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Back to School

Posted July 27, 2012 in Perry

New faces, facility improvements, updated technology and more will greet Perry’s elementary through high school students this upcoming school year.

New principal and associate principal

Kelly Schloss and Anel Garza Sandoval: Kelly Schloss (left) and Anel Garza Sandoval are the new principal and associate principal, respectively, at Perry Elementary School.

Kelly Schloss is the new elementary school principal, and Anel Garza Sandoval is the new associate principal.
Schloss comes from the Fairfield Community School District, where her past roles include associate principal at the middle school and elementary school principal. She also has experience as a math consultant for the Great Prairie Area Education Agency, serving southeast Iowa, and has been a math teacher.
Garza Sandoval was previously a kindergarten and second grade teacher in Marshalltown at Woodbury Elementary, a bilingual school. She has 10 years of experience as a teacher.
The two may have different backgrounds and strengths, Schloss says, but they consider that to be an asset. Her strengths include curriculum work and math, while Garza Sandoval’s include English as a Second Language, bilingual education and reading. Both say they are excited to learn from each other.
They are on the same page when it comes to their main philosophies, including the belief that all students can learn, always put the student first and “making the system work for the student,” Garza Sandoval says.
The two are looking forward to meeting and creating bonds with the students, staff and parents.

Staff changes
New staff include:
• Sarah Ade, title-reading teacher
• Janna Bjork, third-grade teacher
• Andrea Brander, guidance counselor
• Carla Creswell, kindergarten English Language Learner (ELL) teacher
• Adrian Elliott, fourth-/fifth-grade ELL teacher
• Kelsey Little, preschool teacher with Head Start
• Heather Moore, technology support
• Jennifer Nicholson, second-grade teacher
• Tiffany Promes, first-grade ELL teacher
• Kris Powell, third-grade special needs teacher

Staff transfers include:
• Kaye Adair, half-time reading teacher/half-time fourth- grade teacher to fifth-grade teacher
• Melodie Braun, half-time title reading teacher to preschool coordinator and half-time title reading teacher
• Sarah Bryan,second-grade teacher to kindergarten teacher
• Katie Hardy, third-grade special needs teacher to second-grade teacher
• Nathan Krohn, fourth-grade teacher to fifth-grade teacher
• Elizabeth Marburger, half-time reading teacher at Perry Middle School/half-time fourth-grade teacher to fourth-grade teacher
• Meg Menke, kindergarten/ first-grade special needs teacher to first-grade teacher
• Kara Ozbun, third-grade teacher to kindergarten/first-grade special needs teacher
• Janiece Thompson, kindergarten/first-grade ELL teacher to first-grade teacher

Two new grants
The school has received two new grants through United Way.
A literacy grant for the third grade will pair students with an adult from central Iowa. The child picks the book the two will read, and they will journal back and forth about the book. Schloss says the program will “increase writing as a component of literacy” and helps them connect with the community.
The “Latino Reading Night” grant will help Hispanic students build home libraries. Students, accompanied by an adult or guardian, can go to the school’s K/2 or 3/5 computer lab and pick one book per visit. Spanish-speaking teachers and associate teachers will also be available to help with computer use.
The computer labs will be open from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, 7 and 9.

New dean of students, staff
Carol Ryerson joins the staff as Perry Middle School’s new dean of students. She will be assisting with student discipline, attendance, some evaluations and other duties, says Principal Shaun Kruger. Ryerson was most recently a fifth- to 12th-grade exploratory teacher in Eagle Grove.
Having Ryerson in the position will give the two of them more time to work individually with students, visit classrooms and assist teachers, Kruger says.
Also, Michelle Laughridge, who graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in December 2011, will be teaching eighth grade special education. Kathy Pantzar will be the half-time reading enhancement teacher. She was previously at Assumption School in Granger where she taught remedial reading, computers, physical education and was a librarian, Kruger says.

New iPads, laptops
Students and teachers will have access to 33 new iPads, he says, which will be placed on a mobile cart.
They are also adding another mobile laptop cart, bringing the total to five, each carrying about 33 laptops.
These tools complement students’ technology-oriented learning style today and can provide endless capabilities for enhancing what is taught in the classroom, Kruger says.
Continued focus on meeting students’ specific needs
The staff will continue to work to get students to a mastery of concepts by using formative assessments and standard-based grading, Kruger says.
“The goal of this is that we really look at using student classroom assessments to drive our decision-making in the classroom to ensure that students fully understand the concepts before moving on to the next set of skills.”

