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, June 30, 2006

Friday's Funnies

I dedicate this post to all those teachers who have dedicated themselves to continuing their education at the graduate level and also to the spouses and family members who tolerate them during this time!

You just might be a graduate student if...

you are startled to meet people who neither need nor want to read.
you rate coffee shops by the availability of outlets for your laptop.
everything reminds you of something in your discipline.
you have ever discussed academic matters at a sporting event.
you have ever spent more than $50 on photocopying while researching a single paper.
there is a microfilm reader in the library that you consider "yours."
you actually have a preference between microfilm and microfiche.
you can tell the time of day by looking at the traffic flow at the library.
you look forward to summers because you're more productive without the distraction of classes. you regard ibuprofen as a vitamin.
you consider all papers to be works in progress.
professors don't really care when you turn in work anymore.
you find the bibliographies of books more interesting than the actual text.
you have given up trying to keep your books organized and are now just trying to keep them all in the same general area.
you have accepted guilt as an inherent feature of relaxation.
you reflexively start analyzing those greek letters before you realize that it's a sorority sweatshirt, not an equation.
you find yourself explaining to children that you are in "20th grade".
you start refering to stories like "Snow White et al."
you frequently wonder how long you can live on pasta without getting scurvy
you look forward to taking some time off to do laundry
you have more photocopy cards than credit cards
you wonder if APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as "personal communication"

Have a safe and happy 4th!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Government Efficiency Committee on K-12 Hits Roadblock?

Recent publications have indicated a potential dispute in state government brewing over the role of a state appointed Government Efficiency Committee on K-12 Education. The committee, appointed by Governor Daniels, has evidently studied some emerging research that indicates around 70% of the variation in Indiana's ISTEP+ scores can be attributed to factors outside the school's control.

The biggest factor attributed to the ISTEP score variation was community poverty.

Some educational newsletters are reporting that the governor's office has attempted to squash the research, stating that the Government Efficiency Committee is operating outside it's mission. These sources indicate the governor's office is afraid that the research will give credence to the ISTA lawsuit that claims the Indiana school funding formula has not been properly applied across the state.

One article about the dispute is here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Board Meeting Update

At last night's special school board meeting the board:

Voted to accept the superintendent's recommendation to reject the lone bid for the high school plumbing project and to rebid the project in January with the work to be done next summer.

Mr. Lahrman and Dr. Stock explained that there was only one bid, most likely due to the tight summer work schedule. It was possible that other likely bidders had summer projects already lined out. It is hoped that by starting the advertising process in January there may be additional bidders interested in the job.

The board approved the following personnel actions:

  • Bob Long - retirement from Milford
  • Kelly Holbrook - hired as special education teacher at Syracuse
  • Jamie Baker - hired as temporary grade 1 teacher at Syracuse
  • Kari Flanigan - hired as school psychologist intern for the corporation
  • Kem Zolman - two year coaching contract - Girl's BB
  • Joe Rietveld - two year coaching contract - Football
  • Phil Mishler - two year coaching contract - Boy's BB

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Unemployment hurts kids!

I am struggling to believe a few of the statistics reported in the Indy Star from the Casey Foundation's report. After my recent experience breaking down Wawasee's alleged "dropout" statistics student by student - I have a real problem believing that Indiana has the highest dropout rates in the nation. The other stats are astonshing as well.
  • 33% of Indiana's children live in families where no parent has a full-time job
  • The number of Hoosier children living without secure parental employment grew 22% between 2000-2004
  • Indiana's high school dropout rate is the highest in the nation

Quoting from the Star's article:

A third of Indiana's children live in families where no parent has a full-time job, setting them up for problems ranging from educational struggles to poor health, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2006 Kids Count Data Book. The number of Hoosier children living without secure parental employment grew 22% from 2000 to 2004. That jump was the fourth-largest in the nation for the period and seven times the national increase. The president of the Indiana Youth Institute said the loss of about 100,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000 is having a dramatic and negative ripple effect on children. Two other problem areas identified for Indiana in the new report were the percentage of children living in poverty, which increased 7% from 2000 to 2004, and a high school dropout rate that is the highest in the nation.

There is no doubt that unemployment hurts kids. Poverty is a huge problem for children and more important than poverty itself is the actual social problems that create the poverty.

