Sac City, population 2,000, builds on its good bones

SAC CITY – This city is home to the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball, but there’s more than that popping in Sac City. The city initiated a successful streetscape project, renovated a former school building into a community center recreation complex and has some rolling North Raccoon River Valley topography that lends itself to some picturesque recreational trails. It is a county-seat community with several agricultural-based industries, some classic older homes and a historic Chautauqua campground featuring the only Chautauqua building left in the state, constructed in 1908. The community also has been able to secure a major grant to study a possible re-use of a building that will no longer house a middle school after this academic year. Sac City is a town that, as the saying goes, has some “good bones” to build on.

Ruthven-Ayrshire school leaders focus on social-emotional success, too

Editor’s note: IowaWatch in a year-long investigation found that although each state is required to identify the bottom-scoring 5 percent of Title I schools every three years, it doesn’t mean these schools are “failing,” as some Iowa policymakers label them. Iowa’s 34 schools are on a “comprehensive” list. IowaWatch is featuring some of them. Less than a year into comprehensive designations, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools across the country in March 2020. This effectively pressed pause and added a fourth year to schools on comprehensive lists.

Waterloo’s Carver Academy sees kids who’ve dramatically changed

Editor’s note: IowaWatch in a year-long investigation found that although each state is required to identify the bottom-scoring 5 percent of Title I schools every three years, it doesn’t mean these schools are “failing,” as some Iowa policymakers label them. Iowa’s 34 schools are on a “comprehensive” list. IowaWatch is featuring some of them. Middle school has always been a time of change, but in 2021, the ability to adapt and persevere not just through adolescence, but through a global pandemic, showed just how determined kids can be. “In today’s age at the middle school level … we truly have to be adaptive,” said Sheena Canady, principal at George Washington Carver.