SYRACUSE — Twelve Wawasee High School students who study Spanish were able to practice what they have learned during a trip to Costa Rica this summer. During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening, Sept. 12, in Syracuse, the board heard a report about the nine-day trip from Rikki McCann, Spanish teacher at WHS.
McCann noted she and Frank Pizana, another Spanish teacher at WHS, and two adult chaperones accompanied the students on the trip. They combined with three other U.S. schools. McCann showed several photos of the trip electronically to the board.
While in Costa Rica, the students visited a coffee plantation, toured a rain forest, did some zip lining and did a lot of hiking including up a volcano. They were able to practice speaking the Spanish they have learned. And the group was able to visit the school McCann was a student teacher at a couple of years ago.
She plans to lead another trip in the summer of 2019, this time to Spain and France (French students will also be able to go) and later in the meeting the board approved the trip.
In other business, the board heard a brief report from Dr. Sandra Weaver, director of special services, about the Wawasee Student Assistance Plan. Through a partnership with the Bowen Center, students are allowed to visit a counselor twice free of charge. Counseling related services are provided including group diagnostics.
A total of 116 students accessed the program during the 2015-16 school year and 113 did in 2016-17. Bowen Center also works with students in their school, with the permission of parents, and the program is strictly confidential.
During her report to the board, Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, noted the process for electronic learning during inclement weather days is being implemented. Teachers are becoming familiar with it during Wednesday morning Smart Start times. Each school is practicing with students so they will know what to do when school is canceled due to weather.
A website is being launched, too, and the school corporation plans to communicate through email and other means about the process. Students will be able to use their 1:1 computers to continue learning even when school is canceled due to weather.
In other business, the school corporation budget was adopted by the board. It had been advertised in local newspapers and public hearings were held. There were no public comments for or against the budget.
During the patron comments portion of the meeting, Rhonda Ousley asked the board to consider mounting cameras on the outside of school buses on the stop arm side. She noted she waits with her grandchildren for a bus along SR 13 near North Webster and already four times this school year a vehicle has not stopped when the stop arm has been activated.
Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, noted there are cameras inside of buses showing different views and angles, but none are mounted on the outside. He said some bus drivers will call in when they see a violation. Ousley said she has called county police but was told they don’t have enough officers to monitor state roads.
Rebecca Linnemeier, board president, told Ousley her request will be looked into.
Other agenda items included:
• School corporation surplus furniture will be donated to schools affected by the hurricanes.
• Oct. 1 is the target date to have the Raptor security system fully implemented in all Wawasee schools.
• Grants of $200,000 for the Fostering Innovation and Inquiry program for grades K to five and $5,000 for sensory room improvements in the special education area of WHS were approved by the board.
• Several overnight or out of state trips were approved including Wawasee FFA, WHS Art Club and culinary arts.
• Lakeland Learning Center has been using the old Syracuse Elementary after the fire at LLC.