Friday, September 23, 2016

Governor Brandstad is coming to Benton Community Keystone Elementary

Gov. Terry Branstad will visit Benton Community Keystone Elementary Center on September 28 to learn about how we have improved students’ reading skills by the end of third grade.
Assuring students read proficiently by the end of third grade has been a top priority of the Branstad-Reynolds Administration. In 2012, Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds proposed and the Iowa Legislature adopted early literacy legislation to identify struggling readers starting in kindergarten and require schools to provide intensive assistance. That legislation also created the Iowa Reading Research Center, which supports improving students’ reading skills in a variety of ways from conducting research on high-quality literacy instruction to providing other resources for educators as well as for parents to help their children at home:
Nearly 25 percent of Iowa third-graders did not read proficiently on the state test in 2014-15. State test results for 2015-16 are expected to be released later this month. On the 2015 national test, Iowa ranked 24th in fourth-grade reading, with an average score one point lower than in 1992 when Iowa was a top performer.  Some states with a larger share of low-income students, such as Kentucky and Florida, now score higher than Iowa. This shows the importance of continuing the work under way in Iowa to assure students read proficiently by the end of third grade, including closing the achievement gap between some low-income and minority students and their classmates. This is critical so all students graduate from high school genuinely ready for college or career training and so employers across the state are able to hire the skilled workers they need.
Branstad is visiting three districts who made progress in third-grade reading proficiency on both a brief universal screening assessment (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) given three times a year to measure students’ reading skills as well as on the most recent state assessment.  This will be Gov. Branstad's second visit to our District in past two years.  
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016
Benton Community School District
Keystone Elementary School
280 Fourth St.
Keystone, IA
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Contents of this story were provided by Office of the Governor.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

BC Homecoming 2016

I have written before that I am a proud graduate of Benton Community.  One of my favorite things about our District is how we are a "community of communities".  One time of the year when this is incredibly apparent is during Homecoming Week.

My graduation day with RoseMary Meyer our Senior Class Sponsor
Our staff have been sharing many pics from Homecoming Week on our insta-gram accounts.  


Marv Bell, father to our beloved 5th grade teacher Debra Miner, started a document which shares the history of our Kings/Queens and scores to our homecoming games since BC became BC in 1966.  Marv shared this document with our staff every year during Homecoming Week.  When he retired, he asked that I continue with the tradition of sharing this history and document.

Mr. Bell is one of my former teachers, colleagues and mentors. I blogged about his impact on me in May of 2016.  Since, I've always done what Mr. Bell asked me to do, I'm including his Homecoming History document, of which I continue to proudly update since 2008, to this blog.

Marvin Bell

Homecoming, 2016

New teachers: Pay close attention, please.

Seating Schedule for the Homecoming Pep Rally

Remember that it is vitally important to follow these seating directions.  We will have 2,000 people in the gym, including high school students, middle school students, elementary students, preschool students, parents, relatives, other community adults, and BC graduates. If you have questions, be sure to ask your building administrator for clarification.

Elementary Grades

·       Atkins/Keystone students will enter the gym via the north gym doors but must exit by the industrial arts department doors.  Signs will be posted.  Keystone students will enter by the industrial arts doors but will exit from the north gym doors.  Signs will be posted, but do not confuse with the Atkins/Keystone signs or the Atkins/Keystone students, who will be headed the other way.

·       Norway, and Central Lutheran students will enter on an alternating basis (Norway student, CLS student, Norway student, CLS student, etc.) from the west doors (the doors from which you can see the football field.)  However, Norway and CLS students must exit from the south doors (behind the school) so that they will not collide with the Atkins and Keystone Students (Please re-read the directions for Atkins and Keystone students).  .

Middle School/High School
  • As in the past, students whose last names start with the letters ranging from and including “A”-“M”, regardless of MS/HS grade levels, will sit on the left half of the home side of the gym.  MS/HS students whose last names start with the letters “N”-“Z” will sit on the right half of the home side of the gym, the purpose being to allow students in grades 7-12 to get to know each other, and for the younger students to assimilate the spirit of BC Homecoming from the other students.

