The Twain Tiger Times

The Mark Twain Elementary School Newsletter

January Update

Hello Twain Families,

I hope that you all had a wonderful break. We look forward to having your children back at school tomorrow.

Winter Clothing

Please remember to have them come to school with winter clothing. Recess will always be outside unless the temperature is below 0 with the wind chill factor.

Chromebooks and Library Books

Also, if you have any Chromebooks, chargers or library books at home, please send those with your children as well. This will help us get off to a great start as we return to finish the second half of the year.

Girls on the Run Needs a Coach

If you are interested in coaching for Girls on the Run here at Twain, please go to and sign up. It is a great program and the kids really enjoy it. Thanks!

4th-6th Grade Human Growth and Development Lessons

Health Lessons for 4th-6th Grade. Some time before the end of the school year, 4th-6th graders will receive health lessons that pertain to Human Growth and Development. Letters will be sent home a few weeks in advance of these lessons, but you may also find these letters at any time on the ICCSD Web Site:


Please call the office, use talking points, or email our secretary, Miriam Thoe ( if your child will be absent so we can mark it excused.

No School Days

In case you'd like to put it on your calendars, there will be no school on the following days this semester:

January 16

January 23

February 17

March 3

March 13-17th (Spring Break)

April 21

April 24

May 29

If you have any questions, please let me know at

Thank you!

Jason McGinnis


Tiger Pride Awards

Twain Families,

Ask your students about the Twain Tiger Pride awards. These are our most cherished recognitions for students that exemplify respect, responsibility, and caring at Twain. When they get their certificate, it is hung up near the office or on a bulletin board, they get a prize, and they get their picture taken with the principal!

Thank you for helping us support these values among our students.


Mr. McGinnis

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Cold Weather is Here!

Twain Families,

Please remember to have students wear socks, coats, hats, and gloves to school. If it is snowy, they should wear boots and snow pants if they want to play in the snow.

Are you new to Iowa Weather? Please take a moment to learn about frostbite:

Avoid Spot Treat: Frostbite & Hypothermia

In cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced, which can lead to serious health problems.


When the weather is extremely cold, try to stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress properly and know who is at high risk for hypothermia or frostbite.

When going outside be sure to wear:

  • a scarf or knit
  • mask that covers
  • face & mouth
  • mittens or gloves
  • water-resistant boots
  • a hat
  • a water-resistant coat
  • several layers of loose-fitting clothing

When going outside in winter make sure body parts most often affected by frostbite are covered in warm, dry clothing.

  • nose
  • ears
  • toes
  • cheeks
  • chin
  • fingers

Know who is at high risk:

  • Older adults without proper food, clothing, or heating
  • People who stay outdoors for long periods (homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.)
  • People who drink alcohol in excess or use illicit drugs
  • Babies sleeping in cold rooms


A victim is often unaware of frostbite because frozen tissue is numb.


  • Signs & Symptoms
    • Redness or pain in any skin area may be the first sign of frostbite.
  • Other signs include:
    • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
    • numbness


Hypothermia often occurs at very cold temperatures, but can occur at cool temperatures (above 40°F), if a person is wet (from rain, sweat or cold water) and becomes chilled.

  • Signs & Symptoms
    • Adults:
      • shivering
      • exhaustion
      • confusion
      • fumbling hands
      • memory loss
      • slurred speech
      • drowsiness
    • Infants:
      • bright red, cold skin
      • very low energy

If a person’s temperature is below 95° get medical attention immediately.


If a person is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite…

  1. Seek medical attention as soon as possible
  2. Get them into a warm room or shelter
  3. Remove any wet clothing
  4. Warm them under dry layers of blankets and clothing
  5. Place areas affected by frostbite in warm-to-touch water

Frostbite Caution

Since skin may be numb, victims of frostbite can harm themselves further.
Use caution when treating frostbite and:

  1. Unless necessary, do not walk on feet or toes with frostbite
  2. Do not use a fireplace, heat lamp, radiator, or stove for warming
  3. Do not use a heating pad or electric blanket for warming
  4. Do not rub or massage areas with frostbite

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When is School Closed or Shortened Because of the Weather

Dear Twain Families,

Here is a summary of when and why school may be closed due to bad weather. You can see all of the details here:

It's Too Cold

School will be canceled if the forecast for 10:00 a.m. the following morning shows frostbite times of 30 minutes or less (see Appendix A). Notifications regarding cancellation will be made no later than 9:00 p.m. the night before a cancellation.

