Motorhome school management nods | News

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ROCK VALLEY — Chad Janzen loves tricky puzzles, and after putting the pieces together as the Rock Valley School District Principal for over a decade, he’s been the perfect fit.

Janzen was nominated for Iowa’s 2021-22 Superintendent of the Year and said a support network across the school district was responsible for the success.

“The way I look is a reflection of our school district. I’m the chief of our district, but there are a lot of people doing a good job here, ”Janzen said. “Without our entire team, a nomination for Superintendent of the Year does not exist. I take this as recognition of the great things that are happening in our district. “

The top Rocket took the job before the 2011-12 school year. Since then, the schools he oversees have implemented and developed a series of programs, all with the goal of growing students outside of the classroom.

One of those initiatives is Rocket Manufacturing. The student-run business manufactures decorative metal signs while operating as a business and store class, while operating as a functional business. Some students gain practical construction skills, while others gain administrative management experience with accounting, marketing, and customer service.

Janzen said the sign company was one of the most innovative programs in his district – adding that this was likely part of why he was one of nine superintendents nominated for the award across the country. the state – and that society teaches children much more than they would with a regular lesson. plan.

“Gone are the days of that program where we would sit in shopping class, make a widget, then put it in a drawer and one day our parents were like ‘Get your stuff out of here,’” he said. .

Rocket Manufacturing started in 2014, and a more recent program, offered to seniors, has a similar mission to engage students in the real world.

The Grade 12 internship program is in its third year. It matches future graduates with a local employer for a semester in a field of interest to them. Whether it’s a law firm, a hospital or a car garage, students rather get a glimpse into the day-to-day work. to simply go through another learning class from the book.

“They have a wide variety of opportunities to learn on their own about potential career paths,” Janzen said.

The Superintendent said a critical piece of his administrative puzzle is consistency. Although new programs and methods may emerge, the same basic principles remain the same.

“We’re trying not to do the newest and biggest thing – the new fad in education that’s coming up,” he said. “We’ve been working on the same stuff for about five years now rather than trying to do something different every year because it wears out your staff, your teachers, your paras. It affects everyone so every year is something different.

The Firm Hand said the focus in its schools is always on what students can get out of their classes; preparation is the priority.

This lesson is not just for Rock Valley. Janzen said this was true across the education industry, including Iowa school administrators who select Superintendent of the Year.

“When we attend a conference in Des Moines in a room filled with superintendents and business leaders from across the state, we hear exactly the same things our employers hear here,” Janzen said. “It’s our job here as shapers of young people to develop their academic spirit and, really, their socio-emotional spirit. “

He said his mindset is to help develop the whole person rather than mechanize a knowledge base. It makes the district a better community partner, it allows teachers to make every day meaningful, and it gives students a better start for the rest of their lives.

Janzen said credit goes to everyone who makes Rock Valley schools so successful; he just puts everything in place.

“I have always liked puzzles. We grew up on a farm and I didn’t have a lot of friends who lived that side of town with me, so I put some puzzles together. It’s my job as a superintendent, ”he said. “I’m not always the guy who comes up with the idea, but I’m really good at listening to other people’s ideas and incorporating them. I listen, and we chew stuff, and put it together with an end result that hopefully is a good product.


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