Welcome Back Letter



Hanawalt Staff, Parents and Friends:




I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new and returning families and share my excitement about the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. It is a sincere honor to be a part of such an outstanding school community. Hanawalt enjoys a rich history of academic and cultural excellence thanks to successful partnerships among staff, families, and the community. I look forward to helping you continue the important work of giving our students an education that develops their academic, social, nutritional and artistic strengths.


During the most recent school years the students, teachers, and families experienced many successes. Hanawalt students continued to remain highly proficient in each grade level (3rd-5th) and in each core content area on the Iowa Assessments (former Iowa Test of Basic Skills). Students were a part of the Day in the Arts, Field Day, numerous field trips, chorus, band, and orchestra concerts, as well as participants within caring, engaging, and rigorous classrooms. Teachers were highly focused during professional development Wednesdays to discuss the implementation of effective instructional strategies and establish a data analysis process that increases teacher collaboration and differentiation within each classroom. Parents and community members continued to provide very meaningful support through financial donations made during various fundraising efforts as well as consistent attendance on various PTA sub-committees.


In addition, staff will continue to be involved in various new initiatives in order to provide a continuously refined and progressive experience. Seven examples include:


  • All teachers within Des Moines will begin to implement a new curriculum resource called Go-Math that provides comprehensive content and tools to differentiate instruction.
  • Des Moines has invested in various technologies including touch-enabled digital projectors and touch enabled tablets that will be implemented into every K-5th grade classroom.
  • 3rd-5th grade teachers researched progressive instructional models during the recent year and have created varying levels of departmentalization where each teacher instructs fewer subjects to all students within their grade level. This model will provide more support for students while taking advantage of the interests and strengths of teachers.
  • A formal data analysis process will continue to evolve which provides staff an opportunity to identify strengths within math and literacy content and provide meaningful differentiated instruction to target student needs which includes near daily small group instruction in mathematics and reading.
  • Schoolwide social and behavioral norms will be strengthened to support a respectful and responsible learning environment.
  • Hanawalt will continue to phase in a district directed process for registering any parent or community member who wishes to volunteer at school or on a field trip.
  • We will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders in the planning and implementation of strategies to promote physical health, nutrition and safety to compliment recent efforts including an outdoor community running track and front entrance buzzer systems.


As we move into the 2014-2015 school year, Hanawalt staff will strategically incorporate these program elements within the time honored framework that has made Hanawalt the best place to learn. I truly look forward to meeting all of our new families and continuing to collaborate with our returning students and parents. I intend to ensure that Hanawalt continues as a leader in academics, arts and innovation. Know that my door is always open and feel free to stop by to see me at any time. Mark your calendars that Back to School Night will occur from 5:30-6:30 on Monday, August 18 and tentative class lists will be posted at the north entrance one to two weeks prior to the first day of school (Wednesday, August 20).



Andrew Burg

Principal-Hanawalt Elementary School



Please welcome staff that are either new to their position or new to Hanawalt for the 2014-2015 school year!


Melissa Linebaugh Kindergarten (part-time to full-time)
Mandy Cosper Kindergarten (former special education)
Megan Miller First (new)
Jill Tyler Third (South Union)
Bob Chicoine Fifth (Morris Elementary)
Meredith Bell ELL (part-time to full-time)
Jen Wade Math Coach (former 1st grade)
Sarah Grady Literacy Coach (Samuelson)
Lorna Christensen Special Education (former kindergarten)
Kati Medick Special Education Autism Associate (Riverwoods)
Tom Garner Chief Custodian (Windsor)
Chantel Thompson School Based Mental Health Therapist (shared with Merrill)


Hanawalt strives to be a model community of learning,

educating the whole child  with 21st century skills

while celebrating diversity and individualism.

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