Way Too Much Snow and Ice

School will be canceled if heavy snow and/or icy conditions make it exceedingly hazardous or impossible for school buses to travel their routes and/or for employees and students to report to school safely. Decisions and notifications will be made by 6:00 a.m. on the morning of a cancellation.

Delayed Start

Delaying the start of school due to weather conditions that are expected to improve throughout the school day. School will be delayed if the forecast for 6 a.m. the following morning shows frostbite times of 30 minutes or less (see Appendix A). Decisions and notifications regarding cancellation will be made no later than 9:00 p.m. the night before a cancellation.**

Early Dismissal

  • A decision is determined by 10:00 a.m.
  • Early dismissal times may vary depending on the weather conditions
  • Children normally transported on buses will be returned by bus according to the early dismissal schedule unless other arrangements have been previously made and communicated to the child’s school
  • High school activity and athletic event cancellations are determined at the building level and communicated by the building administrator/designee
  • Before and after school programs will be closed

After School Activities

As a general practice, if school is cancelled, so are the after school activities.

High Reliability Schools

Hello Twain Families,

I would like to extend my appreciation to those parents that were able to complete the surveys we sent you earlier this fall. We are actively using this information and feedback to provide the best experience for you and your children.

Thank You!

Hy-Vee Fundraiser

Dear Twain Families,

If you turn in Hy-Vee Receipts (or photocopies of them) to the Twain main office, we can turn these into Hy-Vee and get money that will go to our school. Please remember, when we receive money from donations and fundraisers, this money goes directly to helping students. Thank you, and I will post the flyer and FAQs Below.


Jason McGinnis


2022-2023 Cash 4 Students Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are all Hy-Vee receipts acceptable for this program? Most are! Pharmacy, grocery, wine/sprits, catering, deli, gas, postage, etc. are all accepted. Please see the “qualifying receipts” handout for a complete list.

2. Do Casey’s gas receipts count? No. Casey’s is a partner with Hy-Vee for Fuel Saver, but not for Cash 4 Students.

3. How do I bundle receipts? This is entirely up to you! Suggestion – total as you collect to save receipts from piling up and becoming unmanageable. Bundle receipts with rubber bands, staples, bags, boxes, etc., and clearly mark the total of receipts to each “item/collection/container tool” you choose to use.

4. Do I need to bundle in packs of $200? No. Bundle receipts in a way that is easiest for you/your volunteers; clearly mark the total amount on the outside of the “container.” You do not need to keep the receipt tape for each “bundle.”

5. What if the receipts fade overtime? Please do not wait to total receipts as they will fade. Please contact Kristy if this happens.

6. Are photo copied receipts acceptable? Yes. While they are not preferred, we realize that original Pharmacy and other receipts may need to be saved for tax/return purposes.

7. What amount on the receipt do I total? If there is a total at the bottom of the receipt after tax, please use that amount. We want the totaling process to be as easy for your volunteers as possible, with minimal time being spent on searching for a pre-tax amount.

8. How does the Redemption Form work? In April 2023, each store will turn in ONE redemption form with all receipts between the specified dates. You do not need a separate Redemption Form for each “container” of receipts. The Redemption Form should be attached to the final “container.” Example: If you have 4 boxes - label each 1 of 4, 2 of 4, 3 of 4, 4 of 4. On box 4, please staple or tape your Redemption Form. As we get closer to the end of the academic year, I will send additional information on how to do this.

9. Who receives the check? Each school is allowed one check. The check will be made out to the affiliated group (of the identified contact person) that you submit(ted) on your registration form. Money will not be divided between different groups within the school.

