Welcome back warriors! Education and activities are back in full swing and anxiously await the excitement and challenges of the new year. First, some successes. Norwalk continues to work toward college and career readiness for our graduates. Our present junior class has been developing an electronic graduation portfolio documenting their progress and achievement of the Iowa Core (National Common Core) Curriculum. A committee of parents and teachers spend three years studying the Iowa Core, national statistics, college and work readiness research and indicators of a rigorous curriculum. In 2009, the group recommended a new policy to the school board which raised the academic bar, required electronic portfolios of graduates and aligns our student recognition programs with the ACT College Readiness Standards.
We believe this visionary stance sets Norwalk apart from other excellent Iowa schools. As you often hear, quantitative test scores are extremely important to college entrance and can be predictors of future post-secondary success. However, standardized testing companies admit there are critical life skills that are impossible to measure on a bubble test. Qualitative skills are also necessary for a productive and rewarding adult life. These critical life skills are best demonstrated by qualitative measures such as rubrics and portfolios. This list may include: employability skills, financial literacy, citizenship, responsibility, teamwork, developing a work ethic and many others. These qualitative skills are deeply embedded in our National Core Standards. Quantitative skills like basic math and reading require quantitative measures (standardized tests). Likewise, we believe that qualitative measures (portfolios) are needed to demonstrate qualitative skills. With that research-based philosophy in hand, Norwalk will be raising the bar for our diplomas. Our yearly parent surveys continually ask us to raise the bar. In fact, 92% of parents believe that ALL Norwalk graduates should be prepared for success at any Iowa Community College, as a minimum requirement of graduation. Our involvement with DMACC at the Warren County DMACC (Southridge Mall) will ensure a better understanding and attainment of those minimum standards. ALL students will work harder, but this increased preparation will eventually lead to a more successful work experience in this competitive world.
Another change comes directly from the National Government. This change involves the federally subsidized hot lunch program. The national obesity rate among youth has triggered a national response that alters requirements on all American schools. In short, your students will notice smaller portions of those foods which are linked to obesity and more foods which are not. You will see many more fruits and vegetables than ever before. In fact, students are required to take these extra fruits and vegetables. You may also notice smaller portions of some proteins or breadings (carbohydrates). Change is hard, but sometimes change is necessary to comply with changing federal regulations and the national landscape. So, please read about these changes in our summer newsletter or on our website. Also in the news from nutrition, a changeover in nutrition computer software has caused some havoc with our account balances. We are working to have all account balances corrected by September 1. Please bear with us during this computer glitch and contact the nutrition department with any questions at 981-9876.
This week’s pictures