Van Allen Newsletter

A Preview and an Update for Our School Community

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Update on Mask Requirements in Schools (3/1)

Dear Families and Staff,

This evening, the Board held a special meeting to discuss our District’s current mask requirements. This comes after the CDC recently released updated guidance on face coverings in indoor spaces, including school settings. While the CDC is recommending continued mask use in areas categorized as having high transmission rates, the new guidance states that mask requirements can be relaxed in communities with low or medium transmission rates. Johnson County is currently in the “medium” transmission rate category.

Therefore, the Iowa City Community School District will no longer require face masks to be worn in our buildings, on our campuses, and on school buses as long as our county remains in the low or medium transmission rate category. Should the county move into the high category, this decision will be revisited again at that time. This change will become effective immediately; however, we still encourage indoor mask use for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to our schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Student and staff health and safety continue to be our priority, and our practice throughout the pandemic has been to anchor our health and safety protocols to the recommendations of the health experts. We recognize the significance of this change because of the vital role the use of face masks plays in controlling the spread of COVID-19 within our community. However, we make this decision with the confidence that we continue to follow CDC and JCPH recommendations.

While we are relaxing this individual COVID-19 prevention strategy, it is critical that we remain vigilant as a community to ensure we do not experience another surge in cases. We urge everyone to get vaccinated (and boosted) if eligible and to stay home if sick. We appreciate your support and collaboration in keeping our school community safe.


Matt Degner
Iowa City Community School District

Book Fair Wrap-Up

Hello, Van Allen Families --

Thank you so much for supporting the book fair this week!

Here are a couple wrapping up things:

  1. If you used the eWallet and still have funds, those funds do not expire, but they will not be refunded to your credit card. You can save them for the next Scholastic Fair or use them online.
  2. The online companion efair is open until March 13, 2022. The link is at the bottom of our fair page if you would like to continue to shop.

Again, thank you so much! It was a crazy, busy week and we will use the funds raised from the book fair to get new materials for our library.


Sarah Latcham, Van Allen Teacher Librarian

ELP Parent Nominations, Grades 3-5

Each year the Extended Learning Program (ELP) invites parents to nominate their child(ren) for consideration of ELP services for the upcoming school year. The ELP program is appropriate for students who are at the highest academic levels in their grade. The ELP program provides enrichment and extension opportunities for all grade levels. In grades K-2, the ELP teacher screens students by conducting in-class activities and collaborating with the classroom teacher throughout the school year. Groups may change based on student needs. At the end of the 2nd grade year, all 2nd grade students take a universal screener, an assessment called the CogAT. This will determine students who will be identified for ELP services throughout the year in 3rd grade. Parent nominations are not necessary for students in grades K-2. Please visit the district website for more information about the ELP program, located under “Programs,” or click this link:

In grades 3-5, students in the ELP program explore concepts and skills that extend beyond the regular classroom through interdisciplinary units. Parents of students in grades 3-5 may request that their child be screened for identification in the ELP program. This will include taking the CogAT assessment. If you would like to nominate your 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade child to be screened for ELP services, please complete a parent information form using this link:

Nominations must be completed between Feb. 21 - Mar. 9. Forms will not be accepted after Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022.

Optional Spring Photos - Wednesday, Mar. 9th

Aloha/Beach Day - Friday, Mar. 11th

Our students met our school-wide goal of earning 15,000 PBIS Rewards points during the month of February (15,326 PBIS Rewards points ended-up being earned!). Points are awarded when students exhibit respect towards self, others, and property. As a result, we are planning to have an Aloha/Beach Day to take place on Friday, March 11th.

School Counseling Program & SEL Curriculum Review Survey

Dear Families,

Each year, the Iowa City Community School District conducts a review of two or three different curricular areas. This year we are reviewing our K-12 School Counseling program and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum. We highly value parent/guardian feedback in this process and would like to gather information from you as to your insight and thoughts about the current program and curriculum. We will be surveying students and teachers separately.

Your feedback will help us determine strengths and limitations so that we can make any needed improvements. Please complete the brief survey(s), which align with the level your child(ren) are currently enrolled (Elementary, Junior High, and/or High School). The survey will close on Friday, March 11, 2022.

K-6 (Elementary) Parent/Guardian Survey

Junior High Parent/Guardian Survey

High School Parent/Guardian Survey

Thank you for your time and feedback.


