SYRACUSE — During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening, Jan. 16, in Syracuse, a group of Milford School third-grade students gave a report on a project based learning assignment they have been working on this school year. It was the first regular monthly meeting of 2018 for the school board.
The third-graders were tasked with finding out ways to get more people interested in the community. As part of the process, they have been learning about some of the different businesses in Milford, North Webster and Syracuse. The students called those businesses and did phone interviews.
The project also involves creating a Google Tour of the three communities, learning about how maps are created and creating brochures telling about the communities.
This report followed the school improvement plan report given by Cindy Kaiser, principal of Milford School. The plan has reading, math and technology goals. All students improving comprehension and response to reading across the curriculum is the reading goal.
Math involves students using mathematical skills to think critically and applying knowledge and reason to solve problems. Technology includes professional development for teachers.
Kaiser noted “we are trying to keep the 90 minutes of reading the students get at Milford School sacred,” adding sometimes it is not realistic when there are two or three hour delays for school. All elementary classrooms are implementing project based learning or Project Lead the Way into their curriculum within this school year.
In other business, Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, gave a report about eLearning days. Monday, Jan. 8, the first day back from Christmas break, and Friday, Jan. 12, were designated as eLearning days. Since Wawasee students have computers, they are able to continue learning even when school is cancelled for the day due to weather and those days do not have to be made up.
Unless there is a two-hour delay, teachers post their assignments by 9 a.m. on an eLearning day. If there is a two-hour delay and then school is cancelled, assignments are posted by 10 a.m. No more than two eLearning days will be used in a row. If a third one is needed, a Saturday will be set aside, Goshert said.
For those students who do not have internet access at home, public libraries in Milford, North Webster and Syracuse can be used or, depending on the school, schools may keep their media centers open later or make other arrangements. Assignments from eLearning days are not due until the third day after the eLearning day.
Attendance for the first eLearning day was above 95 percent for all schools. Information for the second eLearning day was not available as of Tuesday evening. Goshert noted eLearning days are a work in progress and one area needing attention is grades kindergarten and first will need more adult support on eLearning days.
Goshert also spoke briefly about the State Board of Education making changes to how school accountability letter grades are issued.
Other agenda items included:
• Wawasee High School Key Club raised $2,506 during Penny Pitch week prior to the Christmas break, the largest amount raised for Penny Pitch since 2010.
• WHS alternative to suspension and expulsion students collaborated with the gone boarding class to build a snowboard.
• School corporation employees raised $2,331 toward cystic fibrosis research.
• Wawasee Middle School’s Recycling Club was awarded a $1,500 grant by Kosciusko REMC and the funds will be used to upgrade a few water fountains in the school.
• The board approved trips for WHS German classes to Germany, the high school gymnastics team to Ball State University for a gymnastics meet and marine biology students from WHS to accompany Goshen High School students on a trip to Florida during spring break.