Monday, September 10, 2012

Welcome to Newell-Fonda

Welcome back for the 2012-13 school year! It has been a great start back and will be a year marked with many changes. The first change has already taken place with the beginning of demolotion of the shop building.
This will make room for the 13 classroom addition and shop. The second phase of the project will be a gymnasium, media center, and commons space off of the gym. The projected occupancy of all of the projects will be August 2014. This will be a year of many changes and challenges, but we know the end product is what we need to keep in mind.

 As construction begins, please be respectful of the construction zone, we will keep our website up-to-date with pictures of what is going on. Because the shell is a precast building, meaning that they are made of poured concrete and assembled in sections, we will not see a lot of substantial building until December. With the site now cleared, let the building begin!

The picture to the right is a view from the east parking lot looking west. This is the former site of the shop and playground.

 In phase II, the south tower, seen in the background, will also be demolished to make room for the new practice gymnasium and media center. Destination 2014 is in full swing!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weight Room Addition

The Newell-Fonda Community School is into an addition possible by the generous donation of Don Anderson. Mr. Anderson had set up a trust fund many years ago. For the first 10 years, the fund provided scholarships for Newell-Fonda graduates who were entering any medical field related career. This fund provided many students opportunities to establish themselves into a career of service in the medical field.

At the end of 10 years, the principal (approximately $325,000) was to be divided up and used by 4 specified groups within the school district. The 4 areas are Music, Speech, Art, and Athletics. Committees were formed for each area and recommendations made on the use of money. One of the goals was to provide an impact on students of the Newell-Fonda district as long-term as possible.

The Athletic committee had long seen a need for a improved weight room facility. The have dedicated the entire share of the Anderson Trust Athletic apportionment to the construction of a new weight room facility which is located north of the small gym. Below are progress pictures provided by Scott Kilbride, bus driver and photographer extraordinaire. Thank you to Scott for sharing his photos. Substantial completion will be near or by November 1st.

This is a view looking south from the railroad tracks. The wall directly behind is the small gym.

The exterior framing is nearly complete. The four large windows will look north and provide a lot of natural light.

This view is from the west, you can see the old bus barn and the big gym in the background. There will be an entrance door on both the east and west, seen at right, to the weight room.

Check back for continued updates.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Debt Solution

We appear to be heading into an out of control spiral but Warren Buffett offered his advice to put an end to budget deficits. Sometimes the solutions are just so simple.

political pictures - warren buffett - debt - Buffett Serves Up Some Advice
Warren Buffett, pictured here adorably eating a parfait, presented his quick and easy solution to America’s debt problem today on CNBC:
“I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than three percent of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Here is an article shared with me from our AEA Chief Administrator, Jeff Herzberg. In his email Jeff states
You may have all caught this article but it should be read by every staff member, community member and board member in rural Iowa...
The article, When Factories Vanish, So Can Innovators, discusses the impact to other industries because of losing manufacturing jobs in the United States. How do schools reverse what the article points to? “Young people stop thinking about making things,” Mr. Jordan says. “It is no longer in their heads. They have a different mental orientation."

If this is true, how do we get them thinking about making things? To be creative and innovative?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Counting Hours vs Days

I have mixed feelings of counting hours versus counting days when inclement weather comes into play. I guess one of my views would be to have the flexibility to make up time missed by extending the day or starting earlier when temps are more conducive to staying in school. The part we must remember is that we had 2 early dismissals due to heat.

Your thoughts pro and con.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

MLK Day - What is Your Dream?

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and one of the most famous speeches ever known, "I Have A Dream", an attempt to identify Dreams for Education. What is your Dream as related to Education? What will it take to make it happen? Are you working within a system that encourages change?

"I Have A Dream.....
  • That People stop others when they begin to talk negative about education while not knowing facts
  • That People are aware they are always selling Newell-Fonda with every interaction both in person and online
  • That People are proud to be part of something special and their actions support this
  • That teachers, students, and patrons feel they are treated with respect and fairly when they come to our school
  • That all staff treat each student as our best customer
  • That people feel they can approach all administrators with constructive dialogue in an effort to make the system better
  • That change is embraced as the norm rather than another thing we have to do
  • That students embrace and excel with the tools we provide
  • That people embrace being an active participant of “The Great Conversation” as referenced by Jamie Vollmer in his book Schools Cannot Do It Alone
  • That Iowa can impact teaching and learning
  • That our students can connect with learners from all over the United States
  • That business and industry connect with schools to move change"

These are a few of my "dreams" for our system that I feel are important as we move forward.

Our entire staff, certified and non-certified, are reading the book by Jamie Vollmer as referenced above and I am hearing some promising comments from our dialogue. Change will occur and our employees are empowered to initiate the change.
I would encourage all to push on your system and stretch your staff. Iowa has a lot of talent working in its schools and they need to be given the opportunity to share outside of their four walls.
Be sure and check out the visions shared on our new DE Director's blog where he asks 3 questions to Iowa educators. It appears change will be supported from the top, this is a great time to be in education!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pardon The Disruption - Back to Teaching

So you went to a tech conference at Newell-Fonda or Sigourney as part of the #iowa1to1 and picked up some tips on how to integrate technology and teach differently. You got back to your school shared your new enthusiasm with your students and they were inspired. You carried that into day 2, 3 and perhaps into the next week. But now we are 10 days post-conference and some are resorting back to the old way of teaching. In essence, you are sending the message to your students "Pardon The Disruption" - Back to my old teaching styles.

Being a master learner is about continually researching ways to improve teaching, trying new methods, reflecting on your craft, sharing with a peer, and trying again. Clayton Christiansen discusses why schools struggle to teach differently, or fight through the disruption. Teaching in a 1 to 1 provides the opportunities to teach differently. While tech integration provides challenges, tech can help in both changing technology and changing pedagogy.

What can you do to help push through the challenges? Have you touched base with new relationships from the conference? Have you shared a success or failure from something you tried? Have you followed the #iowa1to1 hashtag on twitter? Have you joined a group on the Iowa 1 to 1 Ning? Have you asked for help from a new group on the Iowa 1 to 1 Ning?

Don't procrastinate any longer--connect and expand with your Personal Learning Network(PLN). Procrastination inhibits change leading to improved student engagement. Push yourself into action. There will always be reasons not to but there are plenty of reasons to change---most notable, the students in your classroom. Don't let the disruption stop you from changing.