All posts by Steve Doser

College Community Hosts Keynote Speaker Weston Kieschnick

College Community Schools hosted keynote speaker, Weston Kieschnick, on the September 21 Professional Learning Day.
Kieschnick collaborates with educators to redefine teaching and learning in the digital age. Kieschnick’s visit coincides with the launch of Prairie’s Beginning implementation phase of Personalized Learning.

In addition to the Concert Hall, College Community was able to live stream the event in two additional locations to accommodate our elementary, intermediate and secondary staff members.

Weston Kieschnick Bio

Prairie View Mural Creates Artistic Entry

Heather Dewey Wagner of Heather Wagner Designs was commissioned by the Prairie View Elementary School PTO in creating this amazing original mural for Prairie View’s entryway. 

“With the completion of a year and a half construction project, the goal was to create a welcoming and artistic entry into View that represents the spirit of View and its stakeholders,” said Prairie View Principal Mike Hansen.  “The artistic process from consultation, to seeing the first sketch of an idea to its full completion was a once in a lifetime opportunity!”

Ms. Dewey Wagner was chosen for her talents and original pieces of art that incorporate whimsy, movement, expressive color, and inspirational words into her artwork.   

College Community Launches Podcast Titled “Prairie Conversations”

Aiming to reach the Prairie community in a different way, the College Community School District recently released the first episode in its “Prairie Conversations” podcast. The first season of the series, which is hosted by Community Relations Director Steve Doser focuses on all things Prairie.

The title of the podcast, “Prairie Conversations” is meant to provide our parents and school community with more insight into our schools, staff, students and programs.

“I wanted to find another communication vehicle so that our parents and school community will have information that is timely, helpful and relevant.” said Doser.  “The podcast will allow for short, interesting conversations with staff, students and community members about their experiences with the district. The Prairie Conversations podcast will allow people to listen anytime and anywhere.”

The first episode features Eric Townsley who is our Executive Director of Technology. The conversation focuses on district-wide technology, priorities, return to learn and vision. Future episodes in season one will be released throughout the 2020-2021 school year. 

Links to go directly to the podcast are below:

Anchor
https://anchor.fm/ccsdpodcast

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/show/0xbuaMHNOpgLGgJle9zcDy

Radio Public

College Community Schools – Free Breakfast and Lunch Announcement

College Community Schools is excited to share that we have been approved by the state of Iowa and USDA to offer free breakfast and free lunch to ALL children age 18 years and under, from September 22, 2020 through December 31, 2020(or until funding runs out). Free meals will be available to all students and will also be available via curbside pickup for children age 18 years and under in the surrounding communities.  You do not need to sign up or do anything in order for your student to participate in the program.

If your student would like to purchase a la carte items such as a second milk or any snack items, they will still need to have funds in their meal account.

Curbside breakfast and lunch meals will be available M-F from 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM at Prairie Hill Elementary in the west staff parking lot drive thru lane.

Ginny Scott
Director of Food and Nutrition
College Community Schools

College Community Schools Family Resources Guide

College Community Schools has developed a new Family Resources Page to assist Prairie students, families and our school community.  The purpose of this site is to provide support and opportunities to maximize student success.

The site offers one location where families can access resources and contacts both within the district and in the corridor. The District will continue to update the site as we continue to curate the best resources for our Prairie community.

Visit Family Resources Page.

Learning Supports in Place to Meet the Needs of Students

The College Community School District is dedicated to developing the “whole child” and allocating resources to support the social, emotional, and behavioral health needs of all students.  In doing so, we increase the academic success of our students and have a lifelong positive impact on their resilience. 

In our commitment to “Success for All”, we have been planning for the expansion of services to our students through the use of state at-risk funding, federal Title IV funding, and the General Fund.  Many of our students experienced great hardships during the school closure, making the expansion of these services that much more important as we prepare for the school year ahead.  We are excited to share the following additions with you. 

