Our superintendent offers a look at real progress in the Shenandoah schools
SHENANDOAH, Iowa -- It was great to see so many of you return for Homecoming and ShenFest this year. I enjoyed attending some of the class reunions and connecting with some of our alumni. I appreciated the opportunity to share some of the good news about the progress the district is making.
Here are some of the stories I was able to share with district alumni, their families and friends:
--U.S. News & World Report ranked Shenandoah High School 24th in the state of Iowa. The report evaluates how students perform standardized assessments, graduation, and college preparedness measures, and how students who are economically disadvantaged perform in comparison to their peers across the state. Shenandoah was the only school recognized in southwest Iowa.
--The district expanded Career Technical Education (CTE) programs to include automotive technology during the 2016-2017 school year. This has been a strong program addition and is shared with the Sidney Community School District. In addition to automotive technology, the district offers CTE programs in agriculture, business, family consumer science, health occupations, and industrial technology and is looking to further expand in the areas of communications and technology. The district is creating opportunities for students to participate in work-based learning experiences and identifying internships for students.
--Shenandoah Middle School science teacher Brett Roberts was named the Southwest Iowa “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) educator of the year in 2017. Students participating in his “Ten80” class have competed at a national STEM competition the past two years. Roberts’ students were the national winners of the competition in Troy, N.Y., in May of 2017.
--A recent textbook adoption led the district to purchase STEM Scopes as the instructional resource for the K-12 science department. These materials are providing a solid base for instruction to help our students further advance in STEM areas.
--Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS): While we are in the second year of implementation of PBIS at the elementary level, the middle school and high school are at the initial stages of introducing PBIS. This is a very strong research-based model of building a positive school climate and reshaping student behaviors.
--Early childhood education has expanded to serve students the full day. This is a positive change that will make a lasting and sustainable difference for our youngest students.
--Often people ask what school staff do in the summer. The last two years, our team has been hard at work expanding our extended learning opportunities to include interest camps to promote literacy, accelerated learning, fitness & health, and STEM activities. It has been an excellent opportunity for students to learn and also have a lot of fun.
We have many fine students who are excelling in their post-secondary learning experiences. We have recent graduates attending some reputable learning institutions in and out of state. This requires commitment and discipline on the part of our students.
It also takes financial resources.
Our annual awards banquet awards thousands of dollars in scholarships for our graduating students. Just one example from this past spring, Andrea Hunter, a graduating senior, was awarded the President’s Scholarship at Iowa Western Community College. This funding makes it possible for her to go forward in her pursuit of an advanced education.
You can all help by supporting the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation. Your donations make a difference and contribute to making the Shenandoah schools an excellent education system for all of our students and all of our communities.
Dr. Kerri Nelson is superintendent of the Shenandoah Community School District and is an ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation. You can write to her by email at email@example.com.