The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Think about the reasons for the holiday season and enjoy time with family and friends.
The central office will still be open for business from 7:00 am till 3:00 pm most business days if any employees or patrons need to conduct any school business.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
You will notice the time and temperature flashing up in the corner of the screen. Clicking on this link will take you to weatherunderground.com for full weather forecasts for this area.
A committee of volunteers has started working on creating an educational foundation that we will discuss later. One initial funding source is going to come from passive internet solicitations through the ad banners you see at the top. The group intends to work on mission statements in January. One current mission under discussion may involve the use of mini-grants to Wawasee teachers to support them in creating unique learning opportunities for students.
In the meantime, until the foundation is organized, a number of community-minded local businesses are planning to make donations to needy Wawasee children. Those businesses will be recognized through the banner ads. Any businesses that would like to help out students who need dental appointments, glasses, field trip money, or educational supplies, should e-mail me at email@example.com to discuss how we can help you as well.
What does The Wawascene offer our local businesses? Strong local exposure. We currently average 2,500+ hits per day. Our record to date is 6,981 hits in a 24 hour period. If we can help the local economy and you can help the local children, it is win-win for the kids.
It is not as simple as improving ISTEP scores, - it's about our children. Click on the banner ad to send me an e-mail and I will contact you to discuss how you can help our kids and how we can help your business.
Caution is still in order but unfortunately it is another typical Kosciusko county winter day.
During the night it warmed up and started the melting. Around 3:00 am some fog started to develop but by 4:45 am it had gone away.
Have a good day.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
At last night's board meeting the board voted to:
Accept a donation from the Syracuse-Wawasee Kiwanis for the Academic Super Bowl
Approve claims and personnel recommendations
Approve 10 easements for the Syracuse water tower project
Approve dual credit articulation agreements with Ivy Tech College
Approve tax anticipation warrants from the Indiana Bond Bank
Approve the January board meeting date of January 17th - one week later than normal
Approve Orientation to Life and Careers as a mandatory freshman class for 2005-2006
Approve credit increases at WHS:
10 credits to be a sophomore
20 credits to be a junior
30 credits to be a senior
Heard a report on adult GED classes (Dr. Stock)
Heard a report on possible alterations to the Career and Technical Building (Mr. Metcalf)
Heard a report on ISTEP scores (Dr. Stock)
Heard a report on high school grade distributions (Mrs Stevens)
Heard a report on a committee studying a 501c3 Educational Foundation (Dr. Stock)
Wawasee School Board members are President Dallas Winchester, Vice President Mary Lou Dixon, Secretary Marion Acton, Member Brian Dawes, Member George Gilbert.
The WCSC Board normally meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00PM in the central administration building.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The list is by topic starting with the Senate and then the House.
It is interesting to see the wide variety. Did you know there is a law regarding disorderly conduct at funerals?
Scan the list by topic and click on the topic for a more complete description of the law. More will be added and modified as time goes on.
Did you know there is a proposed law allowing the use of ISTEP scores on a teacher or administrator's personnel evaluation?
What do you think of that?
Over the next week or so we will take a peek at the proposed laws affecting education.
To e-mail your opinion of any of these bills to your representative, just put your zip code in the box and click on the blue "Write your legislator button" on the sidebar. Presto, it will tell you who your legislators are. Scroll to the bottom and put in your address and you are "good-to-go."
They want to hear from you. While it is true that many professional lobbyists write these bills, it is your legally elected representatives that carry the bills and ultimately must respond to the will of the people in a representative democracy.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
The public schools of America have been asked to do so much that their plate looks like a styrafoam plate at the church potluck. Is the styrafoam about to crack?
Wawasee veteran teachers may recognize the list of curriculum mandates that were quoted from the various decades because Mr. Smith, our previous superintendent, used this list in his speech to our staff my first year at Wawasee.
The link to the animation is here. Click on "The Burden" at the top and then scroll to the bottom and click on "Animation."
Friday, December 09, 2005
Every Friday we run funny stories about kids and teachers. Remember to e-mail your contributions to Doc Stock (e-mail link on the side.)
During Indiana studies we were discussing Robert de La Salle, the first white man to enter Indiana. One of the students asked who the first man ever was. Another student said it was Adam. From there students started asking, "Who was the first to..." It had turned into quite a discussion and we were looking up "firsts" in the encyclopedia.
One student then asked, "Who was the smartest man?" Another student immediately responded, "Solomon."
A girl spoke up and said that was their Sunday School lesson and that he had a 1000 wives.
The boy who had asked the question replied, "I thought you said he was smart!"
The day after watching "Jackie Chan's Around the World in 80 Days, my four year-old daughter and I were waiting at the bus stop to pick up my oldest daughter. Our friendly Asian neighbor waved politely as he walked his German Shepard. My four year-old daughter looked up and said, "Look Mom, there's Jackie Chan walking his poodle." I laughed and said, "That's not a poodle!" Embarrassed, but never missing a beat she said, "Well that's not Jackie Chan either."
One of my students has echolalia, meaning he repeats things he hears others say. Some experts say these echoed phrases have little or no meaning. However, one afternoon at the beginning of the school year, when I was just getting to know the kids, this particular student found use for a choice phrase he heard on the bus radio on his way to school. I walked past him and noticed he wasn't working on his puzzle... "You need to get to work on that job," I commented. Imagine my surprise when the reply I got was, "Take this job and shove it. I ain't workin' here no more."
I'm pretty sure he meant it, too.
Road conditions as of 4:30 am:
The wind picked up a little more and the north/south roads are drifting. Single lane tire tracks on most county roads. The road crews are out but they couldn't get started till early this morning. The snow is dry and powdery due to cold conditions.
A winter wonderland.
Have a great weekend. We'll post the make-up days later today perhaps.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Here is the weather report for the Syracuse area. (Don't get your hopes up!! :-)
Friday Funnies are tomorrow. I have some cued up but don't forget to e-mail me (e-mail link is on the sidebar) if you have a funny story about kids.
Parents out there - you have some funny ones too! Send them in. I can give you credit or keep it anonymous - your choice.
It's all about the kids. Charts and graphs look pretty and we are encouraged when the little lines go in the right directions - but remember it's all about the kids.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
It is very important that we put a "human face" on the data. These are not numbers - these are children!
The top two lines going down tell us that 126 fewer students were in the Did Not Pass category. This means there were 126 additional Wawasee students who achieved proficiency levels in Math and English, that might not have done so in 2002 when the data was first gathered. That is over 5 CLASSROOMS full of students!
The line moving upwards shows that the number of students in the top 10% of the state in Mathematics has doubled since 2002. This means there are 167 additional students scoring in the highest 10% in the state of Indiana in Math. That is 7 MORE classrooms full of students that are in the top 10% of the state that weren't there in 2002. The red line shows there is no change in corporation totals for students scoring in the top 10% in Language.
That my friends, is the student side of the data.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
The top lines going down show the drops in percentages of students who Did Not Pass (DNP) the ISTEP + tests. In this case the numbers going down is a GOOD thing.
The bottom lines trending up, show the increases in students who scored in the top 10% of the state, which they call Pass+. In this case if the numbers went up it is a GOOD thing.
