Wildcat News

Upcoming (Winter) Conferences; 2hr Late Start, Fri. Feb. 3rd

Wood Wildcats! Safe, Responsible, & Kind

Wood Families:

This week we transition from January into February and get closer to the 100th day of school. This week we are scheduled to have school all five days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

INCLEMENT WEATHER- 2hr Late Start (Feb. 3rd):

Friday, February 3rd we have a 2-hour late start to school. Since this is the first late start of the year, please review theinformation below - implications of a late start schedule.

  1. School at the elementary level starts at 9:55am; students should start reporting to their classrooms at 9:50am;
  2. Breakfast is NOT being served today;
  3. There is no morning PreSchool program;
  4. Earliest arrival to the school is 9:40am; Students arriving between 9:40 and 9:50am will be directed (out of the cold) to either the cafeteria or the gym to be determined by Wood staff until 9:50am at which time they will be directed to report to their classrooms accordingly;
  • Students arriving 9:40-9:50am can enter the building at door 19 (cafeteria door - but again, breakfast is not served today), or door 25 (front door with "Community" signage). Students arriving at 9:50 or later should enter at door 1 the front door to the office.
  • Dismissal will be at 2:55pm, please pick up your student(s) by 3pm (i.e. this is our regular dismissal time for Fridays).

If you have any questions about the late start protocols for Wood Elementary, please call the office, 319-688-1180. Thank you for your support, and remember to tell the children to dress warmly for these temperatures.


Our upcoming conference dates/times are:

  • February 22nd, Wednesday 3:10-7:10
  • March 2nd, Thursday 2:10-7:10pm
  • March 3rd, Friday 7:40am-3:40pm

by end of this week (Feb. 3rd) your child will be coming home with a paper form in which to specify your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd date/time preference to signup.

Your child's classroom teacher will confirm sign ups via follow up communication - using email and/or TalkingPoints. It is our building goal to have signup preferences for the February 22nd conferences communicated to our teachers by February 17th, so they may confirm your sign up with adequate time prior to your conference time.

Similarly, your child's teacher will be sharing their sign up form electronically as wellusingthe emails provided within Infinite Campus with the parents/guardians contact infromation.


Securly is a service that filters internet access on District-issued devices and also includes the SecurlyHome Parent Hub, which parents can use to monitor internet usage, receive usage notifications, and establish limits on what your child can access. The limits parents can set include turning school-issued devices off at parent-determined times (such as bedtime).


Students, Families, and Employees - The Ombuds Office is here to help! Visit www.IowaCitySchools.org/Ombuds to learn more!

You can also check out the Meet our Ombuds video!

Janet Abejo-Parker, Ombuds


(319) 688-1312

FEBRUARY Dates to Note:

  • Feb. 3rd, 2hr Late Start
  • Feb. 9th, 100th Day
  • Feb. 17th, NO School
  • Feb. 22nd, Conferences, 3:10-7:10pm

Proud & Grateful Wildcat,

Ms. Maria (she, her)



Principal: Ms. Maria, martin.maria@iowacityschools.org

Office Secretary: Ms. Kiana, samaniego.kiana@iowacityschools.org

Attendance Secretary: Ms. Kara, steggall.kara@iowacityschools.org

School Facilitator: Mr. Brown, brown.ryan@iowacityschools.org

Counselor: Ms. Newman, newman.heather@iowacityschools.org

Student & Family Advocate: Mrs. Palante, palante.alyssa@iowacityschools.org

Instructional Design Strategist (IDS): Ms. Fischer, fischer.stacy@iowacityschools.org







Classroom Celebrations - no longer holiday affiliated; but school-wide inclusive through equity lens

In 2020, COVID-19 forced us as a District to rethink many of our practices within the school day including our classroom celebrations, such as fall, winter, and spring parties - including those affiliated to a particular holiday. The decision to do away with elementary classroom celebrations in 2020 provided time for us to reflect on the overall classroom party concept.

Our work around equity is at the forefront of everything we do, and in recent years we have looked at participation in our classroom parties through an equity lens. For cultural or religious reasons, many of our families opt for their students not to participate in one form or another. For those that do participate, access for all students is not the same (i.e. lack of cards, food/treats, costumes, etc.). It is for those reasons that we will continue with the practice of no classroom parties (of this nature) moving forward.

We understand that celebrations are an important part of our students’ school experience. Each of our schools will continue to find inclusive ways to have classroom and school-wide celebrations, that don’t fall around holidays, throughout the school year. While these may look different, they will continue to be part of our system of support.

We strive to make all students and families feel welcome and included in all aspects of our school day and our school community.


