Superintendent Welcome

Summer is quickly flying by and we are fast approaching my favorite time of year….the start of the new school year!  I can say with the certainty that many great things are happening in Keokuk Schools.   Here is an update of some of the great things that are happening in the district.

This past year our staff focused on insuring that our students were learning the appropriate skills and information to help them become career and college ready.  All of our teachers, even those who work with our preschoolers, focus on what is taught as well as when it is taught, to determine that it is grade level and content appropriate.  Additionally, our teachers are committed to finding the best strategies to help our students who may struggle.  This intervention process has been changing and improving as our students needs change.  This hard work being done by our committed staff is starting to generate results both in the classroom and on our state data reports.  In 2017, our Iowa Assessment scores showed an increase in proficiency from the previous year in two of the grade levels tested in reading, none in math and one in science.  For the 2018 year, in grades tested, we saw increases over the previous scores in two grades in reading, six grades in math and five grades in science.  And, our graduation rate has increased to 92.7%.  Now that is progress!

Another area the district has been working to improve on this year, is school safety.   All of our buildings have been evaluated and purchases made in several areas to increase the level of protection for our students.  This fall, there will be additional security cameras in all buildings, added door alarms and metal detector wands.  Additionally, local law enforcement will be increasing their presence in our buildings daily and are providing all staff with safety training before school starts.  We want our students and staff to be able to focus on teaching and learning, without fear.  And, we want our parents and community to know that we are taking the commitment to protect your precious children very seriously.

In order to help our students who struggle in the area of social and emotional growth, we will have guidance counselors in all of our K-12 buildings in the fall.  Additionally, at the middle school we are adding a student behavior interventionist to teach appropriate behaviors to those students who struggle in that regard.  Overall, we have seen a significant decrease in student discipline issues district wide.  We know that with the focus on teaching appropriate behaviors and providing additional support through our counselors as well as the continuation of our Positive Behavior Support programs, all of our students benefit from a positive learning environment.

In my first year of living and working in Keokuk, I feel truly blessed to be a part of this school district and community.  We have so many people who are committed and working hard to provide the best for our children.  I truly believe that we have the ability to be the best school district in the state of Iowa.  Many great things are happening here and I am honored to be working alongside so many committed staff, parents, students and community members.  WE are Keokuk, and we are rowing together!

Christine Barnes
Keokuk Community School District