The grades represented in these graphs are 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10. The corporation totals of course, do not tell the whole story. There are some grade levels that stayed even or decreased in some categories but there are numerous grade levels that showed absolutely tremendous gains. Averaging them all together shows the total corporation on one graph.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Overall, Wawasee corporation students continue to show strong gains in the percentage of students meeting proficiency standards on the ISTEP+ exam, mostly in Mathematics. The biggest bright spot shows up in the tremendous increase in the percentages of students showing up in the top 10% of scores in the state.
Here are a few highlights:
Grade 5: 24% of the students were in the top 10% in the state in Math
Grade 5: Only 16% failed to meet Math standards
Grade 6: 27% of the students were in the top 10% in the state in Math
Grade 6: Only 12% failed to meet Math standards
Grade 8: 14% of the students were in the top10% in the state in Math
Grade 3: 13% of the students were in the top 10% in the state in Math
Grade 7: We have to do by hand so I will post them tomorrow.
Summarizing key points:
Math proficiency is increasing much faster than Language Arts
Middle grades 5-8 are showing the largest gains.
Tomorrow we will post graphs and more detailed explanations that help put a "human face" on the data. After all, these are not numbers. They are children - may we not forget it.
"Holiday stress has been an increasingly relevant issue for people,” says Russ Newman of the American Psychological Association. His polling has found that although workplace issues stress us out most of the year, seasonal issues move to the foreground in December.
Friday, December 02, 2005
By this afternoon, The Wawascene will exceed 13,000 hits just since Monday morning of this week!
Within a few weeks we will announce our first advertisers whose donations will go to needy students.
Any potential advertisers who wish to help children and actually benefit their business at the same time, need only click on the banner ad box and an e-mail prompt will pop up. Send it to me and I will get back with you.
After assessing a child on his letters and sounds, the teacher told him, "You did a great job on your letters and sounds!" To which the child replied matter-of-factly, "Well, that's because I have a really great brain!"
Here is one from my Principal days.
I was walking down the hallway the next fall after I had been promoted from elementary principal to curriculum director in the same school district. I passed two first graders standing at their locker, and said, "Good morning," and continued down the hall. I overheard one first grader ask the other one, "Who was that?" The boy replied, "That's Mr. Stock. He used to be our principal last year. I think he is the secretary now."
Aren't kids cool. They know who really runs the school!
Here is one more miscellaneous observation. Remember the post a few days ago about kids today being more informal and outgoing? I was walking down the Milford hallway today when a little third grader passed and said, "You own this school dude. You rock!"
Now, do you pull him aside and give him a lesson on formality or do you smile and walk on? He didn't seem sarcastic so I smiled and walked on.
Have a good weekend!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
This attachment is worth reading over, especially if you are not familiar with some of the controversial aspects of the No Child Left Behind law. This law requires every school in America to have 100% of its students reading and doing math above proficient levels by 2014 or be labeled a "failing school" under the law.
Most people with common sense would say that requiring every student in America to be "at proficient levels" by 2014 or your entire school FAILS might, just might, be a little unreasonable.
Common sense is not so common I guess.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Another benefit to The Wawascene is that I will often post a little information about the local road conditions we have encountered. And....when I blow the call I will grovel here and admit it. That has to be worth something.
For the benefit of those who don't already know, the following procedure explains how we make decisions:
4:00 AM: Director of Transportation checks actual road conditions starting at the north end of the district and drives to the southern end.
4:45 AM: When road conditions look troublesome, he calls the Superintendent (that's me :-) and the Business Manager, Jim Evans who goes to the office and monitors the media outlets and internet to see what conditions other schools are facing
5:20 AM: We all drive different areas and meet at the central office at 5:50 AM
5:50 AM: We compare conditions. Sometimes it is a no-brainer - but often it is hard to tell because conditions can vary widely across the district.
5:55 AM: After listening to all the opinions it is ultimately the superintendent's decision. We don't always agree, but we all drove the roads. I estimate on most days that up to 80 miles of local roads have been driven before decisions are made. Contrary to popular opinion, I do not look out my window and guess.What is the most difficult to deal with? Shifting fog, last minute freezing rain and bad timing make the decisions tough. Most of the time we are deciding one to two hours in advance what the road conditions are going to be later.
6:00 AM: We call all media outlets and start employee call chains.
Have a safe winter and drive carefully.
It is also an accomplishment for the individual athletes who have dedicated themselves to many early morning swims over the years while everyone else remains firmly snuggled up in a warm bed!
Congratulations to Mr. Karns and to the student athletes over the years that have helped contribute to Wawasee success.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
I am not so sure it's that simple although from their surveys it sounds like most Americans think so.
I grew up in a large suburban high school near Dayton, Ohio in the 70's. There were 637 students in my senior class and their reputation wasn't good. Drugs and vandalism were rampant and police busts for drugs was a weekly occurrence. Students were apathetic and school spirit did not exist. Disrespectful and rude behavior to teachers was common.
We moved here to raise our families and enjoy the benefits of our county.
In terms of general politeness, when I walk the halls of our schools today, I see students that regularly make eye contact and smile. Many say "Hi," and a surprising number of them say, "Hi Dr. Stock." (Usually followed by, "How come you didn't call a snow delay today?" This year a small group of students even told me they were going to rent giant fog machines to put outside my house! There you go Tyler Wear - I told you I would use your name. LOL)
When I was in school I didn't even know that a school had a superintendent much less what his name was. Even if I did, I wouldn't have felt welcome to smile at them and address them by name.
In the classrooms today, many teachers say that students are more outgoing, talkative and aware than students from decades ago. However, many also say that general politeness has clearly declined. I suppose students today are more outgoing and generally more "aware" due to the increased openness of society. That can be good and bad. They are more comfortable to talk to people and share how they feel about things, which includes snapping off rude comments when angry or upset.
Maybe some of this perceived rudeness is due to the lack of formality that politeness requires. I guess I am getting old, but I even remember the exact year when my neighbors asked me to quit calling them "Mr. and Mrs. Osborne," and start calling them, "Claude and Bernice."
It seems like there are positives and negatives to raising our children to be more open.
What do you think?
Monday, November 28, 2005
Throughout this week, I will run a few short highlights that point out the good news in education that you won't find in the mass media.
I'll start with a recent quote from Joseph Renzulli, who was reporting on why a group of Japanese educators were visiting his National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. Renzulli expressed astonishment that Japanese educators with the highest test scores in the world would think they could learn something from us. This was their reply, a direct quote:
"Very simple professor. We have no Nobel Prize Winners. Your schools have produced a continuous flow of inventors, designers, entrepreneurs, and innovative leaders. We can make anything you invent faster, cheaper and, in most cases, better. But we want to learn what role this "creative productivity" focus plays in the production of creative and inventive people."
So I ask you, do you want your children and grandchildren to lead the world in the creation of ideas, products and services or to bubble in answer sheets with the world's best? It doesn't have to be an either/or question, but I'll at least settle for schools that "produce a continuous flow of inventors, designers, entrepreneurs and innovative leaders."
Source: Renzulli, Joseph: "Neglecting Creativity: A Quiet Crisis Clouding the Future of R&D." Education Week, May 25,2005.
Someone posted a comment after I linked to the website called "Worksheet Generator" to indicate we should be careful promoting "worksheets" because we may be too "paper and pencil oriented" already.
This is a valid caution. However, my main reason for posting was to provide a resource for parents. Parents are more likely to need a specific practice activity for home use and may have limited resources. I wanted parents (as well as teachers) to be aware of the many resources that are daily popping up on the web.