All Faculty, regardless of grade level: Please sit back to back and face each other so that your full and individual attentions will be directed to those students who are seated both directly in front and directly in back of you.


Homecoming History at Benton Community

Queen and King (Kings were not elected until 1972.)

Football Scores

1.       1966 Wendy Wardenburg
BC 20, Dysart 15
2.       1967 Jane Boddicker
Iowa Valley 30, BC 0
3.       1968 Jean McMann
West Marshall 33, BC 13
4.       1969 Denise Kromminga
BC 8, Iowa Valley 7
5.       1970 Bev Walters
Ackley-Geneva 73, BC18 (Not a misprint: Ackley-Geneva was ranked #1 and had not been scored on all season. BC passed 50+ times for three TD’s, which angered Ackley-Geneva, and A-G intentionally ran up the score. )
6.       1971 Vicki Wilhelmi
BC 29, Iowa Valley 13
7.       1972 Roxie Franck, David Eckhart
Linn-Mar 37, BC 18
8.       1973 Jill Kromminga, Bill Swanson
BC 22, Iowa Valley 0
9.       1974 Kathy Schmuecker, Steve Silhanek
Linn-Mar 33, BC 18
10.    1975 Amy Morrison, Gary Thompson
BC 10, Iowa City Regina 6
11.    1976 Julie Maas, Greg Merchant
Linn-Mar 25, BC 0
12.    1977 Terri Johnson, Mike Wagner
Iowa City Regina 36, BC 7
13.    1978 Barb Bridgewater, Mark Prusha
Linn-Mar34, BC 14
14.    1979 Carol Wagner, Steve Carl
BC 27, Iowa Valley 0
15.    1980 Joni Wilhelm, Bill Boies
BC 19, Linn-Mar 13
16.    1981 Andrea Himan, Brian Strellner
BC 27, Iowa Valley 0
17.    1982 Jana Brady, Mark Pirtle
Linn-Mar 26, BC 8
18.    1983 Ronda Donald, Jon Schrage
BC 51, Iowa Valley 6
19.    1984 Sheri Zillman, Scott Werning
Linn-Mar 26, BC 14
20.    1985 Susie Andresen, Steve Junge
BC 48, Iowa City Regina 0
21.    1986 Deanna Ternus, Troy Werning
BC 10, Anamosa 6
22.    1987 Kellee Becker, Jason Seboldt
BC 46,Waverly-Shellrock 0
23.    1988 Dee Wardenburg, Matt Kopecky
BC 18, Cedar Rapids Regis 7
24.    1989 Shelly Kienast, Greg Buelow
BC 41, Cedar Rapids LaSalle 7
25.    1990 Michele Becker, Tom Bridgewater
BC 29, Vinton 14
26.    1991 Amy Hagen, Aaron Brecht, David Kaestner
BC 28, South Tama 0
27.    1992 Leah Lenhart, Jason Wilhelm
Pella 27, BC 10
28.    1993 Darci Franck, Sheramee Werner, Dan Peddicord
BC 29, Marion 12
29.    1994 Jessica Janss, Jason Furler
BC 35, Oelwein 21
30.    1995 Aneasha Wilhelm, Mike Peddicord
South Tama 12, BC 0
31.    1996 Stephanie Werner, Josh Rempfer
BC 28, Maquoketa 0
32.    1997 Jocelyn Jurgens, Jared Haar
West Delaware 22, BC 21
33.    1998 Ashlee Frese, Nathan Gross
Maquoketa 28, BC 6
34.    1999 Jenny Anderson, Jeremy Morrison
Marion 27, BC 26
35.    2000 Valerie Kaiser, Ben Miller
BC 41, DeWitt 26
36.    2001 Becky Koopman, Daric Kaestner
BC 42, Union 0
37.    2002 Nicole Larsen, Ryan Etscheidt
BC 20, Marion 10
38.    2003 Jennifer Gahring, Brady Callison
BC 35, Vinton 14
39.    2004 Amber Havran, Marcus Hemaseth
BC 33, Grinnell 6
40.    2005 M’Leigh Rempfer, Cody Schminke
Williamsburg 41, BC 13
41.    2006 Sarah Parr, Chad Schwarting
BC 14, Oelwein 0
42.    2007 Paige Myers, Evan Brehm
BC 42, Independence 6
43.        2008 Kaitlyn Kromminga, Tony Stenburg
BC 25, Vinton 18
44.        2009 Val Reinberg, Shane Reinberg
Union 37, BC 7
45.        2010 Jamie Hodenfield, Patrick Koopman
Grinnell 35, BC 28
46.        2011 Alicia Gage, Austin Cassill
BC 22, Washington 21 (OT)
47.        2012 Madison Weekly, Jessie Nelson
BC 35, Anamosa 28
48.       2013 Kelsey Ettleman, Andrew Thompson
DeWitt 46, BC 20
49.       2014 Brooke Boddicker, Ben Haerther
BC 20, Nevada 12
50.       2015 Hannah Thompson, Julian Wilson
BC 26, Newton 20
51.       2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

