At the Board of School Trustees meeting for the Warsaw Community School Corporation, there was a hushed sense of urgency Monday evening. It seemed a number of people wanted to be home in time to watch the final presidential debate. Everything on the school board’s agenda was accomplished in a timely fashion.
Nick McLaughlin and Lonnie Fisher from the Leesburg Cub Scouts made a request regarding rental fees for the Leesburg Elementary School gym for pack meetings. While they are allowed the use of a classroom for no fee, many of their activities require the use of the gym, for which they pay a user fee of $18 per week.
Superintendent Craig Hintz addressed this, as it affects many other groups that use school facilities. Hintz suggested that it be brought up for discussion at the Board of Works session at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 20, which is open to the public. A change in current facility rental policy would be made for all facilities, and would apply to all community groups. Following discussion at the work session, a decision could be made at the next board meeting on Nov. 26.
- The Dr. Dane and Mary Louise Miller Foundation was recognized for a $5,000 donation to the Claypool Early Learning Center.
- The Church of the Good Shepherd in Winona Lake was recognized for a $1,500 donation to Jefferson Elementary School.
- Teacher’s Credit Union was recognized for the donation of $5,000 to use toward the Professional Learning Community monthly meetings. TCU was also recognized for a $6,000 donation to the Washington S.T.E.M. Academy’s second-grade and third-grade robotics program.
- DEKKO Foundation was recognized for the donation of $40,000 to the Washington S.T.E.M. Academy — $20,000 for Science Central and $20,000 for the Kosciusko Lakes and Streams partnership. A short video accompanied this section, showing a bunch of excited kids working around a table outside. One boy on the video said, “This is way better than learning out of a book – this is REAL!”
- Wayne Township Fire Department, in collaboration with Warsaw-Wayne Fire Chief Mike Brubaker and instructor Mark Hoffer, was recognized for the donation of a 1980 700-series Ford firetruck to be used in practical applications for the Fire Rescue Program. There are currently 24 students in the program; no students will be allowed to drive the firetruck, however.
- The Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents awarded Dr. Hintz with the distinction of being named State Superintendent of the Year, in part due to his many accomplishments since taking office, such as increasing graduation rates, instituting full day kindergarten, improving student achievement ratings, implementing the STEM academy and more.
Principal Steve Ferber presented a School Spotlight report on the A.I.M.S. and Rebound programs offered at the Gateway facility. A.I.M.S. is directed at students who have a good start toward graduation of at least 26 credits, who have had issues that prevented a traditional environment from working for them, to continue moving towards graduation.
Rebound is geared more for students who have dropped out or been expelled and need help to get back on track to getting their diploma. The A.I.M.S. program currently has 20 students and Rebound has 17. Not all of these students are from Warsaw. As word has gotten out about Gateway, inquiries from surrounding school systems have been coming in as well. Both programs are academic and vocational, and the goal is half-day in the classroom and half a day is spent volunteering.
There is also a behavioral element to these programs; each has a weekly meeting with a skills coach from the Bowen Center. There have been three graduates already this fall; it is expected that another eight students will finish by the end of the semester.
Board member Amy Sively reported on recent aptitude tests with comparisons to previous years. Overall there was increased participation in both tests. Although average test scores were slightly lower, Warsaw was still above state average in math, writing and reading. The growth in participation is an indicator that more and more students are getting ready to move on to further education.
JoElla Smyth, principal of Edgewood Middle School, discussed summer program results starting with IREAD for grades 1-3. She said 305 students went to Washington Elementary to participate. The program was directed toward students reading below grade level, with the goal that students who had to retake the IREAD in 3rd grade would be successful.
With the help of many volunteers, guest readers, and teachers, the students spent the last day writing a book; and all but two passed the IREAD test.
The total number of participants in all summer school programs was 1,826. There were camps offered as well, in cooking and robotics in partnership with Science Central. Camps are already in the works for next summer, including three chef’s camps in partnership with Martin’s Supermarkets.
Summer school for the high school will have on-line registration starting in January. One board member commented that the number of students Warsaw had in summer school is larger than most of the surrounding school systems have during their regular school year. Dr. Hintz stated the enrollment figure for WCS for the fall was 7,025.
In addition, unlike some summer programs, Warsaw offers enrichment programs as well as remediation. In other business, the board voted to obtain three quotes for waste removal and recycling for discussion at the Board of Works session on Nov. 20.
They also approved a request for Dr. Hintz to attend the American Association of School Administrators Conference in Los Angeles, Calif., from Feb. 21-23, 2013. The Board of Works meeting will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20. The next Board of Trustees meeting will be at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26. Both will be at the Administration Building and are open to the public.