SYRACUSE — On the eve of the first day of school for students and also during the time when each building in the school corporation was having a back to school open house, the Wawasee School Board held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday evening, Aug. 13, in Syracuse.
During the shorter than normal meeting, the board heard a report from James Flecker, director of personnel and legal services for the school corporation, about fall construction projects planned. He noted the student and faculty restrooms will be renovated at Wawasee High School, as well as at Wawasee Middle School. Paper towel dispensers will also be upgraded in both buildings.
At the high school, work will be done in the social studies wing and a band marching lot will be built on a grassy area near the high school campus. And updates will be done to the robotics and pre-engineering room at WMS.
Flecker noted he hopes to have the bidding process done in house rather than use an architect in order to save money. No contractors have been chosen for the projects as of yet.
In other business, Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, noted in her report to the board the school corporation is fully staffed with teachers for the 2019-20 school year. She said a point of emphasis this year will be to pursue Professional Learning Communities.
Goshert said research has shown PLCs are effective in improving student learning. Teachers will be grouped together and work together more in professional development in PLCs. Many of the Wednesday morning SMART Starts will be dedicated to implementing PLCs and Dr. Eric Twadell is scheduled to give a presentation Wednesday, Sept. 11, on PLCs on what has been designated as an eLearning day.
Emphasis will continue to be placed on Project Based Learning this school year and grading practices will be examined. ILEARN results will be released to the public no sooner than Wednesday, Sept. 4. ILEARN is the state assessment replacing ISTEP+.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Jim Evans, director of finances for the school corporation, told the board the Indiana General Assembly during its most recent legislative session approved a 2% reduction in the amount of funds school corporations put into teacher retirement funds. He said WCSC would save $212,000 because of the reduction and that money will be added to what is used in salary negotiations with the Wawasee Community Educators Association.
Evans said this will occur the next two years and the state has guaranteed the funds in the retirement fund will be replaced with cash reserves obtained from renegotiating the Indiana Toll Road lease.
During his report to the board, Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, said the first teacher day is one of the few times during the year all of the teachers are together in the same place. He said the teachers first day was done differently this year due to open houses being held in each school building.
Edington also noted “we hope to buck the slightly downward trend” in enrollment numbers this school year.
Other agenda items included:
• Don Ritter, director of facilities for the school corporation, completed the required courses for the Indiana Association of School Business Officials voluntary certification program. His certification designation is facilities director. The certification program recognizes professional achievements of its members.
• Wawasee’s entire fleet of 56 buses passed the annual Indiana State Police inspection with a perfect 100%.
• And Wawasee Robotics was recognized for participating in the VEX Robotics World Championships in April in Louisville.