The District's Inclement Weather Guidelines for issuing delay, cancellation, and early release decisions can be found on our website at www.IowaCitySchools.org/WeatherGuidelines. As decisions are made regarding school day changes, we are committed to providing families with information in a convenient and timely manner. In addition to the notifications that are sent via email, phone, and text, we encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We also encourage you to download our mobile app, where you can find everything school and district-related in one spot. If you have any questions, please contact the Educational Services Center at (319) 688-1000.

GOTR: Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run will be at Wood Elementary this Spring!

First Practice: Monday February 27

Schedule: Monday & Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm

Register by February 2nd & learn more: www.girlsontheruniowa.org/3rd-5th-grade-program-details

At an age when girls’ confidence begins to decline, they need a program that reminds them of their excellence. Compared to organized sports or other clubs, Girls on the Run uplifts the whole girl – mind, body and soul. Take the first step to igniting your girl’s spark by signing her up this season. You won’t regret it!

*This year, the program is for 3rd-5th graders.

REMINDER: Register by February 2nd & learn more: www.girlsontheruniowa.org/3rd-5th-grade-program-details


Let us remember the Wildcat Way - Being Safe, Responsible, and Kind at all times. Of note as well, is our character trait of focus for January - EMPATHY. In February, we will add HONESTY to our character traits of focus.

Empathy Definition: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

Teaching Empathy is about focusing on being Kind rather than proving being right. Kindness is consideration, generosity, and concern for others without any anticipated or expected reward in return. It is most important to teach the skill of empathy to young people, including our students to generate a culture of kindness with each other which can lead to ripples in our community.

CASEL Framework:

Our most updated instructional practices strives to be culturally responsive and incorporate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL is the process through which we develop and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, as well as set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. (CASEL, 2018)

CASEL Competencies include:

  • Self-awareness: The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. This includes capacities to recognize one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose.

  • Relationship skills: The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed.

Social and Emotional (SE) competencies are important for whole-student development and well-being. Research has shown that “brain function is hierarchical. We feel and then we think.” (Blodgett, 2015, Perry, 2006). Implementing strong SE competencies fosters an environment and nurtures communities where all individuals feel supported and can thrive.

Shine Awards - Recognizing Teachers/Staff

The school year is well underway and we are focused on our students learning and growing, as well as acknowledging them for representing The Wildcat Way: Being Safe Responsible, & Kind. We are committed to establishing positive working relationships with students and families. Several emails, pone calls, as well as in-person feedback indicate that strong positive, supportive, and collaborative relationships are in fact part of our Wood experience. If you are so inclined to nominate a Wood teacher or staff member for a District Shine Award, you may do so at the Shine Award Nomination Form.

The Shine Award honors employees who go above and beyond for the students and schools in our community. Honorees positively influence, inspire, and leave a lasting impact with the work they do every day, helping to fulfill the overall District mission.

Nominations can be submitted by completing the Shine Award Nomination Form. If preferred, you can also copy and paste the following link into your web browser: https://bit.ly/3QeTeUP. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.

The Wildcat Way: Safe, Responsible, & Kind with our School devices

Parent/Guardian Feedback

At the start of the school year, a few families provided feedback through which we were able to:

  • provide further updates regarding our parking lot changes for this year;
  • share celebrations (i.e. positive feedback) with our teachers;
  • connect parents and teachers;
  • and, address questions regarding the use of water bottles in our classrooms.

Your feedback as members of our Grant Wood school community is welcomed and valued. It is our goal to celebrate our positive experiences while also identy and work on areas in need of continued improvement. We invite you to share your thoughts and feedback with us about our current, 2022-23 school year.

Grant Wood PTO - Next Meeting

Date: February 1st, Wednesday

Time: 5:30pm

Location: Grant Wood Library

We will meet in the Library. The building will remain secured - to participate you'll need to arrive by 5:30pm, because there will be no office staff to buzz in late arrivals.

22-23 PTO Leadership:

Kailynn Ekle, President

Danielle Trujillo, Vice-President

Elizabeth Mackenzie, Secretary

Deanna Schwietzer, Treasurer

email: ICGrantWoodPTO@gmail.com

Drop Off/Pick Up - Car Line

We ask all our driving families to continue using extra precaution when entering and exiting our school parking lot. Similalry, we remind all our walking families to be extra cautious when walking to and from school, including when walking into, across, and onto the parking lot. Let us all manifest the Wildcat Way at all times: Being Safe, Responsible, and Kind.

Morning Drop-Off

Doors open at 7:30am for those eating breakfast. Our first school bell rings at 7:50am (students should be at line up spot at this time); Tardy Bell rings at 7:55am.

  1. Note we have 10 numbered car spots, please advance to the front-most empty car spot and drop-off your child/ren curbside along the Drop-off Lane. This will maximize safety and efficiency.

