A health and wellness program began last year for employees of the Wawasee Community School Corp. is producing mostly positive results. During Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting of the school board in Syracuse, the board heard a status report on Direct Care from Dr. Larry Allen of Syracuse Family Practice.
Direct Care was started in December 2011 as a way to lower the barriers to primary care access and preventative medical services for employees of the school corporation who have the corporation’s medical insurance. Direct Care is also designed to lower health care costs for Wawasee, Allen noted.
He said the program is in its 10th month of operation and about 62 percent of eligible participants have utilized it, which is already close to the goal of 70 percent usage. He estimated so far Direct Care has saved $60,000, though he noted sometimes it is difficult to know how much is saved when costs of medications and other services provided elsewhere is not known.
An employee satisfaction survey produced mostly positive feedback, Allen said. Jim Evans, director of finances for the school corporation, said approximately 260 employees received the survey and about 180 responded.
Rebecca Linnemeier, school board member, said although she has heard mostly positive comments about Direct Care, she did notice a few negative comments from teachers having to wait too long to get in and out of the clinic. “That can affect prep periods for teachers or if they are late getting back to their classroom, someone has to cover for them until they get back,” she said.
Allen said waiting times will be tracked and addressed.
He also noted he accepted a new position for IU Goshen Health and will only be practicing family medicine in Syracuse three half days per week, but a new doctor is beginning next week in Syracuse. Linnemeier had asked if his new position would have much of an impact on Direct Care.
Also on the agenda, the board approved adopting the 2013 budget. It was advertised in The Mail-Journal Aug. 8 and 15. There were no comments for or against the budget, whether in person or by letter.
Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, recognized the accomplishments of five Wawasee High School students during the 2011-12 academic year. Blaine Dean-Hamilton, Katelyn Griner, David Ryl-Kuchar, Mattison Siri and Nate Smith were named Advanced Placement Scholars. It is a status granted to students who score a three or higher on three or more AP exams.
Another WHS student, Karla Allen, was named an AP Scholar with Honor. This is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and scores of three or higher on four or more of these exams.
In other business, during her report to the board Joy Goshert, director of instruction and curriculum, noted the self assessment portion of the new teacher evaluations is generating a lot of discussions between teachers and administrators. “I’m talking about discussions of 50 minutes or even an hour,” she said. “There is a lot of good dialogue taking place.”
The evaluations of teachers by administrators will begin in a few weeks, she noted.
Other business included:
• Edington acknowledged positive comments made about a school bus driver helping a student with special needs and also the outstanding sportsmanship shown by the WHS girls soccer team while playing against Argos recently. “Usually when people call me, they are not calling to tell me they are having a nice day,” he said.
• Edington briefly noted Phil Metcalf, former career and technical education director for Wawasee, was given the Ball State University Benny Award, an award granted to some BSU graduates.
• Overnight trips were approved for WHS FFA. The soil judging team will travel to southeastern Indiana, while the horticulture team will visit Wisconsin.
• And the board approved moving ahead to enter a lease agreement with Tippecanoe Township. The township wants to place a weather emergency signal alarm on the tower at North Webster Elementary. The tower is used as a backup for Internet service.
David Cates, school corporation attorney, said the lease should not be entered unless it is worded to reflect the lease will terminate if the operations of the tower are affected in any way.
For more in-depth coverage of the school board meeting, see today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.