District Newsletter
Winter 2017

Darwin Lehmann
Forest City Community School District 
From the Superintendent

We are at the mid-point of the 2016-2017 school year. At this point, I know we are all ready for some warmer weather. As a reminder, due to the weather-related no school days, we will have school on March 6 & March 7. As of yesterday (1/25), our school year will end on June 1.

Beyond the weather and day-to-day activities, my focus is shifting toward planning for the 2017-2018 school year. We are beginning to work on the budget and negotiations with the Education Association. Speaking of the budget, I've received some questions around how school funding works.  Check out this quick guide: WHAT FUND CAN WE USE TO PAY FOR THAT?

We are also planning for summer facility work. Some of the things we are anticipating to work on include the elementary roof, tuck-pointing at the high school and the installation of a loading dock at the elementary school.

This year, as every year, we commit ourselves to providing the very best educational experience possible. Our focus is on continuous improvement and communication. I will see you around the schools!

In this issue:

  • Iowa School Report Card
  • The Promise Iowa campaign
  • Training for the unexpected  
  • FCCSD Communication: Are you in the know?
  • Hanson Family Fine Arts Center update 
  • Changes to 2017-2018 school year calendar 
  • Radon testing
  • Open Enrollment notification
Iowa School Report Card 

The Iowa School Report Card is a two-year old system to show how each public school is performing on several educational measures. Schools receive a score for each measure, and then the scores are combined into an overall score. Based on the overall score, one of the following ratings is assigned to each school: Exceptional, High-Performing, Commendable, Acceptable, Needs Improvement, and Priority.

The vast majority of state schools fall into the "commendable" and "acceptable" categories.

Forest City School ratings remain the same from last year. The Elementary and Middle Schools were rated "commendable" and Forest City High School was rated "acceptable."  

The ratings are given on a basis of district students’ proficiency in reading and mathematics, college and career-ready growth, annual expected growth, closing the achievement gap, college and career readiness, graduation rate, attendance and staff retention.

T he  Iowa School Report Card  was developed by the  Iowa Department of Education . The site meets a legislative requirement and aligns with Department efforts to provide Iowans easier access to meaningful education statistics and to pair accountability and support for schools
From Mr. Lehmann...
"Even though we align with the vast majority of schools across the state, we are not satisfied with all of the measures in this report. We continue to work on curriculum, instruction and assessment. There are a couple of areas, such as attendance, where we need to review how we report our data in comparison to other schools. In the retention of teachers category, the assessment doesn't take into account teacher retirement versus a teacher leaving the district to teach in another. Overall, tools such as these are always helpful to improve." 

FCCSD supports  “The Promise of Iowa” campaign. The goal of the statewide campaign is to focus attention on the future of Iowa public school students and to rally support for public education in Iowa.

The campaign’s focus is on building public understanding about the work of public schools today, which are innovating to ensure students are positioned for success in their futures. Iowa’s future leaders, innovators and citizens are its children. They are “The Promise of Iowa.” Their future is created every day by Iowa public schools. Iowa public schools develop their potential, strengthen communities, and contribute to a strong economy.

Another goal is to encourage Iowans to show their support for the investments needed to keep our public schools strong.

The district will share information on public schools statewide, and encourage local residents to take part as well. 

A campaign website, www.promiseiowa.org, provides more information about how to become involved.

The “Promise” campaign is being coordinated statewide by the Iowa Association of School Boards, a nonprofit organization representing the more than 1900 Iowa citizens serving on locally elected school boards

Training for the Unexpected
Schools across the country have taken additional steps to keep students safe and Forest City Community School District is no exception.

Over the holiday school break, the Forest City Police Department gathered at the Forest City Elementary School to train for an active shooter situation. Some staff assisted officers during this training as well. 

“There is no community too big or too small to prepare for this situation,” said Forest City Police Chief Doug Jenson. “Preparedness is key, just as it is for any emergency situation. We, like most communities, collaborate with the school district in many ways.” 

Beyond routine patrol and spending time in the school buildings, FCPD leads education programs at the school such as D.A.R.E. and seat belt safety checks. The officers also enjoy having lunch with students and have worked with youth during the Y’s padded football program which takes place at the school for years. “Being engaged with the youth of our community is vital,” said Jenson.

Superintendent Darwin Lehmann added, “Clearly, there are many elements to keeping kids safe and we take them all very seriously. Our teachers and staff receive training on a whole host of safety topics and emergency protocols. We’ve taken additional steps to boost security such as securing the entrances to our buildings and enhancing our security camera systems to name a few.” 

Lehmann and Jenson concurred that it’s uncomfortable to talk about potential situations like an active shooter. “The reality is we have an obligation to prepare for the unexpected with the hope that we never have to put this training to use,” said Jenson.

Are you in the know?

FCCSD is committed to keeping you informed! Please review the following to ensure you are "in the know."

  • SchoolWay: Messaging application that sends you (via the app, text or email) weather-related announcements, schedule changes and activity/sports updates. Look for the app in the Apple or Android store. Don't have a smart phone? No problem! Go to www.myschoolway.com/forestcity and select "Web App." Upon signing up, you can see the messages sent and have notices emailed to you.
  • Forest City Community Schools Website 
  • E-newsletters: One per month per school sent via email
  • Social media: We're on Facebook and Twitter. Search for us! Also there are many teachers that have Twitter accounts so that you can follow along in the classrooms.
Click the link above to learn more about the project and to pledge your support!
Hanson Family Fine Arts Center to break ground soon!
The Hanson Family Fine Arts Center construction will begin upon the arrival of spring.  
The construction costs of the $9.6 million project are fully funded and "The Next Act" fundraising campaign is underway to raise funds for building equipment and amenities.

Thank you to those who have donated! We believe this amenity will provide significant educational, cultural and economic benefits to our community. 

Reminder! There are some adjustments to our 2017-2018 school calendar. 

Our school district participates in proactive Radon testing in all buildings on a rotating schedule. The testing is not harmful to students in any way. 
Open Enrollment Notification

Open Enrollment is the process by which parents/guardians residing in an Iowa district may enroll their children into another Iowa school district under the terms and conditions of Iowa Code section 282.18 and 281--Iowa Administrative Code 17.

The deadline for students entering Grades 1-12 is March 1st. The deadline for students entering kindergarten is September 1st.

Students that open enroll in Grades 9-12, shall not be eligible to participate in varsity contests and competitions during the first ninety (90) school days of transfer. Please contact the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union at (515) 288-9741 or the Iowa High School Athletic Association at (515) 432- 2011 for questions regarding eligibility.

The receiving district has an obligation to deny applications filed after March 1 unless the application meets good cause or if the resident district is in an agreement to approve.

Forest City Community Schools
(641) 585-2323 District Office 
We use SchoolWay to notify our community about weather related changes to our schedules. Share this with family and friends. More information at SchoolWay