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by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · May 11th, 2017


The following are some of the notes provided in the May 8, 2017, Board Book at Linn-Mar.



Homework

A committee was formed at the beginning of the school year to consider elementary homework. It was made up of elementary principals, teachers and teacher leaders. As the end of the current school year draws near, they have shared their thoughts regarding elementary level homework.

One of the findings is that research does not support the academic value of traditional homework at the elementary level. If there is going to be something called "homework," it should deal with literacy activities. Topics of value are reading, practicing sight words, spelling words, etc. Students should be encouraged to read every night.

As far as teachers, their time is better spent on instruction and relationship building with students than on preparing, assigning and checking homework during the school day. And the student's time is better spent being active and being with family and friends than doing homework after school.

The committee will continue its considerations during the coming school year.



New courses

A number of new courses will be offered. One, called Graphics 1, will be available at the high school level.

It was also announced that the number of required science courses will be adjusted to meet the Iowa Science Standards. Currently one specific science course is required with two electives. The transition will call for three required science courses and will be in effect for the 2018-19 year.

At the middle school level, a new course will be offered to all sixth and seventh graders. It is called App Creators and will take the place of Computers 6 and 7. It is a quarter-long course. During the 2018-2019 year, a course called Computer Science for Innovators and Makers will be introduced.



Administrators and COMPASS staffing

Next fall COMPASS will not have an administrator for just that program. Theadministrator will be part of the high school team. Joe Nietert, who is currently a high school assistant principal, will become a high school associate principal and will be assigned to COMPASS as a part of his duties.



School networking

Linn-Mar belongs to CoSN, an organization which is dedicated exclusively to transforming learning with the use of technology. The Iowa State chapter received certificates for the highest member retention rate and highest percentage of member growth in the past year compared to other states. The certificates were presented at the annual conference in April in Chicago.



Construction

The high school renovation is almost completed. All that is left is punch list and warranty work. Westfield is at the same stage, except for work on the roof drains and storm water before the fall semester begins. The design of the Westfield parking lot is done and has been approved by the City of Cedar Rapids, with work scheduled to begin the first week in June. It is hoped to be completed by the first week in August.



Farmhouse burning

The Marion Fire Department is going to use a farmhouse on school property for training and a burning at some time. It is expected that the training will occur later in May and then the bouse will be burned in the fall.



Award

Linn-Mar High School is ranked third best in Iowa in "US News and World Report." Nationally it ranks at number 953 among the top 6041 public high schools. Ranking was based on academic performance, performance of disadvantaged students, graduation rates, and preparation for college courses.
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