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Talk of the District is a place to share thoughts, comments, and observations with the Superintendent and our community.

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Volunteers in Our Schools

date 06/15/2016 author ISD #318 category In Our Schools comment Leave a comment

Last month marked the celebration of Volunteer Appreciation Week. Here at ISD 318, we realize that a week alone is not enough to recognize all the hard work that volunteers do for the children in our district. So many of the integrated projects that are undertaken at ISD 318 could not be done without the support of our volunteers. We recognize that educational excellence can only be achieved by using all of the resources in our community, and we value the knowledge and assistance that volunteers bring to our schools.

 

Volunteers at 318 come from all walks of life and bring an incredible assortment of skill sets. We see parent volunteers, retired teacher volunteers, and supportive community members. The tasks they perform are as varied as the volunteers themselves.

 

Recent examples include engineering students from Itasca Community College who visited fourth graders at Cohasset. The ICC students helped the fourth graders experiment with filtering water through different mediums. The kids started with dirty swamp water and tested filtration properties of sand, soil, clay, and then experimented to see which mixture would filter most effectively. Fourth graders at Southwest Elementary learned to work with metals when joined by a parent volunteer. Southwest parent volunteers were also joined by retired teachers and the Grand Rapids High School Key Club to help students create their own working dulcimers, incorporating music and math into one educational project.

 

We encourage you to share your time, knowledge, and abilities with our students. Caring community members like you bring new energies and resources into our schools. It is the support of these invested community members that help make ISD 318 such a wonderful place to learn and to work. Together we can achieve the highest goal of student success.

 

To learn more about volunteering at ISD 318 please visit the volunteer handbook section of our website under the Parents & Community tab.
 

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Teamwork and Collaboration

date 06/15/2016 author ISD #318 category Arts comment Leave a comment

Teamwork and collaboration are important concepts here at ISD 

318. We believe that partnerships are essential to support student achievement. As outlined in our strategic aims, the establishment and maintenance of productive educational relationships among members of the community and ISD 318 broaden our capacity to meet the varied needs of all learners. This core belief is referenced and reinforced in all aspects of our work. One such partnership, which we value highly, is the collaboration between the District and the Reif Center.
 

This important partnership is of mutual benefit to both parties. Few schools receive such ready access to the arts and facilities as they do with the Reif Center. Throughout the year we also have access for school events, such as the upcoming District Spelling Bee, music performances, plays, and art exhibits. The Reif also teams with the District to provide arts learning opportunities to teachers and children in the Partners in Education endeavors. The Reif has also made school day matinees available to students that help meet core curriculum standards, and even fundraises for bussing costs for area schools, including those beyond ISD 318.

 

There is sometimes confusion about the partnership works, however. Especially when it comes to the building and planned renovation. The Reif Center is attached to the high school, but the Reif Arts Council is a separate nonprofit organization. So the organization is a completely separate entity from ISD 318, yet the building is a district facility. We can see why people are confused.

 

What do mean by district facility? Essentially, it means that schools have a priority access to the building during school the school day. And the building will always flow and work seamlessly with Grand Rapids High School, even as plans to renovate the facility move forward. Plans include an expanded lobby and restrooms, additional rehearsal and performances space, a unified dance school, technical improvements, and accommodations for disabled individuals. We couldn’t be more excited and supportive of these plans..

 

The Reif and their generous supporters are responsible for the lively capital campaign going on now. This fundraising, completely separate from District endeavors, impressed lawmakers as they hashed out the recent bonding bill.


Almost $3.9 million dollars was included in the bonding bill to renovate and expand the facility. As the bill moves forward, Anzelc has said he will work hard to keep the entire sum intact. “It’s going to make sure future generations can enjoy this jewel in our community and enjoy art, culture, and theater, Anzelc was reported as saying in the Herald Tribune. The final sum will not be known until the state legislature passes the final bonding bill in May, but we look forward to the successful completion of the project, and hope to help foster an appreciation for the arts in those future generations.
 

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Communication

date 06/15/2016 author ISD #318 category Welcome comment (3) comment(s)

Communication. You hear the term a lot, but what does it really mean? At ISD 318, we believe that it means to engage the greater community in the discussion of what is happening in schools. To that end, we have created the Talk of the District as one space for that discussion.
 

Here you will find information about what is happening at the district level. But we also want to encourage you to share your thoughts and comments. It is our hope that this blog will be a space for you to easily engage not only with the district, but with our community. Jamie Vollmer, who recently spoke at the IASC Multi-District Day, wrote in his book, Schools Cannot Do It Alone, “Everything that goes on inside our schools is fused, in some transcendental way, to local attitudes, opinions, values, and beliefs.” To move forward, we need to have a conversation about our schools and their impact on the community, but importantly, also about the impact of you, the community members, on the schools.
 

Vollmer went on to say, “America is the first country on the planet to aggressively pursue publicly funded, equal educational opportunity for all, and the return on our investment has been glorious.” New challenges face schools every day, and in order for us to remain glorious, the entire community must be a part of this journey. We truly cannot do it alone.
 

We need you - your feedback, your ideas, your voice in the conversation.
 

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Questions, comments, and observations can be shared by posting a comment below. Please note that there may be a short delay before your comment is public. Comments on this blog are subject to our Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy. A complete description of our comment policy is available here.
 

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