Student Safety & Well Being at MOC-Floyd Valley

February 22nd, 2018

Given the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; I want to assure you that at MOC-Floyd Valley we are doing our very best to keep our students and staff members as safe as possible!  In the paragraphs that follow, I will share some information that will give you a glimpse into our efforts and thinking regarding student/staff safety.

Building Security – Each of our buildings is locked during the school day.  Visitors are granted access only after office personnel are able to view them on a camera and then electronically unlock the doors to allow entrance.  All visitors are expected to check in at the office immediately after entering.

Classroom Doors – We are in the process of installing door handles that are lockable from the inside on all of our classroom doors.  We are over 80 percent finished with this project with completion scheduled for August of 2018.

Cameras – Cameras are now installed and operating on all of the District buses.  In addition, we recently updated our existing building cameras and added several more.  Both the high school and middle school have cameras throughout the inside and outside.  The elementary schools have cameras at the entrances and on the bus loading zones.

Emergency Plans – This past summer, Sioux County Sheriff’s Deputies Nate Huizenga and Waylon Pollema, Orange City Police Chief Jim Pottebaum, and Tim Zeutenhorst of Van Engelenhoven Insurance met with us to review and update our emergency incident plans.  In addition, they toured the buildings and grounds and provided us with recommendations for making the District as safe as possible.

A.L.I.C.E. System – In 2013, MOC-Floyd Valley implemented the A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) system as our planned response in the case of an active shooter in our buildings.  All staff are trained on this system and as recently as this summer conducted drills with law enforcement officials from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office and the Orange City Police Department.  In addition, these same law enforcement officials come in each year and train our students.  The training is age appropriate and is delivered to inform and prepare the students without creating undue anxiety.

Bus Safety – Highway Patrolman Vince Kurtz and Deputy Pollema conducted emergency training with all of our bus drivers prior to the start of school.  Drivers were able to process different ways to handle dangerous situations on the bus.  Students also participate in bus evacuation drills each year.  Finally, drivers and classroom teachers periodically review bus safety & behavior guidelines with students.

Bad Weather Decisions – This is not a perfect science, but transportation director, John Van Wyk, and I check roads whenever the weather is suspect.  In addition to conferring with each other, we are in constant communication with area superintendents and transportation directors.  We try to minimize risk for our students while dealing with the realities of winter in Iowa.  Please note, that if you ever choose to keep your child home because you are concerned about the road conditions, we will accept your decision and the absence will be excused.

Inside Recess – We all know how important recess is for students – physically, and to enhance learning.  Whenever possible elementary students will have outside recess.  Our rule of thumb is that recess moves indoors if the wind chill is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Student Mental Health and Well Being– Staff members have received training on serving and supporting students who are dealing with trauma of any kind.  We are certainly not experts, but we strive to show students and families that we care and want to support them.  We have specific anti-bullying efforts at each level, and we try to model, expect, and emphasize our District belief statements of caring, cooperation, effort, responsibility, respect, excellence, integrity, and creativity.  We work directly with parents and mental health providers to insure that students have access to services.

Digital Safety – Technology is an important part of functioning well in our world.  That being said, it is a tool that must be used responsibly or it can become detrimental.  We teach digital citizenship and responsible use at all levels.  While we provide electronic devices to our students, we have clear expectations regarding their use at school.  I want to encourage all parents to establish and uphold your expectations at home as well.  Recognizing the positive power of technology should never blind us to the danger associated with too much screen time or irresponsible use of that technology.

Work with Law Enforcement – We have a very strong, positive working relationship with our local law enforcement officials.  To illustrate, we recently had a parent contact us about a potential concern.  We were in constant conversation with our local police department and were able to address the situation in a manner that served everyone well.  Both the Orange City Police Department and the Sioux County Sheriff’s Department have a strong, positive presence in our schools, and a high level of trust and cooperation exists between them and the MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District.

It is an honor for us to love, serve and teach our students.  We are thankful for the opportunity and for the partnership with families and community members.  It truly does “take a village to raise a child,” and we are fortunate to reside in this “village.”

Thankful for the Servant-Hearted!

January 23rd, 2018

MOC-Floyd Valley is fortunate to have an organization full of servant-hearted people.  This is clear to me on a daily basis.  Today, the group that reminded me was the bus drivers.  They patiently picked up students on messy, difficult roads, and did so with patience and a smile.

