SYRACUSE — When students who have not had the opportunity to do so in the past take AP, or advanced placement, courses in high school, they often discover they are capable of handling college-level classes. Such was the message conveyed by John Snyder, assistant principal, during the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee School Board Tuesday evening, Dec. 10, in Syracuse.
Snyder, who came to Wawasee High School at the beginning of the current school year from Whitko High School, said he witnessed “amazing cultural changes” in Whitko students as the number of students increased who took and passed AP courses. Wawasee was invited to apply for AP-Tip IN, a program based at the University of Notre Dame.
AP-Tip IN seeks to prepare high school students for college by engaging them in rigorous math, science and English courses. The program also includes increased professional development for teachers and greater opportunities for students to engage in their work, according to the mission statement.
“We knew we needed a jump start at Wawasee,” Snyder said, noting if the program is not applied for this year, they would have to wait two more years to apply.
Snyder noted roughly 70% of students indicate they want to go to a four-year college, but the number is closer to 20% who actually take AP courses. He said the goal is to bring that number up to 70% or 80%, admitting “it is a lofty goal” and will require more work from teachers, but the rewards and opportunities will increase.
Wawasee will find out Thursday, Dec. 12, whether or not the application for AP-Tip IN is approved.
In other business, Dr. Tom Edington, Wawasee Community School Corporation superintendent, said there was not an official count released of the number of teachers showing up for Red for Ed Day at the Statehouse in Indianapolis Nov. 19, but it was estimated at close to 20,000. Nearly half of the school districts in the state were closed that day, but Wawasee did remain open.
Teachers wanted to bring increased awareness to the lack of funding for public schools in Indiana and also the very minimal teacher pay increases. Standardized testing and its lack of showing the true achievement levels of students is also a major concern.
It was noted a meeting will be held at Fairfield High School Dec. 20 where several school superintendents and school board members will meet with area lawmakers.
Other agenda items included:
• Lakeland Community Services donated $3,348.66 to the school corporation to help promote the early education of children from infancy through the elementary school ages.
• Wawasee Building Trades provided 30 Thanksgiving meals to families within the school corporation.
• Wawasee High School Key Club collected 3,912 items of food during its annual Stuff The Bus campaign, and those items were then delivered to the food pantries in Milford, North Webster and Syracuse.
• Will and Becky Linnemeier donated $10,000 to the social/emotional fund to help meet social and emotional needs of students.
• Several overnight or out-of-state field trips were approved, including middle school ski clubs, high school foreign language students and the WHS super mileage car team going again to Sonoma, Calif.
• The board approved the property and casualty insurance recommendation at the premium of $444,556 for 2020, up from $405,752 for 2019.
• The board approved $100 payments to be given to those classified staff employees who participated in trauma training earlier this year.
• State approval was given for teacher appreciation grants in the amount of approximately $400 for each teacher in the school corporation.
• Bids will be issued soon for spring/summer construction projects to include restroom renovations and locker room renovations at the high school, as well as improvements to the circle area, installing a new band parking lot and installing some safety doors. Restroom renovations will also be done at Wawasee Middle School, as well as brick work and improving floor drains.
• A new mission statement was approved by the board: “Wawasee schools partner with students, families and communities to meet the needs of all students and empower them to reach their highest potential.”