However, there is something rotten in the state and national dropout statistics. More on that later.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Boys Catching Up to Girls

For some time now conventional wisdom has held that boys don't do as well as girls in school. Some pundits have gone as far as to claim it is a "crisis."

Everyone has their favorite theories but new evidence appears to show that there is no crisis and that boys are closing the gap. Here is what the Washington Post says about a new study that is to be released today.

A study to be released today looking at long-term trends in test scores and academic success argues that widespread reports of U.S. boys being in crisis are greatly overstated and that young males in school are in many ways doing better than ever.

The "boy crisis," the report says, has been used by conservative authors who accuse "misguided feminists" of lavishing resources on female students at the expense of males and by liberal authors who say schools are "forcing all children into a teacher-led pedagogical box that is particularly ill-suited to boys' interests and learning styles."

"Yet there is not sufficient evidence -- or the right kind of evidence -- available to draw firm conclusions," the report says. "As a result, there is a sort of free market for theories about why boys are underperforming girls in school, with parents, educators, media, and the public choosing to give credence to the explanations that are the best marketed and that most appeal to their pre-existing preferences."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday's Funnies

These are alleged to be actual student responses to essay questions taken from history exams - written they way the students responded. Too funny to be true!

The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies. they lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. the climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Issac, stole his brother's birthmark. jacob was a partiarch who brought up his twelve sone to be partiarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.

Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavenbed bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments.

David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.

Without the Greeks, we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of colums - Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in "The Illiad", by Homer. Homer also wrote the "Oddity", in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athens was democratic because the people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.

Eventually, the Ramons conquered the Geeks. History call people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March killed him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyrany who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

More next week.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Shanna Zolman Night

Come support Shanna Zolman
Syracuse/Wawasee Community Night
with the INDIANA Fever

Indiana Fever vs. San Antonio Silver Stars Saturday, August 5, 2006 Tipoff - 7:00 p.m.
Doors Open - 6:00 p.m.*
*Subject to change

As a member of Syracuse/Wawasee community, you, along with your family and friends, are invited to participate in a McDonald's Family Night presented by The Indianapolis Star with the Indiana Fever! Come cheer on Shanna Zolman, former Wawasee High School player who now plays with the Silver Stars.

By purchasing tickets through this offer, you will also:
*receive a food voucher good for one FREE hot dog, bag of chips and small soft drink!
*receive a FREE T-shirt!
*receive a 10% discount coupon good for either Home Court location!
*see your group's name in lights on the scoreboard during halftime of the game!

To place your order, complete and return the order form below, along with payment, or visit
Event #1424. Your group ID is SZ.

They must receive your order by Wednesday, August 2, 2006.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

2006-2007 School Year and Registration Information

While I am really not trying to rush us through summer, I thought some might want to be able to plan ahead!

K-8 registration for the 2006-2007 school year will take place at the student's home school on Wednesday, August 2 and Thursday, August 3 from 12:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Wawasee High School registration is on Tuesday, August 8 and Wednesday, August 9 from 12:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Textbook fees are as follows and were approved by the school board at the June meeting:
Kindergarten $58.30; Readiness $75.40; Grade 1 $100.05; Grade 2 $99.45; Grade 3 $117.60; Grade 4 $101.70; Grade 5 $100.75; Grade 6 $108.15*; Grade 7 $106.75* ; Grade 8 $102.35*

*Some fluctuation will occur at grades 6, 7, and 8 depending on the courses in which a student is enrolled. High school textbook rental fees are based on the courses in which a student is enrolled.

If you want to view the corporation calendar for the 2006-2007 school year, click here. You can click on 2006-2007 Corporation Calendar and view and print the calendar.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Fun

Since I don't have any Friday Funnies, I thought I might provide a couple of links just for fun.

If you have ever wondered how we ended up using the @ symbol in so many ways, check out this link.

If you have been following the World Cup, you might be interested in this prediction. Hmmm, I wonder if these guys have heard of March Madness.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summer Reading List for Students

Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed has released a summer reading list. Her June 9th press release states, "Summer reading has been proven to improve students' academic performance in reading and other school subjects."

The list contains more than 300 book titles which were suggested by educators. There are three grade spans for the lists: primary; intermediate and middle school; and high school.

Take a look at the list here and click on Summer Reading List 2006 Edition.

Encourage your child to choose some books to read over the summer.

