Howards Grove School District

Parent & Guardian Newsletter September 2021

A Safe Return to 2021-2022

Hello Parents & Guardians!

We are thrilled to be educating your children in-person 5 days a week for the 2021-2022 school year. I have seen enthusiastic students and staff happy to be back in school for in-person learning. Our goal is to continue with this in-person learning model, while keeping the health and safety of everyone at the forefront. Please know, that we have students and staff in schools with masks and students and staff in schools without masks. We are supporting ALL of them!


As of now, we are mask optional in the Howards Grove School District, but the Sheboygan County Health Department notified all county superintendents this week that if cases and school transmission increase, that the local public health department has the authority to issue an order that could override our school board decision on mitigation strategies. In simple words, this means if cases in the Howards Grove School District increase and warrant a change, the health department could issue an order requiring masks and any other mitigation strategies they deem necessary.


As mentioned at a recent board meeting, if we are given a mandate, order, or directive from a legal agency, the district will follow that guidance.


Again, our goal is to continue with in-person learning 5 days a week to ensure we are providing the best education possible for all students. I will continue to keep everyone informed as we move forward through these difficult times.


Linked here is the previously shared mitigation response. We are working on updating the website with current COVID cases and data. Keep an eye on the website for more information.


Thank you for your grace and understanding!


Shannon Kilton

Superintendent of Schools

Howards Grove School District

Communication Plan

In an effort to meet my goal of open and honest communication with a focus on transparency, all families will receive monthly updates from the school district office. Anything that is happening will be highlighted in this communication. Parents and Guardians should expect to get these newsletters the 2nd Thursday of each month. Please make every effort to read these updates to ensure you know what is going on in the district. Unless there is something urgent that would need to be communicated, this method will be a one-stop shop for getting information from me on a consistent and regular basis.


THANKS for reading!

Volunteers are WELCOME!

Parents & Volunteers are essential for the success of our school district. We are thrilled to welcome back classroom volunteers this school year.


Many of you may have been volunteering in the past! Thank you for your service. We hope you come back! Moving forward, all volunteers, as dictated in board policy, must complete a criminal background check to work with students


Linked here is the current Howard Grove School District Board Policy on volunteers. It is our job to ensure any adult that works with children in our schools has completed the necessary background checks.


These forms can be picked up in each school office and typically take less than a day to be cleared through the system.


Thanks again for volunteering. We need you!

A message from Dave Loomis, our School Board President:

Dear Families and Staff of the Howards Grove School District,

It is an exciting time for the school district as our students return to class and the hustle and bustle of school is back in session. Thank you to all of you who supported the district through all of our changes between the end of last school year and the beginning of this school year. Your patience and understanding as we navigate new waters are so appreciated. The kind words that you have shared with both the board as well as the new district leadership team means so much. Thank you!


Today I am coming to you to share some information about a pending issue that will potentially impact our district, and more specifically, Northview Elementary. As some of you may know, American Transmission Company, LLC (ATC) has filed a request with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to gain approval to construct a new power line from the substation on the north side of Howards Grove to the Erdman substation in Sheboygan. This is being proposed due to the changing needs that are likely to occur in 2022 when the coal burning power plant on the lakeshore is decommissioned. We do not question the need for this new power line; however, ATC has proposed to build the power line across the north property line of Northview Elementary. We are concerned about the impact this power line will have on our school. First, this will cause us to be unable to expand northward if future needs would require the expansion of this portion of our district. Second, the power lines will negatively impact the aesthetics of the school, become an attractive nuisance during recess and other play times and be a distraction to our north facing classrooms during construction and future maintenance activities.


We have filed a comment articulating these concerns with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on their website. We have asked that ATC be required to using the existing infrastructure of County Hwy FF and Interstate Highway 43 for this new power line.


If you would be so inclined, I invite you to also reach out to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on their website www.psc.wi.gov . There is a menu bar across the top of the page, click on “For Consumers” and “File a Comment”. The case is 137-CE-195 “Application of American Transmission Company LLC, as an Electric Public Utility, for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Construct a New 138 kV Transmission Line from the Howards Grove Substation to the Erdman Substation located in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin”

Again, we are not taking issue with ATC or the need for a new power line, we simply believe that County Hwy FF and Interstate 43 would be a more appropriate route for the new power line versus across the property line at Northview Elementary.


Thank you for your time and attention.


Sincerely,

Dave Loomis

President

Howards Grove Board of Education

School Updates

Starting in October, each principal will be providing me copies of their parent communication/newsletters to link to this district-wide newsletter. Hopefully this will help everyone stay connected with the district and each building in one easy access option.


Stay Tuned!

Ryder Cup

As you may know, the Ryder Cup is being played at Whistling Straits Golf Course, which is right in our backyard. As a result, we have NO SCHOOL on Friday, September 24th.


Earlier this month, I met with Tammy Harms, Wisconsin State Patrol, a rep from the PGA, and Kohler Company Employees to discuss the transportation plan for the practice rounds and golf tournament, which begin on Tuesday, September 21st. While we have a solid plan for school bus transportation, the group shared significant concerns with traffic delays during the tournament.


Harms Bus Company will have special signage to show they are transporting students to school, and not serving as a shuttle to the tournament, but students taking bus routes, should expect delays the week of the golf tournament. Please note, we will not be marking students "tardy" during the week of the golf tournament. We all just need to do our best to get to school (and work) safely and support the international golf tournament being played in our community.

Contact Me!

We are off to a great start in Howards Grove, but we also know that concerns and questions will arise. In the event you find yourself confused or upset about something happening in your child's classroom or school day, please follow the communication chain described below:


FIRST, Reach out directly to your child's teacher/team/coach.


In the event your concerns are not addressed or you need further support, NEXT reach out to the building principal or activities director.


Jon Hess- High School Principal: jhess@hgsd.k12.wi.us

Angie Houston- Middle School Principal: ahouston@hgsd.k12.wi.us

Sarah Ellinger- Northview Principal: sellinger@hgsd.k12.wi.us

Tracy Mueller- Athletic/Activities Director & Special Education Director: tmueller@hgsd.k12.wi.us


FINALLY, if you still need additional support, please reach out directly to me, Shannon Kilton, Superintendent: skilton@hgsd.k12.wi.us


In the event, we have all failed to help you navigate your questions & concerns, your last stop would be to reach out to the school board.


I am personally asking for this communication chain to help us all develop positive and trusting relationships, which are always grounded in open and honest conversations. Most often, concerns can be easily solved when we all talk directly to the person involved with the question or problem.


Thanks in advance for the support and understanding of this process.

Howards Grove School District

Shannon L. Kilton

Superintendent of Schools