Wildcat News

~Sept. 26th - Last week of September; Latinx Heritage Month~

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Safe, Kind, & Responsible...

Grant Wood Families,

This week we will conclude September and we have school all five days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We start serving breakfast at 7:40am and the school day starts at 7:55am. While we strive to offer each student breakfast, it is important that students arrive between 7:40 and 7:55am to receive a school breakfast. The school day starts at 7:55am. Your continued commitment to have students arrive in a timely manner is greatly appreciated. If you need assistance with school attendance or any other issue that may be impacting your child's school experience, please do not hesitate to contact us:

School Phone: 319-688-1180

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

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

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

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

HERITAGE MONTHS: In the United States, Heritage Months are month-long periods within the year that are designated to celebrate and acknowledge various ethnic groups - in particular groups that have historically not been included or have not been accurately represented in the telling and teaching of who makes up and contributed to our American society. Heritage months are times not only to celebrate, but also to educate ourselves and others on various groups' histories and contributions to American History.

We are currently in the middle of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month which is from Sept. 15th through Oct. 15th. Within our goal of being welcoming and inclusive, we at Wood strive not only to be Safe, Kind, and Responsible as individuals but also in support of and for the benefit of our community as a whole.

It is Grant Wood's Wildcat commitment to be Safe, Kind, & Responsible each day - to strive daily to carry ourselves in the Wildcat Way.

  • When being safe, it includes physical, emotional, and mental safety.
  • Being kind helps us ensure that our actions and words towards ourselves and others are in fact safe.
  • Understanding the importance of being safe and kind reminds us each day that we all carry the responsibility of creating a positive, supportive, and inclusive learning environment within our community at our school building and beyond.

**September early dismissal Thursdays:

  • Sept. 30th - pick up students at 1:55pm - mark you calendars - set your alarms

October date to be aware of:

  • Oct. 4th (Monday, next week) - No School

If you have questions on items included or not included here, please email us or call us with your questions - together we shall all have a great Wildcat year!

~Ms. Maria (Principal)






Principal: Ms. Maria, martin.maria@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

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

Office Secretary: Ms. Peggy, tucker.peggy@iowacityschools.org

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month

Throughout the year, we shall acknowledge the various Heritage months starting with Latinx Heritage Month, also referred to as Hispanic Heritage Month which starts on September 15th and concludes on October 15th.

While we do not want to limit ourselves to specific calendar dates it is during this 4-week period that we in the United States formally recognize the contributions, achievements, and influence of Latinx/Hispanic Americans (or any other cultural/ethnic group) to the history and culture of the United States.

Latinx' is a gender-neutral word for people of Latin American descent and to embrace the diaspora of Latin American descent.

Julia Alvarez's Tia Lola series

Julia Alvarez is a renowned Latinx author with an array of book for readers of all ages. In her Tia Lola series Ms. Alvarez tells the story of a family of two children, their parents and their delightful and entertaining tia (aunt) Lola. The mom and children move to Vermont after the parents divorce. Tía Lola arrives in Vermont from the Dominican Republic to help the mom and children. In this series, Julia Alvarez illuminates a child’s experiences living in two cultures.

The Sky Over My Mother’s House, by Jaime Manrique

Poets.org is a rich website of poetry and include an array of poems in honor of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. The poem shared below is only one sample of the many poems you can find on poets.org

translated by Edith Grossman

It is a July night
scented with gardenias.
The moon and stars shine
hiding the essence of the night.
As darkness fell
—with its deepening onyx shadows
and the golden brilliance of the stars—
my mother put the garden, her house, the kitchen, in order.
Now, as she sleeps,
I walk in her garden
immersed in the solitude of the moment.
I have forgotten the names
of many trees and flowers
and there used to be more pines
where orange trees flower now.
Tonight I think of all the skies
I have pondered and once loved.
Tonight the shadows around
the house are kind.
The sky is a camera obscura
projecting blurred images.
In my mother’s house
the twinkling stars
pierce me with nostalgia,
and each thread in the net that surrounds this world
is a wound that will not heal.


To help slow the spread of COVID-19, the Iowa City Community School District requires universal mask use for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to our schools, regardless of vaccination status. This is based on guidance from the CDC. In addition, the President’s Executive Order on domestic transportation requires students and staff to wear a face-covering while on a school bus or while utilizing other District-provided transportation.

