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.

Blog Rules

Comments should be respectful and pertain to the topic posted. Comments about personnel matters should be made directly to the administrators responsible. Blog moderators reserve the right to remove any comment determined not in keeping with these guidelines.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Have a safe break and a Merry Christmas!

Everyone be careful and have fun, whether you stay home or travel.

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

New Features

Time, Temperature and Weather:
You will notice the time and temperature flashing up in the corner of the screen. Clicking on this link will take you to for full weather forecasts for this area.

Banner Ads:
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 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.

Thursday - On Regular Schedule

Main roads are good, secondary roads are fair with some snowy spots still melting. Tertiary roads are still snow covered but things are melting and salt trucks are out. There must have been more ice over by Fort Wayne or else ours started melting earlier.

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

Board Meeting Summary

Here is a brief summary of the school board meeting held Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 7:00 pm.

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

Making Laws

Here is a link that shows the current list of laws that will be under consideration by the Indiana General Assembly.

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

Snow Make-Up Day

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend in the winter wonderland.

Now the bad news. The snow-makeup day will be Friday, February 17th, 2006.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mandate Mania

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette today ran an editorial on the burdens facing public schools.

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

Friday's Funnies (School cancelled)

For those who slept in - school is cancelled for Friday, December 9.

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.)

By Teacher
Paula Markley

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!"

By Parent
Dana Brandt

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."

By Teacher
Valery Ahrens

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.

School Cancelled for Friday

School is cancelled for Friday, December 9.

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.

2 Hour Delay for Friday

Wawasee will start on a two-hour delay for Friday , December 9.

If there is a decision to cancel it will be made prior to 8:00 am.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Miscellaneous reminders

Just a reminder that you can get your information on snow delays and cancellations first here on The Wawascene.

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

These are kids - not numbers!

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

Graphing the Student's Progress

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is the graph showing how Wawasee students did on the latest ISTEP+ test . (Hint - if you click on the little diagram of the sheet of paper with the arrow turning located at the end of the toolbar, it will rotate the graph so you can see it right side up.)

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

Wawasee students continue to make gains!

ISTEP+ scores have just arrived. Here is a quick overview based on our first glance. Tomorrow we will post the graphs and explain the impact on children.

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: Let it go, Let it go, Let it go!

As we enter the home stretch before the holidays, remember that what matters most in life cannot be bought.

"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

The hit meter rises again!

Thank you to Wawasee patrons for staying in touch with your school district and passing the word along regarding The Wawascene blogging phenomenon. We continue to get e-mails and contacts from people who are regular readers who do not even have students in our schools.

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.

Friday's Funnies

Here is a cute Kindergarten story submitted by Syracuse Elementary teacher Deborah Nelson.

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

"10 Moral Concerns of No Child Left Behind"

The National Council of Churches has released a position statement that comes from a subcommittee of the organization.

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.