SYRACUSE — Indiana schools are required to have improvement plans and during the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening, Jan. 17, in Syracuse, the board heard a report on North Webster Elementary’s plan.
First-year principal Lee Snider said the school has 481 students, 48 percent of whom are receiving free or reduced price lunches. Twenty-three percent are considered special needs students.
Snider noted the data shows growth has been steady when considering Northwest Evaluation Association testing results. He said one goal is to increase the number of students passing ISTEP+ by at least 3 percent this year in both math and language arts.
Another goal is to use technology more effectively to engage students in learning and also to enhance learning.
Several steps will be taken in order to meet goals, such as building relationships. He noted he is in his first year as principal at the school and the student services coordinator is also new this year. They also want to utilize support more from Deb Gaby, instructional coach, and focus more on the instructional framework while establishing clear expectations.
Among other steps to be taken will be using the electronic devices to equip staff members more effectively.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the board heard a report about the Recycling Warrior Time at Wawasee Middle School. Teacher Heather Griffith leads the recycling program involving sixth-graders during their Warrior Time.
Students Asia Herd and Lea Wysong shared with the board they have collected 2,603 milk jugs so far to be recycled. The milk jugs are then given to Polywood through a partnership and recycled into benches. Polywood, which has its own recycling facility, has so far provided two benches to WMS (1,200 jugs must be collected for a single bench).
In other business, the board heard from Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, construction work at the new Syracuse Elementary is still on track and walls are being painted.
Other agenda items included:
• North Webster Elementary fourth-graders raised more than $500 to buy toys for families for Christmas, while the fifth-graders raised $600 for Heifer International to purchase animals and a well for a Third World country.
• National Honor Society and Key Club at Wawasee High School together raised $2,341.47 for the annual penny pitch, used to provide Shopko gift cards for families for Christmas.
• Two boats were donated to the marine and powersports program of the Pathways cooperative. One is a Starcraft boat and the other is a Sea Ray.
• The board approved a donation of $500 from the Dekko Foundation in honor of Kim Conrad.
• Several WHS art students won nationally juried Scholastic Art Awards. Their work will be displayed at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art Feb. 12 to April 9. Winners included Jade Baugh (silver), Taylor Bontrager (gold), Brianna Haessig (silver), Gabbi Harris, (gold and honorable mention), Brittney Jackson (two golds), Riley Kunkle (gold), Paige Miller (gold), Wynter Rhoads (two golds), Kara Schrock (honorable mention) and Madison Coy (two silvers). Gold Key winners are also nationally recognized at Carnegie Hall in New York.
• Several out of state or overnight trips were approved including WHS choral classes to New York City in 2018, WMS sixth grade and Milford fifth through eighth grades to the Bittersweet Ski Area in Michigan, Wawasee FFA to Martinsville, Ind., for leadership training and WHS English as second language students for a leadership conference in Chicago.
• Mary Hursh was approved as an appointment to the Syracuse Public Library board of directors.
• And among the personnel recommendations was the approval of a request by Bill Eby, WHS art teacher, for a leave of absence from Dec. 27 through March 1.