Superintendent Scoop

If you’re looking for the the inside scoop on the CDCSD, you’re in the right place. Here you will find pertinent district information directly from Central DeWitt Superintendent, Dr. Dan Peterson.


January 16, 2023 Update

Good morning, Saber Community!

I have just a few updates for you this morning.

First of all, just in case you didn’t catch it on our social media, I would encourage and invite everyone to join us for our next School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) meeting.  It will take place this evening at 6:30 in the Middle School Media Center.  Everyone is welcome!  At tonight’s meeting our school principals will be reviewing our progress on this year’s annual goals, and we’ll have the opportunity to talk through any questions we have midway through the school year.  Please consider joining us this evening!


We’re almost a third of the way through winter, and we’ll have a high of 51 degrees today, but I would like to encourage all of our parents to make sure their contact information is updated in Infinite Campus.  As people move or change email addresses and phone numbers, it is important that we have updated contact information.  If we need to send any updates regarding school cancelations, late starts, early dismissals, etc. for weather-related reasons, these notices will be sent to the contact information we have on file.  This is the fastest way you will receive this type of information, through these types of messages, and on our social media accounts.  We always do our best to get information published through our local news stations, but we cannot control how quickly that information goes out.


As this year’s State Legislature is now up and running, I would encourage everyone to stay updated on the bills that directly impact K-12 education.  As a school district, we are a member of Rural School Advocates of Iowa (RSAI).  I also represent our school district and serve on RSAI Leadership Group as well as the Legislative Committee.  I would encourage you to visit the RSAI website at https://www.rsaia.org/2023-legislative-session.html to learn more about the RSAI legislative priorities, position papers, and how you can get involved.  That link will take you directly to information on our current legislative session.


Our next School Board meeting is on Wednesday, January 25 at 6:00 pm.  You can view the agenda for the meeting at http://go.boarddocs.com/ia/central/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=CKAS5E6774EB.  All regular school board meetings are open to the public, and we encourage our community members to attend!  This month’s meeting will be held in our Middle School Media Center.  You can also watch the meeting on Zoom.  The Zoom link will be published on the agenda a day or two before the meeting.


Lastly, we are always looking for great people to join our team!  If you’re looking for employment, or anyone you know is, please take a look at our current opportunities at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Hs45fbECrMjFuDvO7lx5IHdnH1NkU4Kd/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=108058287084447148901&rtpof=true&sd=true.  We’d love to have you join us!


As always, please contact me with any comments or questions you have, and I will do my best to help you out.

Sincerely,

Dr. Dan Peterson, Superintendent

December 6 – Situation Update

Good morning, Saber Community.

I want to bring you up to speed on a situation that took place in our high school yesterday.  This situation had ripple effects into our middle school and intermediate school as well.  I know there are a lot of concerned parents and students regarding what took place, and hopefully this additional information will provide some reassurance that at no point were our students or staff members in danger yesterday, and at no point was a lockdown initiated by the school or administration.

At approximately 2:45 yesterday afternoon, there was a situation going on in our high school office.  We had a volatile student that was acting out and escalating.  When this was taking place, it was communicated both over intercom and email to our high school teachers, asking them to shut and lock their doors.  They were free to continue with their classroom activities.

As a side note, this isn’t a frequent situation, but there are several times each year that we ask teachers to shut and lock their doors.  This could be for an irritated/escalated student, it could be that law enforcement is doing a drug dog exercise, or it could be a medical emergency.  There are several situations that could lead to this request of teachers.  The priorities in these situations are to keep student traffic out of the hallways and to protect the identities of students and staff that are involved.

During this situation yesterday afternoon, it was clear that we were going to need police assistance in removing the student from our high school.  Law enforcement was contacted, and one police officer arrived to assist in the situation, and took care of things immediately. By 3:00 the situation was resolved, the student had been escorted from the building, and all other students were dismissed at regular time.

This situation in isolation would have been just fine, but unfortunately, as I mentioned, there were ripple effects into our intermediate and middle school.  As it was happening, this situation was just communicated to high school staff to lock their doors because the middle and intermediate schools weren’t impacted in any way.  However, through an unfortunate chain of communications involving high school students and teachers and students in our intermediate and middle schools, we ended up with very limited information being shared stating that the school was in a full lockdown.  This wasn’t the case, but in the meantime we had staff and students that acted accordingly and went into full lockdown.  This was obviously very alarming to those involved, and I sincerely apologize that anyone felt like they were in danger.  I would never want our students or staff to feel this way, being told through unofficial communication that we’re in lockdown, and having no information coming from the school offices or administration.  It would be frightening and extremely frustrating.  For that, I apologize.  That is never our intent.

