Dear St. Teresa Board of Education,
I am going to write my monthly principal’s report in a slightly different format than the past. I think I stressed too much about coming up with thoughts and ideas for each category of the previous format. Thus, I am choosing to write a letter to all of you to share what has been going on at St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School over the course of the summer. I know this sounds a bit cliche but I am feeling very thankful, grateful, and blessed. It has been a very crazy, busy last two weeks, but I am feeling really good about the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.
Jenni and I have been working really hard filling all of our positions. Even though we were not able to accomplish a “plan A” in every aspect of the school setting, we were able to settle with “plan B”. We feel that we are now fully staffed for the new school year. We are very thankful that so many people said YES to God’s calling as we work towards the vision and mission of our school.
Coordinating the federal EANS money has been a bit of a challenge as three different parties are involved. The Iowa Board of Education approves the application which took several emails and a couple zoom meetings. The AEA manages the money and prepares the purchase orders which can be confusing since we have two locations. Our third party provider issues the contracts to the people that have been chosen to provide services to our students. Our returning ADAC employees are Heidi Bohr, social worker, Christina Timp, and Tina Hageman, paraprofessionals. Our new ADAC employees will be Evie Milbrandt, Heidi Snell-Anderson, Bayley Monroe, and Rachel Sandhorst. Evie and Heidi will be part time interventionists in Spillville. Rachel will be the part time social-emotional counselor on Mondays in Ossian and Tuesdays in Spillville. Bayley Monroe will be the interventionist in Ossian and Mrs. Elsbernd’s long term substitute. All of these people will provide services to our students that will address the learning loss that has occurred due to covid-19.
With the EANS money we were also able to provide one-to-one tutoring and summer school opportunities. Angie assisted in coordinating reading and math practice for all students in Calmar each morning during our summer programming.
With the resignation of our music teacher, we struggled to get any applications for this position. Jenni reached out to the music education department and has coordinated weekly music enrichment opportunities for our K-5 students. The Luther music education students will also be planning and assisting with the K-5 Christmas and spring concerts. The classroom teachers will be responsible for making sure their students are meeting the priority music standards at their grade level. 6-8 grade students will be given the option to take band, choir, or both at the South Winn middle school with Connie Formanek and/or Nathan Miller. We are super excited to have this opportunity to partner with Luther College. We potentially will be getting an intern for the second semester.
With the resignation of our Ossian assistant cook and the recent resignation of our head cook, we felt the pinch last week. Breann Woltzen accepted the position of assistant cook and will be working full time everyday 7:00-2:00. We were given some names to call and two part time positions have been accepted. Jennifer Mahoney will be cooking for our students on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. She used to work at Westside and has her ServSafe certificate. Denise Barton agreed to cook on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Bernandine Gander, Phyllis Elsbernd, and Sandy Timp are willing to substitute when they can.
I know that five custodians seem like a lot of people, but I am grateful they agreed to all work part time at our schools. John Busarow will be in charge of the Spillville building as our main contact person for all schools. Terry Bohr will be in Ossian in the afternoons taking care of the kitchen, the childcare center, doing the electrical work, garbage, and plumbing. Lori Gossling and our new hire Penny Hertges will be dividing and conquering the cleaning of our Ossian building while Scott Baumler cares for the Calmar building.
Last but not least, we hired Nicole Bohr to work at our school as the preschool paraprofessional in Ossian. She will be working in the four year old classroom Monday-Thursday and will also be helping Jessie Forney on Fridays with our wrap around program for our preschool students.
Our school is blessed with many families who are generous with their time and talents. The golf outing was once again very fun and the food was awesome. We would like to thank Mike & Alland Gehling, Brad & Kelly Elsbernd, and Mitch & Jenny Holthaus for coordinating all aspects of this major fundraiser for our school. I would also like to give a special shout out to the staff members that assisted with the food and events for the day.
Several staff members also worked the dairy bar at the fair this summer and the educational building where Mrs. Monroe hung the artwork of each of our students for visitors to view. I also had help purchasing furniture from NICC and getting it all picked up before the golf tournament. We purchased different tables and chairs for the library along with several desk chairs for our teachers. I am so very thankful for the help moving all the items into the Ossian school and for those that have been hauling boxes, furniture, and paperwork between our three sites. Saturday was our cleaning day in Ossian. We had seven parents and ten students assist in the clean up. We were able to get almost everything done on the list. The custodial staff will meet on Monday night to discuss what still needs to be done before the first day of school.
I am sad to report that we are incredibly short staffed at the childcare center. We currently have four full time staff and five part time staff members. Please see the childcare advisory notes for
We are closer to completion of our heating and cooling system. Return air ductwork was completed recently, along with grills being installed over the holes in the fine arts room and library. The repairs to the eavestrough and the small roof on the westside of the Ossian building took care of the water leaking into the gym and freezer room, but it is imperative that the water leaking into Mrs. Elsbernd’s room and Mrs. Becker’s room gets taken care of this fall. Both carpets had to be cleaned once again and will need to be replaced once the problem has been solved. We also need to repair the basement window as that may be the cause of the water in the basement.
Tuesday, August 16 we will be welcoming our new staff by having an orientation, lunch and a social in the afternoon. We will kick off the new school year on Wednesday with team building, goal setting, and logistics for the year. We will be having intruder training provided by Winneshiek county emergency services and the sheriff’s department. Grant Langhus from Luana Savings Bank will be talking about cyber security since our email system was hacked over the summer. We will have team time in the afternoon. Thursday will consist of Mass with Father Huber in Spillville at 8:15 followed by phonemic awareness and content reading training. Families were invited to sign up for Back to School Conferences Thursday between 3 and 7, as well as Friday 8-noon. Monday will be our time to retrain teachers in PRESS interventions, Stop the Bleed, and work time in their classrooms.
During the course of the school year, we will be using our EANS money to team up with ADAC as they provide professional development in the areas of differentiation, multi-tiered systems of support, universal design for instruction. UDI is an educational framework for applying universal design principles to learning environments with a goal toward greater accessibility for all students, including students with disabilities. We are looking forward to this partnership.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I can address them at our board meeting on Tuesday, August 16 in the Calmar church basement at 7:00 pm.
Kristin & Jenni