SYRACUSE — A teacher for 37 years, Don Bokhart will replace George Gilbert on the Wawasee school board. The school board approved the appointment of Bokhart during the regular monthly meeting Tuesday, July 12, in Syracuse.
Gilbert, who served on the board for more than 12 years, has resigned and his last board meeting was Tuesday. He was honored with a plaque and also kind remarks from fellow board members who appreciated his leadership and willingness to help.
Bokhart taught fourth and fifth grades at Chamberlain Elementary in Goshen for 37 years. Then for two years he was an assistant principal at Chamberlain before retiring. He lives in Syracuse and is active in the Knights of Columbus and is a Eucharistic minister for St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Syracuse.
Bokhart’s wife, Elaine, taught for 37 years in the Wawasee school district and is now retired. Both of their children were educated in Wawasee schools. Don, who was out of state due to a prior commitment and not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting, will begin his duties on the school board during a special budget workshop meeting Aug. 2. His seat will be up for election in November.
In other business, less than a month from now, barring unforeseen circumstances, every student and teacher in the Wawasee school district will have an electronic mobile device. Sara Harrison, Wawasee High School teacher who has been helping with the 1:1 initiative, gave an update on the status of the initiative to the board.
She noted the technology center is being remodeled and staff is currently working in the cafeteria. The center is due to be ready by Aug. 1. The devices, which have been tagged, are scheduled to be distributed to students from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 6, 10 a.m. to noon and 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 9.
Harrison noted, though, cases for the devices have yet to be received. They are scheduled to be shipped within the next week or two.
New fiber and wiring is being installed in all of the Wawasee school buildings. Fiber installation is scheduled to be finished in the window of July 18-27. Wireless access points are being hung in the buildings. Bandwidth is being upgraded and new filters have been programmed and are ready to be put in place.
Summer technology camps are being taught at Wawasee Middle School by technology coaches with the last one being July 26. Jace Stewart and Todd Lucas are in California this week at the Apple Academy and will later share their knowledge with teachers and staff.
Rob Fisher of the school board commented by the time the infrastructure is installed it will leave a tight window of time to be ready for the start of the school year. Harrison said steps have been and will be taken to be ready and some testing of the devices has already been done.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the board heard a report from Mike Lindsey of Performance Services about energy savings. Wawasee has been able to save $1,152,403 in energy costs during a five-year program he said. He noted this happened because of a district wide focus on energy savings and also “behavioral” changes such as remembering to turn lights off when leaving a room.
All Wawasee school buildings are Energy Star certified now. And all school buildings are using less kilowatt hours of energy.