New initiatives for a new school year
Ed. Note — Galva School District Superintendent Doug O’Riley submitted this guest column as the 2018-19 school year approaches.
Summer is a very busy time in the Galva School District as it readies for the coming school year.
At Galva Elementary School, Principal Mary Kelly has initiated many changes. Students will immediately notice changes to their building, as the restrooms have been upgraded with new surfaces and stalls.
They will also be cooler in their classrooms as new mobile air conditioning units moderate temperatures on hot August days. And, Kathryn Sailer will be new in kindergarten, Alex Anderson will be new in sixth, Tarol Suddeth will be new in lower elementary special education, and Amanda Dynes will offer assistance for grades 4-6 in language arts.
Galva Junior-Senior High also has many new initiatives under Principal Jerry Becker’s leadership.
Junior high students will have a new seven-period schedule, and longer class periods for their core subjects. They will have their own bell schedule and lunch period, independent from high school students. Each day, their teachers will have a period devoted to targeted student services. As a team, junior high teachers will have an opportunity to hold joint conferences with parents, and to plan positive interventions for students who need extra assistance.
Junior high students will have STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) classes, taught by newly-hired Joshua Morris. Rachel Remmert is also a new addition, teaching science. Junior high students will also have a targeted math or language arts class delivered by ability, providing enrichment or remediation, as needed.
High school students will also have new opportunities for STEM education. Morris will be teaching classes which focus on creating and producing molded, sculpted and 3-D printed projects, computer repair and troubleshooting, webpage design, and several other technology-related curricular topics. Trish Main has also updated the agriculture technology lab and students will be using new tools to create and learn. Kurtis Smyth is the new dean of students and athletic director, and has already been making plans and schedules for the coming year.
District-wide, there are some major changes which will positively impact all students.
A social worker, Katelyn Camp, will be assigned to the district five days per week, increased from three days in past years.
And, the City of Galva has agreed to partner with the district to provide a School Resource Police Officer on a daily basis, and for many public events. The officer’s primary responsibility is to provide an additional level of security to students, staff and visitors.
The district is also focusing on the issue of bullying, which will include staff training, student assemblies and instruction, a common K-12 definition, and an easily accessible reporting form which is located on the district’s home page. The form will be immediately routed to the building principals for action. The School Resource Officer will be involved in a preventative role, or an active role, if a crime is committed.
For the entire community, the football field will host its first varsity game in two years on Sept. 7. A new seating section, constructed by Ron Peterson and his students, has been added specifically for those who are unable to walk up bleacher steps. It will be an exciting night as the Mid-County team kicks off under the new lights on the fresh turf.