I am not placing any sort of blame on anyone in this situation.  Instead, I applaud those that were involved.  I thank those students and staff members that communicated throughout the situation, and reacted in the best way they knew how with the limited information they had.  As parents, I want to reassure you that we have an absolutely amazing staff here at Central DeWitt and student safety is always our priority.  The way students were protected yesterday, even though the information they received was very limited, is reassuring to me.

I met with our administration team this morning, including our principals, assistant superintendent, and juvenile court liaison officer to process through what took place.  I am confident that our staff acted as they should have in this situation.  I also want to reassure you that if this were a highly volatile situation, and students were in danger in any way, you would have received communication from the schools, including myself, as immediately as possible.  In this situation, we didn’t even realize there was a problem until well after students and staff were gone for the day.

Allow me to address a few questions and comments I have received this morning.

  • At no point yesterday was the term “lockdown” directed by our offices or administration.  If a situation occurred, we would act according to our ALICE protocols, and we would provide staff and students as much information as possible in an effort to keep them safe.
  • Police did not swarm the high school building yesterday.  There was one officer that responded to the call, and they came in calmly to help with the situation.  There was another officer coming into the school as a parent for a meeting that knew nothing about the situation.
  • There were not any weapons present during this situation.
  • There were not any staff members or students that were harmed.

I would also like to take a minute to thank those that took the time to call or email my office or our school offices yesterday and this morning.  I sincerely appreciate those that reach out to us for facts.  I’ve mentioned before that it’s easy to get onto social media and stir things up, and I have a lot of admiration and respect for those that reach out to us directly and encourage others to do the same.  I’ve received many calls and emails this morning regarding this situation, and while I haven’t responded to all of them directly, I’m hopeful that this additional information will put everyone at ease.

If at any time, whether this situation or any other, you have questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me or other school administration.  We are here to help and serve.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, thank you to our amazing staff that do everything they can on a daily basis to protect and serve our students, and thank you to the DeWitt Police Department for always being there to help when situations like this occur!

Sincerely,

Dr. Dan Peterson, Superintendent


November 11 Update

Good morning, Saber Community!

I wanted to take a moment on Veteran’s Day and say thank you to all those that have served our country in the Armed Forces.  I am so grateful for the service and sacrifice of our veterans, providing and protecting the freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis.  We are blessed by all that our veterans gave.

As a school district, we held a Veteran’s Day assembly for all of our students this morning.  This is the first time in four years that we’ve had all of our students in the same location for our Veteran’s Day assembly.  Thank you to the CDHS Student Council for leading the event.  Thank you for the area veterans and the DeWitt American Legion for blessing us with your presence at our assembly today.  Thank you to our our high school band, high school choir, and middle school choir for sharing your musical talents with us today. And thank you to our students, staff, and community members that attended today.  It was such an amazing, respectful event.  Watching our students, staff, and community members honoring our veterans gave me such pride this morning.  Thank you all.

Our Saber Drama Department will be performing their fall musical, Mamma Mia!, tonight and tomorrow night.  Advance tickets are going very quickly.  The last count I received is 710 of our 800 available tickets are already sold for tonight’s show.  Roughly 400 of the 800 available tickets have been sold for the Saturday show.  Both shows are at 7:00 pm.  If 800 tickets are sold before the doors open, there will not be any tickets sold at the door.  So if you’d like to attend, you might want to consider purchasing tickets in advance!  Advance tickets can be purchased at the Saber Box Office on our website.

I’m going to start including our school board meeting agendas in my updates.  Our school board meets on a monthly basis, typically on the evening of the 3rd Wednesday of the month, unless we need to reschedule because of conflicts.  An example of this is that our November board meeting is this coming Monday, November 14.  The meeting is going to be held in the Middle School Media Center.  Our meetings are always open to the public, and the school board agendas can always be found on our website.  This is a link to the agenda information for Monday night.  On the agenda, I’ve also listed a link to the Zoom session for the meeting for those that would prefer to watch remotely.

As always, I want to include the link to our list of open positions in the school district.  You’ll find all of those listed here.

If you know of anyone that is looking for employment and would be a great member of our Saber family, please encourage them to apply.  And if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of employment within our school district, please watch this short video that was put together explaining why you should join us.  As the video asks…what are you waiting for?

Thank you all for your continued support of our students and staff here at Central DeWitt.

Sincerely,

Dr. Dan Peterson, Superintendent


November 7 Update

Good afternoon, Saber Community!

I have just a few reminders to share today.

I wanted to remind you that we’re having a School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) meeting this evening.  You’ve possibly seen this in prior updates or on our social media.  If you have an interest in learning more about our school district’s academic results and how we’re performing according to the Iowa School Performance Profiles, please join us!  Everyone is welcome.  We will be meeting in the Middle School Media Center at 6:30 this evening.  We hope to see you there!

