Week of October 19 is AAA / BB


Can you feel the building momentum? Online folks have 6 weeks under your belt and we've got 3 weeks in the hybrid model! Those are milestones to celebrate!

I'm hearing from online and in-person teachers that we're leveling out (in a good way)... things are more routine and going as expected. That feels good and encouraging. AND didn't just happen naturally or by luck. Everyone is working hard learning new things and creating new routines and systems to facilitate learning in the midst of covid.

We've revised our lunchroom layout, structured recess so we can keep our cohorts protected, and teachers have filtered through all their supplies, rearranged and reorganized how they manage their classrooms.

What new routines or structures have you implemented to support learning?

~ Mrs. Heffner

Big picture

an example of adapting

The Art Room is a magical place with a seemingly unending supply of every colorful thing you can imagine: tubs of markers, crayons, scissors, glue, paint, brushes, pastels, clay, paper, etc.: the tools of artists, just waiting to be shared by eager creators. Usually. It is still magical and there is still inspiration to be found and creativity flowing. However, it looks different.

The desk in the picture above is a stark example of how things have to be adapted to insure health and safety. First every student has to sit at a desk to ensure social distancing, rather than gather round tables. Second, there is no sharing supplies and materials -- each person has to have their own stuff. These two limitations unleashed Mrs. Goeken's problem solving strategies!

*The desks are sloped, so things were rolling off .... all. the. time. Solution? cut a pool noodle and put it under the desk lid to raise it to level and keep it that way. (see that white styrofoam-looking thing)

* Every student has to bring their own supplies from their classroom to art. That sounds simple, but getting all your stuff down the hall can be a bit chaotic. Mrs. Goeken ordered each student a canvas bag to carry their supplies to the art room. AND, snapped a clip-on thingee to the desk to hang the bag, so it isn't cluttering up the floor!

* Every desk has hand sanitizer ... and a routine: use it when you enter, put it in the desk, use it when class is over, leave it on the desk.

* Every surface has to be cleaned and sanitized after each class ... within 10 minutes. Go Mrs. Goeken!

* And the COLOR CODING ... it applies to sooooooo much!

* AND all the labor to create online, synchronous and asynchronous lessons. whew.

Is it a lot? YES.

Are we still figuring things out? yes. Everyone. Everywhere.

Is it worth it? YES. YES. YES.

Hybrid Model Hot Topics

Please read this section each week for information specifically related to the Hybrid Model

Some reminders:

It is still a school day when kids are home on their off days. They should still log in for their morning meeting. Attendance is expected and teachers are entering attendance information into powerschool.

Halloween will not be celebrated at school.

Here is the detailed reasoning from the district:

COVID-19 has made us rethink many of our practices including how we serve lunch. Another traditional practice that is impacted by COVID-19 is our elementary classroom celebrations. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought several health and safety mitigation aspects to our schools this year (i.e. social distancing, restrictions on volunteers, and shared materials). The instructional time we have with students has been impacted, and we know the time we have is critical given the loss of learning that our students experienced in the spring. As such, we have determined that we will be eliminating these classroom parties for the 2020-2021 school year and then moving forward.

This consideration and decision provided time for us to reflect on the overall classroom party concept. Our workaround 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 opted 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.).

We understand that celebrations are an important part of our students' school experience. Each of our elementary schools will continue to have PBIS celebrations throughout the school year. While these may look a bit different this school year, 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 the school community.

OPTIMIZING the Online Program

Please read this section each week for info specifically related to the Online Program.

Thanks for all your support in getting fall screening assessments completed! Now we can go on with just learning for awhile.

This week's Library Book Pick UP is for K-2 Online students

Wednesday from 2:15-4:00 at the south entrance to Penn (cafeteria door)

If you didn't pick up books at the last curbside pick up time, books will be ready for your student.

If you did pick up books, please return them at the same time you get your new books. We will have five more titles waiting for you.


School Wide Celebration

We are already on our way to earning our first school wide celebration! Students are earning this celebration by earning ROARS. The whole school needs to earn 31 ROARS and then during the last week in October, we will have a Wear Your Team Colors Day. Students can wear clothing to support their favorite high school, college, or professional team. Students in the A Cohort will be able to dress up on Tuesday, October 27. Students in the B cohort will be able to dress up on Friday, October 30. Online students can dress in their team colors on BOTH days!