When I began serving in the role of superintendent, I reflected on everyone who serves students and families within our district.  Below is a summary of those reflections – which I recognize even more today!  Consider:

School Board

Who gives of their time with absolutely no monetary compensation?  Who volunteers their time, talents, energy, and expertise to serve us, and everyone in the MOC-Floyd Valley School District?  Who ultimately makes this such a great place to work and serve?

Thank you to our School Board Members:  Shane Jager, Amy Kleinhesselink, Christine Koerselman, Chris Immeker & Mere Reyes!

Transportation

Who are the first and last school representatives that many of our students see every day?  Who sets a positive tone by warmly and sincerely greeting students to start each day, and then safely transports them to and from school?  Who, while watching the road, constantly makes sure that all students are treated respectfully?

Thank you to all of the men and women who drive our buses and transport our students!

Food Service

Who provides our students with the nutrition and energy they need to function throughout each day.  And who does this while meeting numerous difficult, government-imposed requirements and still provides flavorful choices.  Who works in a stiflingly hot kitchen, doesn’t always feel appreciated, but does all of this with a servant-hearted smile?

Thank you to all of our food service staff!

Nurse

Who oversees all of the health needs of our students?  Who juggles the required paperwork?  Who works with parents, family members, other medical personnel, and all of us to make sure our students are educated despite various health needs?  Who does this in all four buildings with the help of our building secretaries and some of our uniquely qualified staff members like Mr. Krohn?

Thank you Nurse Nonnemacher!

Custodial/Maintenance

Who are the ultimate “behind-the-sceners”  who keep things running, keep things clean, anticipate needs, and epitomize service?  Who hears, “Could you fix . . . or Could you get me . . . ?” and always does their best to meet those requests while at the same time, keeping up with the messes and the needs that come from buildings used by hundreds of people every day?

Thank you to all of our amazing, servant-hearted custodial and maintenance staff!

Secretarial/Office/Business Managers

Who is the face and the voice of each building in our district?  Who sets the tone by her smile and her unflappable demeanor when bombarded with requests from students, parents, teachers, and administrators?  Who always seems to understand what we mean, even when we aren’t not completely clear in our questions or requests?  Who seems to know everyone, helps everyone, and demonstrates more flexibility in a day than seems humanly possible?

Thank you to all of our wonderful office personnel!

Aides & Associates

Who epitomizes support?  Who works closely with teachers to meet the needs of all of our students, and often gives that extra dose of love and support that ultimately makes the difference for many of our students with the greatest needs?  Who is often instrumental in making sure that no child ever falls through the cracks?

Thank you to all of our aides and associates!

Technology

Who lives on the edge of what might be possible?  Who is tasked to understand what many of us struggle to understand, and then to make it understandable and useable to us?  Who is empowering us with technology and then helping us to understand and use the technology to deepen and add meaning to learning.  Who fearlessly leads us through necessary changes like moving from JMC to Infinite Campus while at the same time preparing and repairing all of our technology equipment and infrastructure?

Thank you to our tireless technology department!

Counselors

Who seems to master the art of caring and listening?  Who leads the way in supporting students and families when issues arise?  Who makes it a priority to instill hope and find help?

Thank you to our guidance counselors.

Teachers

Who has a passion for students and a passion for curriculum?  Who develops positive relationships with students, collaborates with colleagues, partners with parents and tirelessly works to meet each student where he or she is and take them as far as possible?  Who cultivates a love of learning and arms our students with the tools they will need to successfully meet the challenges ahead?

Thank you teachers!

Coaches & Activity Sponsors

Who teaches students about character, honor, self-discipline, loyalty, effort, teamwork and humility?  Who teaches students that “it is more important to be your best, than to be the best.”  Who masterfully uses co-curricular activities to give our students a sense of belonging and an understanding of being a part of something bigger than self?

Thank you coaches and sponsors!

Principals/Assistant Principal

Who oversees our efforts as a system and insures that our practices align with our mission?  Who develops routines and procedures that allow everyone else in the system to do their jobs?  Who models learning, challenges, and supports students and staff.  Who selflessly leads and cares deeply?

Thank you to our principals and assistant principal.  

More Thoughts About Stretching and Learning at MOC-Floyd Valley . . .

