The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Guest Column | ICCSD high school principals usher in new school year

Principals from Iowa City’s public high schools introduced several new programs ahead of the school year.
Grace Kreber
The Iowa City Community School District sign in Iowa City is seen on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

The principals of the four high schools in the Iowa City Community School District are excited to welcome back the over 4,500 students that attend City High, Liberty High, Tate High, and West High. As our teachers sharpen their lesson plans, and our staff preps our top-notch facilities, we want to share some great things happening in our buildings.

At City High, there are many outstanding things happening academically, in the arts, in athletics, and in service to others. Highlights include our AP Capstone Diploma Program, which is absolutely soaring. This high-level academic program is the culmination of many students’ AP experiences. Students learn college-level research and writing skills as they explore a topic they care deeply about.

In the arts, our programs are achieving at a high level. We are proud that our Concert Choir was selected by audition to perform at the Iowa School Board Conference, a prestigious honor.

Our classic, beautiful facility continues to get even better. We are very proud of our brand new Wellness Center; the historic “Old Gym“ has been converted into the very finest strength and conditioning facility in the state of Iowa. This project was the result of a major fundraising initiative. City High is grateful to the volunteers who worked so hard on this project, and to the many donors, whose incredible generosity made this possible. The facility is absolutely spectacular, and will help countless Little Hawks grow stronger together for generations to come!

Tate is excited to welcome over 70 new students and their families as we grow together as a community and provide individualized support and educational programming for our Warriors to succeed. We are most excited about our PBIS kickoff orientation and BBQ. Once we get into the school year, we look forward to providing the many varied educational activities, volunteering opportunities, and field trips that keep our students engaged.

In addition to our strong core curriculum, last year Tate piloted Project Based Learning (PBL) designed to give students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills through engaging projects set around challenges and problems they may face in the real world. This was a popular programming addition and we plan to continue this learning opportunity for students this year. We are also providing new learning opportunities with the addition of the Extended Learning Program (ELP) and the expansion of our Family and Consumer Science and Computer Science programs.

In addition to the academic offerings, we welcomed a full-time Transition Alliance Program Coordinator that will support students in the areas of employment and community, which pairs with our volunteer programming. Lastly, a new club entitled GROWW (Girls Realizing Their Own Warrior Within) will be rolled out as a counterpart to our young men’s support group. We are excited for this upcoming year!

This school year at West High School, as students, families, and staff arrive, they will find themselves in the midst of a construction zone. West High Phase Three has commenced! This project includes building a new choir room, orchestra room, main office, counseling office, administrative entrance, new student commons, and five new classrooms! It will be very exciting to monitor the progress of this project throughout the year.

During the 2023-24 school year, West High will become the first secondary school in our district to become building certified in Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP.) SIOP is a research-proven instructional model designed to address the academic needs of students. As the top-ranked high school in Iowa, we are always striving to improve the educational outcomes of our students.

Our school is committed to ensuring that every West High student can thrive while being their true and authentic selves. We are excited to welcome a new class of 2027 to West, and to watch all of our students excel as they pursue their passions while they take advantage of the countless opportunities our district has to offer, whether in the arts, athletics, or participating in one of the numerous clubs and organizations our building offers. We are excited to continue the tradition of excellence that has been synonymous with West High School for over fifty years.

Liberty High can’t wait for our New Student Orientation. At the start of each new school year, a few days before school officially begins, our school welcomes over 300 new Bolts and their National Honor Society Lightning Leaders. Our New Student Orientation process is unique in that it is entirely planned and led by our returning National Honor Society students, known as “Lightning Leaders.” While the day provides incoming students with many opportunities to learn about being a student at Liberty, the orientation process does not end on this day. Our Lightning Leaders will serve as mentors to their assigned students for the next two school years. They join and even lead bi-monthly advisory lessons where students work on developing skills to help them be successful at Liberty and in their post-secondary lives.

We are excited to listen to our talented musical groups perform. Our Liberty High marching band continues to grow larger each year and now participates annually in marching band competitions. Our various choir ensembles are performing at a high level, especially our Voltage jazz choir that have been invited to perform at national conferences. We are also excited to see how our Liberty orchestra evolves and grows under the guidance of a new director.

Lastly, we look forward to watching our Liberty student-athletes compete and perform at a high level. We are especially excited to watch our volleyball and boys’ soccer teams defend their state titles in their respective sports. Last November our volleyball team won the 5A state title at the Xtream Arena in Coralville, and in June our boys’ soccer team won a 3A state title at the James Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.

Only two more weeks before our gyms, fields, theaters, and auditoriums are filled with ICCSD talent. We know our community is as excited as we are to cheer on our students. After all, we are witnessing Iowa’s future — and the future looks bright. Finally, thank you for believing in the excellence of public education. This community’s steadfast support for educating every student energizes us. It’s going to be a great year.

– City High Principal John Bacon, Liberty High Principal Justin Colbert,  Tate High Principal Ann Browning, West High Principal Mitch Gross

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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