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Mary Pieper / MARY PIEPER THE SUMMIT-TRIBUNE  

Sally Agre was presented an award for 50 years of service to the Forest City School District. 


Agre reflects on 50 years of teaching at FC Elementary

FOREST CITY | Sally Agre has taught for half a century -- all of it at Forest City Elementary. 

She said she never had a specific goal to stay for 50 years. 

"It just happened," Agre said. "Days, weeks, months, and years have just gone past."

"It has been such a blessing to work with so many precious children through the years," she said. 

Agree began her career as a first grade classroom teacher in 1968 and was moved to a second grade classroom before becoming the Title 1 coordinator and teacher.

Title I is a supplemental program to reinforce reading skills for students struggling with reading.

Title I has existed in some form since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. 

Title I started in 1967 in the Forest City School District, so it was just barely in place when Agre started teaching. A second Title I teacher was hired in 1969.

Photos: Christmas in Forest City

Agre was the Title I coordinator for 15 years. She was responsible for compiling and sending Title I evaluations and funding applications to the state to obtain Title I money for the district.

She said she enjoys teaching Title I because it allows her to work with groups of one to five students at a time for 20-30 minutes daily.

"I have one subject area on which to concentrate," Agre said. 

What she enjoys most is teaching Reading Recovery to first grade students at risk of failing to learn to read.

Agre took weekly, year-long training from Drake University in 1993 to become a Reading Recovery teacher. 

Through this program she teaches four to five students one-on-one for 30 minutes daily for 12 to 20 weeks to accelerate them up to average for their class.

"It is so rewarding to see students with a lot of confusions about reading become successful readers," Agre said. 

Agre's interest in teaching began at a young age. 

"I have always enjoyed children," she said. "I volunteered in Sunday School when I was in junior high. That was when I first started thinking about becoming a teacher."

When she graduated from Bayard Community School in western Iowa in 1964, career choices for women were limited.

"You could either be a secretary, nurse, or teacher, basically. I chose teacher," she said.

Agre said her parents encouraged her to further her education "to be able to have a better lifestyle than they had."

She received a bachelor's degree elementary education from Northwest Missouri State College in 1968. 

Agre earned her master's degree in reading from Northwest Missouri State in 1976. 

She said she's enjoyed having the support of board members, administrators, teachers, parents and students during her long career at Forest City.  

Agre said it's hard to think about retiring when she's doing something she loves. 

When she does retire, "I will miss the beautiful children and doing something so worthwhile," Agre said. "I will also miss the dear people with whom I have become friends with over the years at the elementary."

She thanked the school and the community for the opportunity to teach for so many years. 

"I trust I have helped in at least some small way to help make Forest City Community School such an outstanding school system," Agre said. 

Forest City Elementary Principal Brad Jones said Agre's dedication to her students is appreciated. 

"At a time in our society where we see a lot of mobility of people going from one job to the next or from one district to the next, being a teacher for 50 years in the same district speaks very highly of Ms. Agre," he said.

Jones said Agre cares about kids and it has been evident throughout her 50 years of service to the school.

"Close to 1,000 former Forest City students can say they've been instructed by Ms. Agre over the years, so that's pretty amazing," he said. 


Iowa
Upmeyer eyes more cannabidiol access for Iowans

DES MOINES — The Iowa House likely will consider changes to the state’s medical cannabidiol law, including increasing the number of practitioners who can give Iowans access.

“There are things that can be done, things we will do, that make it a little easier, a little safer and give the board a little more latitude,” House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, said Tuesday after meeting with members of the Medical Cannabidiol Board.

Upmeyer said the Legislature is being “very intentional” in its approach to expanding access to medical cannabidiol, which is the second most prevalent cannabinoid in marijuana after THC.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive chemical that some research suggests has healing properties. CBD products can be used to help people sleep, lessen chronic pain, and treat anxiety and depression, among other issues.

As of Feb. 1, there were 505 health care professionals in Iowa who have patients certified for medical cannabidiol. There are 1,361 patients and caregivers registered in the state program.

Upmeyer foresees expanding authority to certify patients of physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners “to make sure people don’t have to travel long distances” to meet with a health care professional who can give them that access, she said.

The concept of compassionate care may be expanded beyond those who have a terminal illness, Upmeyer said.

“It’s something that doctors understand, such as someone who has exhausted other options and this is something they want to try,” she said.

The meeting also reinforced for her the need for more research to guide the board and lawmakers.

“They wish, and we all wish, there were more studies that gave more medical world evidence as opposed to anecdotal evidence,” said Upmeyer, a nurse practitioner. “We’re gaining. It’s slow. Most of those studies for illnesses like this need to be longitudinal,” which takes more time.

Upmeyer acknowledged that she hasn’t been willing to move as fast as other lawmakers to expand Iowa’s law that allows cannabidiol to be produced and sold in Iowa. Under current law, the state only allows two manufacturing licenses and five dispensary licenses.

“You either throw open the doors and not worry about public safety, you don’t worry about adolescents or any of that, or you proceed in a pretty methodical way based on evidence and science,” Upmeyer said.

 Hearts, claps, 'hogs and candidates: Political cartoons for February

Hearts, claps, 'hogs and candidates: Political cartoons for February

Charlie Neibergall 

Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer pounds the gavel during the opening day of the Iowa Legislature, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


Local
Cerro Gordo, Mitchell counties agree to mental health advocate sharing

Cerro Gordo County is entering into a mental health advocate sharing agreement with Mitchell County after the board of supervisors voted unanimously to approve the plan.

Under the guidelines of the deal, current Cerro Gordo County Mental Health Advocate Angela Nasstrom will split time between the two counties. 

Cerro Gordo County applies for new mental health region

MASON CITY | Nearly a month after the Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors began discussion about CICS, it’s made its formal request to join the 11-county mental health region to the south in hopes it’ll provide better services to its residents.

According to Cerro Gordo County Director of Administrative Services Tom Meyer, there isn't a concern about under-staffing with Cerro Gordo County's Social Services when Nasstrom is working in Mitchell County. Such work is scheduled in advance so alternative plans can be made, he said.

Meyer also said there isn't a concern about overworking because Nasstrom, who has been the mental health advocate for Cerro Gordo County since September 2018, currently works about 20 hours for the county.

"It will not be a significant increase in hours," Meyer said. "Ms. Nasstrom manages her schedule and has done a very good job since she was hired."

The sharing agreement isn't the first move toward consolidation in mental health services that Cerro Gordo County has made in the past year. 

In August 2018, the Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors applied to leave a 22-county mental health region of northeastern Iowa and join counties such as Boone, Franklin, Greene and Hamilton in the hopes of providing better mental health services to residents. 

However, that application was eventually withdrawn in October 2018 because Supervisor Chris Watts believed (at the time) that there were "too many unknowns out there right now."

Watts was referring to legislation passed at the state level that would require any county social services region to be contiguous and have at least 100,000 residents, with one city of at least 24,000 residents.

Officials laud Iowa mental health care changes

Iowans who work closest to those with mental health care needs are singing the praises of newly signed legislation that significantly overhauls the state’s mental health care delivery system.

The new agreement with Mitchell County wouldn't fall short of any previously set standards.

Both Cerro Gordo County and Mitchell County are in the same mental health region which is referred to as County Social Services and administered by Bob Lincoln.