Van Allen Newsletter

A Preview and an Update for Our School Community

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No School, Friday, April 16th

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Please help us spread the word that we're hiring. If you have family, friends, and/or neighbors that might be interested in this opportunity, I'd encourage you to share the following information with them.

We're hiring:If you have additional questions, please reach-out to <>

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

Dear Families,

For many years students in our district, as well as districts across the state, have been assessed on an annual basis with the Iowa Assessments. In the spring of 2019, the Iowa legislature determined that all students in Iowa would be assessed 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 will be reported.

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

Tests, Grade Levels, Recommended Administration Time

  • Reading, 3rd - 11th, 60 minutes
  • Language Arts and Writing, 3rd - 11th, 120 minutes
  • Math, 3rd - 11th, 60 minutes
  • Science, 5th, 8th, and 10th, 60 minutes

All students in grades three through eleven are required to take this assessment. We have invited all Online Learning Program students in these grades to take the assessment onsite and will provide a remote administration option for those who cannot come onsite. 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 typically follow the week after the initial testing.

Week of: Students Participating

April 26: Onsite 3rd-6th grade students

May 3: OLP 3rd-4th grade students who can take the test onsite

May 10: OLP 5th-6th grade students who can take the test onsite

May 17: OLP 3rd-11th grade students who must take the test remotely

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 7th-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, watches, 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
Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
Iowa City Community School District

Parent/Guardian Conditions for Learning Survey

All Iowa public school districts are required to administer an annual school climate and culture survey to students in grades 3-12 called Conditions for Learning Survey (Survey). The Survey is designed to measure their engagement in school, safety, and the overall learning environment.

In 2021, parents and guardians of students in preschool through grade 12 will have an opportunity to participate in a Parent/Guardian Conditions for Learning Survey as well. This new Parent/Guardian Survey will give parents and guardians added representation in school improvement efforts. The Survey contains similar items to those on the Student Survey, focusing on areas that range from student safety, to positive adult and student relationships, to school rules and how they are enforced.

The Parent/Guardian Survey, which is available in English and Spanish, will be accessible to parents and guardians until May 28, 2021, online. The Survey will ask that all parents or guardians of children in preschool through grade 12 complete the first four questions, which the Department of Education must collect as required to report under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, no person is required to complete the survey and participation is voluntary. The remaining Conditions for Learning questions are optional to answer. A copy of the items on the Survey is available by request.

Responses to the online Parent/Guardian Survey are confidential and the results are completely anonymous. No names are recorded, and no identifying information is attached to specific responses. The results of the Survey will be provided back to the school to be used with the Student Survey results for identifying areas of strengths, and areas for improvement.

Parent/Guardian Conditions for Learning Survey:
Survey Instructions:
Information Summary for Parent/Guardian Survey:

Thank you for your involvement to improve conditions for learning here and throughout the state. Please let us know if you have any questions.


Matt Degner
Iowa City Community School District

Updated Quarantine Guidelines (4/14)

Dear Families and Staff,

At last night's board meeting, the Board endorsed and approved the District moving to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance. This change allows more students to remain in school while also keeping a focus on health and safety. Specifically, the IDPH guidance modifies the District’s quarantine process and reinforces the importance of consistently and appropriately wearing masks.

For students and staff that are currently in quarantine, individuals should not return to school earlier than currently scheduled without first hearing from a school nurse. School nurses will review each case and determine if any changes to quarantine dates are needed based on this new guidance. Quarantined individuals who are able to return early will be notified by 5:00 pm on Friday, April 16, 2021. We recognize that students are anxious to return and our team is working diligently to contact families as quickly as possible. Please do not call your school office asking for an update, as our team will reach out to families this week.

As we move forward, the District will follow these COVID-19 Quarantine Protocols:

  • An individual is considered a close contact when they have been within 6 feet of the COVID-19 positive individual for 15 minutes.
  • Quarantine is no longer recommended if a potential exposure occurs while both the infectious individual and the close contact(s) are wearing face coverings consistently and correctly.
    • The decision regarding the correct wearing of a face covering and whether a close contact must quarantine is made during the District’s contact tracing process.
  • If it is determined that an individual needs to quarantine due to close contact, there will be two options for exposed individuals with NO symptoms to reduce their 14-day quarantine.
    • A close contact may return to school after 10 days without a test OR
    • A close contact may return to school after 7 days with a negative test. The test must be taken within 48 hours of the end of quarantine. This information must be shared with the school nurse before returning.
    • Everyone must still monitor for 14 days for symptoms and exclude themselves if symptoms develop and contact their healthcare provider.
    • A parent/guardian may choose to keep their child in quarantine for the full 14 days and those absences would be excused.
  • Individuals who are a close contact due to exposure to a household member are required to quarantine for at least 14 days.
  • Individuals who have COVID-19 must isolate for at least 10 days and be fever-free for 24 hours before returning.

These new protocols take effect immediately. This shift in quarantine protocols allows us to minimize the number of individuals impacted by a positive COVID-19 case in a school and the amount of time spent away from the classroom. This change does not minimize our commitment to health and safety. It is important to remind students to always wear face coverings consistently and correctly while at school. We remain diligent in our efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure schools remain a safe and healthy environment for students and staff. #ICCSDtogether


Matt Degner
Iowa City Community School District

Below are some points of emphasis/reminders in regards to our car line procedures that are specific to student arrival in the morning.

When the car line is moving:

  • Adults should stay in your vehicle when dropping off students.

  • Students should exit the vehicle onto the sidewalk (through the passenger side doors), rather than crossing traffic.

  • We ask that you stay to the right, wait in line, and continue to pull forward until you are able to drop off your student(s).

