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Keokuk Administrators Observe Classes

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Administrators within the Keokuk School District spent more time in the classrooms, last year, as part of a program aimed at observing teacher and student performance.

The 2011/2012 school year marked the second year for the eWalks program.

Business Manager Greg Reynolds says the program requires administrators to conduct brief, unannounced visits into classrooms throughout the district.

“This is not an evaluation of the staff,” says Reynolds, “but rather a snapshot of what is going on when we walk in.  Are the kids engaged?  What is the teacher teaching?  Are they in front of the classroom?  Are they actively working with kids?”

The number of eWalks visits jumped from 1185 in 2010/2011 to 1407 in 2011/2012.

Middle School Principal Gary Benda conducted the most observations, by far, in 2011/2012 at nearly 800.

A summary of the results shows that teachers were operating in line with the district’s goals and missions and with its curriculum more than 80% of the time.

Reynolds says the number of e-Walks is expected to increase again this year.


The school board has adopted a comprehensive library plan.

Reynolds says the Iowa Department of Education identified the need for the plan during a site visit several years ago.

He says it has taken several years to collect the information, including circulation numbers and the types of books available to students.

The data will be updated regularly and included in future community reports.


The district must dip into its reserve accounts to cover a larger than anticipated shortfall in the budget for the upcoming school year.

The school board made a series of cuts, earlier this year, that were expected to save the district about $700,000.

Reynolds says several factors led to the reduction in savings: the restoration of several teaching positions and a higher-than-anticipated salary for Keokuk’s next superintendent.

He says the district will now have to use about $750,000 from its reserve accounts as opposed to an original estimate of roughly $580,000.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.