Skip to content

Prairieland Homes An Example Of The Power Of We

It started with four simple words scrawled on a piece of notebook paper that sat on Gilbert Superintendent Dr. Christine Trujillo’s desk.

“The Power of We.”

For several weeks over the summer, Dr. Trujillo spent time each day thinking about the message she wanted to convey to the district staff members at the school’s annual Back To School Kickoff Rally in August, and with those four words on a yellow sheet of paper, the message began to take shape.

“The Power of We.”

It’s simple, really. At Gilbert Schools, we believe We is so much more important than Me. It also conveys a philosophy centered on working together to achieve our district-wide goals. We are not four separate buildings with singular goals; we are one connected school district focused on all aspects of our students and their needs.

When we work together, collaboratively, the possibilities are endless.

Dr. Trujillo’s message — you can watch our video focused on the Power of We HERE — resonated with our staff members, and following the Back To School Kickoff Rally it was suggested that T-shirts centered around that message needed to be created.

And that’s where Prairieland Homes entered the picture.

Looking for a way to pay for shirts for all staff members, Dr. Trujillo called Prairieland Homes co-owner Jake Hanson, who immediately and enthusiastically agreed to donate to the cause.

“One of our core values is to support our community and give back to our community,” Hanson said. “The school is a big part of Gilbert and the Gilbert community, and we are blessed with the opportunity to provide homes for a lot of the students and their families. So to be able to give back to the school that helps bring people to Gilbert is a great opportunity for Prairieland Homes.”

Prairieland Homes donated approximately $1,600 for the production of nearly 300 T-shirts adorned with the Power of We logo the district created for Dr. Trujillo’s Back To School Kickoff Rally presentation.

“I’m so grateful to our entire community for always supporting the Gilbert Community School District,” Dr. Trujillo said. “Prairieland is a great example of the support and partnership we receive a daily basis. It’s a perfect example of the Power of We for our students, staff, and community.”

Klaffke Named SHAPE Iowa Elementary PE Teacher of the Year

Constantly moving. Constantly teaching. Constantly smiling. When you step inside the Gilbert Intermediate main gymnasium for a morning PE class, that’s what you will see when you observe teacher Stephanie Klaffke. With her customary headset microphone in place so that all of her students can hear her words of wisdom, Klaffke radiates enthusiasm for her pupils, who are attentive when asked and, yes, incredibly active when asked.

For 17 years, Klaffke has been at the forefront of physical education and wellness for our younger students and she’s created a program that is both educational and entertaining. Intermediate Principal Amy Griffin’s office sits just 26 paces from the gymnasium and she’s able to see daily the impact that Klaffke has on the students.

“She works so hard to make PE so impactful and lifelong for kids,” Griffin said. “The health and wellness component of PE is amazing, and she is committed to providing our students with her best every day that she comes to school.”

Klaffke’s commitment to her students and the enthusiasm she brings to her profession were rewarded this past weekend when it was announced she has been named the 2023-24 SHAPE Iowa Elementary PE Teacher of the Year. The process for naming the 2023-24 SHAPE Iowa winners actually began last fall, and Klaffke was informed she had been nominated by a peer for the award in June. She received the good news on Saturday.

“It’s a huge honor because the elementary class has a lot of great teachers in this state,” Klaffke said. “This is a career goal. I set it about five years ago, just realizing it was something I wanted to work toward.”

Griffin beamed when she heard the news that one of her building’s teachers had been bestowed with such an important honor.

“I’m so incredibly happy for her,” Griffin said. “She deserves this because she works hard. Her passion shines for everybody and she’s always there for kids. She wants them to be successful.”

SHAPE Iowa — the Society of Health and Physical Educators — was first formed in 1921, and its mission is to provide leadership and support for the enhancement of movement, leisure and health related programs central to healthy, active lifestyles and lifelong learning.

Klaffke has served on the SHAPE Iowa board and leadership council for the past two years, and she’s represented both the organization and Gilbert Schools as a speaker in other states. She says the organization has been instrumental in her growth as an educator over her distinguished career.

“It’s foundational,” she said. “Prior to this year, I was the only elementary (PE) teacher in our district for 17 years, and elementary is just a little different than middle school and high school. I’ve been able to connect with some great professionals, not only in Iowa, but in other states.

