by senior Olivia Kolterman Twenty high school journalism students will be traveling to the national convention in Dallas November 15-19th. The students will be attending the largest convention for high school journalists, hosted by the National Scholastic Press Association and […]
by Sophomore Brooke Busch The Iowa High School Press Association (IHSPA) awarded the Hudson High School journalism students with top honors. The 2016-2017 high school newspaper staff received the first ever “All Iowa News Team of the Year” award and […]
by senior Olivia Kolterman This year three Hudson electives plan to attend further enhance their learning by traveling outside of the state. From October 24 – October 28, 19 current Hudson Future Farmers of America students, along with Hudson Class […]
by senior Caleb McCullough The Pirate Press newspaper staff received an email of a lifetime October 17th from former President Barack Obama. In preparation for the October issue’s feature on race relations at Hudson, seniors Hailey Elder and Abby Lashbrook […]
During the 2016-2017 school year the High School Industrial Tech dept was contacted about building a garden shed. Mr. Liekweg thought this would be a great opportunity for the Construction Trades class to learn about the building process. The class was given […]
The 7th and 8th grade technology exploratory just wrapped up its six week session with our fall newscast. The newscast highlights all of the activities currently going on within the junior high. The video is in its 5th season of […]
Voss Blog Log
Education in Iowa Public Schools
Dr. Anthony D. Voss, Superintendent of Schools
Yes, the salary wasn't a lot but I was thrilled that someone was actually going to pay me to do something I loved to do! My first teaching contract: $18,100! We were paid twice a month, so my take home pay was around $572 (it's weird that I still remember that). Obviously this was not a lot by today's standards (well not a lot by yesterday's standards either), but at first it was enough to pay the rent and have a few bucks left to buy some groceries. About six months later the student loan payments began and it just wasn't enough. But I was living the dream, so I managed to make it work.
|Of the 10 new teachers at Hudson this year, |
5 are brand new to the profession.
Now that we are midway through the month of November, I am taking time to visit with each of our new teachers to see if the newness is starting to wear off. So far, I like what I am seeing and hearing. They are beginning to settle into their roles and have had great experiences with mentors, students and parents. A common theme throughout our conversation is an appreciation of all the support they are receiving from the staff.
What wasn't surprising, but nevertheless important were comments about the heavy workload. While there was an acknowledgement that evenings would be spend correcting papers, planning lessons, and analyzing data; the amount of time spent on these tasks is surprising to the new teacher. Others shared how surprising it is that technology plays such an important role in the day to day operation of school, from communicating with teachers and parents, to delivering instruction and administering grades. These teachers also have shared that some of the best things that have happened to them this year are those moments when they see the hard work beginning to pay off, and the relationships they are developing with students and colleague.
As discussed last week, if there is a looming teacher shortage it is important that we do what we can to attract and retain our talent. Now that we have them here, making sure they have the support and resources they need is but one part of ensuring we are able to keep them here.
|Teachers participate in professional development led by|
Hudson instructional coach.
Mobility is an issue as well in Iowa. Once we get them here, we need to keep them here! Around 6.7% of teachers change schools each year and 18.9% change schools in a five-year span. So for us, it is not only about attracting talent, but it is about retaining those teachers once we have them in our classrooms. Next week we'll talk about steps we are taking to mitigate this potential shortage and make certain we continue to employ very high-quality educators.
Where I live, there are approximately 26 lots under development. Then there is the apartment complex on Springfield Avenue which is projected to have around 48 units. If we add Twin Oaks into the mix, that would be another 67 households. How many school-age children? As a start, is it appropriate to assume one school-age child per home? Considering some families may have as many as 3 or 4 while others may have 0, 1 per household seems like a good place to start. So for easy math, let's assume an additional 141 students.
Now, what becomes really challenging is trying to figure out when these phantom students may materialize and at what grade levels. According to known variables, enrollment in the next five years should peak at 747 in the 2020-2021 academic year. Again, that is before assuming the residential growth that is currently underway. If we add our mystery 141, that could put enrollment as high as 888. Remember though, this is all speculative and becomes even further complicated when trying to determine what grade levels will be impacted and by how much. But for the sake of argument, we'll consider an equal distribution of pupils which would put our average class size around 68 students. At this size, our elementary school would need to be equipped to handle three sections of each grade level with approximately 23 students each. Or four sections at 17.
Good news. Right now, we are operating a 3 section elementary with the exception of one grade level that has 2 sections. Suffice to say, I believe if we had an enrollment increase in excess of 100 students we would be able to absorb this without too much trouble. However, there are some statisticians that suggest new residential development should assume 1.5 children per household, which could very easily put us in the 4 section category. Using the same math from above, this would give us an average class size of 74 students.
I'll bet you are wondering if our current facility can accommodate a 4 section elementary. I contend that it can, but we will have to get creative with how we utilize our space. Right now, we are very generous with the allocation of instructional space. If enrollment goes where we think it could go in the future, we will need to rethink how our spaces are used.
The good news is that we are thinking about it. Right now, you are aware that we are renovating the elementary school and just recently completed phase one of that project. Planning for phase 2 is underway. The scope of that project includes the North wing of the elementary, which is where the 4th and 5th grade is currently housed. If you are unfamiliar with this section of the building, it is the wing directly to the left in the photo above. The scope of this work includes new lighting, ceilings, windows, and air conditioning. We had plans to tackle the second floor of the facility with part of this phase as well, but some mechanical issues were uncovered that forced us to reevaluate our plans. The current scope of this project is slated for board approval in November with a tentative bid letting scheduled for December.
It is entirely likely and conceivable that we will commission our architect to begin a study this winter and consider what it would look like, and what it would cost to convert our building from a three section to a four section elementary. At the same time, we will need to be engaged with our legislators who will be meeting in Des Moines and ask them to consider the elimination of the sunset on the SAVE fund. I'll remind you, this was one of the priorities the Board of Directors outlined in their legislative platform this past summer. It may seem like a long time off yet, but with a 2029 sunset on this fund, it significantly impacts our ability to move some of these projects forward.
While I haven't spent much time talking about the high school, that is not to mean there aren't needs in that facility. If you have any experience with that building, you are aware that we have begun the process of replacing the roofs, and are beginning to plan for updating the mechanical systems. But in terms of space? Assuming we did have an increase in enrollment and average class sizes approaching the mid-70s, it is helpful to take a look at our enrollment history. In the 2006-2007 school year, the average class size in the high school was 73.5.
Well, I'm not sure our gazing into a crystal ball has yielded many answers. All I know for sure is that it's a good time to be a Pirate and that whatever happens with enrollment, we'll be ready.