Health Services

The role of the school nurse and school health services have changed significantly in recent years. A greater number of students are experiencing more complex physical and mental health conditions and higher rates of comorbidity (the presence of two or more chronic conditions).  A student’s health can impact every part of their education and so planning for students’ health needs is essential.  School systems rely on the expertise of their school nurses, and school nurses’ connections to other medical professionals, to guide the healthcare of children in the educational environment.  Over the past two years, we have increased the amount of nursing services at several schools and added a school nurse position serving Prairie Delta, Prairie Edge, and the preschool programs at Prairie ECC. 

For the 2020-2021 school year, we have added support for the nursing team through the establishment of the Health Services Supervisor who coordinates health services at College Community and provides leadership for our district nurse team.  Colleen Elliott, who has served CCSD as a school nurse for the past eight years, assumed this position on July 1.

Ms. Elliott and the school nurses of CCSD will be an integral part of our planning for a safe and healthy return to school in the fall for both students and staff. 

Community Engagement Specialists

College Community is fortunate to be located in a city with several organizations that focus on improving the lives of children and their families and whose dedicated professionals believe in the power of partnering with our schools.  Over the past several years, our district has established relationships with a variety of local agencies and organizations including Four Oaks, Tanager Place, Foundation 2, Mercy Behavioral Health, UnityPoint, Linn County Public Health, Safe Schools CRCA, HACAP, the University of Iowa, and others. 

Two Community Engagement Specialists will continue to build these partnerships in the years ahead and foster new ones as well.  Jess Fitzpatrick will join the CCSD team during the 2020-2021 school year.  Javier Rivera has previously worked as our district’s Homeless Liaison and will now work in this expanded capacity.

Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Rivera will collaborate with school staff such as school counselors, building facilitators, school nurses, and principals.  They will support a variety of student needs including housing and food insecurity, foster care placement, substance use disorder treatment, support for mental illness, and juvenile court involvement.  Mr. Rivera will also connect with the teachers and students of the English Language Learner program (ELL) to provide specialized support for our immigrant and refugee families. 

School-Based Therapy

CCSD and Tanager Place first partnered together with the creation of a pilot program at two schools during the 2016-2017 school year.  We have steadily expanded programming throughout our schools over time and will be establishing new school-based therapy programs in the fall at Prairie Edge and Prairie Delta, as well as with our youngest students at Prairie’s Early Childhood Center.  Therapists of Tanager Place’s school-based program provide therapy services directly to students at school, collaborate with educators to support students’ mental health needs across the school day, and connect with families to address needs at home.  Tanager Place directly bills students’ health insurance providers for therapy services.  Additional services provided by school-based therapists are funded through a combination of Title IV and At-Risk funding, as well as a generous contribution from United Way of East Central Iowa.  All schools for the 2020-2021 school year will have a half- or full-time school-based therapist as a part of their school team. 

School Resource Officer (SRO)

For many years, the College Community Schools has partnered with the Cedar Rapids Police to provide a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Prairie High School.  This year, we are expanding our district SRO program to Prairie Point.  As the largest Middle School in the state, serving over 1350 students, the allocation seeks to utilize the special training and expertise which law-enforcement officers possess that is well-suited to effectively protect and serve the school community.  SROs contribute to the safe-schools team by ensuring a safe and secure campus, educating students about law-related topics, and mentoring students.  Our SRO program at CCSD seeks to:

  • Facilitate communication between the College Community School District and Emergency Management Officials in times of community crisis or in events in the community that threaten the safety and regular operation of campus and building activities.
  • Be a resource to students to answer questions related to law and law enforcement, including class presentations and visibility at school and school events.
  • Regularly make recommendations to school officials on systems, structures and strategies for school and campus safety, threat assessment, and threat mitigation through participation on school safety committees and initiatives.

The School Resource Officer will not be involved in daily discipline of students.  For a full description of program outcomes for School Resource Officer Programs at College Community, please click here.

