SYRACUSE — After being denied the first time, Mercedes Pratt rewrote a grant request for heart rate monitors and the second try proved to be successful. Pratt, a PE teacher at Milford School, was awarded a $35,000 grant from the K-21 Foundation for heart rate monitors to be used at all three elementary schools and Milford Middle School in the Wawasee Community School Corporation.
Pratt explained what the heart rate monitors do during the Wawasee School Board meeting Tuesday evening, March 12, and had each board member and a few others strap on the monitors on their arms to get a first hand look. The monitors are part of the Heart Zone system and look similar in size to a wristwatch. As a person’s activity level changes, the color of the monitor changes when a certain level is reached.
The number of steps taken and the number of calories burned is also monitored. “The kids can kind of take ownership of their own activities,” Pratt said, adding PE class is not just playing games.
She said her goal is to have the students reach the moderate to vigorous physical activity zone. She hopes to be able to submit another grant request for heart rate monitors for Wawasee Middle School and Wawasee High School.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the board heard a presentation from Tye Bloomfield, who supervises the work based learning program at the high school. Bloomfield talked about the new work ethic certificate initiative launched at the state level.
The purpose of the initiative is to motivate students who may not be college bound and are looking for immediate entry into a career upon graduation from high school. The program gives employers a voice in what they want to see, educates students on opportunities available and educates employers on the types of students coming out of work based learning.
Of the 115 Wawasee students who have participated in work based learning this school year, 40 are eligible for the work ethic certificate. Bloomfield noted most of those who are not eligible for the certificate did not meet the 95 percent attendance rate requirement.
He said the program is new and will take three to five years to be fully rolled out in the county. A goal is to have 10 local businesses as partners in the first year of the program.
In other business, Dr. Tom Edington, WCSC superintendent, during his report to the board noted there are several education related bills pending in the Indiana General Assembly legislative session. Those include a civics test requirement for graduation, requiring cursive writing to be taught in elementary schools and addressing teacher pay, among others.
Other agenda items included:
• The middle school wrestling team won the Northeast Lakes Middle School Conference championship.
• The board approved the appointment of Nancy Nelson to the Syracuse-Turkey Creek Public Library board of directors.
• Training is ongoing to staff members to be better prepared to deal with traumatic situations such as students with parents who have alcohol or drug addictions, a death in the family, a situation causing severe physical or emotional harm, etc.
• Several out of state or overnight trips were approved by the board including WMS eighth grade advanced English language arts students to Chicago, Milford Middle School sixth-graders to Dearborn, Mich., WHS culinary arts to Indianapolis and Chicago, WHS natural resources class to West Lafayette, FFA to West Lafayette and WHS DECA to Indianapolis.
• Next month’s board meeting will be April 16, a week later than usual due to spring break.