10. Can I return receipts in throughout the school year? No. Each school will submit receipts during the date range specified on the flier. Receipts submitted to schools should be totaled ongoing throughout the year. Do not wait to add receipts as they will begin to pile up and totals fade.

11. Am I allowed to use receipts I find in a dumpster or those that a Hy-Vee employee takes home with them? No. While this program relies heavily on the honor system, Hy-Vee employees are not allowed to do this, and collecting dumpster receipts is not the intention of this program. We appreciate your honesty.

12. How do I report totals? Kristy will email all coordinators and ask for updates periodically throughout the year. This is required. You must reply to stay eligible for funding.

13. What about e-receipts? Electronic receipts are acceptable. If your school elects to accept this form of receipts, it must be noted on your end-of-year redemption form. Ie:

a. Total hard copy receipts collected = $xxx,xxx.

b. Total electronic receipts collected = $xxx,xxx.

c. Total receipts collected = $xxx,xxx.

14. Additional questions? Please call Kristy at 641-751-4447.

Cash 4 Students is easy to do. Tell your neighbors, grandparents, family and friends! You are also welcome to collaborate with area churches, non-profit groups, rotaries, etc. to help safe receipts on behalf of your school.

Happy October!

Hello Twain Families,

I hope you are doing well. This is a reminder that our Fall Festival will be this Saturday, October 22nd, at 3:30-5:30 PM. We will have games, food, fun, a bouncy house, and prizes! Please join us. If you would like to volunteer, you may sign up here:

We could also use help with Bake Walk during the carnival. I will post the flyers below this message.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you there!

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Parent Reminder: Our Cell Phone/Personal Device Policy

Dear Twain Families,

I hope you are all doing well. I wanted to put this reminder out regarding cell phones/personal devices. The full policy is stated below. At Twain, cell phones are to be turned off and stored in backpacks until the end of the school day. Students may call home as needed from the main office.

Thank you for your help with this because it really helps us prevent potential bullying issues and it protects the privacy of all students.

Jason McGinnis

ICCSD Elementary School Cell Phone/Personal Device Policy

Allowed Use:
Personal Devices (ie. cell phones, smart watches, tablets, personal laptops, etc): Students may use personal devices while school is in session when permission is given and under direct supervision of a school staff member. Users should be courteous and respectful of others. All devices must be put away/secured, and ringers silenced before entering the classroom.

Devices in use or view during class time may be confiscated by staff (this includes using phones to listen to music). Personal devices are allowed to be used on the school bus, however all expectations of appropriate use / restrictions during the school day still apply. Students who refuse to comply will be subject to school consequences. Additionally, students are not allowed to have headphones / earbuds on or in their ears during class, unless permission is granted by the supervising adult.

The district will not be held accountable for lost or stolen items brought to school by a student.

1. Profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, language that is harassing, any form of bullying,derogatory or otherwise inappropriate for the school environment is not permitted. Language that promotes illegal activity or dangerous acts, lewd or plainly offensive,creates a material disruption to the school environment, or contains knowingly false,recklessly false, or defamatory information is not permitted.
2. Users shall not display, send, retrieve, or download any items that are sexually explicit or contain hate-based or discriminatory material. Users shall notify a staff member in the event inappropriate material is inadvertently accessed. Users must not distribute contents described or will be subject to disciplinary action.
4. Videos or photos(audio or visual recordings) to record activities of others or to violate the privacy of others is not permitted.
5. Devices cannot be used to cheat on school assigned tasks.

Personal Devices (search and confiscation of cell phones):
1. Student owned devices may be confiscated if a student violates school policies such as displaying a cell phone at a time cell phones are not permitted.
2. A school official may search student owned technology when they have a reasonable suspicion that a search will reveal evidence that the student has violated or is violating school rules, school policies, or the law. Students may be subject to discipline for content found on student owned technology.
3. If a school official finds content that violates school rules, policies or the law while searching for another reason (trying to determine the owner of a lost phone, suspected cheating on a test, etc.) students may be subject to disciplinary action.
4. If a school official finds a student is in possession of child pornography, which includes nude photos, or partially nude photos, of minors, staff will confiscate technological devices. Law enforcement will be contacted to determine if a further investigation is warranted. Staff members will not place potentially pornographic materials on their school or personal devices to retain as evidence.

