Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2014 Annual Progress Report

The 2014 Annual Progress Report is available on the Districts website.  The twenty-page report includes data and information about the school district.  Below are five pages from the report.

Student learning continues to be a strength of the district.  Throughout the report there are many examples of students and staff performing at high levels.  There are many areas in the report to celebrate.  However, we also have areas for improvement.  Our district staff is committed to continuing to review data and identify areas for improvement.

Thank you for helping make Solon a great district and community!

Sam






Monday, September 22, 2014

Honoring our Veterans

I was lobbying in Washington D.C. during the third week of September and took my first trip to the World War II memorial. I was fortunate to observe a Honor Flight ceremony honoring the men and women who have bravely answered the call to service.

The United States national POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday in September.  The Solon Community School District held a POW/MIA Ceremony at the high school on September 19th.


Solon students and staff were fortunate to hear Veteran Leland Chandler share his experiences serving our country in World War II.   Mr. Chandler had students and staff engaged as he described many details of his service, including the three and half years spent as a P.O.W. in Japan.  Mr. Chandler stated that he weighed 190 pounds when he was captured and 85 pounds when he was liberated.  Mr. Chandler also gave students a very moving message about how he was able to come to terms with his P.O.W. experiences that allowed him to live a happy and healthy life.


Attending the Honor Flight Ceremony and the Solon POW/MIA Ceremony have been great reminders to me of the many brave people that have fought on behalf of the United States and our freedom.  If you see a veteran or a person serving our country, please take the time to introduce yourself and thank them for their service.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thank You

I would like to give a big THANK YOU to the Solon Community for supporting a $25.5 million dollar referendum for construction of a new middle school and performing arts center.  At a time when many school districts are regrouping after the defeat of a ballot initiative, Solon is moving forward with facility improvements that will serve our students, staff and community for many years. The fact that we received over 70% support for this ballot initiative is just another reminder of how fortunate we are to live in such an engaged and supportive school community.

Thank You!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Public Hearing on proposed new Middle School and Auditorium

As you know, on September 9th, the community will be voting on a $25.5 million referendum.  There will be a public hearing on Monday, August 25th at 6:30 p.m. in the Media Center at Solon High School.  The Board of Education and administration are committed to providing information and answering questions about the proposed facility improvements. 


Three questions that I have been asked multiple times include:

Q1: Is the new middle school big enough for a growing district?

A1: Struxture Architects, who have built many schools, designed the proposed middle school.  They have used the recommended square footage when designing the middle school.  As you can see in the document below, when compared to our current middle school, the new school would be larger in almost every part of the school. 

Q2:  How does Solon’s auditorium budget compare to schools that have recently built an auditorium?

A2: Approximately twelve staff members toured recently built auditoriums at Bettendorf, CCA and College Community.  The goal was to see design ideas as well as identify top priorities for an auditorium.  In the document below, you can see the cost each district invested in their auditorium.  Additionally, we are told construction inflation typically runs between 5-8% annually.  We have also provided the cost to build each auditorium in 2015, with a 5% inflation adjustment.

Q3:  What is the District’s plan for increased enrollment?

A3: As you know, our district enrollment is increasing.  In recent years, the resident count has been stagnant while open enrollment has steadily increased.  If you drive around our community, several residential developments are taking off and it is apparent that many people are choosing to move to Solon.  Our school district is the primary reason.  The Board of Education recognizes the Districts need for another school.  The proposed middle school and auditorium are Phase I of the district's facility plan. Phase II includes the building of an Intermediate School.  As you can see in the document below, the timeline for construction of an Intermediate School is immediately following the completion of the proposed middle school.  The Board intends to use SAVE funds (state penny sales tax) to fund an Intermediate School, therefore a referendum would not be necessary, only a future board vote.


I hope you choose to vote in the upcoming referendum.  The district is offering a satellite voting opportunity at Spartan Stadium on August 29th during the Solon vs. Regina football game from 4-9 p.m.  Additionally, the polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. on September 9th.

Friday, August 15, 2014

September 9th Referendum

The Solon Board of Education voted unanimously to move forward with a September 9th referendum vote.  The district is proposing $25.5 million dollar referendum for the construction of a new middle school and a new Center for the Arts.   Details of the plan and Frequently Asked Questions can be viewed HERE.

A public hearing has been scheduled for Monday, August 25th at 6:30 p.m. in the media center at Solon High School.  Following an overview of the project by Struxture Architects, board members and administration will be available for questions.

In addition to voting on September 9th, an additional satellite voting opportunity will be available on Friday, August 29th at Spartan Stadium from 4:00 - 9:00 p.m. during the Solon vs. Iowa City Regina football game.  Patrons interested in voting must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the Solon Community School District.

If you have questions regarding the proposed facility improvements, please contact me at 624-3401 or email: smiller@solon.k12.ia.us.

Sam

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New School Year

August 14th, marks the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.  A big thank you to the many people who play a significant role in making Solon one of the finest school districts in Iowa:

  • Our maintenance staff who has done a terrific job over the summer months getting our schools repaired, cleaned and ready for another school year.  
  • Our technology department for working tirelessly to get all of our technology tools ready for students and staff.
  • Our nutrition program for continuing to learn best practice, making our lunch rooms more appealing and getting our kitchens ready to serve 1,000 meals a day.
  • Our transportation department for repairing our fleet and developing new routes for efficiently transporting our students.
  • Our associates for their compassion and professionalism in working with our students and staff.
  • Our secretaries for leading a great culture in our schools by working positively with our students and parents.
  • Our central office staff for their customer service attitude and ability to keep our district organized.
  • Our Board of Education for their vision, leadership and oversight to help every student enjoy a quality learning experience.
  • Our administration for their commitment to excellence and doing whatever it takes to to make our schools successful.
  • And finally, our teachers --- who are simply the best!  
THANK YOU!