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I know I certainly enjoyed the meal and heard the same from many members of the faculty and staff.  My family received an extra special gift on Christmas day with the birth of our first granddaughter (3rd grandchild), Noel Marie, born to our son, Adam, and his wife, Gina.  She is an adorable baby and we couldn’t be more excited to watch her grow up with her brothers, Luke and Ben.  Our son who lives in New York City, Thomas was able to be here for ten days so we were all together quite a bit.  I hope you were all able to enjoy plenty of family time over the break.

We have set several priorities and goals as an administrative team and school board.  I sent a letter to you about those a few weeks ago.  As always, I welcome any questions or suggestions regarding these goals and, as promised in the letter, will keep you informed as to our progress toward meeting those goals.  Our first priority is 21st Century Learning for all students.  One of the goals we have under that priority is that all teachers will submit a new or revised PBL (project based learning) that was taught in 2016-17, along with student work examples.  Project Based Learning is not a new concept in public schools, though it has been called different names over the years.  We have been doing these kinds of projects for some time but felt like the 21st Century Learner needed more types of these projects to be prepared for life beyond our walls.  The emphasis in PBL is student voice/choice, construction of their own knowledge, and a project/product that reaches outside of school to provide students with a “real world” application of their learning.  It has been very interesting to watch our teachers guide our students through these projects and to watch them adjust the project based on what they learned.  We are all lifelong learners and the teachers we have here at Gilbert are exceptional at this.  The website and our social media outlets do a good job of letting the public know when we have done a project so check them out.  We are allowing our teachers time to develop these projects and to learn from them.  This is the kind of initiative that is best when given a proper chance for successes and failures and adequate time for development and reflection.

As we approach the new year and the challenges that will surely come our way, I feel it is important to also take stock of the good things we have accomplished in the district.  I see every day, no matter what building I am in, that your children are in the midst of very caring people pulling together and totally committed to their learning, but equally important, their development as human beings.  Thank you for sharing your children with us each day and allowing us to provide them with an education that not all kids have access to—we have much to be thankful for as we start 2017.

Gilbert Community School District

Gilbert Community School District

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