Content (on student personal device off school grounds):
1. If inappropriate content/message from student technology has caused or is likely to cause a “substantial disruption” or “material interference” at school the school may take action, regardless of when or where the message was sent.
2. If content is considered a credible threat to persons or property, school officials may take disciplinary action regardless of when and where the message was sent. Law enforcement will be contacted to determine if further investigation is warranted.

1. When arriving on school campus and at the beginning of class, teachers/staff will remind students to secure their phones/devices.
2. Students should have their phones put away and/or not in use (backpack, pocket, purse, desk, locker, worn appropriately (watch or fitness tracker).
3. If a student fails to “secure their device”, a reminder will be given to the student and expectations will be reviewed.
4. If the device continues to be used, the device will be confiscated by the supervising staff and returned at the end of the period or class. The teacher/office will notify the students’ guardian(s) of the incident, and expectations will be reviewed.
5. If the problem persists, the device will be stored in the office and guardian(s) must come to the school to pick up the device. A conference will be held between the teachers, administrator, student and guardians to review the expectations and determine a plan to best support the student in following the policy.
6. If the above practices are unsuccessful, the student may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including:
a. Whole day removal of the device
b. Multiple-day removal of the device
c. Trimester in length of removal of the device

Girls on the Run Race October 23rd!

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ICCSD Districtwide Parents Organization (DPO) 2022-23 Calendar

ICCSD Districtwide Parents Organization (DPO) 2022-23 Calendar

The Iowa City Districtwide Parents Organization (DPO) promotes active engagement and awareness at the school and district level through monthly open meetings that include speakers on matters related to education as well as opportunities to interact directly with the ICCSD administration, foundation, and school board.

DPO meetings are your opportunity to:

  • Connect with parents and caregivers from other schools’ parent organizations

  • Find out what is happening in our district directly from the school board and administration

  • Learn from experts about important matters related to children, youth, and education

  • Exchange ideas and gain information on local, state and national legislative issues

General meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month, September-May, at 6:30-8:00 PM. Meetings will be held via Zoom through 2022. Additional information is available on the ICCSD DPO web page.

Sept 14

Are the kids OK? Schedule Disruptions and the Learning Process

Dr. Benjamin Forsyth, PhD, University of Northern Iowa

Oct 12

Helping Parents to Understand the Power and Impact of Curriculum

Dr. Bradley Conrad, PhD, Capital University & Dr. Kate Kauper, Ph.D, Cornell College

Nov 9

Funding & Equity Update from Admin

Admin & Community Cares Crew

Dec 14

Legislative Update

Zach Wahls, Iowa State Senator

Jan 11

Strategies to Lead an Effective PTO: Organizational Effectiveness in Nonprofit Leadership


Feb 8

Student Mental Health in the Post-Covid Era

Allison Bruhn, Ph.D., Professor and Executive Director of the Scanlon Center for School Mental Health, University of Iowa, College of Education

March 8

Youth Substance Abuse Prevention

Dr. Carrie Hough, PhD Prevention Specialist, Community and Family Resources - Johnson County Prevention Partner

April 12

PBIS in the Context of Social Emotional Learning


April 13

Scholarship Awards Ceremony

May 10

Fostering Diverse Community Engagement and Outreach for PTOs - Reaching Hard to Reach Communities


Attention Twain Families! Homecoming Parade Tomorrow, Weds 9/28 at 5:00 -- Mercer Park

Important Information

Start Time-Wednesday Sept. 28th 6:00 PM

Staging beginning at 5:00 PM-Mercer Park Lot

Route-Begins at Mercer Park, continuing West on Bradford, then North on First Avenue, ending

at Bates Field

Afterwards-Homecoming Powderpuff Game at Bates Field, concessions by Little Hawk Club

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Food and Snack Reminder

Dear Twain Families,

We provide daily healthy snacks, breakfast, and lunch to all students every day.