The link was not intended to endorse the overuse of any materials or methods.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
For all of you hosting guests this week - smile and ask them to help you - especially the males who think watching Thanksgiving football is a constitutional right.
This story was given to me by a patron who read it in a newsletter.
A teacher was doing a lesson on whale anatomy and the discussion came up about whether or not Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The teacher made a comment that the type of whale they were studying would not be able to physically swallow an object the size of a person.
To which a little girl interjected, "When I get to heaven I am going to ask Jonah." To which the teacher without thinking quickly responded, "What if Jonah went to hell?"
The little girl looked up and said, "Then you ask him!"
Enjoy your holiday with friends and family.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
In 5 minutes using the following website you can create and print your own custom worksheets for practice or drill on most subjects.
Use the Worksheet Generator
Note to teachers: It works for you too if you need to provide additional practice opportunities for children. Subjects range from Math to Social Studies and numerous sub topics.
Most of you know the problem isn't the lack of practice materials available, it is getting the exact one you need for a handful of students that need the extra work.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
The school where I teach asks the parents to fill out a questionnaire, The questions are pretty basic and they include this one: "Language spoken at home?"
One family answered, "Some swearing, but we're trying to stop."
Friday, November 18, 2005
Who should decide how local taxpayers spend local taxpayer funded construction projects?
The state government's appointees or local tax payers?
One year our PTO had the idea of having an aluminum can drive as a fundraiser for the PTO. (What were they thinking!) Every Friday morning plastic garbage bags bulging with crushed aluminum cans were stacked two rows deep in the elementary hallways. The yeasty odor of crushed beer cans wafted down the corridor. PTO members actually counted the cans to see who was collecting the most.
One morning after the weekly can collection a little boy came up to the teacher and said, "Mrs. Lintz, my dad said to apologize to you for the can collection, he just can't put 'em away like he used to."
Please e-mail your funny stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Survival Guide For Parents And Students:
Editor's Choice: The Wawascene, which is written by Superintendent Dr. Mark J. Stock, of the Wawasee Community School Corporation in Syracuse, Indiana, is introducing us to a brand-new (and very exciting) use of blogging. Who would have thought that a weblog may be used to facilitate communications between school and community? The benefits of such a weblog to both parents and educators should be obvious. If your local superintendent isn't writing a blog, perhaps you should consider making the suggestion...
Two first graders were sitting outside the classroom door in the hallway. They had been in a scuffle and were in "time-out" and it was only the first week of school. They sat dejectedly.
A teacher was walking by and overheard one child say to the other, "Do you think they'll let us come back tomorrow?"
To which the other boy whipped his head around and replied emphatically, "I HOPE not, I wanted to go fishing!"
Send your story to email@example.com
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I would like to collect humorous school stories that involve children. I will feature one every week as a Friday Funny.
1. Good clean fun
2. True story or mostly true :-)
3. About kids or young adults
I will be placing an e-mail link on the the side of The Wawascene page that says
E-mail Doc Stock ( a nickname my kid's friends gave me. I am not sure if the nickname came because I finally finished my college work or because I fell off the pier at home - I'll let you decide)
If you do not want your name used as a contributor for your story please indicate so.
Until the web link goes up - here is the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
I will put them in a folder and use one of them every week.
Don't be shy now!
Monday, November 14, 2005
There have not been any planning meetings or administration efforts to pursue the 4 day week in Wawasee at this time.
I purposely blogged about it to create community awareness of the issue and frankly to get some feedback about it.
It was a "political trial balloon" if you will.
We will revisit it later, especially if there is any momentum for it out there.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Our internet hits are going through the roof and will soon result in new information and new possibilities for this site.
Monday: 3,001 hits
Tuesday: 1,600 + hits
Wednesday: 1,800 + hits
Thursday: 1,400 + hits at 4:30 PM and counting
When you consider that only a few hundred employees probably hit the site every day, it shows that the community is bookmarking it and keeping tabs on school issues.
Spread the word. Everyone tell one person you know to check us out. I will tell you more about why...later.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The results indicate that the staff showed increases in 32 of 33 questions.
Click here to see the SUMMARY of the categories.
Click here to see EACH question on the survey.
The blue lines show the percentages of teachers that said TRUE and the white lines show the percentages of teachers that said NOT TRUE.
One curiosity is that the only question on the survey that showed a decline was the question on "morale." However, when asked, "Do you find your work personally fulfilling and challenging?" teachers overwhelmingly said, "True."
We have been sharing the student successes, but the surveys indicate major gains in the way teachers see things as well.
Once again, the commitment and professionalism of our faculty shines through.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
What does this mean in student terms?
Well, we aren't interested in improving test scores, we are interested only in helping our students improve in the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. (For the cynics, keep saying this until you believe it. It's true! :-)
However, society keeps asking us, "How do you know if you are improving or not?" SO.....we end up looking for simpler and more clearly understand ways of showing the patterns in the data.
This what the graph means for students.
The corporation drop from 31% to 27% of students who Did Not Pass (DNP) ISTEP+ in English means that 83 more Wawasee students now possess the skills the state says they need to be successful in the next grade.
The corporation drop from 28% to 23% of students who Did Not Pass (DNP) ISTEP+ in Math means that 103 additional Wawasee students now possess the range of skills the state determines they need to be successful at the next grade level.
The corporation increase from 8% to 14% of students who scored Pass + in Math means that 124 more students moved into the top 10% of students in the state at their grade level.
The corporation increase from 7% to 8% of students who scored Pass + in English means that 21 more students moved into the top 10% in the state at their grade level.
Tomorrow, time permitting, we will look at the individual grade spans and how they differ.
Compiled with data support from Dr. Robert Cockburn
Monday, November 07, 2005
Our district grows and improves in the same manner our children do, in fits and spurts. This is revealed in the data that we track as well. However, using corporation totals, we have improved in 4/4 categories. Later, we'll discuss it by grade level.
The graph shows student progress in grades 3,6,and 8 since the ISTEP+ test was revised.
Grades 4,5,7,9, and 10 do not have enough consecutive years to track.
The top lines show the drop in percentages of students who Did Not Pass the ISTEP+ test in Language and Math. The bottom lines show the increase in percentages of students who were in Pass +. Pass + means they were in the top 10% in the state on the test.
Click here to see the good news!
Tomorrow we will share the news about how many students have improved.
Prepared with data support from Dr. Robert Cockburn and technical help from Wade Wirebaugh.
At 5:50 am it was medium to light fog with some heavy places. The fog was shallow and I was hoping the daylight would make it non-issue like the last time. You may remember the last time. I delayed two hours and it was totally clear by 6:30 am.
Today it thickened up and conditions grew worse instead of better.
I would like to remind everyone that parents under these circumstances have the right to bring their students in or send them as soon as they feel the conditions have improved enough. Bus drivers also have the right to pull over and wait until they feel the route they are driving has improved. From time to time bus drivers and parents exercise this right. Parents that bring their children in a little late and report to the office are generally excused to class and not counted tardy unless the policy is being taken advantage of.
At the time of the decision many schools east of us were on delay and very few west of us were on delay. We must have been on the edge of the worst of it.
Hope your day clears up.
Thank you for your patience.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
It says "The Education Wonks." Please click on this link. It will take you to one of the national blog sites that links to many educational bloggers in America. Every Wednesday they run "The Carnival of Education" which summarizes all the major educational bloggers, most of which are teachers by the way. This "one-stop-shopping" will help you keep up with various topics going on nationally in the trenches.
