New superintendent brings fresh perspective for Van Buren Schools

Van Buren Jr/Sr High School

Students, parents and staff in the Van Buren Community School District welcome a new superintendent this year.

â??When you walk down the hallways and the kids just stop to talk to you and they really don't even know me yet, and that's really exciting,â?? Dr. Pam Ewell, Superintendent said.

Dr. Ewell says providing the best learning experience for students is a top priority.

â??The focus in Van Buren is really on student achievement and the whole child,â?? Dr. Ewell said. â??I mean we have such a great opportunity here for kids to be involved in athletics, activities and really engage in academics, so to me that's the goal.â??

The Iowa Education Reform Bill signed into law by Gov. Branstad brings about new changes for Van Buren Schools and other schools across the state. Van Buren School administrators say as a result, they are utilizing several new tools, which will ultimately enhance student achievement and performance.

â??We had a lot of training for our staff through the summer to talk about our new one-to-one initiative we will be rolling out this year for grades 5-8," Secondary Principal Chuck Banks said.

â??Weâ??re also implementing for the first time this year, a brand new K-6 comprehensive math curriculum,â?? Elementary Principal Bret Moews said. â??Weâ??re using the Envisions Program, and were putting that into place this year, so at the end of this year we will have a sequential comprehensive K-6 literacy and math program that aligns with the core that will be fully implemented.â??

In terms of the budget, the main challenges are covering the costs of building renovations and student transportation.

â??And then watching our enrollment over the next 5-10 years will be a key piece for me and the school board and the staff to work on,â?? Dr. Ewell said.

Dr. Ewell says she is focused on building relationships with people in the community and watching the district grow.

â??I would encourage people to come visit, and come see our school district,â?? she said.