Each year, just before school starts, Iowa-Missouri elementary teachers gather to learn about procedure updates, new teaching materials, and to get acquainted with the new hires. This year’s meeting focused on student and school safety. The teachers completed a one-day refresher First Aid/CPR course where they each learned how to use a defibrillator. Rick Young, director of the International Rescue and Relief program at Union College, conducted a school safety seminar. Young encouraged each school to have a crisis management plan that includes the formation of safety teams and the development of a safety guidebook.

The meetings concluded with a training presentation by Kim Miller who directs the Partners for Eternity program at Southern Adventist University. This program is designed for weekly visits to seniors in their home by an elementary student and his/her parent; in return students develop a relationship with those “senior mentors” and receive up to a $1,000 scholarship toward their school bill. The goal is for every Iowa-Missouri school to participate in this program.

Sharing goals

Each school year a fundraising project is introduced to the students and teachers at our 15 conference schools. This year the goal is to raise $1,000 for a well pump at the Mtshibini Adventist School in Lupane, Zimbabwe. In 2011, 20 students from Sunnydale Adventist Academy and adult volunteers built the Mtshibini Elementary School and last year a group of our teachers went to the same site and built a secondary school. Each dollar raised by the teachers and students will be matched to cover the cost of the $2,000 pump.

Experiencing the outdoors

Our 5th and 6th graders get the chance to switch up their learning environment for a few days each year during Outdoor School, held at Camp Heritage on the Lake of the Ozarks. This past September, 49 students participated in classes on Standard First Aid, Nature Remedies and Health, and Mini-CHIP and Nutrition. The students were also involved in a variety of group games and outdoor activities. This event is held annually and is open to all 5th and 6th graders in our conference who attend a conference school, are home schooled or attend other private or public schools.

Welcoming new teachers

We are blessed to have added five new teachers to our team; Sara Henninger, kindergarten teacher at Columbia; Heidi Nicholas, grades 5-8 teacher at Des Moines; Connie Sunderland, head teacher for grades 1-8 at Clinton, Missouri; Judi Thompson, principal and grades 3-5 teacher at Springfield; and Lisa Kijak grades K-4 teacher at Hillcrest, St. Louis.

Expanding our reach

We are very pleased to announce a school opened this year in Clinton, Missouri. The Golden Valley Adventist School is the first Adventist school in Clinton in over 80 years. “The board has a three-year plan for growth to reach 15 students,” said Golden Valley church member David Webb. “This is a miracle school that has been in the planning stage for three years and has finally come to fruition.”

Dr. Joseph Allison is superintendent of education and Michelle Hansen is communication director for the Iowa-Missouri Conference.