Wolfe Third in State - Golf Team Sixth

The Wawasee boys' golf team finished sixth (not fifth as previously reported) in the IHSAA golf state finals. Congratulations to Coach Coverstone and the Warrior golfers for a successful season! See state final team results here.

Senior Andrew Wolfe finished third in the state in individual scoring. He shot scores of 70 on Tuesday and Wednesday. See individual results here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dr. Stock Published

While Dr. Stock is out of the office, those of us here at central office want to take a moment to share with you one of his recent accomplishments.

Dr. Stock was recently published in the May edition of The School Administrator for this blog site, The Wawascene. The publication highlights the various means superintendents are using to communicate with the school community.

You can access the article here.

Thanks, Mark, for moving the Wawasee community into a new age of communication!

Video Games, What Are They Good For?

With apologies to Edwin Starr and the Indisputable Truth. Here is an article praising video games that give your brain a workout.

Here is an article illustrating how West Virginia schools will be using video games to combat childhood obesity.

Here is another article discussing the positives and negatives of technology and students.

Monday, June 12, 2006

How Does Indiana Rank?

According to an Indianapolis Star article printed last Saturday, Indiana ranks 32nd in the nation in the amount of school revenue that goes toward classroom teaching. You can read the article here. That information was taken from a report done by an independent research group called Federal Funds Information for States (FFIS). The article also provides a link to the full report. The report shows a number of state rankings and comparisons that relate primarily to various levels and sources of school funding across the nation. The specific ranking that is spotlighted in the Star ranks all fifty states in the amount of K-12 spending devoted to instruction in 2003-2004.

I would encourage reading the full report, and I would offer a few observations:

1. As the Star article indicates, it is difficult to compare statistics across states since it is almost impossible to know if everyone is defining terms in the same way.

2. The recently enacted HB 1006 provides for the State Board of Education to define terms for Indiana in four (4) areas: 1)Student Academic Achievement, 2) Student Instructional Support, 3) Overhead and Operations, and 4) Non-operations. Of course, this doesn't mean that the definitions determined by Indiana's board will be the same as any other state.

3. The same report that ranks Indiana 32nd in the amount of revenue dedicated to K-12 spending also ranks Indiana 13th in the nation in terms of the outcomes on the Armed Services Qualification Test for 2003 (the most recent available). According to the Congressional Quarterly's State Fact Finder 2006, "The results provide the best single measure of performance of high school graduates being tested by an employer using criteria approximating aptitude for work."

4. The FFIS report concludes with the following: "For some states-such as Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico-the rankings (between the amount devoted to K-12 instruction and the outcomes on the Armed Services Qualification Test) are similar. But for others-such as Alaska, Georgia, Oregon and New York-they are disparate. This suggests there there is more at work than just the share of total spending devoted to instruction, notwithstanding the appeal of a simple solution to a complex problem."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Guest Bloggers on the Docket

I will be taking an 8 day vacation trip starting next week so there will be guest bloggers keeping the fires burning here at The Wawascene.

Ms. Swartzentruber our Director of Curriculum and Mr. Evans our Director of Finance will be filling in.

Stay tuned.

I tried to leave a low baseline for them so it won't be too hard for them to exceed the blogging standards I have set so far!

See ya when I get back.

Wawasee Golfers Headed to State

The Wawasee boys' golf team is headed to state to compete for the state championship.

Article here.

Friday's Funnies

I'm walking into the building this morning, and one of my little second grade boys says, "Hi, Mrs. S., today's Show-n'Tell!!" in a very excited voice.

Understand that my caffeine hasn't settled into the brain yet - I muster a smile and say, "Really?" - almost enthusiastic. "

Guess what I brought? (Pause) I found it at the bus stop......" (uh-oh)(you'll never guess and I'm not making this up.)"Wanna see?"

"Sure" I said, a little concerned, definitely awake now and VERY curious. (At this time, I'd like to add that this child finds his way to the principal's office regularly!)

"Loooook!" - and he opens his backpack. And, up against his books and homework, is a possum. A dead possum. From last year. You know the kind, flat as a pancake, roadkill, just fur and bones. Completely intact. Eye sockets looking back at me.