As a school community that serves on-site over 7,000 students, staff and adults on a daily basis within a small geographical area, we see the benefit of partnering with local agencies, including law enforcement, in our goal to provide a safe learning environment for all members of our campus.

College Community – School Information and Updates 9-3-20

BEST PRACTICES FOR TEMPORARY VIRTUAL LEARNING AND HYBRID
On a daily basis, check in with your student by asking questions.

  • What did you learn today?
  • What did you accomplish today?
  • What did you find challenging today?
  • How did you overcome those challenges?
  • How can I help you achieve success?

Apex (7-12 Temporary Virtual Learning Option)

  • Students should update their password information in Apex.
  • Students should complete 3 courses by the end of first quarter (October 30th). Generally, students working 10 hours per week should complete a course in approximately 9 weeks. In order to complete 3 courses by the end of the first quarter, students should schedule 30 hours per week of Apex work.
  • Make sure your student has scheduled enough time to complete daily assignments at a doable pace.
  • Encourage your student to keep track of and stick to deadlines and due dates for assignments and tests in order to stay on track.
  • If you have questions, contact your roster teacher.

Edgenuity (K-6 Temporary Virtual Learning Option)

  • Make sure your student has scheduled enough time to complete daily assignments at a doable pace. Edgenuity recommends 40-60 minutes per course or 4-6 hours per day.
  • Encourage your student to actively use the Assignment Calendar to track what course work he or she should be completing each day. Setting and achieving daily goals helps keep students motivated and determined to succeed.
  • If you have questions, contact your roster teacher.

Hybrid

  • Encourage your students to check, complete, and submit assignments in SeeSaw (K-2) or Google Classroom (3-12).

ACTIVITIES UPDATE

The Prairie football team will travel to Dubuque Senior this Friday, September 4. Dubuque Senior is limiting visitor spectators to 400 for the Soph/ Varsity FB game this Friday September 4th. Two passes will be given to each football player, cheerleader, and all coaches for their families. The remainder of the tickets will go to students beginning with Seniors on a first come first serve basis. All spectators are required to wear a mask. At this time all passes for the game are accounted for and there are no additional seats for the game.

The DUBUQUE SENIOR vs. PRAIRIE varsity football game on Friday, Sept. 4, at 7:15 p.m. will be live streamed. Visit Dubuque Community School District’s official Facebook page or Twitter page shortly prior to kick-off to access the live stream!   

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE
We are asking that each student take care of their district provided device. Below are College Community School District computer repair costs for the 2020-2021 school year.

iPad K-1
Full Replacement – $300

Cracked Screen – $100

Replacement Case – $25

Charging Cord/Brick – $15

Chromebook / MacBook Grades 2-12
Full Replacement – $200

Broken Screen – $35

Keyboard Replacement – $30

Charging Cord – $25

Discussions of waivers due to financial hardship can be had with your building principal.

Students will be given 3 strikes per student for major fixes/replacements.

1st strike – $50 or cost of replacement part (Example if broken keyboard – would only cost $30)

2nd Strike – $100 or cost of replacement part

3rd Strike – Full replacement or cost of replacement part

NUTRITIONAL SERVICES UPDATE

TouchBase Versus Titan- Which do I use for what?

We understand when we implement new systems, it can be confusing at first.  We greatly appreciate all of your patience and cooperation navigating these systems.  Below are some tips for each system related to lunch and payments.

TouchBase:

  • This is the system where you will make all online payments for various items, view lunch balance and can view customer history.
  • When logging in the first time, you will NOT create an account.  You should click the Click here to Set Password button on the sign in screen.
  • You will then enter your Infinite Campus Parent Portal Login or Email.  You will receive an email with steps to create a password.  This can be the same password as your Campus Parent Portal password.
  • You can then log in using your Parent Portal Username and the Password you selected.
  • Once in the system, you should see yourself listed as well as your students. You can then choose your items and make payments as well as view your lunch balance and customer history.
  • Payments for meals are sent to Titan at 6am, 10:30 am and 6pm.
  • For Assistance, please call your student’s building office or the Business Office.