Unless your child has a documented medical need for certain foods, please do not send students to school with snacks unless they are bringing a lunch from home. If they are bringing lunch from home, please make sure it is in a lunch bag or box.

Examples of snacks we are seeing come to school that are unhealthy and should stay home are:
Flaming Hot Cheetos
Sugary candies like Skittles
Powerade (water is generally a healthier option)
Chocolate or Peanuts

For Birthday Celebrations
If you want to send a snack for a birthday, please tell the teacher beforehand and pick something from the approved list here:

Per district policy we don't have snacks or celebrations specific to holidays (Valentine's Day, Halloween, Good Friday, Eid, Christmas, etc.).

If you need food assistance or help with finding additional sources of food for your home and family, please contact our Student Family Advocate, Jen De La Cruz at

Thank you for your cooperation and if you have any questions, please let me know at

District Celebrations Reminder

Dear Twain Families,

Two years ago, COVID-19 forced us to rethink many of our practices within the school day including our classroom celebrations, such as fall, winter, and spring parties. The decision to do away with elementary classroom celebrations during the last couple of years 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 costumes, food, cards, etc.). It is for those reasons that we will continue with the practice of no classroom parties 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.

Thank you,

Jason McGinnis


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ICCSD Ombuds Janet Abejo-Parker

Ombuds Office Introduction

My name is Janet Abejo-Parker, and I was appointed to the Ombuds ("awm-buhdz") position as of August 2021.

The Ombuds Office is an informal concern and conflict resolution resource and serves as a resource for all students, parent/guardians, and staff.

My primary duties are to: 1) Assist individuals with exploring options to address District and school-related conflicts and concerns; and 2) Raise awareness of emerging issues and concerns.

The following guiding principles are what make my office a unique resource:

  • Independence: separate from other District departments;

  • Impartiality: understands all sides and works collaboratively with all parties involved;

  • Informality: a voluntary resource that does not participate in formal processes; and

  • Confidentiality: communications are confidential to the maximum extent permitted by law (exceptions apply for concerns involving mandatory reporting, Title IX, and risk of imminent harm).

Please view the Ombuds Introduction video at or visit for more information on the Ombuds Office.

Announcement: Join the Districtwide Parent Organization

Join the Monthly Meetings of the District Parents Organization

The Districtwide Parents Organization (DPO) promotes active engagement and awareness at the school and district level through monthly open meetings that include speakers on matters related to education as well as opportunities to interact directly with the ICCSD administration, foundation, and school board.

The DPO meets on Zoom during the school year at 6:30-8:00pm on the second Wednesday of each month, unless otherwise noted at this DPO General Meeting Zoom Link.

When you join a DPO meeting, you can:

• Connect with parents and caregivers from other schools’ parent organizations

• Find out what is happening in our district directly from the school board and administration

• Learn from experts about important matters related to children, youth, and education

• Exchange ideas and gain information on local, state and national legislative issues

ICCSD Fundraisers Announcement

Hello families,

There are two great events coming up that will help fundraise for the Iowa City Community School District. The first is Dine Out for Education on September 22. On this day, 10% of sales from our partners will come back to the ICCSD. Check out the listing attached and make sure to dine out on this day!

The second event is Run For the Schools on October 23. A portion of proceeds from this race will come back to the ICCSD. Here is the link to register:

We hope you are able to participate in either or both of these events! We appreciate your support.

Talking Points -- Connect with Your Teachers

Dear Twain Families,

We now have access to an app called Talking Points. In the picture below you may click on the QR code to get it on your phone. This is a very easy way for the teachers and I to send you quick updates about your child or the school.

Need to update your phone numbers? Log in at the Parent Portal and update your information. Can't get logged in? Call us at 319-688-1165.

Thank you,

Jason McGinnis


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September Update

Hello Twain Families,

Thank you for helping us all have a great start to our school year. It always helps us remember why we went into this field when we see your amazing kids come into the building. I also want to thank the many of you that have donated supplies and tissues. It really helps!

