SYRACUSE — During its first regular meeting of 2020, the Wawasee School Board heard a report Tuesday evening, Jan. 14, from Sarah LeCount, social and emotional learning liaison for the Wawasee Community School Corporation, about what has been accomplished with a four-year Lilly Endowment grant. Wawasee is in the second year of the grant.
Essentially the grant is being used to address traumatic issues inhibiting classroom learning and also to try to help students who have been struggling academically for various reasons. LeCount was hired as the result of the grant, a core team of teachers, principals and administrators have become certified trainers in the seven essential ingredients of trauma sensitive schools, the gone boarding outreach program has been expanded and much more has already been done.
Current work includes monthly meetings with the Bowen Center, regular presentations to staff to continue training of being a trauma sensitive school and more. Future work includes, among other items, offering trauma training to community members who provide childcare or preschool to the school’s corporation children ages 0 to 5.
In other business, during her report to the board Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, said a $75,000 STEM grant recently received from the Indiana Department of Education will be used to continue to provide training for teachers to implement Project Based Learning, partnering with the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation to enhance programs already in place, adding a Project Lead the Way computer science course at Wawasee High School for the start of the 2021-22 school year and to support AP-TIP IN training for high school AP class teachers.
Also during her report, Goshert noted the federal accountability report cards recently released are confusing because they also include ISTEP+ scores in addition to the ILEARN results. Milford School (special education and English language learners), Syracuse Elementary (special education) and Wawasee Middle School (special education) have been identified as Targeted Support and Improvement for an under performing subgroup, meaning steps will have to be taken to improve in those areas.
Also on the agenda, the school board approved adding three classes for the 2020-21 school year at the high school: Analytical Algebra II, which students can take instead of Algebra II; Advanced Manufacturing, a partnership with Polywood where students can attend class at Polywood to learn about CNC machines; and dual credit/AP Biology, which will add the dual credit option to the AP Biology class already offered.
Changes are also pending to allow an AP English 11 class for juniors and tagging AP on to an English 12 class that has been offered for several years as a dual credit course with Indiana University.
During his report to the board, Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, noted Kosciusko County did a study about childcare for ages birth to 5 and found affordable childcare is a major need in the county. “We are looking at some initiatives to see if we can help with that,” he said, such as possibly offering space on the high school campus for childcare.
Edington also noted Susan Mishler, principal at WMS, submitted her resignation effective Feb. 7 to pursue an opportunity with the Wildman Business Group in Warsaw. And Goshert, who has been with the school corporation since 1988, will be retiring effective June 30.
January is the reorganization month for the board and Rebecca Linnemeier will remain as board president, Rob Fisher returns as vice president and Don Bokhart as secretary. Tammy Hutchinson remains the recording secretary, James Flecker remains as the board attorney and the second Tuesday of each month will remain for board meetings, with the exception of the third Tuesday in April.
Board members will receive $2,000 plus $110 per regular meeting and $60 per special session paid quarterly and capped at $6,000. Edington, Jim Evans, Don Ritter, Goshert and Flecker are authorized to open sealed bids and receive quotes for school business.
Also on the agenda, the board approved the proceeds from the sale of the old Syracuse Elementary building to be distributed as follows: $7,000 for the current Syracuse Elementary, $5,000 each for Milford School, North Webster Elementary and Wawasee Middle School, $10,000 for Wawasee High School, $5,000 for Pathways programs, $5,000 for professional development activities, $25,000 for Wawasee Educational Foundation teacher grants, $8,000 for administrator incentives and $25,000 for future expenditures as approved by the school board.
Other agenda items included:
• The board approved increasing the daily salary for substitute teachers by $2 effective Feb. 10.
• Approval was given to a $20,000 donation by the Korenstra Family Foundation to have $2,000 go to the high school orchestra for electric violins and equipment, $4,000 to the WMS wrestling program, $2,000 to Pathways for marketing support, $1,000 to boys basketball/athletics, $1,000 to DECA and $10,000 to be used wherever needed the most, which was determined to be for the Gradway program, a program that helps to combat the high school dropout rate.
• Travel Star Products in Goshen donated a 3D printer to be used by the high school industrial technology program.
• WHS student Terrance Egolf was nominated for an IMPACT Award in the category of Intern of the Year because of his contributions to Oakwood Resort.
• The board approved permission to publish a notice for bids for upcoming renovation projects in the school corporation.
• Will and Becky Linnemeier donated $2,000 for the Pathways program.
• A total of $2,360 was raised during No Shave November and Jeans for Genes.