By Tim Ashley
SYRACUSE — Although the Wawasee School Board meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, was cancelled due to COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order, the school corporation released a list of recommendations and plans the board will ratify when it next meets, either electronically or in person in May or June.
Emergency declarations approved by the school board in March allow for some actions to be taken during the COVID-19 emergency.
Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, said scholarships will still be awarded this year, though an actual ceremony is “still up in the air.” He also noted the school corporation has donated masks and gloves to the county health department.
Wawasee High School senior Daysis Vargas will be awarded a scholarship under the school’s JAG (Jobs For America’s Graduates) program.
Among the recommended personnel actions is transferring Brent Berkeypile from assistant principal to principal at Wawasee Middle School. When approved by the board, it would be effective July 1.
Syracuse Elementary teacher Liana Butcher has submitted a retirement request that would be effective May 29.
Lisa Ernsberger, high ability coordinator and Title I administrator for the school corporation, submitted her resignation effective April 10. And WHS teacher Corban Espinoza also resigned to be effective May 29.
Under the student learning report submitted by Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, it was noted grades and report cards are due Friday, May 29.
Based upon guidance issued by the Indiana Department of Education, if high school seniors were on track to earn a high school diploma as of March 19 and are participating in the learning plan established by their district through the end of the school year, they will earn their diploma. There will be some who may not actually earn a credit in a class due to not meeting the course requirements, but they will still earn their diploma.
Multiple options are being discussed for graduation and other ways of honoring seniors that have traditionally taken place at banquets. High school administration will be involving a group of teachers, parents and students in the process. Options being discussed will need approval of the local health department.
Goshert also noted it is hoped the traditional three-week summer school for grades K-8 will still be offered July 20 to Aug. 7. Students would be invited based on teacher recommendations, but this will all depend on what is happening with COVID-19.
The summer ECO Challenge will not be offered due to COVID-19, but administrators Jennifer Phillips and Sarah LeCount are working with middle school principals, guidance counselors and mental health therapists to develop a list of 2020 incoming ninth-graders who will be placed with graduation coaches and other supports to support them as they begin their high school career.
Work is in progress to run credit recovery courses through Apex during June until the start of the 2020-21 school year in an eLearning with students working from home and being supported by a few teachers.
Edington noted only new teachers, transferring teachers or those with poor evaluations during the 2018-19 school year will be evaluated during the current school year. And the Wawasee School Board was recognized by the Indiana School Board Association for “exemplary governance” with board member Don Bokhart also being recognized for his individual ISBA point attainment.
Dave Van Lue, director of technology, noted mobile devices for the next four years have been selected. Teachers will get a Dell Windows 10 laptop with a docking station, monitor, keyboard and mouse. They can take the laptop with them at the end of the day by unplugging one cable from the docking station.
Students in grades three through 12 will receive a Dell 2 in 1 Chromebook that will rotate 360 degrees to be used as a tablet or a laptop. It will come with a protective snap on covering that will not need to be removed and no additional case will be needed. Students in grades K-2 will receive a tablet with a protective cover. A Lenovo Chromebook tablet is being tested to replace current iPads, but iPads will be purchased as before if the tablets are not the best choice.
A recommendation is being made to adopt HMH Into Reading as the literacy materials to be used with students in grades K-5. It is a six-year adoption request.
Child care initiatives for the 2020-21 school year are being recommended including Wawasee Child Care, a program available to all staff of the school corporation to be located at Syracuse Elementary and for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. Wawasee Early Learning Center is a learning center available to any child, ages 3-5, in the Wawasee school district and will be located at North Webster Elementary.