I would suggest that a typical way of staying informed about issues is to do the following every day:
1. Fire up the computer and click on The Wawascene. In 30 seconds you can tell if there is something locally being communicated.
2. Click on The Super's Blog in order to link to Indiana newspapers. A quick click on one or more papers will tell you what is being reported in Indiana. This is especially important now that the legislative session is starting up.
3. Click on The Education Wonks. A quick scan on Wednesday morning or any morning, will tell you what national bloggers in education are talking about that week. You can then follow those links if you desire.
I have just followed the routine described and it took 8 minutes, including skim reading the headlines and clicking on at least one site at every stop.
Done on a daily and weekly basis, you will be informed on a local, state and national level of the things that impact our lives. Now granted, there are many days where finding 8 minutes is tough to do. But...if it becomes a morning routine or an evening "last task" you will find yourself in touch with issues that affect our lives.
By bookmarking one site, The Wawascene, at school and at home, you can follow these links and keep informed. Please try this now, or at least this week sometime. How long does it take you? It probably depends on how many links you follow or read.
Make it a daily or at least weekly, habit.
This will help us to connect to our political leaders that make decisions that affect our daily lives.
Our legislative session is about to start here in Indiana and there will be many bills that will affect public education. Just learning to use the web logs and their links like I have described is one of the most time efficient ways to stay in the loop that I know of.
Here is the big reason... :-)
This is a little "experiment" I am conducting to determine if teachers and community members will respond through technology. I believe we are on the cusp of a major technological movement in America that may provide an opportunity for community people to participate in their democracy at much higher levels than ever before. All through the technology provided by these linkages.
Please try the routine above and see how efficient you can get at moving through the sites. There are stat counters on these sites and the site operators will be able to tell if the number of clicks has gone up.
Please try it.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
He e-mailed me after noticing I had put the information out in front of our community for discussion on The Wawascene blog site.
The power and connectivity of the internet...it still amazes me at times.
This website is a compilation of various sources of information on the 4-day school week. It represents a variety of views, not necessarily mine or the BC teachers.
I have not personally read all of them yet, but I thought I would pass it along.
Conditions as of 5:40 AM are - Light to medium fog covering most of the district. Some clear spots with fog hovering at tree lines and heavy fog west of 300 East towards Milford.
Have an extra cup of java.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
This morning she gave directions for the first activity and when they were set she said, "Let's get to work!"
One of the boys said, "I'm on it...my grandpa says if you don't work, you don't eat!"
This is what it said in abbreviated form.
The NCLB legislation requires the IDOE to monitor each LEA in reviewing the SWP and SIP's as soon as EIS has it up and running.
There don't you feel enlightened!
It's a good thing I was mostly paying attention in kindergarten and learned my letters!
Have a good day. EIEIO
Friday, October 21, 2005
Read this Preliminary Draft (PD) of a bill that has passed through the Health Commission and will be presented in this year's legislative session here in Indiana.
PD 3156/DI 104 2006
LEGISLATIVE SERVICES AGENCY
2006 GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Citations Affected: IC 20-34-3-21.
Synopsis: Student health measurements. Requires each school
corporation to report certain student health data to the state department
of health. Requires the state department to publish an annual report
summarizing the data.
Effective: July 1, 2006.
PD 3156/DI 104 2006
Second Regular Session 114th General Assembly (2006)
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:
1 SECTION 1. IC 20-34-3-21 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE
2 AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY
3 1, 2006]: Sec. 21. (a) Each school corporation shall annually report
4 to the state department of health the height, weight, ethnicity, age,
5 and sex of the school corporation's students.
6 (b) A school corporation shall report data required under
7 subsection (a) according to rules adopted under this section. The
8 rules must include the following:
9 (1) Information regarding the importance of accurate
10 measurements and the collection of measurements for
11 improving children's health.
12 (2) Procedures for the measurement of children in a respectful
13 and dignified manner.
14 (c) Data may not be reported under this section in a way that
15 makes students personally identifiable.
16 (d) The state department of health, in consultation with the
17 department, shall publish and make available to the public an
18 annual report summarizing data collected under this section.
19 (e) The state department of health and the state board shall
20 adopt joint rules under IC 4-22-2 to implement this section.
Here we go again...another social need that is now being handed off to the public schools. Meanwhile, keep those national NAEP scores rising everyone (tongue-in-cheek).
This bill will pass because it sounds harmless and helpful. It shouldn't take too long to weigh, measure, record on spreadsheets and upload to the state every student in the school, should it?
No place in this bill does it tell the teachers what previous state-mandated curriculum they are supposed to ignore while they implement the latest big fat mandate. Just squeeze one more thing in. Every single curriculum study done in the last several years validates what every teacher instinctively knows already. There are not enough days in the year and hours in the day, to teach the mandated curriculum we already have. But hey, I guess what's one more thing when your plate already looks like it does at the church potluck!
There, I got that off my chest. To bad it will still end up the plate! :-)
Another good idea that doesn't help anything?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
This should be a big help to parents and students trying to negotiate their way through the university maze.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Some have asked if we are really serious about this. I would characterize our interest as more curious than serious at this point.
However, I personally feel that the benefits may merit some serious discussion.
Moving forward from here would involve more research and study of the costs, benefits and concerns. Then we would have to take the information directly to the parents in the schools and to the greater community to see if there is any interest.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
The students representing Wawasee High School were Katie Pollock, Scott Gerke, Tim Bowling, and Becky Clayton.
We are proud of you all!
Sunday, October 09, 2005
This link is from a school district that has posted for the public, a compilation of the history, the research on the pros and cons of 4-day school weeks, and their own district's journey in exploring the concept.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Evidently the position of the state office is that it would NOT require a change in state law, it would only require a waiver from the Department of Education, similar to snow day waivers.
In other words, the local school district would have to explain it's rationale in several areas and ask the state for an exemption from the 180 day rule.
1. Curriculum requirements (How do we make sure we get it all in?)
2. Time on task issues (How much additional time do we provide on the other days?)
3. Extra-curricular impact (Does this limit opportunities for students after school?)
4. Community response (How do the parents and community members feel about it?)
5. Financial impact (What is the impact financially?)
A professor attending our meeting indicated that another state had mandated this in the 70's due to financial difficulties and found out that the academic impact was actually positive. The only theory that made sense was that teaching and learning became much more focused and intentional, perhaps due to more time for planning and organization.
I believe this topic will become more of a public issue in time.
I would like to hear from parents to know more about their opinions.
We have not had any formal discussions about this at the administrative level or the school board level at this time. I am just asking to find out more about your opinions.
If you are uncomfortable with the public comments section, feel free to send me an e-mail at email@example.com
Thursday, September 29, 2005
The Indy Star ran this article and it was picked up by the District Administration Daily, which is a national website run by the superintendents' association.
Interestingly enough, I was at the conference referenced by the Star and these ideas were not widely discussed - but now it is a national story because the Star reporter heard it proposed in a brainstorming session.
Now that it is a national story, I guess it will be discussed more widely.
On a side note....I have talked with parents and teachers from other states who have gone to a four-day school week and their consensus is - "it works and they wouldn't go back."
The biggest obstacles are always childcare for working parents and concerns over the curricular implications.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Background behind the cartoon:
Most community members may not be aware of all the aspects of the No Child Left Behind law.
