To the Vinton-Shellsburg School Community from Superintendent Kyle Koeppen:
As I write this article we are preparing to leave for Thanksgiving break. In a year which has presented so many different challenges we also have so many things to be thankful for. I’m personally thankful for the warm welcome to the school district my family and I have received. I have enjoyed getting to know many new people. I am thankful for being able to offer different learning paths (in person, virtual, and homeschool) for families during the pandemic. I am thankful to get through the Thanksgiving holiday without shutting down in person learning. I am thankful for still being able to provide a wide variety of opportunities for students to engage in, albeit the activities look and feel different because of the pandemic, I’m thankful students are able to enjoy their passion areas.
I am thankful for the community partnerships which have been developed. One partnership which is coming together is a solar project the school district has been working on. The school is developing a plan to build three small solar fields next to Tilford Elementary, the Middle School, and the High School respectfully. This project is possible only with the support of the Vinton Municipal Electric Utility. Another community partnership is organizing around the idea of a wellness center. The school has available land and infrastructure which could help support the creation of a new wellness center. A survey about the wellness center was sent out through school messenger and is available online through the Vinton Parks and Recreation website or facebook page. I am thankful and blown away by the community partnerships which support the students of our communities each and everyday. This support comes in the form of financial donations, material donations, such as coats, clothes, food, and school supplies or time through the donation of time, volunteering.
In this time of uncertainty it is even more important to stop and reflect for what you should be thankful for. In this holiday season we may have to change our traditions or not have the opportunity to gather with whom we wish to, but there is always something or someone to be thankful for. One of my favorite authors, Jon Gordon, wrote there are two words that have the power to transform our health, happiness, and success. Those two words are Thank You. “Research shows that grateful people are happier and more likely to maintain good friendships. A state of gratitude, according to research by the Institute of HeartMath, also improves the heart’s rhythmic functioning, which helps us to reduce stress, think more clearly under pressure and heal physically.” It’s actually physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. When you are grateful you flood your body and brain with emotions and endorphins that uplift and energize you rather than the stress hormones that drain you. Gratitude is like muscle. The more we do with it the stronger it gets.
Please take time in the coming weeks to find ways to say thank you. Gordan presents a few strategies:
- Take a Daily Thank You Walk – Take a simple 10-30 minute walk each day and say out loud what you are thankful for.
- Gratitude Visit – write a letter expressing our gratitude to someone. Then visit this person and read them the letter.
- Say Thank you and Goodnight – At bedtime reflect on your day, identify and share all that you are thankful for. However you decide to share your gratitude, know that it will not only make the recipient feel good, it will also give you an emotional boost.
If you ever have any thoughts or concerns about the school district, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me.
319-436-4728 ext. 5685