SYRACUSE — Although the internet has positive aspects, there are dangers associated with it and precautions should be taken. During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening, Feb. 13, in Syracuse, the board heard a presentation from teacher Shellie Miller and three of her students about online safety.
Miller is a third grade teacher at North Webster Elementary and earlier in the school year her class used technology to research how to be safer online, created their own digital books and their targeted audience was kindergarten students. Three of Miller’s students, Chaz Dahm, Sarah Cheng and Cienna Vickery, presented their finished projects, classified as project based learning, to the school board.
The students found, for example, texts and photos should not be sent unless they are suitable to send to grandma. When sending a tweet on Twitter, one should be careful what is said and not be mean or demeaning to someone else. Another example is not providing personal information online so someone could steal an identity and come to a house and rob or hurt the occupants.
The presentation came after Lee Snider, North Webster Elementary principal, gave a brief report about the school’s improvement plan. The plan involves reading, math and technology goals, as well as using data more effectively. Reading, for example, includes utilizing an instructional coach, collaboration times with teachers, project based learning and more. Snider noted IREAD scores were down last year so several third-graders were provided after-school tutoring.
Math also utilizes an instructional coach and collaboration and the LearnZillion program is now used for the math curriculum. Technology involves utilizing the BenQ boards more effectively in classrooms, a technology coach, using apps and programs and more. And for data, Northwest Evaluation Association testing is used as a benchmark for student learning.
In other business, the board approved the 2018-19 school corporation calendar. Since snow days no longer have to be made up because eLearning is in place, school will not be in session Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day, though both days could be eLearning days if needed.
Approving the calendar was delayed due to pending state legislation that could have significantly altered the calendar, but the proposed bill never made it out of a committee.
Also during the meeting, Isaiah Metcalf, a senior at Wawasee High School, was recognized by the board for earning a full-ride Lilly Scholarship he will use to attend Notre Dame. Metcalf, at the request of school board president Becky Linnemeier, also told the North Webster Elementary students who had earlier given their presentations if they want to earn a similar scholarship, they need to be actively involved in community service, develop good writing skills and get good grades.
Other agenda items included:
• Milford School partnered with Polywood by collecting 1,200 milk jugs and getting a bench donated to the school.
• Milford School teacher Tonya Haywood was awarded a $189 K.E.Y.S. grant for current events magazines with a lower reading level.
• Track lighting was installed as an upgrade in both of the art classrooms at the high school.
• Through Feb. 16, Syracuse Elementary is leading a fundraiser within the school corporation for the Kim Conrad Scholarship Fund.
• Wawasee High School juniors Luke Griner and Sara Pritchard attended West Point Leadership Day at the military academy in New York.
• Health services staff were kept busy during January with more than 2,000 visits especially for the flu and strep throat.
• The Spanish Club at the high school was awarded a $1,500 Dekko grant to attend at Hispanic leadership conference in Chicago.
• Several out of state or overnight trips were approved by the board including the high school art class and club to Chicago, WHS DECA to Indianapolis, high school and middle school robotics teams to Indianapolis, FFA to Indy for a small engines contest and a blanket approval for high school athletic teams participating in state tournaments.