JCSD E-Connection

Board updates, news, and events from the around the district

Week of October 26, 2020

Thank you for checking out the JCSD E-Connection! In this newsletter, you will find links to Johnston Board of Education items/decisions, news, and commendations from around the district, and important information for parents/guardians.

All attempts are made to be as accurate as possible at the time of publication. Questions, comments, or concerns can be emailed to the JCSD Communications department at jcsdcomm@jdragonmail.us.

District News & Announcements

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Clearing Up Quarantine and COVID Case Confusion

As reported on Thursday, the number of positive cases and number of isolated/quarantined individuals in the district spiked. A local media outlet ran a story that left out a good portion of the information that was provided to them regarding the rise in numbers.

Any time there is a positive case, the positive individual works with Polk Co. Health Department to discuss who, what, where, and when they were around prior to testing positive. This is also where PCH asks about mask-wearing and who in every scenario was properly wearing a mask. Then, PCH determines who will be quarantined for 14 days and who will not be quarantined due to distancing, masks, etc. PCH gives the Johnston Community School District a list of people to contact by phone (if quarantined) and email (if not quarantined), along with additional health resources.

The act of quarantining is a safety mitigation strategy and one practiced by thousands of schools, businesses, and organizations - including JCSD. During a quarantine, one should be monitored for COVID symptoms, isolate from others, and get tested if they start to feel sick.

Seeing this rise in numbers can be alarming. While we cannot disclose the individual number of positive and/or quarantine cases at any given school (CDC/PCH privacy guideline), we can share that our 20 cases are throughout the district, from students and staff. Our 409 quarantined are also throughout the district.

What we're also seeing are students and staff contracting the virus outside of school hours. Kids and educators are doing a great job of masking while in school, but it's become apparent that gatherings such as youth sports leagues, fellowship or church events, family get togethers, etc. where people are not masked or distanced is where the virus is most easily spread.

We need to keep putting in the effort to slow the spread in our community. Mask up wherever you go, stay socially distanced, wash your hands, and stay home when you're not feeling well. We can do this, Dragons!

Johnston Schools, Staff Among Iowa Living Magazine Favorites

The Iowa Living magazine recently awarded a number of residents' choice awards throughout the Northwest Polk County area. Johnston schools and educators were chosen for a variety of honors!

  • Favorite NW Polk County High School – Johnston HS – WINNER!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Elementary School – Wallace Elementary – RUNNER-UP!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Elementary School – Horizon Elementary – RUNNER-UP!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Preschool – JELA – RUNNER-UP!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Principal – Suzie Pearson – WINNER!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Principal – Lindsey Cornwell – RUNNER-UP!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Teacher – Amy Thilges – WINNER!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Teacher – Elizabeth Elmitt – RUNNER-UP!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Coach – Michael Barta – WINNER!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Coach – Brian Frick – RUNNER-UP!
  • Favorite NW Polk County Coach – Matt Jaschen – RUNNER-UP!
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Board Highlights from October 26, 2020

The full agenda and minutes of the October 26, 2020 board meeting can be viewed here.


  • Federal Title Funds for JCSD
  • New Social Studies Curricular Standards
  • Capital Facility Plan
  • COVID Expenditure Funding
  • First Reading of Policy Regulation 705.1R1 Procedures for Contracts Aid with Federal Funds, Policies 705.8 Fraud Reporting and 213 Public Participation
  • First Reading of Policies 100 Legal Status of the School District, 101 Educational Philosophy of the School District, and 101.1 Philosophy Statement (Mission Statement)
  • First Reading of Policies 102 Equal Education Opportunity, Regulation 102.R1 Grievance Procedure, Exhibits 102.E1 Annual Notice of Nondiscrimination, 102.E2 Continuous Notice of Nondiscrimination, and 102.E3 Notice of Section 504 Student and Parental Rights
  • First Reading of Policies 102.1 Title IX Discrimination and Harassment Based on Sex Prohibited, 103 Long-Range Needs Assessment, 103.R1 Long-Range Needs Assessment Regulation, and 105 Assistance Animals
  • First Reading of Policies 600 Goals and Objectives of the Education Program, 601 General Organization, 601.1 School Calendar, and 601.2 School Day
  • First Reading of Policies 602.1 Curriculum Development, 602.2 Curriculum Implementation, 602.3 Curriculum Evaluation, 602.5 Community Education, and 602.6 Foreign Study


  • Revision of Resolution Regarding Return to Learn Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year (approved)


Superintendent Laura Kacer, Learning Coordinator Jyll Johnson Miner and Executive Director Joy Wiebers provided updates to the board on the following topics:

Online Learning Summary, Digital Dragons Teaching Staff, RTL Metrics, Snow Days and Virtual Learning Considerations, Strategic Plan: Postsecondary Pathways, and Strategic Plan: Equity.


Starting Oct. 26, there will be limited seating in the District Office board room, in a distanced and safe seating style. Seat availability is first come, first seated. Citizens are encouraged to watch the board meetings via the livestream at https://team1sports.com/johnston/. Meetings begin at 6 p.m. The November board meetings will be held on Nov. 9 and 23rd.


Persons are encouraged to send questions, comments and suggestions to our board members. Each board member can be reached by email: Justin Allen; Dr. Jeanie Kerber; Jennifer Chamberland; Dr. Alicia Clevenger; Katie Fiala; Steven Hopper; and Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher.

Johnston Community School District

JCSD Non-Discrimination Statement

It is the policy of the Johnston Community School District not to illegally discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, creed, age (for employment), marital status (for programs), sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status (for programs) in its educational programs and its 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 the district’s Associate Superintendent, Dr. Bruce Amendt, 6510 NW 62nd Ave, Johnston, Iowa 50131, (515) 278-0470, bamendt@johnston.k12.ia.us.