You can also learn more about the Iowa School Performance Profiles at this link.

In case you haven’t heard of this, we have a Compassion Fund that is held by the school district that is completely funded by donations.  We use this fund for a lot of different purposes.  The primary purpose lately has been to help students with negative breakfast and lunch accounts so everyone can have quality meals before and during school.  We’ve also provided Compassion Funds for families of our students that need some help getting back on their feet when they encounter a rough financial time.  This has taken shape in many different ways, ranging from helping with appliances, utility bills, rent, beds for students, etc.  When we find out there are needs, we will do anything we can to help, especially when our students are involved.

If at any time you would be interested in making a donation toward our Compassion Fund, either in someone’s name or anonymous, you can drop it off at our Administration Center at 331 E. 8th Street in DeWitt, mail it to PO Box 110, DeWitt, or contact me at dan.peterson@cd-csd.org if you’d like to discuss it further.  Going into the holidays, it is a time that we are especially sensitive to the needs of our children and their families.

And speaking of the holidays, I thought I’d send out another copy of this year’s school calendar.  Just in case you’re wondering when we’ll be out of school for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, etc., all of those dates are listed.

2022-2023 Central DeWitt Calendar – Approved.pdf

That’s it for today!  I hope you have a wonderful week!

Go Sabers!

Sincerely,

Dr. Dan Peterson, Superintendent

November 1, 2022 Update

Good afternoon, Saber Community!

I have just a few things I’d like to share with you this afternoon.

First, I would like to invite everyone to join us on Monday, Nov. 7th at 6:30 p.m. in the CDMS Media Center for our first School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) meeting of the year! This month we will be discussing the results of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)/Iowa School see how our schools are performing on required measures. We will be providing an overview of our results and giving everyone an opportunity to dig in and ask questions.  To learn more visit: https://www.iaschoolperformance.gov/ECP/Home/Index?y=2022.  We hope to see you then!

As always, I’d like to bring our open positions to your attention.  We’re still scrambling to fill many of these positions.  If you know of anyone that would be interested in these positions, or a combination of positions, please send them our way!  You can always view our open positions at this link:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Hs45fbECrMjFuDvO7lx5IHdnH1NkU4Kd/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=108058287084447148901&rtpof=true&sd=true

It doesn’t appear to be cooling down this week, but as we enter into the cooler season, I wanted to remind everyone that when we need to make weather-related announcements, they will always go out through this School Messenger system first.  We will then post these decisions to our social media accounts.  We then send the information to the local news stations, but we can’t control the speed at which they list our announcements.  The best way to get the most up to date information is through email, our website, and our social media.

Lastly, I’d like to thank our parents and community for their support this school year.  We’ve had an incredible start to our school year.  Our students and staff have been so positive this year, and we know a lot of that can be attributed to the support we have at home.  So thank you for all you do to support the education we’re providing our students on a daily basis.  We have the best kids and the best community!

Sincerely,

Dr. Dan Peterson
Superintendent


September 26, 2022 Update

Good afternoon, Saber Community!

I have several updates for you this afternoon.

• First of all, let me touch on the new rules we sent out regarding student attendance at football games. I received quite a bit of feedback on what we sent out, both positive and negative. I appreciate all of the feedback, as it helps shape and reinforce what we’re doing.

Just for a point of clarity, the decision we made, and new rules we put into place, are not a reaction to one specific incident. Over the years, we’ve seen a gradual increase in the number of students who are attending our activities without being accompanied by an adult. We’ve also seen the behavior of the students attending gradually getting worse. Most recently, we’ve had students becoming belligerent with school administrators and even police officers that are on duty. There has also been a turbulent atmosphere with students running everywhere, to a point where there have been safety concerns not only for the students attending, but the adults they’re running among.

If you missed the new rules that have been put in place, they can be reviewed at this link. I also wanted to mention that these rules weren’t a snap decision. We’ve been talking about this amongst our administrative team for a long time, and on last Wednesday, we also had a public conversation about these issues at our school board meeting. We posted this on social media, but if you’d like to hear Wednesday’s school board discussion regarding this decision, you can do so by clicking this link. The discussion regarding this topic begins at 01:33:44 in the recording.

Our goal in putting these additional guidelines in place is to make our events a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone attending. From what I saw on this past Friday night, all of our students still seemed to be enjoying themselves. Each age level had their own place with seating, and they were able to socialize in those areas. I believe that’s a win for everyone!

• I also wanted to emphasize the employment positions we currently have available in our school district. We’re always looking for great team members! If you’d like to view our current vacancies, you can do so by clicking this link.

