The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 3, 2013

HART: The start of a new school year

Rita Hart
State Senator

---- — The summer has gone very quickly, and my own children as well as all the students in the district are back at school once again. I wish them, their teachers and their administrators the very best as they embark on another year of education and all of its challenges.

It’s so important to start the school year off right, and I know that students are nervous, and teachers and administrators are challenged to do all they can to be successful. I will be communicating with the local school districts to make sure that changes to be enacted as a result of the newly passed education reform bill will help students and school systems achieve even better results. We must all work for school improvement together.

This year’s Legislature did our part by investing $1.5 million to provide high school students with career orientation, job shadowing and internship opportunities that allow them to make informed college and career decisions.

Our local community is also helping students become successful. One example of working together on school success is a teacher externship program where teachers go to work in local businesses during the summer to better understand the skills that their students need to be qualified for jobs that local employers are trying to fill. These teacher externships are a great example of how rigor and relevancy can be incorporated into the classroom because of good school-community partnerships.

I was pleased to visit with two instructors who did just that when they participated in the LINC (Learn, Innovate, Network, Cultivate) program at Archer Daniels Midland in Clinton this summer. Dave Wallace, a mechatronics instructor at Clinton Community College, Lynn Daniels, a welding instructor at DeWitt Central, and Joel Frost, an agricultural science teacher at Northeast School, gained valuable insights that will be evidenced in their classrooms this fall. Efforts like these will result in more focused instruction and skilled workers for our local businesses.

I was also happy to walk a mile with those who organized the Stomp Out Bullying Glow Walk at Eagle Point Park in Clinton a few weeks ago. Being successful at school is a lot more difficult when a student is being bullied. Rita Walton, B100, Bridgeview and Vera French Community Mental Health Centers, and hundreds of local residents rallied together to make a difference. The community support for this event was truly heartwarming. With increased awareness and community involvement like this, bullying incidents will decrease and more students will be able to better concentrate on their studies and achieve to their full potential.

Happy new school year!

If you’d like to contact me, please call (563) 210-1252 or e-mail rita.hart@legis.iowa.gov. At www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/hart, you can sign up for my newsletter, connect with me on Facebook and more.

Sen. Rita Hart represents Clinton County and northern Scott County in the Iowa Senate.