The October meeting of the Whitko School Board got underway Monday evening with Student of the Month presentations. Receiving awards were Saira Macias of Pierceton Elementary School, Mackenzie Day of South Whitley Elementary School, Trae Arnold of Whiko Middle School and Jocelyn Krull of Whitko High School.
Whitko Superintendent Steve Clason gave a report on the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, which is a national program to encourage students with an interest in business. This was made possible by the Chamber Education Committee of the Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce, which paid the tuition fee of $7,000.
In partnership with Warsaw, Tippicanoe Valley and Wawasee schools and Grace College, the Y.E.A. will be housed at the Orthopaedic Capital Center on the Grace College Campus. It is designed as an after-hours program, meeting for 3 hours once a week, with a set curriculum that will be taught by Grace faculty and Grace students in the business program will be mentoring the YEA participants.
The students will develop a business plan, a product and a marketing strategy, and may even be eligible for college credits. The cost of this program is still being determined, but scholarship help will be available.
Bruce Hansen of SWES announced the fourth- and firth-graders will be having an art and music show starting at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 30, and a Veteran’s Day assembly at 1:45 p.m. Nov. 12. The Warsaw Breakfast Optimists Singers will be performing patriotic songs among the activities presented. Last year, over 60 veterans came to the event.
Freshman will be taking the PSATs to provide data on readiness and give them an extra chance to experience the test. Sophomores take the test at the state’s expense and juniors take it at their own expense.
ECA retesting will be coming up in early November; the students have been given the opportunity of a voluntary “boot camp” to prepare for the retest. If another retest is necessary, mandatory remediation will be required.
In reports, David Parker stated that parent-teacher conferences at the high school had a 36 percent attendance rate, lower than desired. Some new things were attempted to get more participation. In addition to letters and phone calls, emails and tweets were added this semester.
The corporation did get about 70 surveys back from parents and those give some different data to look at. Parker also had great things to say about Joey Shephard and his work with the band.
Tom McFarland reported on the count day for official enrollment numbers, which was on Sept. 14. The count was down about 58 students, which ends up being a $60,000 loss in funds to the school system.
A presentation was given by superintendent Clason on M.A.P. scores with statistical data pertaining to level of achievement and growth of achievement of each grade in language and math; the data indicates that students are working at grade level but growth levels need to improve to get them ready for college prep work.
Jorell Tucker attended the ISBA Fall Conference and talked with other attendees from school systems across the state; he stated that after comparing notes he feels that Whitko schools are on the right path regarding improvements to infrastructure, improving internet access, getting technology into the hands of teachers and students even at the elementary level.
The board voted to reject all fuel bids and instructed the transportation director to purchase from the open market, as the prices vary from day to day and it is more likely to get a better price. The board also approved the 2013 budget.
Another contract up for consideration was with Embarq for Internet and fiber optic services to the school system. Some hesitation was expressed due to the length of the contract (10 years), but the school must have reliable access, which has not been the case with the current provider. The board approved the contract.
The next Whitko School Board Meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at the Whitko Administration Office in Pierceton.