While we have several openings, and we’re short-handed in some areas, we’re making it work. We have amazing employees, and they all do everything they can to help out and pitch in. One area that we continue to have major needs is bus drivers. If you, or anyone you know, has any interest in becoming a bus driver, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We are very short-handed, and while we do not want this to impact our students, it already is. We’ve reduced one school bus route this year because of being short-staffed. This is causing earlier pickups and later drop offs. It’s also causing us to cancel and reschedule some activities. Our priority has to be getting our students home in the afternoon, for example, and if we do not have drivers to get students to sporting events, we have to make changes or cancel. So please, if you know of anyone that would be interested, please reach out to Brent Rheingans, our Director of Operations. We will provide all of the necessary training.

• I have a couple of communication related items as well.

If you know of anyone that is not receiving our news and updates that would like to, please have them sign up at this link. This will put them on our community list. You do not need to do this as a parent or guardian of our students as you are already registered with us.
If anyone has information that needs to be sent out to our parents, we continue to use our Virtual Backpack program for this purpose. This is primarily used for community events, clubs and organizations, etc. If you’d like more information on this, you can review the information that was originally sent out at this link.

• The final thing I’d like to encourage today…is for you to talk to us. As simple as that sounds, it’s sincere. We have an incredible staff here at Central DeWitt. We all want what’s best for our students, our schools, and our community. We fully understand this isn’t a utopia, and that there are times when things go wrong. It’s going to happen, and when it does, we will do our best to deal with it. The best way for us to address problems that occur is for you to be in communication with us. Let us know what’s going on. Let us know how we can help. Don’t be afraid to talk to us. Talk your bus drivers, teachers, principals, etc. Talk to any of us.

To be completely transparent, quite often we find out about things that need to be addressed when we see that something has been posted on social media. This is in the form of people complaining, asking for the input and experiences of others, etc. While I’m not discouraging that, I am encouraging you to communicate directly with us when problems occur.

We have a lot of contact information on our website at www.cd-csd.org. If you aren’t able to find the department or person you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, and I will help connect you to the right person.

My guarantee to you is that we will take your concerns seriously, and they will be addressed. So please, talk to us, about anything, so that we know what you’re thinking, so we know what’s going well for you, and so we know if there are areas of concern that need to be addressed.

As always, thank you for your continued support of our staff and schools! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you,

Dr. Dan Peterson, Superintendent


October 13, 2021 – Iowa Youth Survey Update

Central DeWitt Families,

As our 6th, 8th, and 11th Grade parents know, information was recently sent out from our school district regarding the Iowa Youth Survey (IYS).  Parents of students in these grade levels were informed that we would be administering the IYS in late October, and they were given the opportunity to opt their students out of taking the survey.  None of our students have taken the survey yet this year.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the IYS, it is a state-wide survey where students in 6th, 8th, and 11th grade are asked about their attitudes and experiences regarding alcohol and other drug use and violence, and their perceptions of their peer, family, school, and neighborhood/community environments.  The IYS has been given statewide in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, and is scheduled for 2021 after it was postponed in 2020.

School districts then receive a report of how our local students answered the questions.  I have attached the survey results for our school district from 2018.  The Iowa Department of Public Health also puts together reports for each county and the state.

The following is a link to a video regarding how the results of the survey are used at the state level.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-58CBxavtU

Our school district is  not going to continue administering the Iowa Youth Survey in our school district.  I have carefully examined the survey results from the past as well as the questions that our students would be asked in this year’s survey.

Each time the survey has been given, there are more questions asked, and it gets into more graphic, specific questions.  This has changed gradually over time, and I feel it’s time that I make a change for our school district.

I am uncomfortable with several of the questions our students are asked in this survey (drug and alcohol use, paraphernalia use, sexual activity, sexual orientation, etc.), and it’s time for our school district to part ways with the Iowa Youth Survey.  There are topics in this survey that many of our students would know nothing about, and I have no interest in putting these things in the minds of our students to wonder about.  They are exposed to enough at younger ages all the time as it is.

Although parents have been notified already of when the survey would take place, and how they can opt out, after talking with our administrative team and individual school board members, I am making the decision to opt our entire district out of taking the Iowa Youth Survey.

In order for our school district to participate, we would have to see an educational need to participate.  We do not see this with the Iowa Youth Survey.  We can, and do, gather more relevant and timely information directly from our students as we strive to have strong relationships with each of them.

If you have further questions about the Iowa Youth Survey, or why we’re not going to be administering it, please contact me.

Sincerely,

Dr. Daniel J. Peterson, Superintendent

 

 

 

January 4, 2018 – Weather Related Decisions

Superintendent Scoop – Weather Related Decisions

With winter in full swing and Winter Vacation coming to a close, Superintendent Dr. Dan Peterson dishes out the first ever "Superintendent's Scoop" with the ins and outs of weather related decisions for the CDCSD. #CentralDeWitt #CDCSD

Posted by Central DeWitt Community School District on Thursday, January 4, 2018