SYRACUSE — It’s a little easier now to visualize what the new Syracuse Elementary School can possibly look like. During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee Community School Corp. Board of School Trustees Tuesday evening, July 14, in Syracuse, the board was presented an update on the progression of plans for the new school.
Brian Bohlender, architect for Barton-Coe-Vilamaa, gave the update and as part of his presentation there were three dimensional drawings of what the new Syracuse Elementary could look like. One was an overhead view and the others more at eye level. Bohlender said there have been some small changes made the last few weeks to the site plan including where the fencing will be placed and a few others.
Geothermal will be the main heating and cooling system for the building. As part of the building plan, the boiler room and receiving areas have been re-configured. Much of the roofing will be metal.
In other business, Joy Goshert, director of instruction and curriculum for the school corporation, gave a student learning report. She noted testing for the 2015-16 school year will hit the high school sophomore class hard. They will take the preliminary SAT, otherwise known as PSAT, in the fall. In addition they will be taking end of course assessments for English 10 and algebra, as well as ISTEP+. The coming year’s ISTEP+ is new and will include English, math and science and there is also a new test provider.
Goshert also reported to the board the A-F accountability letter grades given each year by the Indiana Department of Education may be issued more fairly this coming year. IDOE proposed a fairer system to the state board of education, but it has been tabled pending a review by the state attorney general’s office. Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, said with new ISTEP+ testing and a new curriculum it would not be fair to keep the same standards for issuing letter grades.
New teacher orientation is Aug. 3-7 and as of Tuesday there are 10 new teachers hired for the Wawasee district.
Retiring teachers were recognized and each was presented a plaque and given a lifetime pass for school events. The three retiring teachers are Pam Schumm, Wawasee High School biology; Deb Fitzsimmons, Syracuse Elementary special needs students; and Diana Grossnickle, WHS special needs students.
Other agenda items included:
• The board approved the second $60,000 grant from the Laudeman family to allow Dina Coverstone to continue as a teacher coach for Syracuse Elementary.
• The board approved a proposal by the Town of Syracuse to provide a resource officer for the entire school district, but who would be based at the high school. It must still be approved by the Syracuse Town Council.
• Approval was given by the board to vacate the portion of Brooklyn Street in Syracuse owned by the Wawasee school district and to dedicate it to the Town of Syracuse. A clerical error had caused the school district to be given ownership.
• Beginning in 2016, high school graduations will be held at 2 p.m. on a Sunday as approved by the board. The change was requested due to multiple conflicts with sports schedules.
• Approval was given to add a new robotics course to the high school career and technical course offerings.