Dan Peterson

DAN PETERSON

As we roll our clocks forward for Daylight Saving Time, and the temperatures begin to inch upward, schools across Iowa are starting to breathe a sigh of relief. 

The winter of 2018-2019 is coming to an end. It was an intense winter across the state, and it was certainly no exception at Central DeWitt CSD. We had 13 school days that were cancelled due to the weather this year. According to the records we have, that is the most cancelled days we’ve experienced for our school district. It’s also a record I don’t care to come close to again any time soon. 

Cancelled days not only interrupt our families, but they interrupt the instruction taking place in our classrooms. It was difficult to establish a daily classroom routine after winter break. 

The good news is that we have amazing teachers and support staff in our schools, and they are working tirelessly to push forward with the content our students need this year. Of the 13 days we cancelled, it was decided that we would make up six of these days by extending our school day by 30 minutes each day. We also made up another day by cancelling several early dismissals we had on the calendar for teacher professional development. The remaining days we will make up will be at the end of the school year, and currently, our last day of the 2018-2019 school year will be Thursday, June 6. 

Student testing beginning 

Something exciting on the horizon for our school district is the administration of the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP), beginning the week of April 8. Many of you would recognize these assessments as the former Iowa Assessments time, Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), or Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITEDs).

Nearly everyone who grew up in Iowa took these assessments and spent hours filling in the accompanying bubble sheets. The ITBS began statewide in 1935 and the ITEDs began in 1942. 

The ISASP has been under development since last spring and is replacing the old assessments this year. This is a big change for school districts.

This will be the first time that students will not be filling in bubble sheets, as these new assessments are entirely computer-based. They also aren’t timed. The ISASP is based on content that is more aligned to the curriculum we’ve had in place for many years. 

Another requirement of these new assessments is that all school districts in Iowa will be testing in the spring. Prior to this, schools could decide on their own when to assess their students. We will be learning a great deal about these assessments as we give them, and we will not receive our student results until next fall, as the state will also be working through the results for the first time. 

This will be a new starting point for our schools, as it will be difficult to compare the results we get from these assessments with anything we’ve done in the past. As we have in the past, we’re looking forward to our students performing very well on these assessments.

We have a great deal to be proud of at Central DeWitt CSD. We have great students, stellar teachers and support staff, exceptional student activities, and a great learning environment for our students. To top it off, the parent and community engagement we receive is second to none. 

Thank you all for your continued support of our schools. Please be sure to stay connected with us to learn the latest on school events on our social media channels and our website.

Dan Peterson is the superintendent of the Central DeWitt Community School District.