  2. Families who wish to walk their student to the building MUST park in a parking lot parking spot, NOT in the drop-off lane.

  3. As you enter the parking lot please pull as far forward as possible in the drop off lane leaving room for families arriving after/behind you to also advance to a numbered car spot for drop off.

  4. Once your child/ren exit your vehicle, carefully pull out and exit the lot remaining aware of pedestrians walking in the parking lot.

Afternoon Pick-Up

Pick-up begins at 2:55pm on M, T, W and F; and on Thursdays at 1:55pm.

  1. Be cautious and curteous if arriving before this time - please advance tothe front-most empty numbered car spot.

  2. Your child/ren will be directed by a supervisor to meet you at a specific pick-up space.

  3. When all of your children are secured in their seatbelts, exit the parking lot safely; remaining aware of pedestrians walking in the parking lot and of our staff directing traffic.



ICCSD EMAIL EXCERPT: We encourage those that are ill to see your healthcare provider. Our District policy requires students and staff to stay home until they are fever, diarrhea, and vomit-free for 24 hours without the use of medication, with the exception of positive COVID-19 cases, for which our District’s COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Guidelines should be followed. When reporting absences, it is helpful if you identify the symptoms that are present so we can track the illnesses that are circulating in our schools.

Our District is committed to the health and safety of our students and staff. We will continue to monitor reported illnesses and collaborate with Johnson County Public Health to ensure we are taking effective protective measures.

For more information, you can visit the following CDC websites:
Influenza: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/index.htm
COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/about-covid-19.html
Strep Throat: https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html
RSV: https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/index.html


Matt Degner, Superintendent

Iowa City Community School District


We at Wood strive to support our students and families in establishing and sustaining positive school attendance. Students with 10% or higher absenteeism are considered chronically absent. Our office and attendance response team will continue to reach out to our families whose student(s) attendance reaches this level of concern. Similarly, repeated late arrivals will also continue to be addressed via our District Attendance Notification letters as well as communication from our office and attendance response team.

NOTE: Chronic absenteeism resulting from unexcused absences and/or repeated unexcused late arrivals can result in a student being deemed habitually truant. Tuancy is processed in accordance with our District's guidelines for addressing truancy.

Attendance/Absences/Truancy: levels of concern

  • 5 or more unexcused absences
  • 8 or more excused absences
  • 10 or more unexcused late arrivals
  • 10% or more ababsenteeism (excused, unexcused, or combination of the two)

The impact of daily and timely attendance can be seen throughout our students' school experience and academic achievement. Daily and on-time attendance nurtures a student's sense of connectedness to their school community - feeling a stronger sense of connectedness fosters a stronger sense of engagement with peers, school staff, and the curriculum. Studies have shown, how regular school attendance has a high impact on academic achievement for students who who have regular attendance, even when not perfect attendance but under the chronic absenteeism level.

Please take special note to the points below:

  • Please keep your children home if they are not feeling well or have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. Keep them home for 24 hours after these symptoms are resolved without the use of medication.
  1. Please check with your child’s health care provider before giving any medication to stop diarrhea or vomiting—it may not be recommended and could potentially lengthen the time your child is ill.
  2. Also, discuss and or schedule an appointment for the influenza vaccine if you have not aleady done so;

  • The most effective illness prevention is thorough and frequent hand washing. Hand sanitizer kills some germs, but often does not kill the germs that cause most diarrhea and vomiting illnesses.
  1. Remind your students to wash their hands often with soap and water—especially before and after eating, using the restroom, and touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
  2. Encourage “covering your cough” in your elbow, not your hand.
  3. It is also important that your child is well rested and eating healthy foods to help their immune system work properly.
  1. If your child has accumulated 8 or more absences from school - you will need to provide documentation from their medical provider to exuse additional days.
  2. Details regarding our District attendance guidelines can be found here.

NOTE: If your child will be absent from school please contact our school office, 319-688-1180 and provide a reason for the absence (Attendance Secretary, Ms. Kara Steggall steggall.kara@iowacityschools.org). Providing a reason for the absence helps us determine the appropriate District-approved code for the absence within Infinite Campus.

Monitoring Children's Internet Use

Did you know that parents have the ability to monitor and see your child(ren)'s internet activity on District devices, and to set additional limits beyond those established by the District?

ICCSD is entering its fourth year of using Securly, a service that filters internet access on District devices and also includes the SecurlyHome Parent Hub, which parents can use to monitor internet usage, receive usage notifications, and establish limits on what your child can access. Limits parents can set include turning school-issued devices off at parent-determined times (such as bedtime).