BC Student Amber Rohlena shares her Internship Opportunity with Johnson Gas and the Kirkwood's Workplace Learning Connection


What were you doing the summer before your junior year in high school? Amber Rohlena, a student from Benton Community, was putting her knowledge and skills to work as a summer intern at Johnson Gas Appliance Company.

"In past years my brothers had taken multiple internships. My dad recommended them highly," shares Amber. "When I started looking at internship opportunities I was looking at a bigger company but then I saw the opportunity at Johnson Gas. They were a smaller company and it referenced working with Computer Aided Design (CAD).  I had taken a few Project Lead The Way (PLTW) classes (Intro to Technology and Intro to Engineering Design) where I learned about and used CAD. I also used CAD a lot in my Robotics club and I really liked it. So I went for it. I am glad I did!"

Dan Hodel, Amber's internship supervisor at Johnson Gas, is really glad she did too! "Our experience with Amber has had a dramatic impact on our whole division! During her internship she was part of a huge project where we were experimenting with a new software." According to Dan, it was through Amber and this project they were able to prove the effectiveness of this software. " Her success was a major factor in convincing corporate management to buy the new software licenses for our division. We're now 10 times faster, a number we can prove quantitatively."  Corporate management took notice too. "They have much more interest and investment in our division. In fact, in the past fiscal year, our division has had more orders than ever before. The increase was not economy driven, but all directly tied back to work Amber did during her initial internship here at Johnson Gas."
When asked about the highlights of her experience at the end of her internship at Johnson Gas, Amber writes "Everything is a highlight! The people here are amazing and fun to be around. The work area is beautiful. I love the jobs that get handed to me. I love the challenges that I come by every once in a while. It feels good to walk into Johnson Gas."

The internship had plenty of learning experiences for Amber. "I loved learning more about CAD. They taught me lots of new things I didn't know, like shortcuts and little tricks to make it easier."  The experience also afforded Amber opportunities to apply problem-solving, communication, and organizational skills in a professional environment. During this experience Amber says "I forced myself to be more organized. When I was more organized it was easier to build upon what I was doing. I think it really helped everyone else  too."

Laura Kowalski-Bliss, Workplace Learning Connection's Internship Coordinator for Benton, Cedar and Jones counties met Amber at a site visit during her internship at Johnson Gas. "Amber had great skills and knowledge from her classes. She just needed practical experience which is what the internship program is meant to provide. It is why internships are so important. Everyone benefits, the student, the company, and the community!" Dan agrees, "This truly was a major win-win!"

Since completing her summer 2015 internship, Johnson Gas has hired Amber as a part-time employee working on small projects from home during the school year. "I love how flexible Johnson Gas has been. It really helps since I am still in high school."

As for the future, Amber, now a senior, says "It did make me start to think about other aspects of engineering. I definitely plan on going to college next year."  Amber says she has narrowed down her college choices but regardless where she lands next fall all agree, her experience with Johnson Gas was a building block for a very bright future!

Are you inspired by Amber's story? Now is the time to act for Fall 2016! Check out our WLC  Partnership.  This story was published in the September 2016 - Work. Learn. Connect. Newsletter from the WLC.