Thursday, October 27, 2016

Chab Eby Quartet & Giving back

A very special concert took place on Wednesday, October 26th in the MS/HS Auditorium!  

Check out our Benton Community on Facebook page for more details or the twitter account 

Chad Eby, a Benton Community 1991 graduate, and his professional jazz quartet performed in concert at 7:00 p.m.  Chad is a Saxophone Professor and Professor of Jazz at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Chad grew up in Newhall and he is very proud of his Benton Community roots. 

Chad and his quartet are in the state of Iowa doing concerts at Drake University and Luther College, and included Benton Community as an additional stop for a concert and oh so much more!   Not only did we get to hear the Chad Eby Quartet, we were also treated to a few numbers where our First Street Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dr. Brad Williamson, accompanied Chad and Brandon Lee.

Benton Community First Street Jazz Ensemble with Chad Eby Quartet

Chad Eby Quartet -- photo courtesy of  L.J. Schneekloth

The hook for me to attend, because I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Chad as a student and his legacy, was Chad is a Benton Community graduate and he and his quartet were taking time not only to perform, but to share their talents with our students.  When people are willing to help our students -- I'm all in!

During the Quartet performance, it was incredibly gratifying to notice the typical boundaries between the performers and the audience were non-existence.  Chad worked the room the entire performance and mentioned members of the audience by name -- even making sure he was making his mom and former principal @GZittergruen and teacher's @LoisDeerberg and @dnottger proud.  Chad's remarks from the stage were frequent, supportive and funny and helped share the story of his music and the bands talents.  There was an admirable balance between the ensemble playing and solos, and each member of the quartet had opportunity to shine and share with all of us their talents. 

Chad Eby Website
I've shared before how proud I am of being a Benton Community alumni.  Last night was another shining example of what Benton Community is all about - planting seeds to trees we may never sit under.  Last night our community was blessed to sit and enjoy the produce that Chad Eby and his quartet have grown.  

Chad, thank you for being willing to inspire our current students to make the most of the incredibly opportunities to come.  Also, please be sure to thank the members of your quartet for making an investment in our community and more importantly our students.

Dr. Williamson -- thank you for believing in the power of your leadership and students to rock this one out of the park!

Monday, October 24, 2016

P-T Conference On-Line Sign Up


We are using an on-line system for scheduling our elementary conferences in November.  You should have received a full sheet note that had a sticker on it with a web link, as well as your individual parent password for signing up for conferences.

We are very excited about this P-T conference sign up to make it more convenient for you as parents to sign up for conferences.

If you have any questions or need to have your password resent please email your building principal or call the school building.

Keystone: or call the office at 319-442-3221
Atkins: or call the office at 319-446-7525
Norway: or call the office at 319-227-7142

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Alerts for changes in our school day

This is to notify you that Iowa School Alerts, the free e-mail and text message notification service provided by the State of Iowa has changed vendors to GovDelivery. If you are interested in this subscription based notification system you will need to access the following link to establish a NEW account. 

The Benton Community School District will continue to use Alert Solution through Power School as the primary means for important notifications to students, staff, and parents. This notification system is not subscription based and patrons do not need to establish an account -- but you might want to call your child's building secretary to verify we have your correct email address. 

Transfer in Iowa web portal

Iowa's Regent universities and community colleges have joined a partnership to create a web portal to assist students with the transfer process.  This site serves as a resource for students as they navigate educational opportunities.

The purpose of this website is to provide resources to students that may be helpful in educational planning.  The portal contains explanations of articulation agreements, either within the state or from program-to-program within community colleges.  These resources help develop transition plans for students who are currently in PK-12 systems and those that are interested or currently attending a community college or Regent university.

Currently, students, at Benton Community High School, have the opportunity to take courses that are offered for college and high school credit (check pages 48-54 of our 2016-17 Course Book). If you'd like more information about these options -- please see either Natalie Nesbitt or Aaron Cretin in the Guidance Office at the Middle/High School.

Makerspace at Benton Community

We also have a Makerspace Room in Keystone Elementary and a STEAM Room in Norway Elementary.  Each of these spaces has the same purpose -- to allow students to use their creativity and tinker to foster learning.

Seesaw at BC

Benton Community teachers are finding ways to increase communication between home and school.  One great way to do this and have students involved in the process is utilizing a tool entitled SeeSaw.

This site allows teachers to organize and personalize parent communication and provides a safe place to teach 21st Century skills. Seesaw also allows students to independently document their learning and share it with those their own personalized audience.  It also helps foster communication at home and allows families to have a glimpse of what students learned during the day, so conversations at home can focus around "learning not doing" in school. 

We (Todd and myself) now know we were asking the wrong question around our supper table when our three girls lived at home.  We know now we may of gotten deeper conversations if we'd been asking:

"What did you learn today?" vs. "What did you do today?
Seesaw would of allowed us a cliff note into their days to build conversations around.

We live by the Maya Angelou mantra in our house, "Know better do better".  This type of questioning is something we are doing much better with our grandchildren than we did with our own children.

Jodie Kimm, a Kindergarten teacher at Keystone Elementary, shared with me how she is using this tool in her classroom.  She learned about this option while she attended iPadU 2016.  She has created a site where students can post information and share their learning with their families in real time.

I sincerely appreciate Jodie taking the time out of her day to share how she is using this site to maximize communication with her students and families.  My great nephew is in Jodie's class -- so now when I see him I get a chance to personalize my questions to him based on what he has shared on SeeSaw.  It's awesome to be able to have this type of discussion focusing on "learning" in a Kindergarten classroom.

If you are interested in learning more -- these three links are from our GWAEA Digital Learning Team  and Mindy Carney @TeamCairney  sharing more SeeSaw resources.  Our Grant Wood Digital Learning team is a vital connection for us to continue to learn with and from.  

Socktober at Benton Community

Students at Keystone & Atkins Elementary Centers will be participating in a month-long service project, called Socktober, starting October 3rd. We will be collecting NEW socks of all sizes to donate to Olivet Neighborhood Mission Waypoint Family Services in Cedar Rapids to help people in need. 
Your help is needed to help us reach our goal! Please encourage donors to include a short note stating where the socks are coming from as well as a few words of encouragement. Also, please put a short note in to let the students know where the socks came from. You may send new socks to Keystone Elementary or Atkins Elementary Center!
Keystone Elementary
PO Box 306
Keystone, IA 52249
Atkins Elementary
217 4th Ave
Atkins, IA 52206

Below is a graphic Keystone Elementary used to share with their families.  Both Atkins and Keystone Centers are collecting socks.  This is a great project for our students to learn with and from.  Please consider donating.