School Performance Profile – Our Elementary School Designation

School Performance Profile – Our Elementary School Designation

School Performance Profile – Our Elementary School Designation

The state has released new information on school performance as required by a federal education law called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

  • A new online reporting tool called the Iowa School Performance Profiles reflects how public schools performed on a set of core accountability measures, such as results on the statewide assessment. The tool displays a school’s score based on overall performance, as well as scores based on the performance of subgroups of students. These subgroups include students who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, students receiving special education services, English learners, and students from racial/ethnic minority groups.
  • Based on these scores, some schools have been identified for additional support and improvement. These determinations are not punitive; rather, they come with funding and support.

Based on this new system of school accountability and support under ESSA, our school has received a designation of Targeted Support and Improvement. Over the next three years, our school will receive federal funding (Title I schools only) and resources from the state and our area education agency. Our school has a leadership team for school improvement called our Differentiated Accountability Team.  This team has been working together since the 2016 – 2017 school year to identify how we can improve our school in the areas of Reading, Math, and Behavior.  At this time this team meets monthly developing and implementing an action plan for improvement that fits the individual needs of our school. As you know, no two schools are the same and each has its own unique context.

While we have many things to celebrate in our school, such as a new school-wide behavior program (PBIS) and our Universal Instruction Protocol and Infrastructure for Reading, we also have work to do. We look forward to addressing our school’s needs through this process, which we view as an opportunity to build on the great things we have going on.

You can help by providing input as we develop our improvement plan and by continuing to support our school, our staff, and our students. We welcome your thoughts.

To locate our school’s results, as well as more information about the Iowa School Performance Profiles and ESSA, visit the following website:


Jennifer Schutte

PK-6 Principal, Cora B. Darling Elementary


School Safety – Intruder Drill

school building

All too often gun violence and mass shootings top the headlines in America, causing anxiety and confusion among young people.  Keeping your children safe while at school is our district’s top priority.  Although our country has seen sad and frightening violence over the years, we still believe Postville Community School District is a safe place to be.  Consider the following safety precautions that are in place at Cora B. Darling Elementary.

  • All visitors have to identify themselves at the elementary doors before entering the building.
  • A staff member is available to watch cameras from 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM each day.
  • All exterior doors are locked throughout the school day.
  • Fire, tornado, and evacuation drills are done routinely throughout the school year.
  • A safety committee meets regularly to discuss drills, policies, and procedures.
  • Our staff is having on-going discussions with students about what to do in case of an intruder.  Those discussions should continue at home with parents having conversations with their children.  Discuss where students will go in the event of an intruder, and where you, as parents, might be able to find them and pick them up.  This information should be kept confidential for each individual family.
  • Age appropriate training include “run, barricade, fight back, and communicate.”  These are research based strategies to help empower our students and staff in case of an intruder entering the building.


We will be practicing our first evacuation (intruder) drill on Wednesday, November 14.  We will practice three basic commands:  Shelter in Building, Shelter in Place, and Evacuation.  Our teachers will be working with their students to provide developmentally appropriate information as to why we are practicing this type of drill.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about our school safety plan.


Principal Jennifer Schutte

Cora B. Darling Elementary School



Elementary Attendance Responsibilities

Alarm clock


  • Students are expected to be in class and to make attendance a top priority.
  • Parents are asked to notify the office in advance of a student’s absence. The school voice mail service makes it possible to call the school at any time – 864-7651 ext. 221.
  • When a student has accumulated 5 days of absence (excused or unexcused), all parents will receive a letter informing them of their child’s attendance status.
  • All students (K -6 ) are tardy after 8:10 AM. Being on time to school is important!
  • Students will be allowed to enter the school at 7:40 AM if they plan to eat breakfast.

Welcome Message From The Principal

welcome back to school image of school with bell and words

Parents and Students of the Postville Community ,

Welcome to the 2018 - 2019 Cora B. Darling Elementary school year! I am honored to serve you as the PK-6 Principal this school year. Family involvement, cooperation, and support are three important components in the success of your child’s education. Staff members encourage positive family involvement and seek family support and cooperation in the education of students. Our main objectives of educating your child includes academic learning, social and emotional learning, and character education. With these three domains working simultaneously, your child will be ensured to a successful future. We can do that by providing your children with up-to-date, research-based curriculum, opportunities to practice and learn, and continuous communication with you as parents.



