Zimmer Biomet Grants
$150K For STEM Initiatives
WARSAW — The Warsaw Community Schools’ board of trustees received an update on something that everyone can relate to who’s ever had a tummy ache that made sitting in the classroom too difficult.
WCS Nurse Coordinator Tracey Akers gave the board a report on the district’s nursing program, reporting that the school corporation added five new nurses last year.
“School nursing is a specialized practice of nursing,” Akers said, adding that five ways nurses benefit schools include helping with attendance issues, helping with academics, time, staff wellness and accountability.
“We are time savers for the principal,” Akers said. “There have been studies that showed we save an hour a day for principals.”
Akers continued by telling the board the myriad of other responsibilities taken on by school nurses each day, including the preparation of health care plans for students with chronic health issues. Last year, school nurses also gave 1,317 flu shots to students. Akers closed by highlighting the efforts of Lisa Secrist, who has served with WCS as a school nurse for six years. Akers has been the school nurse for Edgewood Middle School for 15 years and has been the corporation nurse coordinator for 10 years.
Akers said her biggest challenge continues to be the impact that mental health issues have on students and how those issues manifest themselves into physical problems.
“I would like to thank the school board and the administration for having a school nurse in every building,” she said.
In other business, the school corporation showed appreciation to local orthopedic company Zimmer Biomet for giving the school corporation a $150,000 STEM grant. The grant was presented by the Zimmer Biomet Foundation and is the first grant awarded by the new foundation.
“The biggest part of what we’ve been able to do with this grant is to take our thoughts and our vision and put them into action,” said WCS STEM Instructional Coach David Burden, who added that the grant will allow for more inclusion in that type of education.
“STEM education isn’t just for high ability students but for all children,” he said.
“We’re excited that this investment into our schools is also an investment into our local orthopedic industry as well,” said Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert.
The board also:
- Announced winners of the WCS Board Scholarship winners, which included Burden, Brad Gutwein, Crystal Kreider, Chantel Sorensen and Leah Sprunger.
- During the financial report, Hoffert and Chief Financial Officer April Fitterling announced that the school district is planning to close the building currently serving as the home for the Gateway Education Center. According to Fitterling, the building would cost $10 million to stay open and by closing the facility, the school corporation will save $125,000 annually in energy costs.