While it is a worthwhile and noble goal to make sure that all children reach "grade-level proficiency," one of the most irrational parts of this law requires that 100% of all students in all schools in America reach "proficiency" by 2013-2014 or the school will be labeled "failing."
Failing schools will have punishments or sanctions outlined in the law.
This cartoon is a funny jab at the punishment aspects of the law as well as Bush's choice of Margaret Spellings as the new director.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
They are an exciting team to watch and Friday is a big game against our NLC rivals, Plymouth.
Plymouth is undefeated and tied for the NLC lead so it should be a great game.
By the way, The Wawasee Warriors were featured this year in an IHSAA film that was used to promote proper sportsmanlike behaviors from the sidelines for players and coaches. It was nice for someone even outside the NLC to recognize the sportsmanlike behaviors of our coaches and athletes in game situations.
Also, don't forget the big tailgate party before the game in the parking lot of the Wawasee Heights Church across the street. You can get a burger or hot dog before the game and the proceeds go to the Wawasee Band Boosters.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Despite noble intentions, most families today find this increasingly difficult to do. Between, soccer practice, dance lessons and mowing the ever growing lawns, most parents end up grabbing a burger at the drive-thru. What we end up missing might surprise you. Eating dinner together is a natural time to build relationships with our young people and provides a natural time to discuss family issues.
Monday, September 26 is Family Day. This a special day set aside for parents/caregivers to eat dinner with their children. CASA created Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children as a national effort to promote family dinners as an effective way to reduce substance abuse among children and teens. Family Day is celebrated on the fourth Monday in September. For more information go to http://www.familytable.info/ .
Special thanks to Family and Consumer Science teacher, Mrs. Hively, for sending this information out.
For many years single gender classes were the trademark of many private academies and special schools, but largely ignored by public schools.
Now, in the effort to leave no stone unturned to improve education, some schools are exploring the all male and all female classrooms again.
One of the more convincing arguments is that children "grow up so fast" today that there is no sense in rushing it.
Monday, September 19, 2005
I found it interesting that they report Noblesville High School passed a requirement that you had to pass ISTEP in order to drive to high school.
I don't think I agree with that one.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Mrs. Hursh retired last year after many years of serving Wawasee as a classroom teacher in the Foreign Language Department. She is well known for her love of the Academic Super Bowl program. She skillfully led Wawasee to many state finals and even state championships in the academic super bowl competitions.
The following web site link shows the announcements.
Congratulations Mrs Hursh!!
Monday, September 12, 2005
Clicking on this link will allow a parent to print sample questions for various grade levels that come from the testing manuals. In this way parents can get a better feel for what types of testing is being required.
Testing will begin next week.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Here is a link discussing the educational impact on schools from the displacement of the students.
Monday, August 29, 2005
On Wednesday, August 31, at 6:30 p.m. at Harrison Elementary School in Warsaw, a corporate dodgeball tournament will be held as part of the United Way fundraising campaign. In the first round of the tournament, a group of employees from Wawasee Community Schools will compete against a group of employees from Warsaw Community Schools. Admission will be one dollar at the door, and all proceeds go to the Kosciusko County United Way. Competitors for Wawasee Community Schools will be
- Mr. Garner, Syracuse Elementary School principal
- Mr. Cassel, Wawasee Middle School principal
- Mr. Connor, Milford School assistant principal
- Mr. Mishler, varsity boys basketball coach and WHS physical education teacher
- Mr. Hedman, varsity baseball coach and Milford 5th grade teacher
- Mr. Schutz, varsity softball coach and WHS business teacher
- Mr. Campbell, varsity assistant football coach and WMS social studies teacher
- Mr. Edgar, junior varsity volleyball coach and WMS science and math teacher
- Ms. Wells, freshmen volleyball coach and Milford language arts teacher
- Mr. Gause, North Webster 5th grade teacher
This should be an exciting event and a great opportunity to support the United Way of Kosciusko County which helps fund agencies and programs that promote family and community wellness, self sufficiency, emergency services, and youth development.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Wawasee High School fall sports are in full swing now. This week, you have an opportunity to watch several of our teams in action at home:
- Monday 8/22: Varsity and junior varsity volleyball against Lakeland at 5:30 p.m.
- Tuesday 8/23: Varsity boys soccer against Garrett at 5 p.m.
- Wednesday 8/24: Varsity girls soccer against Culver at 5 p.m.
- Thursday 8/25: Varsity girls golf at Maxwelton Golf Course against Warsaw and Concord at 4:30 p.m.
- Thursday 8/25: Varsity and junior varsity volleyball against Bethany Christian at 5:30 p.m.
Friday, August 26th is the first home football game for Coach Rietveld and the Warriors against DeKalb. Parents of senior football players, band members, and cheerleaders will be honored prior to the game with recognition beginning around 6:40 p.m. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. The 1985 IHSAA State Runners-up Warrior football team will be recognized at half time of the game. Gates open at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Wawasee Community School Corporation has had a successful first three days of school. Our Wednesday's attendance was reported at 3,475, up 92 students from last year's first day. Our official enrollment will not be figured until Friday, September 16th.
I know we have a number of tired teachers, students and other staff members after our first few days back as they have adjusted to new schedules. One teacher commented that the start of school is never something that we get to "slide into" and adjust to - it is always "like an avalanche" but good to be back.
A big thank you to everyone who has helped make the start of this school year a smooth one. Hopefully, all can recuperate a bit over the weekend and prepare for our first full week of school!
Monday, August 15, 2005
I hope we never forget the feelings that students and parents have at this time.
So full of hope...so full of anxiety...smiling nervously as they step off the school bus steps and walk tentatively through the doors.
They are wondering..."Will my teacher be nice? Will she be patient with me? Will he make school fun? Will she help me when I am confused? Am I ready for this grade? Will the older students be friendly to me?
Teachers wonder the same things..."Will my students be nice? Will they be patient with me? Will this be a fun year? Will they help me when I am having a bad day? Am I ready for another year?
May this be your best year yet!
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Most local historians and hopefully, Wawasee students, know that the Wawasee Warriors have chosen the Native American theme out of respect for Chief Wawasee, after whom Lake Wawasee is named.
Recent decisions by the NCAA banning Native American nicknames from tournament play has created a firestorm of controversy.
Here is today's editorial in the Indy Star.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
However, this article points out that the need for quality penmanship still exists.
Friday, August 05, 2005
August 2nd minutes will be released after they are approved at the August 9th board meeting.
Main points of interest were the hiring of our new WMS Principal, Mr. Tony Cassel and the hiring of our new Milford Assistant Principal Mr. Ryan Conner.
I hope you get a chance to stop by and meet these gentleman. We have been very impressed with them already and we look forward to their contributions to the Wawasee Warrior community.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Here is what I think Mr. Silverman should have said at the beginning of the meeting.