I peered in, smiled and said, "COOL!" (Well, it was....) And off he went to his classroom - I wasn't going to spoil his fun. And I went to my classroom and died laughing.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Board Meeting Highlights

At Tuesday night's 7:00 PM board meeting, the board:

  • approved a $1,119.57 donation to Small Engines Class at WHS from Alan Tehan of Precision Automotive
  • approved minutes, claims, personnel items, a resolution allowing Superintendent and Dir. of Special Services to sign student residential placements, and approved FFA summer activities
  • heard a report from Ms. Fry, Director of Guidance, regarding future changes in graduation credit requirements that would affect incoming freshman
  • approved financial report and Text Book Rental Fees
  • approved administrative contract extensions including a 2007 change that will include administrators paying the same insurance premium percentages as the teachers
  • approved permission to advertise for purchase of 5 new buses
  • first reading of the state required new Student Wellness Policy, there was much discussion on this and there may be revisions and more discussion
  • heard a report from Dr. Stock on the 2006 senior class (similar information that was posted previously on the blog site here)
  • established June 27th at 5:00 PM for a short meeting to approve bids on the WHS valve and plumbing project

The meeting adjourned around 8:00 PM.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


The funeral for Mrs. Hursh will be Thursday at 11:00 AM at Calvary United Methodist Church in Syracuse. Sorry if this created any confusion.

Thank you to the individual commenter who corrected me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mrs. Hursh

It is with great sadness we announce that Mrs. Beth Hursh, former Wawasee French teacher, passed away this week after a long battle with cancer. She was well known, not only for her passion for foreign language, but also for her long time involvement with Wawasee's highly competitive Academic Super Bowl teams.

Even after her retirement for health related reasons, she continued to support the Academic Super Bowl teams when able.

The funeral will be Thursday, June 8, 2006 at 11:00 at the Yoder Culp Funeral Home in Goshen.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday's Funnies

When you have had a rough day, here is an option, consider resigning from adulthood. I found this on a teacher website.

A "just for fun" idea for an overstressed day...

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again.

I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four star restaurant.
I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.
I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.
I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer's day.
I want to return to a time when life was simple; When all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care.
All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.
I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good.
I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.
I want to live simply again. I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones.
I want to believe in the power of smiles,hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.
So . . . here's my checkbook and my car-keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.

And if you want to discuss this further, you'll have to catch me first, cause........ ......"Tag! You're it."

Wishing staff and students a safe and happy summer.

And hoping parents stay sane. Have yours said, "I"m bored," yet? Give 'em a day or two.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

More about the class of 2006

It has been popular in various media outlets, especially the Indy Star to publish dropout rate statistics using exiting 8th graders or incoming 9th graders and projecting those numbers out to the senior year and claim that those not “graduating” are “dropouts.” Using the Indy Star’s methods this year's senior class at Wawasee would have what looks like a 74 % graduation rate and/or a 26 % dropout rate. These methods ignore the complexity of modern circumstances.

Here are some statistics from this year’s senior class at Wawasee that refute some of the doom and gloom claims by the Indy Star.

In the spring of 2002 there were 275 students leaving 8th grade.
In the fall of 2002 there were 282 incoming freshman.
In the spring of 2006 there are 208 graduating seniors from that incoming class .
On the surface that looks like a 74 % graduation rate and/or a 26 % dropout rate.

However, here is the rest of the story:

12 students received certificates of completion or attendance. 7 were students with diagnosed special learning needs and 5 were foreign exchange students

18 students are in still in the Alternative School working on the diploma track or working on a GED. They may graduate – just not in four years

6 have already earned a GED

4 are working on the GED somewhere else

1 student passed away

29 transferred to other schools

14 transferred into WHS and graduated on time this year

14 of the 208 graduating received their diploma through the Wawasee Academy

0 Transferred to home school

1 was expelled and never returned

12 students left or disappeared and we withdrew them eventually without receiving a transfer request

5 dropped out (through the exit interview process)

If we consider the 12 who disappeared + 5 who dropped out + 1 who was expelled and never returned, that makes 18 students we know have left the system. Assuming they are all "dropouts" and that they have not continued school somewhere else, would make the drop out rate 6%. If all of those in the alternative school dropped out too, then it could go up as high as 12% from this incoming group of freshman.

Assuming realistically that several of them will graduate, I would guess the true drop out rate is closer to 7 % or 8% not the 26% you will read in the newspaper.

The most amazing statistic is that 93% of the 208 students graduating were here for all 4 years.

And that folks is the rest of the story.