September 5th is Labor Day and there will be no school. School will resume on Tuesday, September 6th.

A reminder about the drop-off circle: Please do NOT back up out of the circle. This is very dangerous and we don't want anyone getting hurt.

Thank you for helping keeping us everyone safe.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at

Thank you!

Jason McGinnis


2nd - 6th Grade mySAEBRS Information

Dear Families,

This letter provides information about our school’s continued efforts to identify all students who may need additional help to meet student learning goals. During the 2022-2023 school year, the students in our 2nd-6th grade classrooms will participate in universal social, academic, emotional behavior screening that is designed to help schools identify students who may need additional support due to social, academic, or emotional concerns.

We will use the student universal screener, called mySAEBRS, provided through FastBridge Learning®. FastBridge Learning® is the same system we use for our reading and math screeners three times a year. The mySAEBRS screener asks students to complete a 20-item computer-based questionnaire related to their academic, emotional, and social skills. Our school’s leadership team will review the screening scores after the testing. Screening reports will be reviewed during conferences and sent home with all students as part of their end of year information.

We plan to participate in this screening three times during the year (fall, winter and spring). If you are concerned about your student participating in the mySAEBRS screening process or want additional information, please contact me.

Thank you,

Jason McGinnis

High Reliability Schools

In order to achieve our goals of excellence and equity for all students, we have adopted a new school improvement model called High Reliability Schools. High Reliability Schools is a framework that supports fulfilling our vision of equitable outcomes for all students. It gives us a 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 our students.

We are excited to get this work started and we are excited to partner in this process with all of you! We value the voice of our school community and we want to make sure that your experiences are reflected in our High Reliability Schools implementation. Throughout the year, there will be multiple opportunities for our students, families, and staff to provide feedback that will inform the work that we do. Please stay tuned for information on these opportunities. We look forward to partnering with you on this exciting new adventure!

Breakfast and Lunch Reminder


Breakfast and Lunch are no longer free for all students. Please apply to know if you qualify for a Free or Reduced meals.

You can apply here:

To Pay for meals this year, download the app for MySchoolBucks or go to the web site:

We will not be accepting payments in the main office.

Thank you,

Welcome to the 2022-2023 School Year!

Welcome to Twain, Home of the Tigers!

A Respectful, Responsible, and Caring Community

Dear Twain Families,

Below are some helpful tips on how to help make our first days of school successful and meaningful for all of our students, teachers, and families. We at Twain all understand that this can be a time of nervousness and anxiety as we start school. Please remember that we all treat your children as our own and will do everything we can to make their experience safe and meaningful. Please let me, or your teachers, know if you have any questions.


If you have a question or concern that is not urgent and you are able to, please email your teacher with questions first. They can forward these to the office staff or others based on what your need is. All of the teachers’ emails may be found at on the Teacher Page:

If it is urgent, please call the office at 319-688-1165.

Is English not Your First Language? That is OK, we will help you. We have a lot of families who are still learning English and/or are new to the country. You are not alone and we welcome you!

Email us at mcginnis.jason@iowacityschools or


Call us at 319-688-1165, and tell us what language you speak. We can call you back with a translator.

I want to talk with my child’s teacher. If you would like to meet with or talk with your child’s teacher, please email them to arrange something. You can always call us at 319-688-1165 as well if you want us to have the teacher reach out to you. Teachers are busy from 7:40-3:00, so while they will get back to you, it may not be until the end of the day. If it is urgent, please let us in the office know.

Please keep an eye on our Facebook and Smore Pages for more information. And of course, there is wealth of information on the district website:

Mark Twain Elementary PTO FB Page - See what our PTO and School are up to. See announcements and resources.

Mark Twain Elementary Smore Newsletter - See principal updates and other school-related information.

Mark Twain Elementary PTO Slack - Talk with our PTO members and get involved as much, or as little, as you like.

ICCSD Elementary Handbook - This has much of the policies that we follow for Elementary, including those for attendance.

