It’s not often there is music, and even singing, at a Wawasee school board meeting. Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting in the Warrior Room at Wawasee High School was an exception, though.
Matt Pulley, music teacher at North Webster Elementary, chose three of the approximately 300 students he teaches in grades three through five to give a demonstration of the guitar program.
A Dekko Foundation arts grant allowed the purchase of 30 Yamaha JR1 model guitars for music students to use. “These guitars are of a pretty good quality,” Pulley noted.
The guitar program at North Webster Elementary began in January, he noted. It meets all of the national education standards for music, he added. “What kid would not want to learn how to play a guitar?” Pulley commented.
Pulley and fifth-graders Gabe Sidwell, Logan Miller and Parker Bame then gave a demonstration including a few lines from familiar songs. One tune was the well known Beatles song “Yellow Submarine.”
Those in attendance at the meeting were encouraged to sing along and some did.
In other business, prior to the regular meeting a short work session was held and the board approved spending approximately $35,000 to deal with the air circulation problem in the roof over the south end of the Wawasee Middle School swimming pool. Last week the board approved spending emergency funds to replace several metal joists due to damage caused by excessive condensation and humidity during a several year period.
The $35,000 approved will mean the ceiling will be installed as originally planned but part of it will be left open to create a 6 foot perimeter around it on the south end of the pool. This will allow better air circulation around the ceiling, noted Kari Vilamaa, architect for the Fort Wayne firm Barton-Coe-Vilamaa.
“This will allow the existing (and new) air handling unit to function as designed,” he said, and it would mean the air will be changed 4.3 times per hour in the pool and meet building code standards.
Three unit heaters will be installed in the ceiling area, too, providing heat in the winter and helping the air to circulate better.
Board member Becky Linnemeier asked why the open ceiling could not be used over the entire pool. Vilamaa said it would create acoustical problems and require extra tiles to be installed.
Joe White, former maintenance director for the school corporation who is now retired, attended the work session and said the original design for the ceiling and roof in the pool area was good but “it didn’t work well enough.” He said the air did not recirculate as often as it should.
White and Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, each recommended the board spend the $35,000 instead of $129,000 for another option leaving no open ceiling and having acoustical tiles and materials installed.
Also on the agenda, the board approved an increase of 10 cents for lunch prices at all schools in the district. Federal legislation that went into effect in 2011 requires schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to raise lunch prices to meet the NSLP reimbursement rate.
This will mean lunch prices are now $1.50 for grades kindergarten through fifth and $1.70 for grades six to 12. Even with the increase, Wawasee is still lower than many surrounding school districts. Adult lunch prices also increased from $2.25 to $2.35.
In other business, the board voted to continue the Smart Start time during the 2012-13 academic year. This gives teachers and staff members time for training Wednesday mornings prior to the start of school. Joy Goshert, director of instruction and curriculum, said more than a majority of teachers who responded to a survey about Smart Start like it because of the training involved.
“The reality is that more and more is being put on our plates, which means whether we have Smart Start or not, we need to find ways for teachers to learn the information they need to know and to keep them on the same page across the district with curricula, common assessments, etc.,” she said.
Also on the agenda, Edington noted letters were sent to five teachers about a reduction in force but due to retirements and resignations submitted, a reduction of only half-time will need to be made. Isaac Dorrel, agriculture teacher at the high school, will be reduced from full-time to half-time.
During his monthly statistical presentation, Dr. Bob Cockburn spoke briefly about statistics involving WHS graduates going on to attend colleges or universities in Indiana. Many have declared arts and humanities subject areas as a major, but the numbers are somewhat misleading because several Wawasee graduates have gone out of state for college, such as automotive students going to a college in Ohio.
Other agenda items included:
• WHS cosmetology students Haley Angel and Kassie Perzanowski (esthetics) and Breanne Walls (entrepreneurship) will represent Indiana at a national competition in Kansas City the week of June 23. They were recognized by the school board.
• WHS super mileage car team members were recognized for participating in the Shell competition in Houston in March and also attending a competition in Indianapolis in late April, though not competing. Students involved were Chris Fox, Chris Lackey, Christian Henn, Derek Zurcher, Nathan Lambert, Cole Love, Nathan Smith, Westin Becker, Tyler Kissinger, Matt Siri and Bruno Williams. Adult helpers were Larry Pletcher and Scott Fox and Allen Coblentz is the faculty advisor.
• Pam Schumm, biology teacher at WHS, was recognized for being named an Armstrong Award winner by Indiana University.
• It was noted WHS Academic Super Bowl teams competed in the state competition Saturday at Purdue University. No team members were at the meeting, but the social studies team did place second.
• The yearly agreement with the Head Start program was approved. It is held at North Webster Elementary.