December 13th, 2017

DutchmanNewPurple

In my last blog entry, I shared my perspective on the question, “What do you like or appreciate most about MOC-Floyd Valley and why?” Below are responses from other members of the MOC-Floyd Valley Community who shared their thinking around the same question.

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What do you like or appreciate most about MOC-Floyd Valley and why?

Students

• “My teachers because they help me and make me laugh.”

• “I like the teachers because they are so kind and so willing to help you when you need it.”

• “The teachers because they are fun and funny. The teachers teach subjects that fit them.”

• “I appreciate the teachers because they help us learn. I also appreciate the janitors for helping make our school clean.”

• “What I appreciate about MOC-FV are the teachers who understand that there are some students that have part-time jobs that take up most of their time after school. They take that into consideration.”
• “One thing that I appreciate about our school is the relationships between teachers and students. I love being able to go to a trusted teacher and talk about not only school problems, but problems or concerns outside of school.”

• “One of the many things I appreciate about MOC is that the teachers care so much about the students. They not only care about students’ grades or how well they are doing in classes, but they also care about who you are as a person. MOC-FV teachers take the time to get to know their students. It creates a personal connection that makes students feel safe, important, and cared for.”

• “I like the teachers. I appreciate that the teachers here make an effort to get to know each student individually. They treat you as a person with a life rather than just a student they need to teach. It makes getting up and going to school a lot better.”

• “The teachers and staff are invested in our growth. They don’t care where our starting point is; they just want to see us improve.”
• “I love how close knit of a community we are. Every teacher and all the students get along well and that’s something that I really appreciate. At the end of the day we’re all just here for each other and accept all of our differences.”
• “I appreciate how willing people are to participate in activities even if they may not be the best at it. They just want to be involved in things because the students who are really good at whatever they do to are extremely welcoming to those who aren’t as good.”
• “I love that our teachers really care about us and go out of their way to help us succeed. I like that we’re a smaller school, and that I’m able to recognize every face I see in the hallway.”

• “How accepting and warm the people are.”

• “When I think about what sets MOC-FV apart from any other school district, I instantly think about the teachers and faculty that are a part of this school district. The teachers at MOC-FV are some of my greatest role models and mentors in life. Their compassion for students and their enthusiasm for teaching is very noticeable when you walk into a classroom. I feel like the reason why kids love the teachers so much is because of how much teacher-to-student interaction there is. MOC-Floyd Valley is very focused on individual learning and making sure that you understand the information that is being presented. Because of this, the teachers do everything they can to make sure that happens. They are always willing to come before and after school to help you with your individual needs. In my opinion, what is a school district without teachers who don’t teach this way? That is why I am so appreciative to be a part of this school district and so thankful for each of the teachers and faculty of the MOC-Floyd Valley School District.”

• “The teachers at MOC-FV are always encouraging and bringing out the best in our students. Thank you for the wonderful people behind the scenes, like the cooks, custodians, and secretaries! Students at MOC-Floyd Valley are always kind, and welcome each other with laughter.”

• “The classes: The school offers a wide variety of classes for students to take according to their interests. The Teachers: All of the staff at MOC-FV are genuinely interested in seeing each student succeed and are willing to take time out of their personal lives to help us.”

• “What I appreciate most about MOC-Floyd Valley are the teachers. They work hard to get the most out of every student. They are always there for anyone who needs to talk. I am thankful for every single one of them!”

• “The thing I appreciate most about our school district is the amount of one-on-one time teachers have for struggling students. I also appreciate the freedom that we have in high school.”

• “I appreciate the teachers. They love us as if we were their own kids and push us to strive for a bright and successful future. Their leadership, hard work, and dedication are what shapes are character today and prepares us for obstacles in life.”

• “I appreciate many things at MOC-Floyd Valley, but I really appreciate how the teachers are always willing to help and make kids feel at home. They want what is best for all of the students!”

• “I appreciate the opportunities we have here – such as college courses – to increase our knowledge and prepare us for the future.”

• “I appreciate teachers for the willingness to help others and help outside of class when we need it. I also love the variety and number of activities available to us. Finally, relationships at school are very deep when you invest in them.”

• “For someone what is involved in many different activities – and gives a lot of time to each – I appreciate how flexible our school is with scheduling and allowing us to participate in everything we love.”