You may have already received an email from Securly when your child was issued their 1:1 device. You can access Securly at https://www.securly.com/parent-login, and your login email will be the primary email address listed for your child(ren)'s contacts in PowerSchool. If you have trouble accessing Securly, please verify your primary contact email in PowerSchool or contact your child's school to do so (Grant Wood, 319-688-1180). You can also contact Securly support if you've confirmed your email in PowerSchool and are still having trouble accessing Securly.


The Securly Home App allows you to monitor & restrict children's internet use. Once you register for your Securly Parent Portal account, download the Securly Home app and navigate the tools from your cellphone/handheld device to support your child's safe internet use on the school-issued chromebook.

Additional information about content filtering and about Securly can be on the ICCSD Technology & Innovation Blog.

Care Assessment & Securly Monitoring Tool

In 2018, our Board directed the administrative team to create a safety committee. The goal of the committee was to conduct research and make recommendations back to the Board on safety measures to be implemented across our District. Care Assessment was one of those recommendations.

Care Assessment is a program to prevent violence and resolve conflicts proactively. The goal is early detection and attention to problems such as bullying, harassment, teasing, and conflict before it escalates into violent behavior. This is accomplished through staff observation, student reporting, and the Say Something incident reporting tool. In addition to these methods, our District implemented the Securly 24 monitoring tool for District technology devices.

Our District uses Securly content filtering to block access to inappropriate websites and material on school-owned devices. In addition to blocking inappropriate content, Securly alerts the district when they detect activity such as searches, sites visited, or emails sent and received that indicate a student may be considering self-harm and harming others. The goal of this monitoring is to provide early notification of concerns so that families and schools can work together to provide intervention and support in an effort to circumvent violence and harm to oneself.

For additional information on the process Securly uses when concerning activity is detected, please visit the Securly informational page located on the District’s website.

If you have any questions regarding Securly and its use within our District, please visit our Care Assessment webpage or contact Kate Callahan at callahan.kate@iowacityschools.org.

Wood's Wildcat Way: Be Safe, Responsible, & Kind

As our students prepare to return to school from Winter Break, we ask our parents & guardians to review and reiterate our building expectations with our Wildcats. These expectations will be consistently taught and reiterated at Wood across our campus by all our staff.

We have confidence that together, collectively, we can positively nurture a safe and welcoming school community, as well as a safe and supportive learning experience for all our students.

Voice level expectation - will be determined by context and circumstance - and communicated to our students accordingly throughout the school day and year.

*Additional details within our previous Wildcat News newsletter.

Let us be a community working together to teach our kids to be Safe, Responsible, and Kind.

PBIS - Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports

PBIS invests in proactive prevention. Some of the strategies include:

  • Ongoing recognition of appropriate behavior—including verbal praise & documented recognitions, ClassDojo points reedemable for tangible rewards, and the traveling Golden Ticket class plaque;
  • Proactive intervention—identifying expected building behaviors throughout all school settings;
  • Active teaching & reteaching—teachers, students, families, and community members often work together to teach and model appropriate and expected behaviors;
  • Clear, consistent responses to inappropriate behavior;
  • Additional support for students with more significant needs; and,
  • Collecting and using data to inform decisions

More PBIS information available here.

Needing Tech Help...

If your child experiences difficulties with the school-issued device (i.e.their chromebook) or school related accounts such as Seesaw, Dreambox, Lexia, Canvas, or ClassLink - our staff, including the Library staff may be able to help, however, it may help you and your student to contact the Iowa City Community School District Technology Help Desk:

Check out The Technology Help Desk's latest support articles here or submit a support request here.

Join Our ICCSD Team

The Iowa City Community School District will hold open interviews seeking paraeducators, nutrition services employees, and custodial staff. Interviews will be held on the following Fridays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the District’s Educational Services Center, 1725 N. Dodge Street in Iowa City:

  • Friday, February 24, 2023

Assistance will be provided, if needed, to complete the application process. To view available positions or to apply online, visit www.IowaCitySchools.org/Jobs.

Join Our Team!
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High Reliability Schools (Wood message)

High Reliability Schools (HRS) is a framework that supports fulfilling our District vision of equitable outcomes for all students. It gives us common language to name what we’re doing, assess our current reality, align our initiatives, and determine where to go next. It is a vehicle that allows us to balance shared responsibility and autonomy to make decisions that best meet the needs of all of our students.

HRS like Culturally Responsive Instruction (CRI) is a multi-year endeavor for continuous school improvement, including the development and implementation of culturally responsive teaching practices through which we strive to nurture community and deliver rigor with care for all our students.

Together, these two frameworks help our school community fulfill our mission:

To provide academic rigor with care to every student, every day - and to do so through a welcoming and safe learning experience.

While HRS provides a framework for how we plan for teaching and success; CRI provides us the needed framework for how we THINK about learning & success for ALL our students.

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ICCSD Non-Discrimination Policy

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, howard.eric@iowacityschools.org.