Facility improvements
New sinks and hand dryers are features of the newly remodeled student bathrooms.
Also, most building windows were replaced with energy-efficient windows, and each classroom received more energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.
Mounted projectors were also installed in math classrooms.

Sixth grade Bluejay Camp and schedule pick-up
The camp will be held from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on Aug. 20. Kruger recommends attending the event, where students will be introduced to the staff, have a brief meeting with their advisor, receive their schedules and get the chance to practice with their locks and lockers.
Seventh and eighth graders can pick up their schedules from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 20. Schedules will also be available online through the PowerSchool system.

Four new staff
Students will see four new teachers this fall, says Principal Dan Marburger.
Veronica Roshek and T.J. Maylum will be special needs teachers, and Jon Larson and Ben Coy will be alternative school teachers. Roshek and Coy are new graduates of Simpson College. Maylum was previously with the Bettendorf Community School District and Larson worked at a boys’ home in Johnston.
Also, Emily Einck is now a half-time ELL teacher and half-time Spanish teacher. Last year, she was a half-time Spanish teacher.

New food pantry
In the last several years, the school has seen the need for a food pantry on campus, Marburger says. The school’s food pantry will be available to all students and will be located in the at-risk room.
The school hopes to partner with the Food Pantry in Perry in the venture, with items being provided by the food pantry and through food drives at school.

Curriculum changes
Students can earn college credit through two new courses — general business and career work experience — being offered at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) at Perry VanKirk Career Academy.
• All students must take an additional half-year of math, which will be a statistics class. This was done to meet the Iowa Core, which are the minimum standards students must meet to graduate in the state, Marburger says.
• Students in some math classes, such as trigonometry and math analysis, will be participating in a “flipped classroom.” The pilot project, run by teacher Matt Hardy, will have direct instruction available through various media sources including a website and mobile devices, Marburger says. That frees up class time for the teacher to help students that need extra help.
• Teachers took the Iowa Core standards in reading, math, science and social studies and wrote “I can” statements for students. These will be posted in classrooms and are written in a way that kids know exactly what they need to know for each unit, Marburger says. “I can” statements will eventually be written for all subjects.

Facility improvements
All classes will have ceiling-mounted projectors and speakers, enabling access to more online content. There will also be new carpet in the hallways, while new lights at the baseball and softball fields are expected to be installed in the fall.

New staff, technology and facility improvements
Two new staff members join the district office this year, says Perry school Superintendent Lynn Ubben. Elyse Brimeyer is director of teaching and learning, and Gail McFarlin is nutrition services director.
There’s been an influx of technology in the district, Ubben says, including ensuring each teacher in the district received an iPad before summer break.
Facility improvements include a new roof, skylights and fire safety alarm system at the elementary school, a new boiler at the high school and new buses and mini vans.

New faces
Tyler Krueger is the new physical education teacher this year, says Principal Tonya Eaton. For the past two years, Krueger has been working in the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District. Also new is custodian Juanna Vargas.

New iPads, other technology
A grant from the Dallas County Foundation is making it possible for the school to get about 12 iPads, Eaton says. They will be used for all curriculum areas, but the focus will be on language arts and math from kindergarten through eighth grade.
The iPads offer younger students hands-on learning and will also help teachers differentiate skills work in the classroom, Eaton says.
Their building will also have wireless internet and they will be using new “clickers,” remote-like devices that will be used with SMART Boards.

Updated dress code
An updated dress code was passed by the school board and will be enforced in the upcoming school year. Parents should check the notices sent out at the end of last school year before buying clothing, Eaton says. They plan to send out reminders in the beginning of August.

Facility improvements
All of the classrooms and administrative areas were painted. In the classrooms, teachers got to choose one of four colors for an accent wall.
The parking lot has been repaved and a new sidewalk has been put in, adjacent to the lot. The bike rack will also be refurbished and in a new location.

Curriculum and professional development
Eaton says the main focus this year will be language arts with professional development in reading. They will also continue to enhance students’ and teachers’ technological skills.
Working on effective teaching skills will continue to be a priority, Eaton says, while spiritual development for teachers will also be important.

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