Jennifer Schutte
PK - 6 Principal
(563)864-7651 ext. 220

FAST Assessments

The Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST) is an online site of assessment tools that are designed to make assessments efficient and instructionally relevant.  The ultimate goal of using the FASTBridge Assessment site is to use technology to automate scoring, data entry, analysis, and reporting.  Teachers spend less time assessing and more time analyzing data and improving instruction.

Cora B. Darling Elementary currently assesses students using earlyReading, CBMreading, and aReading.  These assessments are given tri-annually.  Teacher teams analyze that data, identify students in need of interventions, and improve instruction according to the results.

This spring our school has agreed to pilot the math and behavior component of FASTBridge.  There are three main math assessments that will be administered to our students: earlyMath, CBMmath, and aMath.  The behavior assessments that we will be utilizing are devMilestones and REACT.

EarlyMath is an assessment for for K-1st grades.  It allows us to screen and monitor a students’ progress in foundational math skills.  EarlyMath performance is an indicator of student math development.  It is designed to assess math skills that predict successful math proficiency.

CBMmath evaluates a student’s ability to fluently compute basic math facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

aMath is an assessment for 2 – 6th graders which is a simple and efficient way of assessing students’ broad math abilities.  aMath is a computer adaptive test that is aligned to the Common Core Standards.

As for behavior, the FASTBridge Developmental Milestones (devMilestones) tool tracks student development across 6 domains.  It is designed to evaluate a students’ performance related to established behavior expectations.  The 6 domains include:  Language, Literacy, and Communications; Cognitive Development; Social and Emotional Development; Creativity and the Arts; Approaches to Learning; and Physical and Motor Development.

The Responsive Environmental Assessment for Classroom Teaching (REACT) is a student rating scale that allows teachers to learn more about how students experience the class environment.  The REACT assesses six characteristics of effective classroom environments:  Instructional Presentation; Differentiated Instruction; Formative Feedback; Goal Orientation; Classroom Management; and Classroom Connectedness.

The Leadership Team of Cora B. Darling are excited to implement these new assessments in order to continue to improve the teaching and learning  for our students.


Jennifer Schutte
Curriculum Director / Dean of Students

Intensive Site Visit – February 7 & 8

Intensive Site Visit – February 7 & 8
By Jennifer Schutte
Curriculum Director / Dean of Students

On February 7 & 8 our elementary school was involved in an Intensive Site Visit in the area of reading. The specific groups of people that met and collaborated included a Statewide School Improvement Team from the Department of Education, Local Education Association Members, and Postville’s Differentiated Accountability team. The members of Postville’s DA team are Tim Dugger, Ryan Zurbriggen, Jennifer Schutte, Danielle Rose, Mary Guese, LaRae Schutte, Linda Monroe, Jennifer Harman, and RJ Olsen. This visit replaced the previous 5 year site visit that all schools are required to participate in. This process is based on the Iowa Professional Development Model by using collaborative Inquiry questions and is informed by healthy indicators of data.

Through the Intensive Site Visit we discussed how to use a research based protocol that has proven to positively impact student learning. The Statewide School Improvement Team will continue to support us by communicating with our DA team monthly.

Several celebrations were discussed through the site visit process. Our Newcomer classroom and expanding our ESL staff has proven to have a great impact on student learning for ALL students. We have implemented Lexia as a reading intervention program for K-8. We have expanded our data discussions, considering multiple data points and sources. Our Differentiated Accountability team uses graphic organizers and color-coding to facilitate understanding of information and communicating with others. Professional Learning Communities have become a way of life, not an initiative or process. We have a strong core team that is committed, open and honest in discussions. We focus on the “why” when making decisions. Our Title team created a database that centralizes all data for efficient and effective use and access for all teachers. Through our TLC grant we have increased our leadership capacity within the school.

As we move forward, our team will prioritize our efforts considering what action step will have the greatest impact on student learning. We will be identifying skills that are missing or need to be strengthened within our core instruction. We will clearly define the role of each teacher in this school improvement process and the importance of a common language and expectations. We will trust each other and honor the process.