your participation in our efforts.