Van Meter Elementary
February Newsletter
Teaching Students to Think, Lead, & Serve

We are continuing to have a great year at Van Meter Elementary. As mentioned in the last newsletter, an on-going focus has been professional development and collaboration time for teachers. During the January 18 Building Inservice Day, 3-6 grade teachers worked with a trainer from Iowa Association of School Boards to implement benchmark assessments as part of the Skills Iowa Program; K-2 teachers met to review Bridges, a manipulative based supplemental math program; all elementary staff discussed the Daily Five program, which focuses on providing scheduled independent reading and writing time for each student; and all staff spent time learning about how to use the GoogleDocs program as a resource for better communication with parents.
Each teacher also has an Individual Professional Development plan. As Elementary Principal, I meet with each teacher three times each year to review that plan and provide support for teachers as they seek to continually improve instruction. Our elementary teachers are also involved in technology workshops, Positive Behavior Supports , Inquiry-based Science teams and learning about the Iowa Core Curriculum. As a result of these district, building and individual professional development efforts, our staff is working together to develop an exceptional educational program for our students.
What are some other things that make Van Meter Elementary a great place for children to grow and learn? Parents and staff tell us that it is the smaller class sizes, individualized attention, differentiated curriculum and a variety of extra curricular alternatives (Chess Club, Science Club, Spanish Club…) We also have a focus on character education, implementation of hands-on manipulative based science, math and social studies, a great arts and library program, advanced technology and an excellent, caring staff.
Most importantly, what makes Van Meter a great place is our supportive and involved parents. Our parents support us in many ways. They are part of our Helping Hands, our Van Meter Elementary Parents Committee, the Foundation, Fine Arts and Athletic Boosters. They volunteer at the Carnival, provide meals for teachers during Conferences, send flowers to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week, and attend our many functions.
During the month of February, events include the Iowa Test of Basic Skills on February 1-12, Kindergarten Information Night on February 18, Picture Day on February 23 and our 5th & 6th grade concert on February 25. In March, we will have Parent-Teacher Conferences on March 4 & 9 and our Elementary Carnival on March 6.
We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events.
Dr. Maribeth Arentsen
Elementary Principal