Ask your child about their classroom's ROARS. A class earns a ROAR from an adult who notices that the whole class is following expectations. I know we're well on our way to meeting this goal ... Go Panthers! Go Favorite Teams!

Monitor and/or restrict your child’s internet activity

Using Securly to monitor and restrict 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.

READ ALL ABOUT IT .... library checkouts

Good afternoon, Penn families!

Now that we have started book checkout at Penn, I decided to review how to bookmark our library catalog on to your student's Chromebook and how to place a hold. Placing holds is how students are accessing books this year for third through sixth grade.

This short screencast will give you a quick overview on how to complete these steps:

We completed this lesson in Seesaw entitled "Library (3,4,5,6): Catalog and Placing Holds" if you are looking for more details.

Mrs. Agne and I are here to help if you have any questions!

Mary Priske

Teacher Librarian, Penn Elementary

Julie Agne

Library Secretary, Penn Elementary

Meal Service: Fall 2020

Iowa City Community School District will have meals available for students in the hybrid and online learning models during fall 2020. All meals, regardless of model, will be free through December 2020.

  • Hybrid:

    • Breakfast and lunch will be available through onsite cafeterias for students while they are on campus. Students and staff will follow district health and safety protocols during onsite meal service.

    • Meals are free and can include a carton of milk. A “meal” is defined as any three different items, one of which must be a fruit or vegetable.

    • If a student is only wanting to purchase a single carton of milk, there is a $.50 charge. However:

      • If a student takes a milk and 2 other items (one being a fruit or veggie), it counts as a meal and the milk and two items would be free. Even if a student brings a lunch from home and only wants a milk, he/she can still participate in this free lunch service by taking two items in addition to the milk.

    • Secondary students, the first meal is free but additional meals or entrees will be charged at a la carte prices. Remember students must take a fruit or veggie to count as a meal, otherwise entrees will be charged at a la carte prices.

    • Grab & Go Meals for any students not on campus will be distributed Monday through Friday (with the exception of No School days) from 12:00 pm -1:00 pm at designated locations (City HS, Liberty HS, West HS, NCJH, NWJH, SEJH, Hills ES)

  • ICCSD Online Program: Breakfast and lunch will be available for students participating in the online program.

    • Grab & Go Meals for any students not on campus will be distributed Monday through Friday (with the exception of No School days) from 12:00 pm -1:00 pm at designated locations (City HS, Liberty HS, West HS, NCJH, NWJH, SEJH, Hills ES)

Before & After School Program (BASP) at Penn

There is still space in this super convenient child care program.

Please email for more info


Here are 2 ways we can strengthen our ability to communicate using Zoom!

1) Click on this link: Delete unnecessary extensions

2) Updating Chromebooks:

Updating is important - FOLLOW THESE STEPS - on a Chromebook:

-Turn on your Chromebook and sign in like you normally would.

-At the bottom right, select the time.

-Select Settings.

-At the bottom of the left panel, select About Chrome OS.

-Select Check for updates.

-If your Chromebook finds a software update, it will start to download automatically.

-Restart when it's done. It will let you know


Is Sound a problem during your child's zoom meetings?

There are 2 steps to follow that may help.

1. Use this link for directions about how to test and adjust your audio and video zoom settings: zoom sound

2. You may also have to update your chrome book. Here are the directions.

Our library secretary, Julie, can help you if you have a problem. Email her at


We are obviously more dependent on technology than ever before -- which also means we are going to have more tech questions and needs. Thankfully, we have an awesome tech department. Please save the info below for easy reference.

Chromebook Initial Use

One thing we learned this week is that students need to sign in once with their user name and password before the camera is enabled in their device. This is important because they need the camera to use their clever badge.

Technology Visual Guide: this provides brief overviews with pictures of the following

processes and programs:

District Chromebook: Sign In



Clever & ClassLink Comparison





ICCSD Technology Resources - this is a one stop resource for every sort of information related to chromebooks, seesaw, zoom and clever.

If you still need technology help at the district HELP Desk by emailing or calling 688- 4357. You'll probably have to leave a message. They will get back to you.

Looking Ahead

  • 11/3 NO SCHOOL / Election Day
The Department of Equity helps the Iowa City Community School District fulfill our commitment and obligation not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, disability, or socioeconomic status in our educational programs, activities, or employment practices. We help to keep students, parents, and District staff informed about their civil rights and responsibilities under the law.

Please direct any equity-related questions to the Director of Equity and Employee Relations Jeremy Tabor,, (319) 688-1000.