Titan:

  • This is where you can transfer money between your students, apply for free and reduced lunch, view what your students have eaten, set limits on ala carte and other items and also view lunch balances.
  • To create an account visit https://family.titank12.com/.  Click “Sign Up Today” Enter your name, email address, and create a password. Click “Next”. Choose your secret questions and answers. Select your language and time zone. Review Terms of Use and click on the square to agree.  Click on “Create Account”.  Check your email and click on the link to activate your account. (Welcome to your Titan School Solutions Account) You will need your student’s DOB, ID number, and first/last name to link them to your account.  (This is not the same student number as Campus or EZ School Pay.)
  • You will NOT make payments in Titan
  • For Assistance, please call your student’s building office or Nutritional Services at 319-848-5337.

Curbside Meals: Due to the holiday on Monday, September 7, 2020, curbside meal pick up will be on Tuesday, September 8th from 10:30-12 Noon at Prairie Hill Elementary in the west staff lot drive through lane.

  • Pick Up will be on Mondays from 10:30 am -Noon. **Sign Up Required** For the days that students are learning from home and not able to eat at school, meals for the week will be available for pick up every Monday starting August 31, 2020.
  • Complete the sign up form for EACH STUDENT that curbside meals are requested for.  This sign up remains active for each week of curbside meal pick up until you call Nutritional Services at 319-848-5337 to cancel. Depending on the cohort you are in, breakfast and lunch meals will be packed for 3 days or 2 days at a time. For virtual students, meals will be packed for 5 days at a time.  The meals provided may require some cooking/ heating before consuming. All meals will be prepackaged.
  • Drive thru curbside pick-up will be held at the west staff parking lot of Prairie Hill Elementary. Meals must be ordered by 2:00 PM on Wednesday the week prior to pick up. 
  • Meals will be charged to your student’s meal account at the paid, reduced, or free rate depending on their status.  Only the parent/ guardian or student may pick up the meals.  (Please note:  Free and reduced status does not apply to children who are not enrolled at CCSD.)  Student regular-priced meals are as follows:  K-12 Breakfast $1.80, Lunch K-4 $2.80, 5-6 $2.90, 7-12 $3.05.  Reduced-priced meals:  Breakfast is $0.30 and lunch is $0.40. 
  • Sign up by completing this form:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdyv-vEe97YXf1xDUrm3nVWOkvIbY7kOFnszVBw5cBPd8tuOw/viewform?usp=sf_link

K-4 Birthday Treats/ Classroom Snacks

  • Parents may charge classroom treats/ birthday treats to their student’s meal account as long as there are sufficient funds in the account.  Payment must be received before the event.  Cash and check payments are also accepted by the clerk of the building.  Please order 1 week in advance.  Orders are delivered directly to the classroom. Questions? Call 319-848-5337.
  • Order by completing this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScnnI2iEGrvfgo4LTXMlyZ9gU7wTh381zsXHHMexgEvrSkBQg/viewform?usp=sf_link

TRANSPORTATION
Reminders from the transportation department:

  • All students must wear a mask while on the bus
  • No food or drink on the bus
  • Students will not be allowed to open or close windows
  • Siblings will be asked to sit together
  • Students will have assigned seats within the next week
  • If your student will not be riding the bus, please notify the transportation department at 848-5204.  This will allow us to make accurate seating arrangements.

Your busing information can be found in your Campus Portal account.  Please check this site often.  We have been making many changes and some routes have been updated.  If your student has a split household situation you will only be able to see the primary address bus in the Campus Portal.  We are working on fixing this issue.  Please contact our office for busing information for the secondary bus. 

SCHOOL START AND END TIMES
Click here for the 2020-2021 school start and end times.