  • Kindergarten, first, and second grade students should NOT be dropped off at the blacktop on the east playground if/when vehicles are able to pull forward.

  • Always pull ahead if you are in the right lane and there is a space ahead of you. While this may result in a longer walk for our students, it will ensure that our car line runs as efficiently as possible.

Please share this information with anybody who might be dropping off students.

Thank you for following these car line procedures to ensure everyone’s safety, and respect everyone's time. We know that we are asking our students to bring more things back and forth to school than ever before. This is especially true, now, during our winter months with all of the snow gear that is required. Your preparedness and your patience are appreciated, now and always.

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.

Towels Needed

New guidance states that if students are sitting on the carpet for music instruction, each student should bring their own towel to sit on.

As a result, we are asking that each student bring a towel to have at school. Students will then bring their towels to the music room for each music class. Having students on the floor is more functional, and makes the cleaning between classes more manageable. Questions can be directed to our music teacher, Mrs. H at Thank you, in advance, for your attention to this.

For a more comprehensive guide to our safe and healthy return to school, please refer to the Return to Learn Guide (linked).

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Students are expected to participate in school and attendance will be monitored. Parents will need to contact the school to communicate absences and the reason for the absence. The ICCSD will utilize the current excused and unexcused definitions but will follow some different processes for recording absences during the different learning modes. In addition, attendance tracking, attendance plans, and truancy referrals will be adapted in response to COVID-19. Tardies will not be tracked.

Curbside Service

Library materials and other school materials can be picked up or returned to Van Allen at any time during the school day from 7:40am - 4:00pm by calling either the office at 319-688-1185 or the library at 319-688-1188 when you arrive at the building. Someone will come-out to your car to pick-up or deliver materials.

Students in grades 3-6 should place holds on books that they would like to check-out or email me preferences and I will pick some. Students in grades Pk-2 should have an adult email or call with preferences or titles that they are interested in.

Students in K-12 in the ICCSD also have access to the local public library collections by using their AIM cards. If you or your student would like a refresher on using the AIM card, please let me know.

We would like to keep students reading as much as possible during this strange time!


Sarah Latcham, Teacher Librarian

District Computer Support, Repairs, and Internet Access

In the event that a student is having trouble with a school-issued computer, or if a device is in need of repair or replacement, please contact the ICCSD Technology Help Desk. This also includes requests for assistance with internet access. The Help Desk can be reached by phone at (319) 688-1950, by email at, or by using the chat option available during business hours in the bottom right corner of the Technology & Innovation Blog ( For detailed technology support information, visit our technology support page.

Monitoring and restricting your child’s internet activity

Did you know that parents have the ability to 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. You may have already received an email from Securly when your child was issued their 1:1 device. You can access Securly at, 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. You can also contact Securly support if you've confirmed your email in PowerSchool and are still having trouble accessing Securly.

Note from the Nutrition Services Team

The District, along with the USDA, is working to make sure no child goes hungry during this pandemic. All meals, whether served through our Grab & Go meal program or served in our cafeterias during the school day, are free for the remainder of this school year. We encourage all students to take advantage of this opportunity. Breakfast and lunch are served daily at each school location and Grab & Go meals are distributed each weekday that school is in session from 12:00 to 1:00 pm at the following locations:

  • City High
  • Hills Elementary School
  • Liberty High School
  • North Central Junior High
  • Northwest Junior High
  • South East Junior High
  • West High School

Quarantine or Tests Positive

Regardless of your enrollment option, please contact the school to share if a student is in quarantine or tests positive for Covid. We care about our students and want to be able to support our families. Additionally, the district still needs to monitor these numbers.

Updates to Inclement Weather Guidelines

The seasons have started to change and winter weather is right around the corner. We want to share some changes to our approach to inclement weather days this year and provide a reminder of where this information can be found. Moving forward, the District will provide online instruction on days when the weather prevents us from having in-person classes. Rather than our traditional “snow days”, these days will now be considered “virtual learning days”.

While the weather might be unpleasant, we are pleased that we will be able to keep students engaged and learning on these days. In addition to virtual learning, the District will provide Grab & Go Meals at the District’s designated sites on these virtual learning days.

As a reminder, the District's Inclement Weather Guidelines for issuing delay, cancellation, and early release decisions can be found on the District’s website by clicking HERE. As decisions are made regarding school day changes, the District aims to keep parents connected so that notifications are received conveniently and timely. In addition to the notifications that are sent via email, phone, and text, we encourage you to follow the District on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to ensure that announcements are right at your fingertips. We also encourage you to download the District’s mobile app, where you can find everything school and district related in one convenient spot.

If you have any questions, please contact the Educational Services Center at (319) 688-1000.

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  • Two more vaccines are required for students entering 7th grade: a meningococcal vaccine (MCV) and a tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster (Tdap)

  • Students are not allowed to start 7th grade in the fall without documentation of a MCV vaccine according to Iowa law.

Please check your child’s immunization record or call their health care provider to find out if they have received the Tdap booster and meningococcal vaccines (MCV) and make an appointment if needed.

  • Johnson County Public Health also provides immunizations and can be reached at 319-356-6045.

  • If your child does not have insurance, please reach out to Healthy Kids Clinic. Call or text 319-631-3204 to make an appointment.

  • If you have any questions, please contact the school nurse

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Brainfuse Help Now

The North Liberty Library has launched free educational tools, resources, help, and other supports for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, learning in-person or online. Check it out (linked)!
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#VanAllenPride - Follow and Like Us

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

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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 Jeremy Tabor, Director of Equity and Employee Relations, 1725 N. Dodge St., Iowa City, IA 52245, 319-688-1000,