Wildcat News

~ Full Week of School: Monday - Friday ~

Wood Wildcats! Safe, Responsible, & Kind

Wood Families:

This week Nov. 28th through Dec. 2nd will be a full week of school. With this week comes the end of November and start of December. As we enter December we introduce our next PBIS character trait of focus, GRATITUDE.

All PBIS character traits support our Wildcat Way of Being Safe, Responsible, and Kind. Gratitude aligns with practicing being kind throughout our days at Wood and is equally important. Studies show that when youth embrace and express gratitude they too experience more positive emotions and foster an increased sense of hope and trust in others as well as seek to give back to their community.

No longer just a "soft skill," gratitude can translate to a more positive relationship to learning and the schooling experience among our students (ASCD, 2013).

A common practice for those of use seeking to increase our sense of gratitude is to daily identify three things for which to be grateful. My three today (and often) include:

  • my children
  • the Wood community as a whole (i.e. students, staff, families)
  • and, the opportunities to continue learning & growing


Winter weather keeps popping up please reach out to our Student Family Advocate (SFA), Ms. Alyssa Palante if your student needs any help in aquiring needed winter wear- such as boots, gloves, coats, etc..

The District's Inclement Weather Guidelines for issuing delay, cancellation, and early release decisions can be found on our website at www.IowaCitySchools.org/WeatherGuidelines. Also, ensuring our students dress appropriately will ensure waether safety during students' travel to and from school but as well as during recess times.


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

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

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

Proud & Grateful Wildcat,

Ms. Maria (she, her)


DECEMBER Dates to Note:

  • Dec. 15th: Title I Parent Night, 6-7pm

(in collaboration with ELL);

  • Dec. 26-Jan. 6: Winter Break (No School)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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







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5th & 6th GRADE; 2022-23 School Climate Survey

Between November 28 and December 16, 2022, your child/children will be invited to join their 5th-12th grade classmates in completing the 2022-23 School Climate Survey. Participation in the survey is strictly voluntary and no student is required to fill out the questionnaire. The survey will take approximately one class period, 40 minutes, to complete. The survey includes questions about your child’s relationships with teachers and peers, school safety and the disciplinary environment, belonging and inclusion, and overall perceptions of the school environment. You may view the 2022-23 School Climate Survey on our District website at https://www.iowacityschools.org/Page/1130.

The purpose of the survey is to collect information about our student's experiences in the classroom and school environment so they can tell us what is working in their school and what needs improvement. The results of this survey have been and will continue to be used to inform district-level policies and priorities, building-level Comprehensive School Improvement Plans (CSIPs), Board of Education meetings, various ICCSD committees, and individual educator practices aimed at reducing inequities in student experiences and outcomes. The results are used to inform goal setting and the identification of areas of strength and opportunity for growth.

All information collected will be confidential. Information from the survey will be linked to student demographic data from Infinite Campus to examine group differences in experiences. Individual identifiers (such as name, student email, and student ID) will be removed from the data for analysis and in any reporting (internal and external).

If you would prefer your child/children not participate in the survey, please email Equity Coordinator Charita Martin at martin.charita@iowacityschools.org, or contact your child’s building by November 21, 2022, and your child/children will be provided a neutral activity during the survey class period. There is no penalty for anyone who decides not to participate.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the 2022-23 School Climate Survey, please feel free to contact Laura Gray (contact information below).

Thank you for your consideration!

Laura Gray

Executive Director of Diversity and Cultural Responsiveness


(319) 688-1000


Believe it or not, winter weather is right around the corner! As a reminder, our District's Inclement Weather Guidelines for issuing delay, cancellation, and early release decisions can be found on our website at www.IowaCitySchools.org/WeatherGuidelines. Please note the change to the school day if there is a late start issued on a Thursday.

As decisions are made regarding school day changes, we are committed to providing families with information in a convenient and timely manner. In addition to the notifications that are sent via email, phone, and text, we encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We also encourage you to download our mobile app, where you can find everything school and district-related in one spot.

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

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

Two years ago, COVID-19 forced us as a District to rethink many of our practices within the school day including our classroom celebrations, such as fall, winter, and spring parties - including those affiliated to a particular holiday. The decision to do away with elementary classroom celebrations two years ago 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 (of this nature) moving forward.

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

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

Parent/Guardian Feedback

Grant Wood had a positive start to the 2022-23 school year.

Your feedback is welcomed and valued - let's celebrate our positive experiences while also work on areas in need of continued improvement - as a learning institution committed to growth and progress in areas of culture & climate as well as academic achievement.

Please provide us your feedback about the 2022-23 school year so far at Wood.

Grant Wood's PTO: Next meeting November 30th (5:30pm)

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22-23 PTO Leadership:

Kailynn Ekle, President

Danielle Trujillo, Vice-President

Elizabeth Mackenzie, Secretary

Deanna Schwietzer, Treasurer

email: ICGrantWoodPTO@gmail.com

Shine Awards - Recognizing Teachers/Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Additional details within our previous Wildcat News newsletter.

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

High Reliability Schools (Wood message)

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

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

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

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

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

PBIS - Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports

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

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

More PBIS information available here.

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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 https://youtu.be/7Wd9s1twd3Q or visit www.iowacityschool.org/ombuds for more information on the Ombuds Office.

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.

22-23 Office Hours Update

Wood's office will be open 7:30-3:30pm Monday through Friday.

It is highly recommended that our families call first, when possible, before coming to the school building.

**Our Office will be with reduced staff, while our office staff take their lunch breaks or assist with matters away from the front desk; we appreciate your patience at all times but especially from 11:30am - 1::30pm.

Your understanding when our phone lines may be busy - will be needed and is ALWAYS appreciated greatly. Busy phone lines can also impact our ability to answer the door buzzer. For everyone's safety it is imperative that everyone needing in-person assistance use the office entrance and check-in at the office for any and all assistance or questions you may have while on campus, during our office hours.

As part of our safety protocols, all visitors, including parents coming to Grant Wood for meetings with staff, or with an interest in having access to their child's classroom, will need to sign in - there is a new sign in system which will require that you provide your phone number upon signing in. Additionally, we at Wood require that all visitors (including our parents) sign a paper log when exiting the building.

Your understanding, cooperation, and collaboration in helping us ensure a safe and welcoming school environment - personifying and modeling the Wildcat Way: Being Safe, Responsible, & Kind is always appreciated! Thank you!

Needing Tech Help...

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

Check out The Technology Help Desk's latest support articles here or submit a support request here.
The Securly Home App allows you to monitor & restrict children's internet use. Once you register for your Securly Parent Portal account, download the Securly Home app and navigate the tools from your cellphone/handheld device to support your child's safe internet use on the school-issued chromebook.

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

Care Assessment & Securly Monitoring Tool

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

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

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

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

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

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ICCSD Non-Discrimination Policy

It is the policy of the Iowa City Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact Eric Howard, Director of Equity and Employee Relations, 1725 N. Dodge St., Iowa City, IA 52245, 319-688-1000, howard.eric@iowacityschools.org.