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, October 31, 2006

WCEA sponsors "Meet the Candidate's Night"

The Wawasee Community Educator’s Association is sponsoring a “Meet the Candidate’s Night” on Thursday, November 2, 2006.

This forum is designed to introduce patrons to candidates that are running for school board seats in the Wawasee School District.

It will be held in the lecture room at Wawasee Middle School starting at 7:00 P.M.

Please stop by to meet the Candidates for School Board.

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Getting through a rough week with good people"

This post is dedicated to every teacher who has the "occasional" rough week on the job.

I'll let you define "occasional" however you want, it probably depends on the year!

This brief article highlights the importance and the seriousness of our work. The author says that the secret of getting through a rough week is leaning on the support of other seasoned professionals who also respect and appreciate the important work we do.

Click here.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday's Funny - True Story

My first year of teaching was a doozy (that might qualify as educational jargon so here is a self made definition - "doo'zee": adj., superior, extraordinary, highly unusual...)

What was extraordinary about it? The day before school started the school psychologist sat down with me and said, "I want to talk to you about a child that you will have in your room this year. Her name is Pam."

I swallowed hard and said, "OK." She continued, "Pam seems to have a number of unusual social and emotional issues."

"How do these issues manifest themselves?" I asked. (In non-educational jargon I probably said, "What does she do?")

"Well," hesitated the school psychologist, "Last week she shredded the living room curtains with a razor blade and set them on fire."

I swallowed again and looked at my windows to see if there were curtains in the room.

As the year began I got to know Pam better and to appreciate a few of her idiosyncrasies (that's jargon for odd behaviors.)

One of her quirks was a penchant for hypochondria (jargon for complaining about mystery illnesses.)

One day on the way to recess she stopped me, "Mr. Stock, I can't take recess today because I have a hole in the bottom of my heart." This was a new one I thought to myself.

I patted her on the head and said, "Well go ahead outside and take it easy at recess."

The next day on the way to recess she reached over, put her arm around my waist and said, "Mr. Stock, I love you from the bottom of my heart."

I smiled, gave her a squeeze and said, "That's flattering Pam, but how is that possible with that big hole in the bottom of your heart?"

Have a great weekend. Go Warriors beat the Rockies. Good luck at state to the XC team.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Better parent/school relationships

Here is a short article describing 10 things that parents and schools can do to have better parent/school relationships.

They give examples in the article, but here is the really short version:

1. School People - Stop Using Educational Jargon
2. Visit Parents on Their Turf
3. Ask Parents to Teach What They Know
4. Welcome Complainers
5. Hire Parent-Friendly Principals
6. Seek Parent Volunteers
7. Offer Educational Activities For Parents and Kids
8. Get Parents to Observe Classes
9. Provide Courses for Parents
10.Create a Great School

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The need to think deeply...

One of the most important school functions is to teach children to think deeply. In the big rush to memorize information and learn the "basics" it is possible to overlook the importance of helping students look in depth at important issues.

Here is a brief glimpse into an activity currently taking place in Mr. Gause's 5th grade classroom at North Webster Elementary. We offer this example, not to call undue attention to Mr. Gause, but to share it as a sample of many writing activities teachers are learning through Writer's Workshop.

Click here and you will visit Mrs. Ayers blog, called Inspiring Readers and Writers where she shares Mr. Gauses's classroom writing lesson using Veteran's Day as the topic.

Wawasee Success!

Wawasee Cross Country will run in the IHSAA State Championships this next weekend in Terre Haute. For the third time in Wawasee's history, a boys' Cross Country Team will be running for a State Championship. The team is shown in this photo taken following their Regional Runner-up finish a week ago. Get after it, guys!

Congratulations to the IHSAA Regional Soccer Champions! The Warriors finished their season this past weekend in the opening match of the Valparaiso Semi-State and were defeated by Mishawaka Marian. This season, the program had first time ever Sectional and Regional Championships! Congratulations!

The Football Warriors travel to Plymouth this Friday to fight for the right to play in the Championship game the following weekend! Good luck guys. Beat the Rockies!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What tests can't measure!

Many of those personal qualities that we hold dear—resilience and courage in the face of stress, a sense of craft in our work, a commitment to justice and caring in our social relationships, a dedication to advancing the public good in communal life—are exceedingly difficult to assess. And so, unfortunately, we are apt to measure what we can, and eventually come to value what is measured over what is left unmeasured. The shift is subtle and occurs gradually.

Robert Glaser and the National Academy of Education.
In Lamar Alexander and H. Thomas James The Nation’s Report Card: Improving the Assessment of Student Achievement, 1987.



This list taken from information provided by Dr. Gerald Bracey.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Is the American infatuation with high stakes testing fading?

The Washington Post indicates that in some corners of the country, high stakes testing is becoming a major political issue.

The educational pendulum never stays in the middle. It swings from side-to-side in a never ending sweep.