Lindsey Schluckebier, Curriculum Coordinator-School Counseling
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Iowa City Community School District

Spring Break is the Week of 3/14

Iowa Heartlanders, Elementary School Night

The Iowa Heartlanders and the ICCSD are partnering together for Elementary School Night on Friday March 25th. Come out for this special night as students will be selected to participate in a variety of game experiences like Zamboni Riders, Blue Line Buddies, Shoot to Win and more! Wear your school colors and make sure to select what school you are representing when purchasing tickets. Click here to purchase tickets today! $4.00 from every ticket sold will be donated back to the Iowa City Community School District.

For any students that would need financial assistance, please reach out to our school's Student and Family Advocate, Danielle Weipert. If you have any other questions, please email

We look forward to seeing you at the rink!

Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) Information for Families

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Beginning in 2019, the Iowa legislature determined that all students in Iowa would be assessed each spring using an online test called the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP). This assessment is developed by Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa, delivered and supported by Iowa-based Pearson, for the state of Iowa. The assessments are aligned with the Iowa Core standards and provide a clear and accurate assessment of student learning outcomes. Student growth, proficiency, and readiness indicators are reported.

All students in grades three through eleven are required to take this assessment. This year, there is no option for a remote administration of the test, so all students, including ICCSD Online students, will need to attend school on-site to complete this administration. The state does not allow for parents to opt their children out of participating.

The schedule below provides a general overview of testing dates. More specific information will be provided by the school principals as the date nears. Makeups can begin the week of testing and continue through the following week.

Timeline for Students Participating:

  • March 28, 2022 - ALL 3rd - 11th grade Students
  • April 4, 2022 - Makeup tests for Students who were absent

The tests, grade levels, and recommended administration times are:

  • Reading, 3rd-11th grades, 60 minutes
  • Language Arts/Writing, 3rd-11th grades, 75 minutes
  • Math, 3rd-11th grades, 60 minutes
  • Science, 5th, 8th, and 10th grades, 60 minutes

To ensure that your child is fully prepared to take these assessments, please assist with the following:

  1. It is very important that your child be present during these test administration dates.
  2. All students in 3rd-11th will need to have their fully-charged, school-issued Chromebook for all days of the testing. The assessment cannot be taken on a personal device.
  3. No other electronic devices will be allowed during the test administration time including cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc.
  4. Students should get plenty of rest during the week of the assessment and eat a good breakfast each morning.
  5. You may assist your child in a practice assessment which can be found online at, under the “Test Preparation” tab.

If you have any questions about these assessments, please contact the District Curriculum Office.


Dr. Diane Schumacher
Executive Director of Teaching and Learning
Iowa City Community School District

2021-2022 Van Allen Elementary School Yearbook on Sale

  • Yearbook price, $10.00

  • Order before April 1st, 2022

Liberty Summer Sports Camps

Liberty Summer Sports Camps are now open for enrollment. If your child will be a future Liberty student, they are invited to attend. Please click on the link to register for summer camps.

COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Site Now Open at Liberty High School (1/12/22)

We are excited to share that our District has partnered with Nomi Health to offer a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in the Liberty High School parking lot at 1400 South Dubuque Street in North Liberty. The site is now open to the public. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Appointments can be made by visiting If you are unable to make an appointment online, you may register at the site.

The drive-thru site will offer both rapid antigen testing (with an average 30-minute turnaround time) and PCR testing (with a 24-48-hour turnaround time). Samples are processed in a CLIA-certified laboratory using FDA-authorized kits. There are no out-of-pocket costs, but those with insurance are asked to bring their insurance card.

Further, we are working with Nomi Health to set up two additional testing sites within our District. We will provide more information to families and staff as soon as those sites are operational.

Updated Quarantine and Isolation Guidance

This week the CDC released updated COVID-19 quarantine and isolation guidance for K-12 schools. This guidance has also been adopted by IDPH and JCPH. On Monday, January 10, 2022, our District will transition to these updated protocols, which are detailed below. While the CDC has modified quarantine and isolation guidance for schools, we continue to require masks for all students, staff, and visitors to our schools. In addition, we highly recommend that all eligible individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must follow the below protocols:

  • Stay home for five days.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after five days, you can return to school on day six.
  • If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves and you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • The same protocols apply for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals testing positive for COVID-19.

