Hudson second grade students enjoy Flashlight Friday! Thanks to the generous donation of over 60 flashlights from Black Hawk Mutual Insurance Association, independent reading looks a little different on Fridays. Students in all three second grade classes have the option […]
Congratulations on a job well done by our FFA chapter for advancing all events to the district competition. These students competed in the sub-districts on February 22nd at Hawekeye Community College in Waterloo. The district competition is scheduled for March […]
Hudson Pirates capture two medals at state wrestling championships, including an individual championship from Taylan Entriken at 170 lbs submitted by Coach Haskovec Nearly 130 schools across the state of Iowa were in preparation for setting the stage to […]
Imagine receiving an invitation to an event where past presidents, inventors, authors, musicians, and athletes alike were gathered to share their story. Recently, Hudson’s fourth grade students created such an event during their wax museum open house. Shortly after winter […]
Des Moines —Hudson Community Schools Board President Karyn Finn and Superintendent Dr. Tony Voss attended the Iowa Association of School Board’s (IASB) annual Day on the Hill on January 24, 2017. School board members and superintendents from across […]
Let the journalism students babysit your kids, ages 2-12, so you can enjoy a date night. For just $5/hour or $3/half hour, per kid, your child can enjoy board games, coloring, crafts, movies, active games, homework help, hair and nail […]
Voss Blog Log
Education in Iowa Public Schools
Dr. Anthony D. Voss, Superintendent of Schools
You all knew that, and you know the reasons why. But again, to re-emphasize our arguments for this program: the needs of our school district have changed in the intervening decade. For starters, we are currently in a position where we are sending a van load of preschool students to Evansdale every day. These young residents of Hudson must attend a preschool with a licensed teacher because of the IEP that administers their learning program. The fact that we have to send these students outside their home school district because we didn't have a program was not only a thorn in my side, but not a very efficient way to allocate resources.
Yet the reasons for implementing a statewide voluntary preschool program extend beyond those already mentioned. A big focus in elementary school is teaching kids to read. In fact, when analyzing instructional time, we find that instruction related to literacy is the largest continuous block of time in the schedule. Our state legislature has further reinforced the importance of reading with legislation in 2013 that requires all third graders to be proficient by 2017 (now on hold because of funding), or face retention.
So it would stand to reason that early intervention in the form of a preschool would provide the proper vehicle to help meet these needs. Here's why: A study of the Arkansas preschool program found that students who attended the preschool program were less likely to be retained in third grade as opposed to those who didn't attend preschool. And an Iowa study found similar results:
"The number of students proficient in early literacy skills upon kindergarten entry is increasing. In the fall of 2014, 53% of kindergarteners were proficient on the FAST assessment. In the fall of 2015, the percentage increased to 64%. This is indicative of quality literacy instruction in preschool being intentionally embedded into classroom curricula, routines and activities." (From Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program Fact Sheet produced by the Iowa Department of Education)There are roughly 2,000 days from the time a child is born to the time they enter kindergarten. In that period of time, the brain develops more rapidly than any other time, and as such during that time the brain is forming the neural pathways that enable it to learn and grow (See early childhood Iowa for more information and for sourcing of this information.)
The benefits to starting a statewide voluntary preschool program are numerous and we have highlighted a few of them here. We are grateful of the support and advocacy from our parents and community members who assisted in this endeavor. If you, or any of your neighbors or relatives are interested in enrolling your child for the Hudson preschool program please contact the elementary office at 988.3239 as soon as possible. Space is filling up fast!
Issues related to the collective bargaining agreement were categorized in one of three ways: mandatory, permissive, or illegal. Mandatory subjects of bargaining are those that we had to discuss if the other party to the negotiation wanted to discuss them. A few examples of mandatory items included wages, insurance, seniority, transfer procedures, evaluation procedures, and leave. Permissive subjects of bargaining are those which could be discussed only if both parties agreed. An example of a permissive subject of bargaining included what is known in education circles as 'prep' time. Finally, there are items of bargaining that are considered illegal, meaning they can't be discussed regardless of whether or not a party wants to discuss them. In our world, IPERS has always been considered an illegal subject of bargaining.
As contract negotiations would commence, each side presents a proposal and the other side responds with a counter proposal. The goal is to reach a voluntary agreement. In cases where voluntary settlement can't be reached on a mandatory subject of bargaining, it is remedied through binding arbitration. Binding arbitration is essentially a legal proceeding where an arbitrator considers the final offers of both parties and then selects whichever one is most 'reasonable'. The 'stick' in negotiations was arbitration because the arbitrator's ruling picks one side over the other. Because of this, most contracts in Iowa had been settled voluntarily to avoid the gamble of arbitration. Further, the rules of arbitration, including what could be entered into evidence and the variables that must be considered made arbitration very unappealing.
The change that was enacted with House File 291 makes base wages the only mandatory subject of bargaining. Many of the other subjects that were previously mandatory are now classified as either illegal or permissive. Further, the rules of arbitration have changed. Now the arbitrator is bound to select one of two positions for the final settlement: either 3% or the current CPI rate, whichever is lower at the time.
There is no doubt these changes dramatically alter the process and procedures of collective bargaining. Indeed this legislation gives local school board another tool with which to control costs. With very low supplemental state aid (1.11%), controlling costs is extraordinarily difficult. Further, the announcement from the REC yesterday (for the third time in a row) reduced the economic outlook for FY2017, throwing a wet blanket on the remainder of this fiscal year, and setting up the next fiscal year with a $191 million decrease in projected revenue.
We are now preparing to negotiate the contract with our local HEA under this new set of rules. In spite of these changes, we have a difficult needle to thread. Just because we can do something doesn't necessarily mean that we should. It would be wise for all school districts to proceed cautiously. Good schools are so because of the teachers that work in them. Hudson is a great school district because we have great teachers, and we have the results that prove it. The data points that illustrate this are vast, but look no further than the Iowa School Report Card as one example.
It should come as no surprise that our single greatest asset is our teachers. Without good teachers, we will not have good schools. Unsurprisingly, this commodity will be driven by the market. Great teachers will work in schools and in districts where they are fairly compensated, treated with respect, and have a sense of belonging where their voices are heard. I'll say this again: a difficult needle to thread in this new era of collective bargaining where management is charged with the fiduciary responsibility of balancing a budget within the context of little supplemental state aid.
As we begin this new process I am certain there will be disagreements. But nevertheless, our commitment to the teaching staff is to continue providing a competitive compensation structure where the Hudson Community School District is the employer of choice for educators in the Cedar Valley. We will continue to be a great school.
|Girls receiving final instructions|
right before their final game of
previous record of 353 wins had stood since the 2002-2003 season!
Our success wasn't confined to our athletic teams either! The show choir had a very successful season, winning first place at the Marion Masquerade in their division and qualifying for the finals that night. The show choir also found success by placing in many of their other competitions as well. The FFA competed at the sub-district competition and qualified all entries to the district competition that will be held in Monticello on Saturday. And finally, our jazz band won the NEIBA district competition, qualifying for the stat jazz finals in April. Congratulations to all our students, coaches, and moderators on their success this winter! We are looking forward to much more success this spring!
Hudson HS jazz band won 1st at NEIBA Jazz Fest. today! Outstanding solo awards to Johnny, Holden and Caleb! On to State! #hudsonschools pic.twitter.com/g7ZfzScB4G— Nicole Davis (@Mrs_NDavis) March 4, 2017