I want to thank everyone for coming tonight to express your interest in the Syracuse License Branch. Before we begin I would like to be open with everyone about why we are here. Last year the Democrats tried to close 44 license branches to save money. To stop it, the Republicans created a law which says the BMV must hold a hearing in every county where they are considering closing a branch. Now we have a Republican Governor who has appointed me to make the BMV more efficient. To do this, I have to close some branches just like the Democrats wanted to do. Now we wish we had never passed this law, but we are now stuck with it. After examining the issue we have found that due to the lease arrangements of various branches, we must close a few branches that on the surface might seem like illogical decisions. Syracuse is one of these. The law requires that we have the hearings, so we are. However, we feel it only fair in the interest of openness and honesty, to tell you that the Syracuse branch is likely to close no matter what is said at this hearing, and while that might seem like a closed case to you, we don't feel that we have any choice. The lease arrangements of each branch are dictating many of these decisions and we feel we should let you know about that right up front. As a part of this hearing I am willing to listen to your opinions for as long as you wish, but as a way of influencing the decisions, the lease arrangements are likely to trump all other arguments. I will stay and discuss it with you as long as you like. I wish it didn't have to be this way, but I see no other way around it at this time.
Then Mr. Silverman should have sat down and listened politely to all comments and stayed until the last person left. He should have refrained from insulting the Syracuse residents by inferring that he "couldn't have an intelligent conversation" with us or by indicating that he thought "we should behave in a certain way."
Unfortunately for Governor Daniels, Mr. Silverman is representing the Governor in 24 public hearings around the state. The way these hearings are going, he isn't doing Governor Daniels any favors. The Indy Star has given the governor rave reviews for his openness, but even party insiders are having trouble seeing it these days. It is clear that many of the governors appointees are not accustomed to public service.
Just my .02.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Her latest post details corrections/changes in the high school registration dates for Wawasee High School.
Please remember to bookmark the site in your favorite files to keep up on high school reminders and commentary from Mrs. Stevens.
I also have included a web link on the side of this page.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Last night the board honored retirees:
Ruthann Angle 27 years
Lynne Beer 28 years
Richard Bender 37 years
Miriam Eberly 27 years
Susie Heath 42 years
Beth Hursh 24 years
Karl Keiper 40 years
Marge Kryder 28 years
Paula Markley 33 years
Phyllis Matz 28 years
Sue Rathke 33 years
TOTALS 347 years
AVG. 31.5 years
They also recognized Milford student, Holly Kolberg for being a state and regional DAR essay winner. Holly moves on to national competition now. The board also recognized WHS student Zac Conley for saving a man's life by utilizing the CPR skills learned in WHS classes.
The board also gave approval to advertise for bus bids and after much discussion, voted 3 to 2 to appoint Pat Hurd has the appointee for the Milford Library Board.
Monday, July 11, 2005
We had a full slate of teams and plenty of door prizes. I will report on the scramble winners later.
The morning group had a 15 under card turned in.
Special thanks goes to Athletic Director Mary Hurley who really knows how to put together an event and take care of all the little details. She did have lots of help though!
Friday, July 01, 2005
Here is a report on the North Judson branch hearing from the South Bend Tribune.
I have two points to make:
The governor has directed his department heads to become "more efficient." While this may be a worthy goal - efficiency is not a societal end goal. Efficiency is a "means to an end" not an end in itself. In other words - what will the government actually do with their savings? Will it be returned to taxpayers? Of course not - it will be in actuality be another transfer of money and services from Kosciusko county to Marion county and elsewhere. What pet projects will be funded instead of your local license branch?
The direction is to be more efficient, but more efficient for WHO?
Thursday, June 30, 2005
The doors will open at 6:00 pm Friday, July 1, 2005. The hearing starts at 7:00 pm.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
On Friday, July 1, 2005 the BMV will hold a public hearing at 7:00 pm at the Wawasee High School Auditorium.
If there are Wawasee patrons who would like to voice their opinion on the proposed closure of the Syracuse license branch, this is the opportunity to exercise a uniquely American privilege - the right to freely express their opinions to their government officials.
The high school will open the doors at 6:00 pm.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
These changes are a response to Mr. Mikel taking the superintendency in Bremen and Mrs. Rathke announcing her retirement.
The board approved the following moves:
The transfer of Jim Garner to Syracuse Elementary due to the retirement of Sue Rathke.
The transfer of Kris Woodard to North Webster Elementary to replace Jim Garner.
The transfer of Joy Swartzentruber to Central Office to replace Russ Mikel.
There will be openings for an assistant principal at Milford and a principal opening at Wawasee Middle School.
We wish to thank Mrs Rathke for her 9 years of dedication to Wawasee Schools and our students. She has done a tremendous job and we wish her luck in her retirement.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
How much should a student's grade reflect their knowledge and skills in the subject area. All of it? Almost all of it?
Or should a teacher give extra credit for trying, for working hard etc?
Or should good behavior be part of the grade?
Or should the grade be strictly an academic issue with behavior and work ethic recorded on a grade card somewhere else?
What SHOULD a grade represent?
Here is an interesting Washington Post article on the issue.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Rachel finished the 3200 meter run this weekend at the Indiana state track finals with a sizzling 10:41 in the championship.
Rachel will continue her track and cross country career with a scholarship at Ohio State University. Go Buckeyes!
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
All high school schedule changes must be completed by June 3. No student initiated schedule changes will be made in August.
Parents with freshmen need to contact guidance to make a study hall change by June 3.
We have promoted this as much as possible. The high school has sent announcements to all newspapers, the radio stations, the sign out front, the blog site, counselors, Planet K-12, in the middle schools, and in announcements at the high school.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Rumors have it that Fairfield and Wawasee are going to consolidate. The newly formed school district will be called....."The Fairasees." It saddens me to say this, so maybe we'll just call ourselves..."The Saddusees."
So there you have it...when Fairfield and Wawasee consolidate we can be called the Fairasees or the Saddusees.
If this makes no sense to you, find a bible scholar near you and ask what's up.
It's not really April 1, but I'm still fooling.!!
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!!! :-)
PS : If you think this is funny then give me credit, if you think this is lame then Jim Evans came up with it!!
Thursday, May 26, 2005
This issue is a good one for looking at the core values at play. (If you are a new reader - look at the two previous posts for the descriptions of the values.)
One value you might consider is Liberty. This view might say parents and children have the right to make these individual decisions. No government or government organization ought to be able to deny personal choices as simple as "pop" from someone! The opposing argument is that the courts have always held the "en loco parentis" view which means "in the absence of parents" schools have the right to make some of these decisions on behalf of parents. In other words, it IS in the schools rights to make simple decisions like this since they are in charge of the students when the parents have sent them to school. When the schools decisions appear to conflict with a majority of the community, it usually results in changes in school policy to reflect community views.
Another value is Prosperity. Those who give weight to this value are saying that the profit from the pop sales is put into the student activity fund and is used to buy academic prizes and other awards for students. This benefit return to students is worthy. Besides, say the proponents of pop machines, many of those students go straight home from school and have pop and a cookie after school anyway. The students may as well reap the benefits of all the academic prizes and awards purchased with the pop money. All schools put the student pop money into activity funds to return to students.
Another value at play is Community. This value is the one most quoted by opponents of pop machines at school. The community will benefit from healthy choices, healthy students and the overall community good. This is a long-term view but to some, this outweighs any other benefit. Therefore, any individual benefit of the student or liberty value regarding student choices, is trumped by a perceived societal good from removal of pop machines at school.
So how do these issues and conflicts get resolved in a political democracy? Compromises are reached that try to satisfy as many values as possible. For example, the schools may choose to only turn on the machines after school for athletes and extra-curricular events. They are turned off at lunch so as not to compete with more healthy alternatives. Also, many of the machines are replaced with milk or other healthier choices.
So what is right? When the issues are not absolute moral and ethical issues, the best decision is usually viewed as the one that satisfies the most values and hence the most people.