Getting to School


If you live at the Keokuk Apartments or the Hilltop Mobile Home Park, you are able to take a bus to school. A bus form has to be completed first for you child to ride the bus. Most people have this done, but if for some reason your child is not on the bus list, please stop by the school so we can have you fill out a form. You may also email our Secretary Miriam Thoe at

If you have a student in special education that uses a bus, the bus will come and pick up your child to bring to the school.

If anything happens and a bus does not pick up your student, please let us know so we can get this corrected as soon as possible. Again, you may email Miriam Thoe or stop by the school.



Please stay at your cars when you drop off and pick up your children. It can be very unsafe, and slow the traffic when you get out of the cars and come up to the building. If you have to get out to open the doors for you children, that is OK, but please stay at your cars. You may always email or call us if you need to talk to a teacher.

Do not attempt to drive around other cars or buses. This is extremely dangerous and the safety of your children is our top priority.

I always recommend that if parents or students are able to walk to school or avoid using the circle drive, this is preferred. The circle drive is a slow process and can take up to 10 minutes for you to get through.

Thank you,

Arrival and Dismissal Times, Lunch and Breakfast

PreK AM Arrival: 7:55 AM

PreK PM Arrival: 12:00 PM

PreK AM Dismissal: 10:45 AM

PreK PM Dismissal: 2:55 (No Classes on Thursdays)

K-6 Arrival: 7:55 AM

K-6 Dismissal: 2:55 PM (1:55 on Thursdays)

Breakfast (K-6 Students Only): 7:30-7:50 AM in the Cafeteria.

NCJC After School Program: If you are interested in Twain's after school program, please get an application and information from the main office.

Parents in the Building: Parents and Visitors are not allowed past the main office unless prior arrangements have been made with the principal. If you visit the school, please enter at the front door at the circle drive.

Can I send my kid in with breakfast? Yes, but they will need to eat it in the cafeteria.

Want to pick your kids up for lunch? Absolutely, you are welcome to come and pick your children up during their lunch period. We have parents do this for birthdays, special events, or just because they want to see their kid.

What are my kids eating for lunch? You can see what we are eating at this site: Mealviewer also has an app you can get on your phone.

I’m sending lunch with my kid. Of course, that is always an option for parents. We can’t keep it in a refrigerator so just make sure it has an ice pack in it if that is needed.

My kid has an allergy, I’m not sure the school knows. Call us at 319-688-1165 immediately if you think there is any chance we don’t know your child’s allergies. You may also email this information to our nurse, Samantha Greiner at

Twain Expectations

At Twain, the expectations for all students and staff are to be respectful, responsible, and caring in all that we do. We use a system called Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, or PBIS, as a way to reward and encourage the adherence to these expectations. As the year progresses, your child may come home saying they received a Kindness Ticket, or a Tiger Pride Award, or points they can use in their teacher’s store or classroom. Research and experience has shown us that this approach has excellent benefits and does a very good job in showing students how to respect themselves and each other while also holding themselves accountable to the academic and social-emotional expectations set in elementary school. If you have any questions about this, please email your teacher or me.

I hope that this is some help for you as you start the year with us at Twain. We are looking forward to having your children with us and we are always here to support and serve you and the Twain community.


Jason McGinnis


The Bus Circle: Thank You for Being Safe!

Dear Twain Families,

I will start by thanking everyone for their patience when picking up students using the bus circle. Here are a few friendly reminders to help us make the drop-off and pick-up times safe for everyone:

First, please avoid blocking buses. If you are in front of a bus we may ask you to drive around.

Secondly, do not drive around other parked cars.

Lastly, if you choose to use the bus circle, the wait will be long. I recommend that if you are able to do so, please park on a nearby street and walk up to pick up your children. Often this is faster than waiting for the buses to leave.

Thank you for your help and cooperation in making things safe for our children.


Jason McGinnis
Principal, Mark Twain Elementary

How are Students Respectful, Responsible, and Caring at Twain?

Hello Twain Families,

I thought it may help for you to see what we teach the students when talking about how to conduct themselves in different settings throughout the schools. Each year, all students are taught by teachers the expectations in detail for all settings in the school. This is a brief summary of expectations by setting. This makes it easier to remember for everyone.

