Located in rural Northeast Iowa, the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District (Howard-Winn) spreads over 426 square miles, serving 1,150 students at the Crestwood Campus in Cresco, the county seat of Howard County. With 48 percent free and reduced lunch, the district is committed to designing a new “DNA” for teaching and learning.
Since 2006, Howard-Winn, like much of rural Iowa, has been going through a dramatic drop in population. The district has been experiencing a “brain drain” as graduates have left the region for perceived opportunities in metro areas. This has caused an urgency for change and created a condition for the need to be creative. Throughout the organization, new thinking and structure is emerging.
Working to change the trend
Our vision includes creating a new structure of learning grounded in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), embedding technology seamlessly into instruction, and using social media to break down classroom silos, connecting learners globally. Beginning the fall of 2013, all students have been issued digital devices for learning. An iPad went to K-5 learners and MacBook Air to grades 6-12. Collaborating with business, industry, elected officials, and higher education, as well as stakeholders is enabling our rate of change to accelerate.