• “MOC-Floyd Valley Teachers – Because of their ability to relate the topics we are learning to the world, we live in. Many of the teachers use real world examples to help me and my classmates understand the material in many new ways.”

• “I appreciate the principals at MOC-Floyd Valley. They are very helpful and thoughtful to the students and staff.”

• “What I like best about MOC-Floyd Valley is that I feel safe. I don’t have to be worried when going to school every day.”

• “I appreciate the teaching staff because they care about every student, not just about teaching their courses.”

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What do you like or appreciate most about MOC-Floyd Valley and why?

Parents

• “I appreciate all the teachers who take the time to help our kids. If my child has a problem, she can ask for help. The teachers take care of her and the other students as if they are their own. I don’t ever worry when I drop my kids off as school because I know they are taken care of. Hospers Elementary has been a great school for our girls!”

• “The amazing teachers! My kids have always had amazing teachers and I don’t believe that is a coincidence!”

• “I appreciate Mr. Landhuis greeting each child outside before school every morning. I appreciate Mrs. Scholtens making learning fun and meaningful for our son. I appreciate her flexibility to be able to meet students at their various levels. I appreciate all the “specials” teachers who create an environment that engages and encourages creativity. I appreciate Cathy for being the friendly face in the office when I drop something off or ask a question. I appreciate Jeff for his work on keeping the building clean and his friendly demeanor. I appreciate the lunch ladies who do make a difference in each kiddo’s day. I appreciate Mr. Andersen for knowing which books our son would be interested in. I appreciate the invitations to parents to help on special days in the classrooms. I am just so thankful our son is in an environment where he is pushed each day to continue to grow academically and personally. It is evident that he is cared for by all of the staff. He LOVES school and looks forward to going each day. “

• “The teachers and the staff at Hospers Elementary are amazing. They take care of our children as if they are their own and I never worry about them when they go to school in the mornings. They are all very kind and patient with all the children. I appreciate that it is a smaller school for our children. I feel like they get the attention that they all deserve.”

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What do you like or appreciate most about MOC-Floyd Valley and why?

Teachers

• As a teacher and a parent, I appreciate how the needs of the students are always put first. Everyone cares so much about what is best for the students, which makes MOC-FV a great place to work and send my children.

• I appreciate the dedication that each of my colleagues demonstrates to our students no matter the subject or extra-curricular activity. This quality creates some wonderful opportunities for students in our district!

• I appreciate the fact that everyone on staff has the best interests of the students as their first priority ALWAYS

• The staff models what it means to be life-long learners to the students who walk into the classroom every day. They prepare all the students for bright futures while setting high expectations and goals for students to reach all while supporting them every step of the way.

• Excellence is strongly encouraged and nurtured in everything we do: character, academics, extra-curricular activities, etc. There is never a good time to settle for less than your best.

What makes MOC-Floyd Valley a special place to learn and grow?

November 18th, 2017

DutchmanNewPurple

 

The MOC-Floyd Valley Community school District provides outstanding opportunities for our 1,440 students.  From our selfless, visionary Board to our supportive, involved parents and patrons; from our caring, committed faculty and staff to our excellent and safe learning facilities; from our robust fine arts programs to our outstanding athletic programs; MOC-Floyd Valley provides an environment where everyone belongs, everyone learns and everyone grows!

We embrace the idea of stretching to learn, and we create opportunities for productive struggle – where activities, questions and situations are challenging and require thought and effort.   At the same time, we are intentional about providing the resources, support and encouragement needed for students to meet with success and be motivated to continue.   Our attention to that delicate balance is a key to our students’ success and growth and allows us to fulfill our mission of  “fostering learning, excellence and civic responsibility.” 

Another key is our consistent and sincere striving, by everyone, to model and cultivate our core values of caring, cooperation, effort, responsibility, respect, excellence, integrity, and creativity!   These values contribute to rich relationships and personal growth – now and in the future.

MOC-Floyd Valley is a district that is large enough to offer a wide range of quality programs where everyone can explore their interests and pursue their passions.  At the same time, we are small enough that everyone cares for and supports one another.  Since moving to MOC-Floyd Valley in 2003, I can think of no better place for children to live, learn and grow! 