If you have been exposed to a COVID-positive individual in your home and you are fully vaccinated and boosted (for those eligible), you are not required to quarantine. However, it is recommended that you wear a mask around others for ten days, monitor for symptoms, and be tested for COVID-19 on day five. Unvaccinated individuals who have a household exposure to someone with COVID-19 must follow the below protocols:

  • Stay home for five days.
  • If possible, take a COVID-19 test on day five.
  • If you develop symptoms, get a test and continue to stay home.
  • If you have no symptoms after five days, you can return to school on day six.
  • Please Note: The above bullets also apply to vaccinated individuals that are eligible for the booster but have not yet received it and those that have not fully completed the initial vaccination process (individuals that have received one of two doses).

Arrival and Dismissal Procedures - (Links, Below)

Specific Car Line Points of Emphasis:

With the early morning temperatures being so cold, this is a good time to share some reminders in regards to our Student Arrival Procedures to ensure that our car line runs as smooth as possible.

    • Supervision begins at 7:40am. Doors to the building and classrooms will remain closed until 7:40. Please be mindful of this time. School begins at 7:55am.

    • Adults should stay in the vehicle when dropping off students. Please have your child as ready as possible when it is time for them to get out of the car.

    • You should NOT bypass the carline to enter (and/or drop-off in) the parking lot.

    • Children should exit the vehicle onto the sidewalk through the passenger side doors; please do NOT allow children to leave the vehicle on the driver's side.

    • Always pull ahead if you are in the right lane and there is a space ahead of you. When it is cold, we allow students to enter the building through the nearest door.

    • Please share this information with anybody who might drop-off students.

Thank you for following these procedures to ensure everyone’s safety and respect everyone's time. Your attention to this, and your patience are appreciated.

Inclement Weather Guidelines (Inserted/Linked, Below)

The temperatures have taken their annual drop towards the impending winter weather! Please make sure your students are dressed appropriately, or bring extra layers to put on for outside recess. This should include long sleeved shirts and pants. As a reminder, we go outside for recess unless it is raining, or the temperature drops below ZERO (with or without wind chill). If your family needs help or resources for this, please contact the school nurse or student family advocate.

Student Family Advocate- Danielle Weipert -

School Nurse- Christel Philipp-

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The District is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for our students.

When food is served to students in the classroom as a snack, birthday treat, or during a classroom celebration, the following rules apply (ICCSD Wellness Policy 507.9):

  • allow only fresh fruits/vegetables or purchased foods with the ingredients listed (no homemade foods).
  • allow only foods that meet the Healthy Food Guidelines/ Smart Snacks. (the only exception to this would be food-tasting related to district-approved curriculum lessons)
  • not allow foods with peanuts or peanut butter, or foods that were made in a factory where cross-contamination may occur.
  • food that does not meet the guidelines will be sent home.
  • a list of acceptable foods (linked).

Thank you for your attention to this.

Interested in additional resources and supports?

The following resources - Iowa City Area Resources for Students and Families (linked) - are available to assist students and families with academic achievement, mental health, and emotional wellbeing. Additional information on Covid-19 and School Age Child Care assistance are also available.

Let's Celebrate!

Hey Rocket Families, let's celebrate!

Below are two great options to make your child's birthday extra special and raise money for Van Allen!

  1. Birthday Boulder Signup:

  2. Let IC Yards help make your celebration extra special while also giving back to your school. All year long you can enter the code ROCKETS to have $10 of your yard card booking fee donated back to your PTO. Book early to secure your celebration date!


Upcoming PTO Meetings

  • Our final PTO meeting of the year will occur on May 4

2021-2022 District Calendar

  • The elementary school day begins at 7:55am and ends at 2:55pm

  • Please note that our one-hour early release days have returned to being on Thursdays this year
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#VanAllenPride - Follow and Like Us

We use these platforms (below) to highlight our accomplishments (including pictures) and share relevant announcements and reminders.

Masks remain a requirement for all students, staff, and visitors to our schools. In addition, we highly recommend that all eligible individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For individuals that have received the vaccine, we strongly encourage you to get the booster. Boosters are now available for those age 12 and older. For individuals five years of age and older who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, this vaccine locator may be used to find a provider near you.

Non-Discrimination Statement

It is the policy of the Iowa City Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact Eric Howard, Director of Equity and Employee Relations, 1725 N. Dodge St., Iowa City, IA 52245, 319-688-1000,
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