September message from Union Supt. John Howard

Greetings from the Union Community School District! I hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day weekend. This is my first monthly correspondence. The goal is not to communicate everything that occurs in the district but to give community members an overview of important topics in an accurate, clear and timely manner.

First month

We have been in school for about a month, and I could not be more proud of the students and staff. The students are committed, enthusiastic, positive and respectful. The staff is caring, dedicated, knowledgeable, and works to help students succeed each day. I am excited to come to school each day to work with/for the students and staff. It is truly an honor to lead the Union Community School District.


Each year, since I have been an administrator, the staff and I have developed a motto, and this year is no exception. In fact, this year’s motto – New Year, New UNION – is one of all-time favorites. There are quite a few new aspects for/to the district – communication methods, expectations, facilities, leadership, staff and more. We have to embrace these changes and meet the new challenges these may bring. Fortunately, I have no doubt we can “pass these tests” (no pun intended).

Board goal areas

The Union Community School District Board of Education, in collaboration with Kevin Fine of Grundmeyer Leadership Services, decided on five goal areas (or “Big Rocks) for the 2022-2023 school year and beyond at the August 29, 2022 meeting. The five are as follows: Safety and Security, Student Achievement, Facility Management, Hire and Retain Quality Staff, and Communication- External and Internal. These are outstanding areas for us, as a staff and community, to focus on now and long into the future. The Board and I will work, at future meetings, on specific statements and action steps to meet these objectives.

Facility updates

Over the course of the summer, we have completed multiple facility improvements including: new bells, clocks, fire alarms and public address system as well as security cameras and (soon) vaping detectors at Union Middle School; roof improvements over competition and upper gym at Union High School; new asphalt on the playground areas at DG Elementary; and new playground equipment (mostly funded with PTO funds) at LPC Elementary. We know there are multiple district facility needs, and the board, staff and I will be working collaboratively to positively address these going forward.

Fall activities

I encourage you to attend some fall school activities. We have a lot of students and coaches/sponsors working extremely hard for themselves, the team/group, the school and community. Come out and enjoy their success! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

If you have questions or concerns regarding this information, or anything else regarding the Union Community School District, please feel free to contact me at j_howard@union.k12.ia.us and/or at 319-342-2674. Go Knights!