 

Relationships are the Foundation

September 22nd, 2017

CheerleadersHeroes 2 HS Marcus Court Big Moment Rochelle Dutch   Cheeseball contest  Kelly 2 Hanz Franz 2

 

“You get out what you put in,” is an oft-used phrase when we are encouraging someone to put more effort into an endeavor.  We probably think of it as an admonishment to “try harder,” but last week’s Homecoming celebrations reminded me of how relevant that concept is for fun, or relationships, or anything else, for that matter.

If you had the opportunity to attend Friday’s Homecoming pep rally, you saw lots of people stepping out of their comfort zones to be present in the moment and create a fun event for everyone.  Students, parents, and school personnel all let down their guards and celebrated being in community – and it was a beautiful thing to witness.

One teacher commented, “That was the best homecoming pep rally in which I’ve participated in 25 years!  What FUN!  No one had to be the brunt of jokes or skits, there was lots of energy and lots of laughter!  Thank you!”  A group of students commented, “We’ve never had that much fun at school!”

The Homecoming pep rally is just one example of how our staff pours into developing positive relationships and meaningful opportunities for our students.  It happens every day in small and big ways, and I couldn’t be more thankful to serve with a team of people who understand the importance of relationships and are willing to pour themselves into every moment, every day!

 

Welcome Back!

August 24th, 2017

I say it every year, but “I love this time of year!”  I’ve been going to school – in one form or another – for the last fifty years, and the opportunity to start fresh every August still invigorates me and fills me with optimism.  It is my hope that every student and every member of the MOC-Floyd Valley faculty and staff feels the same way.  Let’s make this our best year yet!

As the year gets under way, I want to share with you the three areas that we will focus on to fulfill our mission of fostering learning, excellence & civic responsibility.

BUILDING A POSITIVE, PROFESSIONAL CLIMATE & CULTURE . . .

  • Focusing on
    • Presuming the positive
    • Encouraging and supporting
    • Believing and loving

We have caring people who truly want what is best for every student and every person involved with MOC-Floyd Valley.  The more we keep our focus on building each other up and maintaining our focus on the mission at hand, the more our growth and success we will experience!

STRETCHING & LEARNING . . .

  • Focusing on
    • Quality planning for instruction (You-We-I)
    • Quality questioning (You-We-I)
    • Productive energy and engagement in the classroom

By embracing the concept of “productive struggle,” finding the perfect balance between creating challenge, and instilling confidence, our students will develop a growth mindset and will stretch and learn in all situations.

COMMUNICATING WELL & SHARING THE GOOD NEWS . . .

  • Focusing on
    • Being positive & proactive
    • Celebrating daily
    • Focusing on our values

When everyone is “on the same page,” we function at our highest levels.  We will presume the positive of each other, never assume we know what someone else is thinking, and err on the side of providing too much information instead of too little information.  We will also celebrate learning, growing, and living out our mission and values.

I look forward to the journey of another school year and am thankful to be making it with the students, families and educators of MOC-Floyd Valley!

Safety on the Bus

August 24th, 2017

We are fortunate to have a team of drivers who are committed to transporting your children safely to and from school and school activities each day.   We recognize how precious every student is, and want to make sure that we do all that we can to keep them safe – not only in school – but as they travel to and from school.

To that end, our entire transportation team participated in some excellent safety training led by Highway Patrolman, Vince Kurtz and Sioux County Sheriff’s Deputy, Waylon Pollema.  They covered many topics, ranging from expectations for students riding the bus to de-escalating student behaviors to dealing with potential intruders on the bus.

Below are a few things that parents and other drivers can do to help our drivers keep our students safe:

  • NEVER pass a stopped school bus while the stop-arm is extended – from either direction!  This happens more than one might think – both on school grounds and at route stops on town and rural roads.  The fines are steep, and more importantly, lives are at stake!
  • NEVER drive through or park in the bus loading and unloading areas at the buildings during the restricted times.  There is too much congestion and the visibility is far too dangerous!
  • If you need to communicate with a driver, contact the school office or district office and the message will be relayed to the driver via radio.  Drivers have been instructed not to allow anyone other than student passengers on to the bus.  They have also been instructed not to stop and visit with anyone other than student passengers while transporting students.

We also try to clearly communicate student expectations while riding the school bus.  Parents, please review these rules and expectations with your children and encourage them ride safely and respectfully!

MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District Bus Rules & Expectations

A safe, orderly, and respectful environment for everyone is the expectation on the school bus.  Whenever students are riding a school bus, whether on a regular route each day or on a field trip, they are responsible to follow these rules. Parents are urged to encourage good bus riding habits so that the driver may direct his or her attention to the surrounding traffic and to safe loading and unloading procedures.

  1. To ensure safety, the driver must be totally in charge. Students must respond promptly when instructions are given. 
  1. Students are asked to be quiet when the bus stops at railroad tracks.
  1. Animals, oversized objects, glass containers, or any inappropriate materials (i.e. tobacco and related material, alcohol, and other prohibited items) are not allowed on the bus, as designated by School Board Policy.
  1. Students must observe classroom and school-wide expectations as covered by the Student Handbook.  Ordinary conversation is permitted.  Horseplay, unruly behavior, fighting, abusive and obscene language or gestures are unacceptable.  Kicking, hitting, pushing, spitting, yelling or screaming, littering or other inappropriate behaviors are forbidden on the bus, just as they are at school or on the school grounds.
  1. Students must keep feet, backpacks, book bags and other items within the seating areas at all times.  As much as possible, the aisles and stairwell must be clear of items and objects at all times.
  1. All body parts must be kept inside the bus window at all times.
  1. Students must remain seated in the same seat until they are dropped off at their bus stops.  Moving about the bus while it is in motion is unsafe and unacceptable.  A student must move out of a seat promptly if requested to do so by the driver or monitor.
  1. Students will use the emergency door only in cases of emergency.
  1. If a student causes damage to the bus, parents will be expected to pay for that damage.
  1. Regular schedules must be observed. The bus will not wait for tardy students. Students must be at the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled pick up time.
  1. Students should get on and off the bus only at their designated stops.
  1. Failure to follow these rules may result in a range of consequences up to and including suspension from transportation.
  • Cameras have been installed and are utilized to maintain order and safety on our buses.

 

Fostering learning, excellence and civic responsibility through Project-Based Learning

April 26th, 2017

If you could spend two hours per day for about two weeks, trying to answer any question you wanted, what would your question be?  That was the opportunity given to MOC-Floyd Valley High School students last month.  Below are a few of the questions that drove student projects during the second annual MOC-Floyd Valley High School Project Based Learning Unit.

 “Can I separate Hydrogen from Oxygen in an electrolysis reaction in order to capture the gas and potentially use it for fuel?”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

“Can I use my knowledge of drums to create an actual snare drum?” 

–MOC-Floyd Valley Junior

“What are HeLa Cells and how do they affect the world around me?” 

–MOC-Floyd Valley Sophomore

“What alternate endings can I come up with if I change one important detail in a story I write?”

— MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

“Can we successfully take apart a laptop and desktop computer and put both back together?” 

–MOC-Floyd Valley Freshman

How can we maximize profits for the Raiders4Haiti project with the PBL time given?” 

–MOC-Floyd Valley Sophomore

During this exciting two-week unit, students designed their own projects, defined project supply needs and then completed their projects.  Regular coursework continued during the unit, but students had two hours at the end of each day to work on their projects.  The unit culminated with a Project Exhibition for their fellow students, teachers and community members.  Students received feedback on their projects around creativity, communication and value beyond school.

Projects ranged from cooking, painting, composing music, writing stories, building things, serving the community, producing videos, producing show choir shows, doing science research, restoring tractors, re-building go-karts, making water shoes, learning new instruments and more.

Just as interesting as the student-generated questions are the bits of wisdom they took away from their projects.  Below are several that definitely reflect the world I have come to know:

“It’s ok to fail.” 

MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

“Measure twice, cut once, and maybe even measure more than twice!”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

“The better you plan, the easier it will be and the less mistakes you will make.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

“Always show others kindness throughout the day.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Junior

“Some things are harder than they seem.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Junior

“Working with other people is better than working by yourself.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Junior

“The way you ask a question can affect the outcome.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

“Things take time and some figuring out!”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Sophomore

“Communication is key to success.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Junior

“Start small and dream bigger as you proceed.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Junior

“Painting is harder than it looks and time management is important.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Freshman

“The elderly are a ton of fun to talk with!”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Sophomore

“All things take time and practice, and working together is harder than we thought.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Junior

“Unless all group members are working for the same cause, you’ll never make it.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Freshman

“Everyone has their own strengths as well as weaknesses, and you need to learn how to deal with each one as an individual.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

“Simple things can make people happy.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

“I can be a leader!”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Freshman

“Sometimes the ideas that you think will work, won’t.  You need to have back-up plans when things don’t work or look the way you planned.”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

“Kindness matters!”

