The Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District serves about 7,000 people living in and around the towns of Vinton, Garrison, and Shellsburg. Located 30 miles NW of Cedar Rapids and SE of Waterloo, the district’s proximity to the two larger communities provides a wide variety of cultural and entertainment events plus a choice of colleges which include vocational, liberal arts and graduate opportunities. Some of the colleges include the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, Coe College, Mount Mercy University, Kirkwood and Hawkeye Community Colleges and Kaplan University.
The Vinton-Shellsburg school district is the right size (approximately 1675 students). It is large enough to provide a full curriculum, yet small enough to offer personal touches. Some examples of the personal touches include teacher contacts with parents; an elementary ‘Friday Folder’ that is sent home with each student that includes communication from the school as well as the individual student’s weekly schoolwork or news; and co-curriulars that are available to our students. Our pupil-to-teacher ratio is a very favorable 12.8:1. The district’s patrons have invested in several major building projects including a $1.7 million dollar Tilford addition, $1.3 million renovation project for several upgrades at the Shellsburg and Middle School buildings. The district passed a $15.1 million bond issue and completed a $17.8 million facility project that features a new high school.
The district is excited to offer a quality four-year-old preschool program. “Tiny Vikes” Preschool began during the 2009-10 school year. The program offers free preschool with qualified teachers giving students an opportunity to enter school ready to learn. Preschool services are offered at both the Shellsburg and Tilford elementary facilities.
The district is fully accredited. From Pre-Kindergarten through the 12th grade, our curriculum exceeds standards set by the Iowa Department of Education. The educational program at all levels is grounded in the basics and has been carefully developed to meet the diverse needs and abilities of our students. Special programs to meet individual developmental needs include preschool, extended learning, special education, special reading and work experience programs; and a K-12 Expanded Learning Program. Media Centers and Computer Labs are located in each building. Music, Visual Art, and Physical Education are essential elements of our educational program.
New programs in Project Lead the Way, Mathematics, the Sciences, Vocational Education, and Applied Academics headline a renewed emphasis on technology in our curriculum. The district has adopted a long-range plan for the integration of technology to assist in the delivery of the instructional program. Attendance centers are linked by fiber in a computer network and a phone system in each classroom. The district has been making large investments into technology infrastructure improvements including wireless coverage and upgrading the computers available for students and staff.
The district has an ongoing curriculum review and revision process that are connected to the standards set by the Iowa Board of Education. There are committees K-12 in each content area to ensure curriculum coordination. Monthly in-service time is utilized to update the instructional staff on best practices, instructional strategies, content integration and technology application. These efforts result in a well-rounded, organized program of studies emphasizing the mastery of basic skills.
Vinton-Shellsburg students consistently score near or above state and national averages on standardized tests in the language arts, mathematics, social studies and science areas. Vinton-Shellsburg’s average ACT exam composite score is 21.3, which compares favorably to the state and national average scores.
An active Volunteer in the Schools’ program finds over 100 community and high school participants in our elementary and middle school buildings. Parent and community Booster clubs work as volunteers and conduct fund-raising activities to help support the fine arts and athletics. Community, individual, and district-sponsored scholarships annually are available to students.
Vinton-Shellsburg is an active partner in the communities we serve. The district works closely with the Vinton Parks and Recreation Department so families can utilize our facilities outside the school day. The district also works with the local economic groups and other city and community agencies.