Last one of the week.
How do you feel about schools adopting curriculums for almost all students that are driven by private business interests? A current example in Indiana is the business community at the state level is pushing the CORE 40 curriculum to be the standard high school program. This tends to limit high school courses to college preparatory classes and discourages students from taking more elective classes.
Good idea or bad idea?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Here's the quick review.
All issues that schools face are essentially a tug-of-war between four terminal values.
1. Liberty - freedom, right to choose, privacy, individuality
2. Equality - equity, fairness, justice, tolerance, a level playing field
3. Community- sense of belonging, unity, togetherness, safety, security, social and moral order
4. Prosperity- value, profit, benefit, efficiency, return on investment, standard of living
If a school community was debating whether or not to add more courses or programs at a school, the values at odds with one another would be liberty and prosperity. The decision to add more individual course selections and choices for more students must be weighed against the costs to other programs or in some states the board might have to consider tax increases in order to provide a more expansive program. How you feel about adding the new courses depends on the context of the situation. How much will it cost? Is it worth it? Is it only my kid it concerns? Do I consider all kids or only MY grandkids? How much weight do I put on individual choices versus the cost to provide them? Liberty vs. Prosperity
Here's one for tomorrow.
How do you feel about selling pop and soft drinks in schools?
What values are at odds with one another?
Monday, May 23, 2005
All issues that schools face are essentially a tug-of-war between four terminal values.
1. Liberty - freedom, right to choose, privacy, individuality
2. Equality - equity, fairness, justice, tolerance, a level playing field
3. Community- sense of belonging, unity, togetherness, safety, security, social and moral order
4. Prosperity- value, profit, benefit, efficiency, return on investment, standard of living
Here are a few key points about these values:
1. No problem can be solved with only one value.
2. No value is always better.
3. We don't always choose the same value.
4. Decisions have to be made in context.
To see how this works, let's take a look at a common public school debate - school uniforms for students. Gary Schools recently passed a board policy requiring school uniforms.
There are three values involved in this issue; liberty, equality and community. If you clicked on the link and read the Gary article, you could probably identify the values the Gary school board utilized in making their decisions.
See the tug-of-war between liberty and equality? The more individual freedom you provide the more unequal things get. When you have no clothing rules, you are liable to get anything up to and including - no clothing! Throw in the sense of community and you will see that the Gary board is trying to provide a greater sense of community and equality by not allowing individual freedom of choice for student clothing. These values are inherently at odds with one another. If you lean towards more of one, than you must lean away from the other value on that issue.
Which is right? There is no one answer that is right for each community.
And that my friends - is the major reason why schools find change difficult. These values operate by-and-large, under the surface. Most people are not aware of their own position on these values. They just know what they think and that they are right. Then people take sides on the simple issue at hand, without examining why they think like they do.
This makes change difficult.
For the next few days I will present several common school issues that often divide communities. The next day I will post a few observations about the issue. See if you can identify the values tugging at you.
Here is tomorrow's school issue:
How do you feel about more choices in courses and programs at each school?
Tomorrow I will post a few observations about this issue.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Here's an article from Sunday's Journal Gazette.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Last night at Wawasee Middle School, Mrs. Pat Mikel hosted an open house showcasing the projects of the Gifted and Talented students. Think about it for a minute, the students were originally placed there due to their high test scores, yet the rich array of products and performances exhibited went way beyond what can be revealed by a limited test score. They wrote and performed plays, wrote books, conducted research, did oral reports and demonstrated products they had created.
Recently Newsweek magazine put out a list of the best school's in the nation. This article looks into the methods Newsweek used to rank schools. Hint, the wonderful richness and depth of thinking exhibited by our talented students last night would not have been known or revealed by a lone standardized test score.
They are important, but they don't tell the whole story.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Student Schedules ready at Wawasee High School
Students will be receiving their schedules for next year beginning May 20. Freshmen may make changes to their schedules between May 20 and June 3. Freshmen will receive their schedules at their respective middle schools. If the freshmen parents choose, they may request a one trimester study hall for their freshmen student by contacting their high school guidance counselor. Contact Ruth Angle, ext. 203 for names from A to G; Judy Preheim, ext. 201 H-Q; and Steve Hunsberger, R-Z. The guidance office phone number is 457-3147, ext. 220.
All schedule changes now will need to be made with the high school counselors.
Incoming freshmen and parents, please check schedules carefully. This is a copy of the tentative schedule for 2005-06. Schedules should be checked to verify the courses or alternative courses chosen, and for balance of classes. Your final schedule will be ready on August 11 at the Freshmen Orientation.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors may try to make schedule changes to change one class for another, however, classes are quite full at this point.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Last night at the Bremen school board meeting, Mr. Mikel was approved as the new Superintendent of Schools.
Mr. Mikel has been a principal and Assistant Superintendent for WCSC in charge of Curriculum and Instruction. He has been instrumental in overseeing the recent Writer's Workshop initiative as well as working with the Reading and Math coaches responsible for helping our schools with Accelerated Reading and Accelerated Math. He wrote all grants and grant budgets and organized all textbook adoption processes and textbook rental. He also served as expulsion officer and helped oversee the Alternative to Suspension and Expulsion program, plus many other things too numerous to list.
We wish him luck in his next assignment. I've truly enjoyed his quiet sense of humor and his ability to get things done. He will be missed.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Here is an article about a few more AZ high schools jumping into it.
While I am not real familiar with this particular curriculum yet, it definitely sounds like a more expansive curriculum than what most AP classes currently offer.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
A majority of high school students in the USA spend three hours or less a week preparing for classes yet still manage to get good grades, according to a study being released today by researchers who surveyed more than 90,000 high school students in 26 states.
The survey was done at Indiana University.
Friday, May 13, 2005
Here is a story about a substitute biology teacher that did vivisection on a living dog in class.
Some parents objected to it even though the dog was scheduled for euthanization.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Academic Super Bowl Teams at State Finals
Social Studies Team - 4th place
Science Team - 2nd place
Interdisciplinary Team - 2nd place
Future Farmers of America (FFA) Teams at National Finals
National Soils Contest - Eastern Regional National Champions - 3rd place overall
Congratulations to all team members and coaches who helped prepare them.
You represent us well!!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Lightening struck a utility pool behind the high school which knocked out part of the high school's electrical system. Right before lunch of course. Then a motor in the boiler room overheated causing a small electrical fire. The head custodian put it out immediately but we called the fire department anyway to make sure that it didn't start again. Meanwhile REMC was trying to find the problem. They switched all the power off for about 20 minutes to repair it, so we evacuated the building for awhile so students and staff didn't have to sit in the dark.
Everything was back to normal by 1:00 PM.
Another day at the office.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Evidently, a majority of Americans are not quite ready to take the word "public" out of public schools.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Monday, May 02, 2005
Here is a school district that has had to start charging a fee for extra-curricular transportation of athletes.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
The ugly truth is that our patrons are likely to receive even less money for their local students, but pay more for it while the state pays less.
Here is one of the first news articles to acknowledge it.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Or, is it the other way around?
It looks like the budget bill will pass without the additional taxes such as cigarettes, gambling etc. This allows the legislators who pledged "no new taxes" to mislead the public by saying they didn't vote to raise taxes.
Here is the big lie.