–MOC-Floyd Valley Senior

 

 

 

 

 

Important Learning Opportunity for Students, Staff, Parents & Community Members . . .

January 19th, 2017

In November of 2014, Matt Carver, the attorney for the School Administrators of Iowa wrote a column – his third – on the topic of “sexting”-(sending of sexual photos, videos, or messages) by students.  At that time, Matt mentioned that this topic was one of those most frequently brought up by member schools.  In fact, in a two-week period, he had received eight separate calls from different school districts dealing with students and their families embroiled in the issue.  Recently, Matt shared that sexting is more prevalent than ever. 

When you consider the fact that the average American child has his/her first exposure to online pornography by the age of eleven, and you couple that with the rapid changes in technology and how our youth use technology to communicate, it isn’t surprising that society is facing this challenge.  There is no doubt that as parents and educators, we need to understand the implications of this and how we can best guide and support our children. 

That is why the MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District has invited Mr. Aaron Baart – Dordt College, Dean of Chapel to share with students, educators and parents regarding this very important topic of sexuality, pornography, and self-respect in a presentation entitled, “Sexuality and Self Respect.”  Aaron has given presentations in a variety of neighboring school districts to both parents and students.  In addition, local law enforcement officials and Sioux County Sheriff’s Deputy Waylon Pollema will provide students and parents with the legal ramifications that accompany this issue. 

Presentations will be held at MOC-Floyd Valley on Thursday, February 9, 2017 as follows:

·         Grades 9-12- 9:00 – 950 a.m. in the high school auditorium

·         Grades 6-8- 10:15 – 11:10 a.m. in the middle school gymnasium

·         Parents and Community Members- 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium

By opening this conversation with students and continuing it with parents, we hope to bridge the communication gap that often happens surrounding this topic.  We appreciate your support of this endeavor with your planned attendance to the event. 

 

 

More about Stretching to Learn . . .

December 15th, 2016

Through an organizational planning process, our leadership team identified “stretching to learn,” as our thematic goal for the year.  It is our belief that if we design our teaching and learning activities around that concept of stretching to learn and embracing productive struggle, our students will learn and grow at the highest possible levels.  This goal has been embraced by teachers, support staff, and students; and the fruits of this approach are showing up in great ways!

Stretching to learn, or productive struggle, goes beyond passive reading, listening or watching.  It builds useful lasting understanding and skills that engage learners in the “whys” and “hows” of life.  Students who are stretching to learn explain their ideas and question solutions that don’t make sense to them.  They take risks and willingly struggle with ideas and concepts that are unclear or incomplete.  They recognize that mistakes are a means to learning and not an end.

Twice a year, a team of administrators, instructional coaches and teachers conduct instructional rounds visits in each building.  We observe teachers and students during instruction and gather evidence of instructional practices that enhance learning.  Because we feel strongly in developing the mindset and skill of stretching to learn, we are making that the focus of this year’s visits. 

We have completed one visit at each building and it is clear that our students have embraced a mindset of stretching to learn and that our teachers and support staff are intentional about challenging students and requiring them to think (struggle).  The key, and one being managed exceptionally well, is keeping that struggle productive – providing the right questions or assistance to keep the student moving forward without robbing them of the opportunity to discover and learn for themselves.

This is summed up well by the words and actions of a student at the middle school during our last instructional rounds visit.  He had been working with a team of his peers to develop a shared Google document that they were going to collaboratively utilize outside of school to complete the class assignment.  The members of his team had differing opinions on how to best accomplish the task.  The teacher had provided enough information for the task to be completed, but had given the students enough responsibility that they were going to have to figure things out (productively struggle).  The student and his teammates persisted and made great progress.  As they were leaving the class, the student thanked the teacher and quipped, “Oh yeah!  We embrace the struggle so we can learn.”

That attitude will serve him well and I am grateful to our team of educators for making it a priority to instill it in all of our students.  We should all be wise enough to “embrace the struggle so we can learn!”