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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Local Control: A thing of the past?

Not too long ago Wawasee had a board seat open between elections. During the board interviews a candidate asked the current school board members, "What do you know now, that you wish you had known when you ran for board election?"

What a great question. I think all four board members agreed that they didn't realize how much of what schools must do is controlled by the state and federal government.

Now along comes Governor Daniel's, "Driving Money to the Classroom" initiative. It really isn't Mitch's idea, as the concept is being pushed in many states across the nation. The concept is deceivingly simple. Who could be against spending more money on instruction? Unfortunately, careful reading of the details reveals a continuation of a very troublesome trend. What little local control has been in place is being systematically shifted to the state level.

The Journal Gazette discusses the bill. Click here. At the bottom of the page the Gazette links you to the actual bills.

If you have an opinion on the bill, click on the "Write your legislator link" on the sidebar and send your state representatives an e-mail.

Monday, January 30, 2006

In memory of fallen soldier Todd Fiscus

We have received word that Todd Fiscus, husband of Milford Middle School teacher Mrs. Paula Fiscus, will be honored on the Tuesday CBS Evening News as the Fallen Soldier of the Day.

Under the weight of it all....

IHSAA proposes "multiplier" for private schools in athletic classes

Studying the state championships for athletic teams in Indiana is generally understood to be a "who's - who" of Catholic education.

The Indy Star reported recently on a new IHSAA proposal to implement a "multiplier" that would move a Catholic or private school up a class in athletic competition. This presumably is an attempt to "level the playing field" against schools that recruit.

When Wawasee went to the dome and lost to the Catholic school, Indianapolis Roncalli in the state championship, it was clear to most that their ability to recruit helped them land quite a few Division I athletes. Of course with a break here or there we could have still been in that game. Yet it was obvious to even untrained observers that the Roncalli recruitment efforts had resulted in a team with a lot of "speed" which Coach Rietveld has long touted as a key ingredient to football success.

Here is a link to the article.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Funnies

A four year old was at the pediatrician for a check up. As the doctor looked down her ears with an scope, he asked, Do you think I'll find Big Bird in here? The little girl stayed silent. Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down her throat. He asked, Do you think I'll find the Cookie Monster down there? Again, the little girl was silent. Then the doctor put a stethoscope to her chest. As he listened to her heart beat, he asked, Do you think I'll hear Barney in there? Oh, no! the little girl replied. Jesus is in my heart. Barney's on my underpants.

I teach various high school math subjects. This particular morning, I had my Geometry class discussing ways to prove triangles congruent. There was a student on the front row who was struggling with the topic. He decided that he had had enough geometry for the day and put his head down on the desk. I asked him to sit up and pay attention.
He lifts his head and proceeds to lash out about how stupid math is, how math is boring is, how he will never use this after high school, etc. Then he looks at me and says, "No one will ever use this stuff. Do you use math in your job?"
There was a second of silence, then a student in the back called out,"He's a math teacher, you idiot!" After the laughter died down, we managed to get back to the triangles, but the young man in the front didn't say much the rest of the class.

This one I found from a UK teacher website:

An elementary private school teacher was putting on the annual Nativity scene with her class and unfortunately poor Virgin Mary went off sick on the day of the drama performance. Another child offered immediately to take her place.
She went on stage and looked down at baby Jesus in the manger.
This aspiring young actress then ad libbed in a real north east accent:
" Ken 'is, he's richt lik' ees dad!"

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wawasee Schools are Now Closed Wednesday

Wawasee has changed the delay to cancellation.

Many county roads remain unsalted and sanded. We had hoped that the delay would allow them enough time to reach all the main roads

School is closed.

Two-hour delay Wednesday

Wawasee will be on a two-hour delay for Wednesday the 25th.

Icy, slippery road conditions make it hazardous where there isn't sand or salt.

NOTE: Dr. Stock's presentations on Using Classroom Data Tools will go on as scheduled at Oakwood Inn starting at 8:00 AM in Conference Rooms 1 and 2 at the Inn.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Citizen's Guide to the Legislature

The Indy Star has given a review of many of the main pieces of legislation working their way through the Indiana General Assembly at this time.

Click here for the run-down.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Text-messaging: I don't get it.

I will admit it. I haven't quite figured out the new generation's fascination with text-messaging. Listening to my 21 year-old daughter's cell phone beep and knowing that she just paid $.07 to read the message "Whassup?" or it's equivalent, seems silly to me.

However, the NY Times says this is what's behind it:

This may be the universal attraction of text-messaging, in fact: it's a kind of avoidance mechanism that preserves the feeling of communication - the immediacy - without, for the most part, the burden of actual intimacy or substance.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Self-discipline trumps smarts for success in life

Here is a good dose of common sense for once.

Researchers say that "self-discipline" is a better predictor for success in life than "smarts."

Click here for Washington Post article.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday's Funnies

I passed out a snack to a class of kindergartners. One young man looked up at me and told me that he wanted to share his cookie. (He had licked, smeared and slobbered it all over his face.) I told him no thank you, and explained that I had gained weight over the winter break and needed to be careful about eating snacks. He looked at me and I could tell his little mind was thinking. I started to feel bad and decided I WOULD choke down the cookie somehow! But then he said, "Teacher, its ok, really, I think you look the same fatness!"

A fifth grade class was in the media center for a dictionary/thesaurus lesson. As I went over the vocabulary words to be used in the assignment, two boys immediately jumped up and began strutting around when I said the word “haughty.” “That’s me!” each one proudly proclaimed. Seems they got “hottie” and “haughty” a little confused. Their classmates (and teachers) had a good chuckle over that.
Teresa Kent

True story - Kindergarten teacher comes to me in the office, and said a parent called her and said she's sure glad I was back from the illness and hoped there would be no more. Her daughter had come home after a day or two with the teacher replacement and told mom she had a "prostitute" teacher while Miss Kern was away.
Ronald Helmer ~ Saginaw Michigan

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What time is it?

What a fiasco!

Click here to find out what time it might be somewhere in Indiana, depending on what time of year it is and what time zone you might be in.

Oh well, at least the economy will REALLY take off now!

74 Eastern
18 Central

But who's keeping score!

Wake me up when it's over. Whoops, what time should I set my alarm for! :-)

Two hour delay Wednesday

There will be a two-hour delay.

Icy roads everywhere. No county salt trucks out.

Drive careful.

Click here for the animated version.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More rankings for Indiana

Yesterday I posted some of the good news about Indiana's rankings. Today we will list the areas we could improve as a state.

Early Childhood Education

Indiana ranks....
39th out of 50 states and DC on participation of 3 year-olds in pre-kindergarten
48th out of 50 states and DC on participation of 4 year-olds in pre-kindergarten

High School to College Pipeline

Indiana ranks....
28th in high school graduation rates
49th out of 50 states on high school readiness for college

Now for the good news regarding college....

Indiana ranked....
16th out of 50 states on the college enrollment rate of high school graduates
19th out of 50 states on their college graduation rate of enrollees

Who can explain this anamoly? We are next to last in high school graduates prepared for college, but we are 19th in graduating those who enroll!


Monday, January 16, 2006

Things you won't read in a statehouse news release!

America is obsessed with rankings and ratings. I suppose it is our sports-mad culture that is the culprit.

In any case, here are some statistics you won't read in a statehouse news release. Mostly because they are generally positive, and that's not the agenda these days.

Click here if you wish to read the actual pdf document on Indiana or any document from any state in the US.

NAEP report card: (1=best, 51 = worst)

Indiana is....
16th out of 50 states and DC in 4th grade reading
15th out of 50 states and DC in 4th grade math
23rd out of 50 states and DC in 8th grade reading
20th out of 50 states and DC in 8th grade math

Achievement Gap: (1=best, 51=worst)

Indiana is....
20th out of 50 states and DC in reading gap between poor 4th graders and affluent 4th graders
20th out of 50 states and DC in reading gap between white and African-American 4th graders
3rd out of 50 states and DC in reading gap between white and Latino 4th graders

Certification of Secondary Teachers in Core Academic Areas (1=best, 51=worst)

Indiana is....
2nd out of 50 states and DC in % of secondary school classes in core academic subjects taught by qualified instructors

Tomorrow: Where Indiana could improve,

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday's Funnies

A little preschooler got on the bus one day and told the bus helper not to help her with her backpack because she had her show and tell in there. So the bus helper just shrugged and buckled the little girl into her seat belt. They heard a loud screech! The girl had her CAT in the backpack!
Amy Lindsey

One hot summer day the principal was wearing a golf shirt for the day when a bee buzzed into the open collar of his shirt. He immediately tore out his shirt tail and danced around till the bee flew out. He ran to the restroom and dropped his drawers to tuck his shirt tail in. A little boy stepped into the restroom with his mouth agape. The principal smiled and said, "Haven't you ever seen anyone tuck their shirt in before?" To which the little boy said, "Yeah but I never thought about principals wearing underwear before!"
Jeff Neumannn, Warsaw, IN

I was doing a Character Counts lesson on cooperation. I asked my kindergarteners if anyone could tell me what cooperation means. A little girl raised her hand and said, "Someone in my family had a cooperation and died!"
Vicki Wells, Stuart, FL

A mother was teaching her 3 year old daughter the Lord's prayer. For several evenings at bedtime she repeated it after her mother. One night she said she was ready to solo. The mother listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word right up to the end "Lead us not into temptation" she prayed, "but deliver us some E-mail, Amen."
Readers' Digest

I was trying to hook up a laser disc player and was having a heck of a time getting it connected to the TV and VCR. I asked the kids to sit still for a minute and give me a second to fiddle. When I asked them if they knew what fiddle meant, Kelsey stood up and said, "You know...she has to go to the bathroom."
Chris Gulotta, Tallahassee, FL

Don't forget to click on the "Doc Stock" link on the sidebar and e-mail your funny school stories.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Spring ISTEP anyone?

A bill requiring ISTEP testing to move to the Spring has advanced forward in the Indiana legislature.

I'll admit, testing students at the end of the school year seems logical to most people. Aren't most tests given at the end of the instruction? Well, it depends on whether the goal is to rank and rate schools or whether the goal is to help students learn? Let me put it in medical terms. They can't decide whether to give the patient an autopsy or a diagnostic exam.

Currently the fall tests are supposed to help staff make adjustments and reteach students who have problems on the tests. The problem is the results are so slow returning that very little remediation is really done on the basis of the results.

I would like to see a relatively short computerized assessment given in the fall, accompanied by another assessment in the spring to assess growth. This could be combined with a state requirement for each school district to have it's own writing assessment program in place. This would spare much of the expense of hiring state wide readers to handle the scoring.

The diagnostic test is given in the fall, and the autopsy (excuse the gruesome metaphor) is given in the spring. The writing samples can be handled internally based on statewide criteria.

After having said all that, my chief wish is that they would quit using us for a political football and allow our teachers time to adjust to all the changes.

My .02

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Building your baby's brain - one connection at a time!

Did you know that between the sixth week and fifth month of a mother's pregnancy, the baby's brain grows about 100 billion cells? Some of these cells are connected at birth, but most are not.

During the first five years of life (and afterwards too but a lot slower) the child's brain is hard at work connecting all those brain cells. By the age of three the child has all the connections it will ever need. From age three on the brain actually gets rid of connections it doesn't need or use! Do you see why the window of opportunity is so important?

I am asking a favor from every person who reads this post.

I am asking all of you to skim through this list , and choose one activity. Please think of someone you know that is under 5 years of age do one of these simple activities with them OR e-mail this to someone you love and ask them to do it FOR you.

Then, last but not least, please return to this forum and under the comment section leave a very short sentence telling us how you "connected" with your child, grandchild, niece, nephew or neighbor.

Tell everyone you know about this and let's see if we can generate some community "buzz" for the Dekko Foundations Before5 program.

Here are additional links provided by the Dekko foundation on child development.

Every day for a week or so I will bring this post back to the top to draw attention to it. Let's see if we can get a few hundred posts up by next weekend.

Our children deserve the best we can give them.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sharon M. Wright 1953 - 2006

Syracuse Elementary teacher, Sharon M. Wright, age 52, passed away last week in her residence after losing a battle with leukemia. She was born to Harry G. and Catherine M. Fackler and was a lifetime area resident. She graduated from Fairfield High School in 1971, Goshen College in 1977 and received her Master's Degree from Ball State University. She most recently taught Kindergarten and Reading Recovery.

A memorial service was held today at 1:00 pm at the Syracuse Church of the Brethren. Her complete obituary can be viewed here.

All who knew Sharon will tell you she was a kind, gentle person with a caring spirit and a winning smile. Her husband told me today that she never gave up, and five days before she passed away she still knew she would return to her classroom and to her colleagues. It was not to be.

She is survived by her husband Jay T. and daughter Sarah Marie Wright and son Timothy John Wright .

To send condolences to the family in Mrs Wright's memory please visit

A special thanks also goes out to all the many parents, volunteers, and teachers from North Webster and Milford who volunteered to teach at Syracuse this afternoon so the Syracuse staff could attend the services.

We truly appreciate the "pitch in" effort that continues to be a big part of the Wawasee family.

Shanna Zolman Fanatics / Tennessee Fans

For all you Zolman fans and Tennessee watchers, it seems some of you threw objects around the house when the TV network left the Tennessee game with 2 minutes left.

This is passed along by blog reader Mark Grady:

WSBT TV-22 did not cut away from the Tennessee game as a local decision. The cut-away was a network decision (as was the one last year when they left coverage of Purdue). The CBS viewer opinion number is 212-975-3247. The network contact info is: CBS Television Network 51 West 52nd ST New York, NY 10019

Pity the recipients of a complaint call from a rabid Tennessee Zolman fan!! :-)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday's Funnies

Every Friday we run comical stories about school children. Here are this week's selections. Remember to e-mail in those from the local area by clicking on the "Doc Stock" e-mail link on the sidebar.

At Math time, I told the kids that we were going to talk about Even and Odd. One boy yelled out- "I know that story. It's in the Bible! " After I quit laughing, I said- "I think you mean Adam and Eve. "Chris Minch ~ Stuart, FL

A kindergarten student at my school was sent to the office for saying a rather naughty word in the cafeteria. I talked to him about using other words to say when he was angry. We practiced "shucks", "darn", "rats", etc. I told him my favorite word was "dag nab it!". He said he liked that one, we high- fived each other and I went off feeling like I helped him. I later walked back in the office to find him still sitting there. He jumped off his stool, ran up to me and yelled "DAMN RABBITS!!" while grinning ear to ear!Mary SlavinStuart, FL

I was wearing a long, colorful skirt made out of that broomstick material when I was trying to explain the word "brag" to my First Graders. I was pretending to brag about being the fastest runner in the whole class. I was going on and on when a little boy raised his hand and said, "You can't run fast wearing that CURTAIN!"Chris Minch~Stuart, FL

A school teacher injured his back and had to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. It fit under his shirt and was not noticeable at all. On the first day of the term, still with the cast under his shirt, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in school. Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window as wide as possible and then busied himself with desk work. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took the desk stapler and stapled the tie to his chest. He had no trouble with discipline that term.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Indiana Democrats discuss full day kindergarten

Indiana Democrats are proposing full day kindergarten. Click here for a news release.

With the increase in curriculum expectations and the number of parents working, more and more people are finding the half-day kindergarten arrangement to be difficult.

Probability for success? Not very good until the economy improves.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Why is the solution to everything... "Make a New Law?"

Here is a link that shows a proposed law for Indiana to outlaw air guns on school property.

It's not a great idea to have air guns at school, but why does every solution have to be "make a law" against it? I would think the 3-inch thick Indiana School Law Book on my desk that is 1,370 pages long, would be enough.

Current laws against vandalism, threats, intimidation, and bullying should be sufficient to cover most problems like this.

No point in making a criminal out of a student who forgot his brother's BB gun was under the back seat of his locked car. The problem is not the air gun. The problem is when the object is used inappropriately and we already have laws governing inappropirate behaviors.

Currently "air guitars" at school are more of a distraction than air guns. :-)

Current society's solution to every perceptible concern seems to be to try and outlaw it.

Just my .02

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Snow Make-Up Day Announcement

Wawasee's snow cancellation day will be made up on Friday, February 17, 2006. The next available snow make-up day is Monday, February 20, 2006. That day is still open so let's hope we don't need it. Please be aware of these days as you plan ahead on your calendars!

Have a good day.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Buckeyes 34 - Notre Dame 20


I told you Joy S.

Welcome Back!

Welcome back everyone.

Some have asked questions about why we have school today when it is a holiday. No real philosophical answers to give you. That's just the calendar the majority approved.

The calendar committee approved the calendar well over a year ago so I am sure they weren't thinking about bowl games, festivities and holidays when they put the options out.

I am sure everyone will be clearing out to get home and watch the Fiesta Bowl.

GO Buckeyes! :-)

I have to say that since my sister is an OSU grad!