What they have actually done is to shift the responsibility to pay for school expenses over to local property taxes. With the states plan to cap property tax replacement credit - it means any new expenses in the future will also be passed along to the local property tax payer.
The bottom line is simple. Wawasee schools will probably receive LESS money than last year AND the local property tax payer will have their taxes increased. State officials will brag and say they kept their promise not to raise taxes.
It will NOT be true.
Here is a press release that explains more of it in detail if you are interested.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The plan has met with mixed reactions.
Monday, April 25, 2005
A Counselor at a school substituted the words "under your belief system" for "under God" while leading the school pledge and has now become a national story.
Everything we do and say is 15 minutes from "live on CNN."
Bill Gates calls it, "living the documented life."
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Read the article here.
Here is a little background. The K-12 Efficiency report referred to in the article never mentions the author or documents the background of the report. This report was authored by a small group of people lead by Governor Daniels' educational policy advisor David Shane. Mr. Shane's only educational experience is that of being chief negotiator for IPS many years ago. Not exactly an expert on efficiency.
Speaking of Mr. Shane, when was the last time you read Dr. SueEllen Reed's name in the paper? Dr. Reed is the Superintendent of Public Instruction and had 8,000 more votes than Mitch Daniels and was the number one Republican vote-getter in Indiana. Where is she? The governor and his team has taken the number one vote-getter in Indiana and banished her to the bench. David Shane is now the educational policy advisor and he is not even an elected official. Dr. Reed can hardly get an appointment with the Governor. So much for more open and ethical government that was promised.
David Shane also worked at the Hudson Institute when Mitch Daniels was there. When the Hudson Institute was putting out white papers critical of education, Mr. Shane was behind it.
I have a copy of the K-12 Efficiency report and also copies of rebuttals to the slanted, biased view of Mr. Shane. This report is nothing more than an opinion piece full of misleading information. It is not research. It is a collection of carefully chosen numbers and opinions that is being used to shape public opinion.
Mr. Shane is behind the scenes pushing the Governor's anti-public school agenda.
And that...my friends...you won't read in the newspaper.
Friday, April 22, 2005
The question was, "Why don't we utilize the school corporation's cash balance or the Rainy Day Fund? It's at least sprinkling isn't it?"
In addition to a being a great metaphor, it is also a good question.
It is true, the school corporation is in good financial shape as far as having a Rainy Day Fund reserve. The problem is that a Rainy Day Fund reserve should be used a last resort. In other words, it should be used when it is pouring and not just sprinkling. One of the problems that created the state deficit is that Indiana has been raiding THEIR Rainy Day Funds over the years to pay for programs. Now they have a problem. They cut taxes in the past, which may be a good thing, but there is a cost for that and now we are paying for it.
If we make small adjustments when we are able, we reduce the risk of having to make large RIF's later. Think of it as steering your car. Small incremental changes keep the car tracking straight. If you hold the steering wheel too tight to it's current course and do not make smaller adjustments, you will need to make a more severe change in course at the last minute to avoid a crash. In the end, this is more disruptive. Even the small changes are emotionally draining for those most affected. This is even more reason why small changes should be made whenever possible.
Wawasee has been making small adjustments over the last 5 years. These have been somewhat imperceptible to most people. This year is the largest and most visible of our personnel cuts. If we had done nothing over the last 5 years, we would be looking at changes on a very large scale this year.
While we could swallow the loss without RIFing this year, our fear is that this is may just be the beginning of issues that affect public education. Ten years ago I went to every school in our district and talked about the future of public education and the impact of privatization, vouchers, and tax credits on public schools. The time has come.
We may not see the effects of these issues in a dramatic way here in Wawasee immediately, but I guarantee you that the state fiscal impact of vouchers, tax credits and privatization will impact our schools.
This explains why I feel we should protect the Rainy Day Fund a little longer.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The following Wawasee High School superbowl teams qualified for state competition:
Math missed the cut by 2 places.
Interdisciplinary was first place in our class statewide.
Congratulations Warriors and Super Bowl coaches!!
Interdisciplinary Team - 1st place
Math Team - 1st place
Social Studies Team - 1st place
Science Team - 2nd place
Fine Arts Team - 2nd place
English Team - 3rd place
Wawasee placed in every category and hopes to be at Purdue University on Saturday, May 7th.
Go for the Gold. Go Warriors.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
What are the fiscal challenges that Indiana public schools are facing?
Dealing with constant unfunded mandates
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) - federal law requiring changes in school accountability
Public Law 221 - state law requiring changes in school accountability
Core 40 - requiring high school curriculum changes
Rising ISTEP cut scores -more remediation, focus on standards
Recent increase in high school graduation requirements
Cost shifts from state and federal to local taxpayer
Teacher' Retirement Fund payments shifted from state to local
FICA costs shifted from state to local
Federal mandates for disabled (promised 40% funding -it is now up to 18%)
Payment delays from the state -requires schools to borrow millions to be able to pay bills
Increased health care costs
Rising utility rates
Increases in liability insurance
What has been done in the past to control costs?
Certified teaching reductions by attrition
Reduction-in-Force (RIF) two years ago
One secretarial position WMS
Hot Lunch Director Position
One-half secretarial position CO
Cost of one-half bookkeeper CO
Reduced Transportation Secretary from year-round to school year and absorbed summer responsibilities in CO
What are we doing currently to control increasing costs?
Climate control and energy savings
Close high school pool
Staff development cost shifts
Gifted and Talented Program para
Pay for special ed. prof. dev. from fed. funds
Reimbursement to General Fund for special education copy costs
Eliminate non-profit donations
Are you looking at extra-curricular positions?
We have left numerous extra-curricular positions unfilled in the last several years, most of them smaller stipends for clubs and activities without high demand, and some assistant coaching positions.
We plan on leaving some additional extra-curricular positions unfilled for next year.
What about administrative costs?
Unlike many school districts, Wawasee does not have mid-level administrative positions, funded by the General Fund, that can be eliminated or combined. However, I will be recommending a freeze on all administrative wages.
What personnel cuts are being recommended to control costs?
WHS 1 Math, 1 Science, 1 English
WMS 1 Aquatics, 1 Eighth Grade
NW 1 First Grade
ELEM 1 PE teacher (5 minutes per class reduction)
Who is most affected by these proposed changes?
There are four individuals who have been notified that there is a possibility of a lay-off. This could affect two high school teachers and two PE teachers. We are hopeful that this will not be necessary. However, to meet the deadlines in state law we must notify people that could be affected.
Programs for children should not be negatively affected in a major way by these recommendations. Most of these cuts are due to retirements, student enrollment patterns and shifts in personnel. HOWEVER, if implemented, these changes will take our current program to the leanest levels in some time, including a slight increase in some class sizes.
But, it does leave our fine arts programs unaffected and our academic and athletic programs lean but intact. From this point forward, any further reductions in future years, forced on us by this state legislature, WILL result in reductions and/or elimination of actual programs. I make these recommendations because I believe that our community is generally supportive of our current programs and does not wish to see an entire program eliminated. These recommendations are designed to maintain our current programming. If the state does not correct current state budget formula inequities, this may not be possible in future years.
It will not be necessary for the board to vote on these recommendations Tuesday evening. There is still time for staffing changes due to job changes, relocation, and retirements. We are hopeful that we will still be able to keep individuals who have received a preliminary notice.
I would like to thank the staff and community for their patience and support.
If you have never written or e-mailed your legislator before, there will never be a better time.