Local public libraries are working together with the Wawasee High School Library to help students and give them access to electronic resources.
During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee school board Tuesday evening in Syracuse, the board heard a presentation from Gena Fowble, media specialist at WHS.
Fowble said a collaboration effort between WHS and the public libraries in Milford, North Webster and Syracuse began in the fall of 2012. She said the first meeting was held Nov. 5 and the intent was to provide students access to more electronic resources, help with the school-wide reading initiative at WHS and also to have interns from WHS working in public libraries.
The libraries met again Jan. 9 and it was decided to promote students getting signed up for public library cards. Students, as well as school staff members, are eligible for free library cards. A registration table was set up during parent-teacher conferences Jan. 14 and a total of 23 students signed up for library cards.
Fowble noted the libraries either already have or plan to purchase the Kuno computer tablets being used by WHS students. “They (public libraries) will have access to the same technology and also to CurriculumLoft,” which is a curriculum system used by WHS. Sara Harrison, WHS teacher, gave a Kuno training session Jan. 17 to the public libraries. And Fowble has helped public libraries by marketing their programs and events.
The libraries plan to meet again in the spring and hope to be able to provide information to students about summer library programs and also will plan to continue library card sign-up during school registration in August.
Also as part of her presentation, Fowble noted Follett Shelf will be used as the resource for eBooks at WHS. She began purchasing electronic books in the fall students can access from multiple devices and do so 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Follett also has a digital reader application with several features including a dictionary, notes, bookmarks and highlighting. “We know some students do not have Internet access, but these can be downloaded without Internet access,” she added.
Wawasee Superintendent Dr. Tom Edington said it is good libraries would decide to purchase the Kuno tablets “and help kids with their homework in the evening.” School board member Mary Lou Dixon commended Fowble for her work and efforts to help students.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Bob Cockburn, representing Milford Town Council, asked the school board to consider discussing with the town council the placement of a school resource officer at Milford School. Cockburn noted the council has only discussed it and has not made any decisions.
Edington said police officers are always welcome in school buildings and have especially been more visible since the shooting incident in Connecticut in December. But, he added, the school corporation does not have the resources to fund a resource officer and the only one used now is funded by the county sheriff’s department.
“We are waiting to see where the money would come from,” he said, whether from the state or federal level, before making any decisions. He said he is willing to consider discussing a pilot program for Milford School for the rest of the current school year, but the town would have to provide the resources.
Also on the agenda was some discussion about a proposed update to the school board policy concerning fraternization among school district employees. Board member Mike Wilson said he is not sure the superintendent needs to be informed, for an example, if teachers from different school buildings “decide they want to date.” He noted, “Is this really something we want the superintendent to become involved with?”
The policy is being updated in response to recent state legislation, but David Cates, school corporation attorney, said the board does have leeway in deciding a more specific policy.
No vote was taken as it was only the first reading of the proposed update.
During his report to the board, Edington noted it remains to be seen what the effects will be from the federal health care legislation. Wawasee will see cuts to the title programs and special education services, but the exact amount is not known yet. “It is supposed to be about a 10 percent cut, but we are waiting to hear more,” he said.
In other business, during his State of the Month presentation, Cockburn told the board WHS is close to meeting its 90-25-90 goal of having a 90 percent graduation rate, at least 25 percent of students passing at least one dual credit or advanced placement course and having 90 percent of students pass end of course assessments for English and algebra.
The board also recognized the following:
• WHS swimmers who competed in the state finals: Breanna Robinson, Betsy Rozow, Rachel Rozow, Kendra Miller, Kayla Hershberger and Zach Hershberger.
• WHS automotive students Eric Hall, Jon Bollenbacher, Aaron Johnson and Travis Mann for passing their entrance exams and being accepted to Ohio Technical College. Mann, already ASE certified, was recently hired by Monteith Tire.
• WHS cosmetology students Samantha Taylor, Brooke Truman, Taylor Brooks and Candie Lopez for advancing to a Skills USA state competition in April.
• Wawasee FFA small engines team of Chris Fleming and Jonathan Bollenbacher for placing first at the district contest. They will advance to the state competition in April. The small engines team of Richard Hunsberger and Jake Templin placed second at the district contest.
For a more in-depth account of the school board meeting, see today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.