Limited Football Tickets For Game at Dubuque Senior

The Prairie football team will travel to Dubuque Senior this Friday, September 4. Dubuque Senior is limiting visitor spectators to 400 for the Soph/ Varsity football game this Friday September 4th. Two passes will be given to each football player, cheerleader, and all coaches for their families. The remainder of the tickets will go to students beginning with Seniors on a first come first serve basis. All spectators are required to wear a mask. At this time all passes for the game are accounted for and there are no additional seats for the game.

Game Live Streamed! The DUBUQUE SENIOR vs. PRAIRIE varsity football game on Friday, Sept. 4, at 7:15 p.m. will be live streamed. Visit Dubuque Community School District’s official Facebook page or Twitter page shortly prior to kick-off to access the live stream!    

Back to School Information and Updates 8-26-20

HYBRID LEARNING, K-12
HOW TO ACCESS YOUR STUDENT’S ONLINE HOMEBASE
As we begin the year in a Hybrid Model, K-12 students will attend school in person on the days scheduled for their assigned cohort. Cohort A students will participate in Onsite learning beginning August 31 (September 8 for preschool). Cohort B students will also begin on August 31 (September 8 for preschool) with At-Home learning.

On the days that students are learning at home, they will complete required learning posted by their teacher/s and submit assignments using SeeSaw (K-2) or Google Classroom (3-12).

There will be no synchronous (live) online learning since teachers will be providing instruction to the other cohort of students onsite.      
Please note, instruction and activities for preschool students will include “take home” materials and not an online “homebase”.  Additional information regarding the hybrid model in preschool will be shared with families during virtual home visits.  

K-2 Students
SeeSaw will serve as the online “Home Base” for grades K-2. SeeSaw houses student lessons and assignments from teachers, while also supporting communication between students and their teachers as well as communication between teachers and parents/guardians. Students will need to submit required assignments through SeeSaw. Seesaw Directions 

3-12 Students            
Google Classroom will serve as the online “Home Base” for grades 3-12. Google Classroom houses student lessons and assignments from teachers, while also supporting communication between students and their teachers. Students will need to submit required assignments through Google Classroom.
Google Classroom Directions

If you have questions about SeeSaw or Google Classroom, please contact your child’s teacher.

TRANSPORTATION UPDATE
All busing information can now be seen in your Campus Portal account.  Please check this information often as we are still making daily changes. Times could change in the next couple of days. We cannot guarantee that changes to your busing will be completed prior to Monday.  Please plan accordingly if your busing does not reflect the correct busing information.  Only students assigned to the bus will be allowed to ride.

Please remind your student that they must come to the bus with a mask and wear it while on the bus and that they will be required to sit in an assigned seat.  Siblings will be asked to sit together.  If you have questions, please contact the transportation department at 319-848-5204.
 
BAND AND CHOIR SAFETY PLAN FOR 5-12 STUDENTS
Prairie Families:
College Community Schools believes in the essential nature of music education and the performing arts.  Performing arts pose a unique challenge in our current mitigation practices related to COVID-19 and our return to onsite instruction.  Our band and choir classes are some of the largest classes held during the day.  Additionally, the nature of singing and playing an instrument pose different challenges than a regular classroom setting.

As a district we firmly believe that students should have access to a rigorous standards-based music experience during this pandemic.  Music education not only offers development of a life-long skill, it enhances the development of team work and collaborative problem-solving.  Additionally, the arts offer a respite for us in difficult and uncertain times.

The regular functioning of our performing arts classes will need to look different this year.  Our 5-12 Performing Arts team has assembled the following procedures that take into account the unique nature of music at Creek, Point and Prairie High School.  These procedures are designed to ensure students continue to have access to an important and essential element of their school experience.  I applaud the attention and dedication of this group of educators in preparing these procedures to address the unique nature of their classrooms.

Click here for the Band and Choir Safety Plan

In Service,

Doug Wheeler, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools