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, February 28, 2006

K12 Planet Down Again

For those parents who have tried to use the parent internet connection to check on your children's grades, we apologize for the poor service especially at trimester grade time.

We received the following message from the software company:

Due to an error in the database used by K12Planet, service is currently unavailable. Chancery is working to correct the problem as quickly as possible. At this time, we do not have a specific time when service will be restored. Our expectation is that we'll require an additional 48-72 hours to correct the problem.

We understand the impact that a disruption in service has to teachers, parents, students, and administrators. Our team is committed to providing you with the most secure, reliable, and available service. We appreciate your continued patience.

Kim Whibbs Support Analyst Chancery Software

Go Warriors - Win Sectional

Stop by tonight. The Warriors play Lakeland tonight at the Northwood Sectional.

Go Warriors!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Indy Star - HS recruiting on the rise

This news article from the Star says high school recruiting is on the rise.

As more and more private schools recruit, middle school students are getting invitations in the mail to attend various high schools. If the legislature allows public school choice it could lead to widespread "recruitment" of students, especially athletes.

I am not opposed to public school choice but I am not sure I like the idea of overt high school recruitment of students.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Team manager with autism - suits up - scores 20!

Uplifting story right here.

Right when you think America's sports mad culture goes too far, a coach steps up and rewards an autistic student's hard work and dedication as team manager and lets him suit up for a game.

Who would have thought he would shoot the lights out of the gym!

Friday's Funny

By Andy
from PA

I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second-grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and experience a little public speaking. And it gives me a break and some guaranteed entertainment. Usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater. She holds up a snapshot of an infant.

"This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday. First, Mommy and Daddy made him as a symbol of their love, and then Daddy put a seed in my mother's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord."

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had a video camera rolling. The kids are watching her in total amazement. "Then, about two Saturdays ago, my mother starts going, 'Oh, oh, oh!'" Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. "She walked around the house for, like an hour, "Oh, oh, oh!'" Now the kid is doing this hysterical duck-walk, holding her back and groaning. "My father called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my mother to lie down in bed like this." Erica lies down with her back against the wall.
"And then, pop! My mother had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!"

"Then the middle wife starts going push, push, and breathe, breathe. They start counting, but they never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother . He was covered in yucky stuff they said was from the play-center, so there must be a lot of stuff inside there."
Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, if it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder - just in case another Erica comes along.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Slippery Slope?

Florida has approved teacher pay and bonuses based upon standardized test scores. Article here.

Most people know I have no problems with the limited use of standardized testing to evaluate changes in student performance patterns in a school district. But I limit their use to trying to decide if our teaching interventions are changing the patterns of student achievement. I think tying employee pay directly to these results may prove to be a slippery slope.

Why? In all social science research, isolating the independent variables that affect student learning is very problematic. It would be hard to implement such a plan fairly and consistently across the state. Denver, CO had a plan that was based more on teachers accomplishing various training programs and skill sets. That sounds like it would be a little fairer.

Just my .02.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Carnival of Education Week 55

Take a stroll down the midway of the Carnival of Education. It's a who's who of the Educational Blogosphere. Click here or click on the link on the side bar called The Education Wonks to sample a variety of offerings from teachers who blog and other bloggers who submit their posts to Ed Wonks.

Enjoy the weather and sunshine this afternoon/evening. What a beautiful day! Sometimes I forget what the sun looks like.

Teacher shortage looming across America?

From the Des Moines Register:
Fewer people are choosing teaching as a profession in Iowa. A trend that educators say stems from low pay, increases in college tuition, negative publicity about schools and pressures brought on by the federal No Child Left Behind law, which demands steady school improvement. New teacher licenses decreased 23 percent from 5,831 to 4,508 between fiscal 2000 and 2005, according to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. The state is bracing for an even greater drop this fiscal year, with only 2,166 initial licenses granted so far.

I have seen first hand Kosciusko county teachers doing more for kids under more difficult circumstances than ever before in our profession. My hats off to them.

Teaching is one of the most honorable and yet difficult professions there is. I hope our young people do not give up on entering the profession as appears to be the trend in this news article.

Our students need dedicated and caring professionals now as much as they ever did.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Warriors win sectional, Karns - Coach of the Year!

The Wawasee Warriors won the 2006 IHSAA Sectional Championship at Wawasee Middle School on Saturday, February 18. The Warriors advance seven athletes to the State Championships, including all three relay teams.

Warrior Coach Roger Karns was named Indiana Swim Coaches Association Sectional Coach of the Year.

Times-Union article here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Shanna Zolman article in Gazette

Most Shanna watchers already know this. Story in Fort Wayne Gazette on ex-Wawasee star now playing for Tennessee.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday's Funnies

Things I learned after my very first Valentine's Day Party in Kindergarten:

1. Never attempt to have a Valentine's Day party with 5 year olds without a slew of parent volunteers present.
2. Never plan a craft activity AND passing out Valentines. It might take all day.
3. Never try to stick to Weight Watcher's when 19 kids bring you in your weakness: chocolate.
Karri at Milford

True Story unrelated to Valentines Day:

My first year of teaching I had a little girl named Pam in the third grade. She had a new illness of some kind every day. One day on the way to Phys. Ed. class she developed a sudden and severe limp about 50 yards from the gymnasium doors. "I can't take gym today Mr. Stock, I have 6 stitches in my foot," she groaned. By now, I knew her well so I patted her on the shoulder, smiling to myself and said, "You'll need to tell Mr. Lintz all about it." She limped into class. "Mr. Lintz, Mr. Lintz," she blurted out, "I can't take gym today I have 6 stitches in my foot." He said, "Sit down on the bleachers Pam and take your shoes off." He got the class started on warm-ups and sat down beside her. She had loosened her laces but had not removed her shoes. He told her again to take off her shoes and turned back to the class. He changed their calisthenics routine and turned back to Pam. She had her shoe off finally, but did not remove her sock. "Pam, Pam, please take off your sock now so I can see your foot," he requested. She carefully and painstakingly slid off her sock. Mr. Lintz lifted her foot up and looked it over carefully. "Pam, I don't see any stitches."

"They ain't put 'em in yet!" she replied.

Have an " ice" weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Another Wawasee grad makes good!

In yesterday's issue of USA TODAY, they published lists of their 2006 All-USA Academic Teams. One of our former students, Lucas Speakman, made their 2nd team! This means that they consider him among the top 40 college students in the country!

Luke, now a college senior, has already published two articles. One is titled "Computational chemistry research on benzaldehyde molecule and gallium pentahydride."

Yeah - what he said!

Way to go Luke.

Thanks to Stephanie Szynal for the info.

Five facts about IQ

Here are five interesting facts about IQ. Click here for the article.

1. Staying in school makes you smarter.
2. Your birthdate could affect your IQ.
3. That book-smarts-vs.-street-smarts thing is true
4. You're probably "smarter" than your grandpa.
5. What you put in your mouth can affect your brain.

Thanks to Cheryl Conroy, teacher at North Webster, for the link.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Spring ISTEP bill is dead

The Indy Star says spring ISTEP testing is not going to happen this year. Article here.

Poll: Adults scoff at homework complaints

What do parent surveys reveal about homework? Here is a short article on the subject.
A few points were:
• Less educated parents spend more time helping kids with take-home assignments.
• The most affluent parents spend the least time helping their kids with homework.
• Women spend an average 46 minutes a day helping with homework. Men spend 35 minutes.
• Black parents spend more time than Hispanics or whites on homework help.
• Public school students spend less time on homework than kids in other schools

Across the nation, a majority of parents feel the amount of homework is about right.

My personal observations of my own children's homework patterns show that they mostly are finishing up math problems and the miscellaneous extra assignment. However, I have relatives in other states who live in large suburbs of major cities who report tremendous amounts of nightly homework on a regular basis even in their elementary schools. They thought it was too much but they went to a PTO meeting and the parents were arguing for MORE homework. Hmmmm.

Board Meeting Highlights

Last night the WCSC Board of School Trustees:
  • Accepted a $1,000 donation from the Knights of Columbus for Milford School
  • Accepted $750 donation from the Syracuse Lions Club for the Academic Super Bowl
  • Approved retirement letters as of June 2006 for Randy Aalbregtse, Dena Chapman, Linda Harkleroad, Jane Modesitt, and Garry Ringler
  • Approved resolution to begin the process for replacing the WHS press box
  • Heard a report from Dr. Cockburn on the duties of the Data Technician
  • Heard a report from Dr. Stock highlighting teacher training on "Classroom Data," The HS Civil Rights Audit, the writing coach position and the All Write Consortium, and heard a report on The Wawascene blog site. The site is averaging almost 90,000 hits a month now. The Wawascene will soon feature it's first "podcast." It will be a short 2-3 minute audio explanation of student progress on ISTEP.
  • Heard a report from Ms. Swartzentruber on Reading Committee meetings, Writing Committee Meetings, and an Alternative School Program update. In addition to attendance, the Alternative School will now require progress towards credits in order to remain enrolled. The Calendar Committee report will wait until the General Assembly finishes this spring because there are several bills that could affect school calendars.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day Funnies

Calling all readers. Do you have any funny Valentine's Day stories?

Our Friday Funnies this week will focus on Valentine's humor.

Click on the link on the sidebar where it says "E-mail Doc Stock" and send me your story. If you want to be anonymous remember to say so!

PS: Announcement to ALL Males!!!!! THIS is Valentine's Day. Today!! Have you seen all those hearts and flowers? Does it remind you of anything? Just trying to save you some grief!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Now Recruiting - SUPER PEOPLE!

At Wawasee Middle School Mentoring we believe our Mentors aren't SUPERHEROES, but they're SUPER PEOPLE doing HEROIC things! And we need you to be a SUPER HERO too! Adult volunteers are needed to meet with WMS students for only 1/2 hour per week! Call us today and learn how you can make a big difference in the life of a child and your community! Contact Katie Jones: and visit our website by clicking here.

Snow Make-Up Day Announcement

Snow Day Reminders:
Friday, February 17th and Monday, February 20th are both snow make-up days now. Any additional cancellation days this year will be added on to the end of the year. That means June 1 and June 2 would be the next available days. Sorry to ruin your Monday morning! :-(

Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday's Funnies

First graders are a hoot. Today we honor first grade humor!

When introducing compound words I was trying to evoke the response "homemaker" from my first graders. I asked, "What do we call a person who chooses to stay home and care for their home and family full time?" A little first grader answered, "a maid?"
Wawasee Teacher

I had a group of first grade students having lunch in my room for an accelerated reader prize. They struck up a conversation about where milk comes from. One student said with confidence, "Do you know where chocolate milk comes from?" The other students looked thoughtful but couldn't come up with an answer. He said, "From a chocolate cow."
Colette Berg - Wawasee first grade teacher

When I was a principal I hosted a "First and Last Annual Comedy Review Breakfast" to try and help our staff shake off their winter doldrums we all seemed cursed with. Everyone brought a dish and one funny school story as their "ticket" in. This was a first grade story told by one of our veterans at Pierceton Elementary School.

The teacher was discussing the concept of "community living places" with her first graders. She asked the students to name different types of housing people can live today. One student raised her hand in classic first grade "Welcome Back Kotter" fashion. "Ooooh, Oooooh - Houses," she blurted out. Another hand goes up, "You can live in a trailer!" "Very good," the teacher said, "Any others?" A student says, "People can live in an apartment," said one bright little boy. To which another quiet student jerked up his hand and added, "I know one almost like an apartment. They could live in a condom!" he said proudly!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Getting NCLB right

Many readers have heard about the law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This law replaces the "soft bigotry of low expectations" (a phrase used a lot by NCLB supporters) with the "hard bigotry of impossible expectations."

The law requires every school in America to achieve 100% proficiency among all student groups on state assessments like ISTEP by the school year 2013-2014. Schools that fail to meet this target will be labeled "failing" and will have sanctions or consequences. The consequences aren't as severe as they sound although the final step is that state could take your system over. They wouldn't know what to do with them if they had them. Proponents of more local control (me) might say they already control most of it now. :-)

Here is a short movie cartoon about "getting NCLB right" this time when the law is up for reauthorization by congress. The cartoon is put out by the American Federation of Teachers.

Click here.

Property tax relief to fail?

The Indy Star says here in this article that property tax relief is likely to fail because no one can agree on how to do it.

My opinion? They should have raised the state sales tax 2 cents instead of 1 cent back a few years ago. The deficit likely wouldn't have happened or it wouldn't have been so severe. Some of the draconian cuts and changes that have happened since then would not have been such an issue. Indiana still has a lower sales tax then some states even with the past increase.

But...the state legislature has shifted funding responsibilities to the local property tax owner to rescue state budget woes. Now they are being pressured to create funding streams to relieve property tax increases and they can't agree on how to do it - especially in an election year.

Yet many patrons are not aware of the fact that most of the local property tax rate for schools is controlled by the state legislature through the funding formula - not your local school boards.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Welcome new readers!

I want to welcome new readers to The Wawascene. We set a new record this week with 7,300 hits in one day! Thank you for continuing to spread the word to friends and neighbors.

Soon to come to The Wawascene - podcasting. Stay tuned. :-)

School Counselors are Recognized

School Counselors Celebrate during National School Counseling Week,
Feb 6-10, 2006

National School Counseling Week , sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), will be celebrated February 6-10, 2006 at Wawasee High School, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of professional school counselors to the school system. This week will highlight the impact that counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

“Every day, school counselors work with counseling programs that address the personal/social, academic, and career needs of all students,” says Barbara Blackburn, ASCA president. “Their ultimate goal is to enable all students to achieve success in school and to become responsible productive members of our society.”

Wawasee High School will celebrate this week with posters, balloons, and special announcements and information for students. Parents and students are encouraged to contact any of the high school counselors if there are questions about the school counseling program at Wawasee. Information specific to Wawasee High School’s Guidance Department can be found on their updated website, which is accessed through the school district website: More general information can be found on ASCA’s website,

Counselors in the Wawasee School District are:
Shannon Fry, HS Director

Steve Hunsberger, WHS

Missy Blackmer, WHS

Roger Voirol, MLF

Elaine Miller, SE

Dr. Betty-Jo Roberts, WMS

Mike McCoy, WMS

Cindy Pierce, NW

Our counselors serve a variety of student, parent and social needs within the school system. We thank them for all they do on behalf of students.

WNDU incorrect?

Someone posted a comment this morning that WNDU is still saying Wawasee has a delay.

They must still have it up from yesterday.

Tuesday is regular schedule.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Way to go Krista!

Wawasee High School sophomore Krista Spearman broke a nineteen year old school record in the 100 breast stroke with a time of 1:11.55 at Thursday night's sectional preliminaries at Warsaw High School. The old record was held by Cynda Guimond with a time of 1:11.69.

Why can't a school be run like a business?

School announcement is on the post below this one. But don't stop reading now!

Have you ever heard someone say, "If they would just run schools like a business...."

Here are several things that make public schools different than private businesses.

1. Public schools have multiple purposes:
When parents were asked to identify goals for public education, they listed the top 5 goals of public schools as: prepare people to become responsible citizens; help people become economically sufficient; ensure a basic level of quality among schools; promote cultural unity; and improve social conditions for people.

Businesses on the other hand are dominated by private rather than public purposes, such as increasing total revenues, net profits, dividends to investors and other bottom-line outcomes. Even seemingly broader social goals such as customer and employee satisfaction are still a means to an end of higher net profits in the private sector. Public purposes are broad and complex reflecting the pluralistic society we live in. Private company goals tend to be focused and "bottom-line" oriented.

Because public and private aims are different, so are the decision-making processes between schools and businesses. This leads to point two:

2. Schools make public decisions through democratic deliberations of policies and practices
If all corporate decisions were opened to investors, journalists and the larger public, the differences between them might soon diminish. Public debate and deliberation is a fundamental difference between running a business and running a school district.

3. Evaluating Success
In recent years schools have been asked to be more like a business by being more "bottom-line" oriented. Unfortunately, standardized test scores is still the most used evaluation method for determining the bottom-line. There is nothing wrong with testing. Yet, go back to point #1 and read the top five goals again. You don't even see Reading, Writing and Math listed as a specific goal. Most parents view Reading, Writing and Math as a way of helping their children achieve some higher personal or social purpose. Good for them. (On a side note - the very first goal of public education was to learn to read The Bible so that the public wouldn't be deceived by "the old deluder Satan." The Old Deluder Satan Law was passed in Massachusetts in 1647.

In summary:

The reason why public schools will never be run like a business is because they are publicly governed not privately managed and they have multiple purposes not a single focus.

The only way to run schools like a business is to take the public out of the public schools. As long the public is part of the equation, and I believe they should be, they will continue to operate under multiple purposes - and that - my friends - is the "bottom-line."

Some content from this post came from, "Why Can't Schools be Like Businesses," by Larry Cuban in The School Administrator, February 2006.

Two Hour Delay Monday

Wawasee will be on a two-hour delay for Monday, February 6th.

Noooo - it's not just to give a break to those who stayed up late watching the Stupendous Bowl last night! :-)

There is glare ice underneath the skiff of snow in many places especially the county roads. Many roads look better than they are. Whatever you do, don't lock up your brakes this morning.

Hopefully, a little time will give sand and salt crews a chance and allow us to work on the parking lots as well.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Funnies

Today we will share teacher insights into....

How to tell you've been teaching for awhile....

I can tell I've worked with little children a long time. My daughter was messing with my necklace the other night. She kept lifting up my hair to see the necklace. Someone behind me asked, "What is your daughter doing with your hair?" My first thought was, "Probably a head lice check!"
Cindy Brady
Wawasee teacher

I knew I had been teaching 3rd grade awhile when my wife looked at me so disgustedly one day and said, "I am NOT one of your third graders! You do NOT need to explain it to me three times in three different ways!"
Dr. Stock
3rd grade teacher

In the old days you could always tell which ones were the teachers in the bank line on Fridays because they often had a purple smear on the side of their face from purple "black-line masters" used to make the worksheets.

Remember the friendship pins with the little beads on them that the elementary children used to give you years ago? I went to a meeting one time with a group of adults. We sat down in chairs in a circle. I crossed my legs and looked down and everyone was staring at a whole string of friendship beads that the kids had given me. I had pinned them on my shoelaces in front of the kids so they would know I appreciated it. I had forgotten all about them. I spent 5 minutes trying to explain. I gave up. I think you have to teach elementary to get it.

You know you went to school awhile ago if you can pass the sniff test.

Here goes...close your eyes, hold the stack of papers next to your face. Sniff deeply. If you smell the purple ditto ink still wet from the teacher running the worksheets during the break period...that means you went to school awhile ago. However, if you remember sneaking a smell of the wet papers while you were CRANKING the papers out by hand in the work room, then you really have been teaching for a little while! :-)


Don't forget to e-mail your funny stories to Doc Stock. Link on the sidebar.

Two hour Delay Friday

Heavy fog developed after 5:00 AM - especially around the lakes. Spotty before that.

Two Hour delay for Friday..

The high school staff meeting with Dr. Stock this morning will be rescheduled on another day.

We apoolgize for the late posting on The Wawascene but we were unable to access the web site until 6:30 AM.

Have a good day.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Daniels and Reed spar over ISTEP move

The Journal Gazette said today that Daniels has questioned Reed's estimates on moving ISTEP to the Spring.

Story here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dr. Reed comes out against Spring ISTEP

Dr. Sueellen Reed, State Superintendent of Public Instruction has asked legislators to reject the bill moving ISTEP testing from fall to spring.

More from the Star here.