“When the award was announced, I had people from all over commenting on it and that’s just really cool. The award goes to all of the people that helped me learn along the way and the kids I’ve had and the district for being awesome and supportive.”

Educators are allowed to win the SHAPE Iowa award only once. Klaffke will now be in the running for the district Teacher of the Year award (comprised of nine Midwestern states), with the potential to move on and have a chance at claiming the national award as well.

Klaffke says the support she’s received from the Gilbert school district — students, fellow staff members, administrators, and families — has enabled her to have an impact on kids, something she’s grateful for.

“I really feel like we have this momentum here,” she said. “It’s not only the award, but the recognition for our school is awesome. People really are interested in what we’re doing here.”

Joining Klaffke as 2023-24 SHAPE Iowa Teacher of the Year winners were Chris Christensen (middle school ) of Waukee, Jodi Larson (high school) of Ankeny, Ginger Halverson (adapted PE) of Linn-Mar, Anne Sloan (health education) of North Polk, and Karla Lowe (administrator) of Des Moines Christian.

GHS Among Best High Schools in the Country, According to U.S. News & World Report

We are so happy and PROUD to report that U.S. News & World Report released its list of the nation’s best high schools this morning and Gilbert High School is recognized for its outstanding achievements.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Gilbert High School ranks among the top 3 percent of high schools in Iowa and the top 10 percent of high schools across the country. GHS is listed at No. 9 on the overall list of 317 Iowa high schools.

A deeper dive into the numbers shows that Gilbert is ranked as the No. 1 high school in Story County and the surrounding counties.

What makes GHS so special (besides all of the things we already know)? Here are just a few of the numbers.

-24 percent of our high school students took at least one AP exam.
-91 percent of our students are proficient in reading.
-91 percent of our students are also proficient in science.
-98 percent of our students graduate from high school.
-GHS ranks No. 4 in Iowa in state assessment proficiency.

All of these numbers and this lofty recognition from U.S. News & World Report are a testament to the hard work of our students. But it’s also a huge honor for our teachers, administrators, and staff members who go above and beyond every day to help our students reach their potential.

Congratulations, GHS! You continue to make us proud!

Dr. Trujillo A Panelist At State Of Education Event

Gilbert Superintendent Dr. Christine Trujillo had the honor and privilege to be a panelist at the State of Education event sponsored by Iowa State University this morning at the Ames Chamber of Commerce. She was joined by her friends and colleagues Dr. Julious Lawson, Superintendent at Ames Community School District, and Julie Trepa, Superintendent at Boone Community School District, and they covered a wide range of topics.

A large group of area business leaders — including Gilbert School Board President Andrew Ricklefs — was in attendance for the event, which Dr. Laura Jolly, Dean of the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University, presided over.

All three panelists were articulate and advocated for their students, staff, and school districts in incredible ways.

Among the topics included in the event were infrastructure projects in each of the school districts, how recent legislation has impacted the school districts, information on staffing issues as the state continues to face a shortage of teachers, and student issues, such as how the school leaders are addressing the needs of kids entering the 2023-24 school year.

This may sound a little biased (because it is), but Dr. Trujillo is a rock star when it comes to public speaking and detailing the incredible work by our students, our staff, and our entire community.

Dr. Trujillo explained in detail about the multiple upgrades she hopes to see within our district with the upcoming bond initiative, highlighted by a new elementary building that will replace the existing structure.

“We’re excited in Gilbert because we’re seeing growth,” she said. “Each of our buildings will benefit in different ways and we’re really excited to provide that for our community.”

Dr. Trujillo also emphasized the importance of building partnerships within our community. Gilbert CSD is eternally grateful for the tremendous support from the Gilbert community and local businesses, and she said that help can go both ways.

“It’s a two-way street,” Dr. Trujillo told the roomful of attendees. “We have tremendous support … but what can we also do that supports your business? What can we figure out together? Supporting our kids and supporting our community makes both things better.”

Thank you to the Ames Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event. Thank you to Iowa State University for sponsoring this event. Thank you to so many of our business leaders for taking time out of their morning to attend, engage, and ask really good questions. And thank you to all for providing Dr. Trujillo and Gilbert Schools a platform to speak on behalf of our entire district.

1 2 3 7
Gilbert Community School District

Gilbert Community School District

103 Mathews Drive, Gilbert, Iowa 50105  |  (515) 232-3740