We are always looking for feedback to make sure we are being culturally sensitive when providing expectations for our students. If you hear of, or see something, that you would like to provide your opinion on, please let me know at


Jason McGinnis


Twain Student Expectations by Setting

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Twain School Supplies

Dear Twain Families,

This year, all school supplies will be provided for students. You do not need to purchase any supplies for your children if they are attending Twain for the 2022-2023 school year.

This is due to the very generous help of our neighbors at Faith United Church. They have helped provide us donations and supplies for hundreds of children over the years and we are very grateful for their support and caring for our students.

Thank you,

Jason McGinnis
Mark Twain Elementary
Iowa City

Need Help? See This about Johnson County Resources

Twain Parents,

Please see this list of Resources from Johnson County:

The following resources are available to assist students and families with academic achievement, mental health, and emotional well being. Additional resources for Covid-19 and child care assistance are listed at the bottom.

If you have information on other available resources and opportunities for support, please email them to


Free Tutoring:


Iowa City Public Library will be offering zoom tutoring for students in grades K-6 in January and February for students in grades K-6. Students can sign up for a 20 minute time slot with a pre-service teacher volunteer from the University of Iowa Elementary Education program.

Contact for more information.


Get HelpNow! Any student in the ICCSD with an AIM card can use this service. This service is for K-12th graders and is free. Parents – this is also a helpful tool for you too! Please call the North Liberty Library at 319-626-5701 if you need your card number, or email

Video on Homework Help:

HippoCampus Homework help

Additional Tutoring Resources:

Wyzant APP .

Varsity tutors.

Mental Health/Well being:

Support Groups for Parents, Teens, and Pre-Teens are available at

United Action for Youth:

2-1-1 Confidential, Easy to Use, & Free

Through United Way of Johnson & Washington counties

App or easy to remember number 2-1-1, that connects individuals with human services and resources in our community. Use the 211 App, visit the 211 webpage, or call 2-1-1 on your mobile phone. A trained professional will assist you to determine the best local options to connect you to the help you need. Try the free 211 Iowa app.

Landline: 2-1-1 Toll free 1-866-469-2211 Any phone: 319-739-4211

Text your zip code to 898211

Counseling Available at or 319-338-7518

CommUnity- Crisis Services and Food Bank Mobile Crisis Outreach 24/7/365 at 1-855-800-1239

TEEN LINE is a non-profit, community based organization that provides emotional support to youth. It is our mission to provide peer based education and support before problems become a crisis, using a national hotline, community outreach and online support.

Articles related to mental health and coping with stress:

Covid-19 and Other resources: and Facebook page:

School Aged Child Care:

Scholarships are available to assist with childcare costs for families under 200% FPL, Forms and details can be found at. NESTS Scholarship Application

There are before and after school programs and community organizations offering BASP and all day programming. A list of Known sites with openings is available at the end.

Articles on Financial Decisions:

School Aged Child Care Openings: this is not a comprehensive list, only sites we know of with openings at the time of publication. (BASP- Before and After School Programs)

Champions BASP: Locations in Iowa City and North Liberty


Coralville BASP

North Liberty Recreation BASP and programming flier

North Liberty BASP Summary Sheet

Not finding what you need for Childcare?

Contact Child Care Resource and Referral of SouthEast Iowa for assistance in finding the right opening for your family

High Reliability Schools

In order to achieve our goals of excellence and equity for all students, we have adopted a new school improvement model called High Reliability Schools. High Reliability Schools is a framework that supports fulfilling our vision of equitable outcomes for all students. It gives us a 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 our students.

We are excited to get this work started and we are excited to partner in this process with all of you! We value the voice of our school community and we want to make sure that your experiences are reflected in our High Reliability Schools implementation. Throughout the year, there will be multiple opportunities for our students, families, and staff to provide feedback that will inform the work that we do. Please stay tuned for information on these opportunities. We look forward to partnering with you on this exciting new adventure!