In addition, our District strongly encourages eligible individuals to get the COVID-19 vaccine. For individuals 12 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.

Health & Safety - Protocols

The Iowa City Community School District is committed to student and staff health and safety. The District is aware that the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the Delta Variant, remains present in the community. For the 2021 - 2022 school year, the following enhanced health and safety guidelines will be implemented to help protect students, staff, families, and our entire school community. The below guidance supplements the District’s standard policies, procedures, practices, and school rules.

The District will continue to monitor COVID-19 rates and make adjustments as needed. Johnson County’s Transmission rate is currently High.

ICCSD layered prevention strategies, including washing hands, social distancing, and staying home when sick are paramount for all in the school community. The District’s policy, procedures, and these enhanced health and safety guidelines apply to all Iowa City Community School District schools and facilities, District activities, programs and events, BASP, mission and community partners, and community use of District facilities.

Elementary-age students do not currently have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Due to this, it is highly recommended that all elementary staff and students wear a mask.

Contact Tracing:

The District will continue to work with Johnson County Public Health (JCPH) in their contact tracing efforts. When notified of a positive COVID-19 case, communication will be sent to the individuals identified as close contacts in district buildings. JCPH will then contact these individuals and provide quarantine/isolation guidance. Families will be required to follow JCPH quarantine guidance and should contact their school attendance secretary to report any absence due to quarantine.


    According to Johnson County Public health guidance, individuals exposed to a positive COVID-19 case will be asked to quarantine for 10 days and monitor for the development of symptoms, regardless of their vaccine status. Please note, parents/guardians have the option to keep their child in quarantine for the full 14 days and those absences would be excused. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate at home for 10 days.

    Exception to quarantine: Close contacts do not have to quarantine if both the COVID-19 positive individual and the close contact wore well-fitting masks consistently and correctly the entire duration of the exposure, regardless of vaccine status. For additional information on quarantine and options for a shortened quarantine period please visit the Quarantine Protocols page on the District website.

    • Singleton student quarantine: Students will join the morning meeting and small group Reading and Math lessons through Zoom. All assignments will be posted to SeeSaw. We will continue to explore other options (i.e. building substitutes, academic support teachers, etc.), but will begin the year as such.
    • Classroom quarantine: Students will join morning meetings and be provided synchronous instruction in reading, math, science/social studies, and specials through Zoom. All assignments will be posted to SeeSaw. Pull-outs will happen at the same time as regularly scheduled with their onsite teacher (ELL, ELP, SpEd, Title, Academic Support).

    Students and staff are encouraged to stay home when sick, when COVID-19 symptoms are present, or when determined to be a close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.

    For more details relating to the ICCSD Health and Safety Protocols go to: https://www.iowacityschools.org/healthandsafety


    Each year, every year, we wish for our working relationship with our families to allow for open communication. For this reason as well as the potential for health and safety need to call a parent/guardian - It is imperative that all families have a working phone number on file for when and if our staff need to contact a parent/guardian or emergency contact.

    • Click here to specify your child(ren)'s dismissal plan - walk, bike ride, car line, etc. The form asks 6 brief questions - please answer yes or no, and list the needed names. Your answers are private only seen by school staff and they will help us provide an added level of safety for our children at dismissal.

    Other IMPORTANT 21-22 notes:

    • Parking lots - for the safety of our students the back parking lot is ONLY for custodians and service vehicles; staff and parents should only use the front parking lot (for any and all parking). If parents are dropping off at the back to the cafeteria between 7:40-7:55am, please use the walkway accessible via California Ave. or stop your vehicle at the circle drive at the end of Western Rd, do not enter the back parking lot of the school.
    • Families needing assistance should enter at the office (door 1); Buildings are closed to visitors and volunteers and cannot enter the building beyond the office - we are happy to help you with your questions in the office;
    • Kindergarten students like all other students arriving 7:40-7:55am are to enter at door 19, into the cafeteria; however will continue to dismiss at door 18 (back of building) - unless family is picking up at front car line, then the student will be called over the walkie-talkie to be walked to car line by a staff member.
    • Walking students will be able to exit campus in a variety of directions from the front or back of the building - pedestrian parents should approach a staff member to have their child's name called (via radio) for their child to meet them at a "safe" distance from others.
    • IMPORTANT CAR LINE NOTE: Please remain in your car (do not leave your car unattended in the car line) - also please advance in the car line when indicated to do so by Wood staff. Students will not be allowed to approach cars along the walkway at the steps and railing going towards the street. All students being picked up at the car line will sent to the car line via the gate at the driveway on the far west side of the parking lot.
    • We ask that you practice extra caution when entering, driving in, and exiting the front parking lot. Please do not enter your vehicle onto the back parking lot of the school.

    Therapy Dog - Redd - at Wood 2021-22

    A therapy animal has been approved under ICCSD policies to be present in our building and classrooms at Wood.

    Redd is a Fox Red Labrador Retriever that has been individually trained to provide animal therapy. Under federal and state law, ICCSD is sometimes required to allow therapy animals onto ICCSD property, but we want to minimize any negative effects on other students and staff in the building due to Redd’s presence. You may review ICCSD’s policy regarding Therapy Animals in the School District; Guidance for use of Service Animals and Therapy Animals is contained in Policy 105.

    If you have any concerns about these certified/trained animals being present in school or in your child's class, please reach out to me at martin.maria@iowacityschools.org to share your thoughts.

    Birthdays and Food updates:

    The ICCSD is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for our students. In line with that goal, changes are being made to our District’s Wellness Policy regarding classroom snacks birthday treats and classroom celebrations.

    NOTE: While the policy detailed below does allow for some approved foods, at this time given the extra precautions due to Covid-19, we will be acknowledging birthdays without food/snacks brought from home.

    NO food birthday-celebrations in school/classrooms

    In line with our District’s Wellness Policy, student birthdays will be acknowledged in the classrooms with a special acknowledgement. Please note these birthday celebrations will not involve food. If food is sent to school for birthdays the food items will need to be returned home.


    When food is served to students in the classroom as a snack 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.

    The ICCSD Wellness Policy Classroom Snacks and Celebrations is a complete list of approved foods including where the approved food items can be purchased.

    (B)ASP: After-School Program

    The Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County will continue providing after-school care at Grant Wood this academic year.

    The Grant Wood BASP at this time will not be having Before-School care at this time, but it may do so later on in the school year.

    Families interested in ASP should email, Ms. Allison Fuhrmeister, allison-fuhrmeister@ncjc.org.

    Grab-and-Go Meals

    The USDA has extended The ICCSD's waiver allowing us to continue to offer free meals to all students through the 2021-22 school year. All meals, whether served in schools or at Grab & Go sites, are free. Please review the USDA’s public release for free school meals for more information.

    While meals are currently free for all students under this waiver, it is critical that families still complete the Free and Reduced Application. The Free and Reduced Application ensures that eligible families have access to qualifying benefits such as P-EBT Cards and reduced transportation costs. The application must be completed each year as federal income guidelines change. Please be aware that even if you applied last year, you need to reapply again as soon as possible, to prevent a potential loss in benefits.

    Beginning August 23, 2021, the Grab & Go meal program will resume. Meals will be served on school days from noon-1:00 pm at the following locations:

    • Hills Elementary
    • North Central Junior High
    • Northwest Junior High
    • South East Junior High

    *Please be aware that meals for Grab & Go will NOT be served at Wood.

    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, as well as ClassDojo points reedemable for tangible rewards
    • Proactive intervention—identifying the behaviors expected in all settings
    • Active teaching & reteaching—teachers, students, families and community members often work together to teach and model appropriate behavior
    • Clear, consistent responses for inappropriate student behavior
    • Additional support for students with more significant needs
    • Collecting and using data to inform decisions

    More PBIS information available here.

    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.

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    Iowa Dept. of Human Rights Newsletter - Update

    To find a vaccine provider near you. visit Vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX), or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489) for assistance.

    COVID-19 vaccines are free regardless of immigration or health insurance status

    The CDC recommends everyone 12 years and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are free to all people living in the U.S. regardless of immigration or health insurance status. You will not receive a bill for a COVID-19 vaccine. However, your vaccination provider may bill your insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare for an administration fee. You cannot be denied a vaccine if you are unable to pay the vaccine administration fee.

    Read more from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health: English | Spanish

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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 Jeremy Tabor, Director of Equity & Employee Relations, 1725 N. Dodge St., Iowa City, IA 52245, (319) 688-1000, tabor.jeremy@iowacityschools.org.