Maybe we should have high stakes testing for all policy-makers?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Have Fun Reading

For many people reading is an enjoyable activity and is one that that is used every day for work or relaxation. Reading is an essential skill that students must have in order to be successful in school and in life. For many students, however, reading does not come easily. There are a number of resources that are free and accessible on the web that can help parents as they work with their children to develop and encourage good reading habits.

Click on the U.S. Department of Education website to find a variety of links. "Reading Tips For Parents" and "Put Reading First: Helping Your Child Learn To Read, A Parent Guide" are great sites to access. Most importantly, take time to read to and with your children every day!!

Submitted by Wendy Hite, Director of Special Services

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Support Our Warriors

You have many opportunities over fall break to support our varsity teams from Wawasee in state tournament action.

Tonight at 7 p.m. our varsity girls' soccer team is in action at Goshen High School against Goshen in regional play. When we win the regional, plan on supporting them on Saturday for semi-state at Valparaiso! Our first match will be played at 10:30 a.m. our time with the championship match at 7:30 p.m. our time

Friday at 7 p.m. our varsity football team takes on East Noble here at Wawasee in sectional action.

Saturday at 11:30 a.m. our varsity boys' cross country team is in semi-state action at The Plex in Fort Wayne.

Saturday at around 12:30 p.m. at Northridge High School, our volleyball team competes against Northwood in sectional play. The sectional championship match will be at 7:00 p.m. that night.

Get out and cheer on our Warriors!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Raising Children With a Wild Streak

Mark Pruett, an Assistant Professor in the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University talks about his experience interviewing high school seniors seeking scholarships to attend Appalachian State University. His suggestions might surprise you. You can read the article here.

Teaching history to gamers!

A group of teenagers click a mouse and begin "bombing" England. Across the room, the English prime minister -- a teenager looking grimly at another screen -- attempts to figure out a counterattack in the midst of World War II.These teenagers aren't at home playing shooter games on the Xbox. They're in a high-school classroom learning the dynamics of World War II in a game called Making History. Their video-game-savvy world history teacher, David McDivitt, incorporates video games in his history and sociology courses at Converse, Ind.'s Oak Hill High School.

Rest of article here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wawasee Spirit Award

Click here Wawasee for the area Spirit Award Poll.

Now I know there are a lot of non-Wawasee readers of this blog - so I guess it will be ok if you vote for your high school if it is listed...but of course then I will have to add a "Wawasee Surcharge" to your internet bill! :-)

Look in the top right corner where it says "Poll"

Another unintended side effect to NCLB

Here is a story of a teacher with a doctorate in classics studies whose students evidently have done extremely well in their Latin studies, yet must leave the profession because he doesn't meet the definition of "highly qualified" under the No Child Left Behind Law.

The next time you read a newspaper article talking about how numerous states are having trouble meeting the "highly qualified" standards of NCLB, just remember that those standards may have nothing to do with how good the teacher actually is in the classroom.

My opinion? They should expand the teacher licensing rules to allow a much wider group of degreed individuals into the profession under an "Apprentice" label of some kind and allow them to be licensed teachers based on proving themselves.

Current laws have loosened the rules somewhat but a person with a bachelor's degree is still looking at a minimum of another year of college under the " transition to teaching" programs.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday's Funny

Here is a link to an article from educational comedy writer Regina Barreca.


If competition for supplies and niceties in the classroom is tough, then competition in the teacher's lounge turns us feral. Teachers' lounges everywhere have only one thing in unlimited supply: napkins from Dunkin' Donuts which, although they look new are nevertheless suspiciously crumpled, thereby carrying a faint threat of infection from some unknown, possibly infectious, previous user. In addition, there are sometimes coffee mugs reading, "I 'heart' Teachers" which fester on windowsills unclaimed. In the refrigerator you'll find yogurt dating back to 1987 and fat free half and half, which since it is made from petrochemicals, has no expiration date.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Board Election FAQ's

Here are some frequently asked questions about school board election procedures at Wawasee.

1. How many board members are there and how are they elected?
There are five school board members. Three are elected as "regional" or district seats and two are elected as "at-large" seats. Wawasee school board elections are held every two years during the general elections in November. Some school districts hold theirs during the primary elections in the spring.

2. How long are the terms and how are they seated?
All terms are four years. Three members are seated this year in the election and the two at-large seats will be up two years after that. The terms begin in January.

3. How many board members can be seated from one district?
No more than two board members can be from one district. This year the top vote getter from each district will be seated. Meaning someone from the Milford area, Syracuse area and North Webster will all be seated.

4. What happens in the at-large election in 2008 if the top two vote getters are from the same district?
Then the number one person from that region would get seated and then we would skip to the next highest vote getter from a different district. The school board policy does not allow for three board members from one area.

5. Do I only get to vote for a board member in the area where I live or can I vote for people running from the Milford, Syracuse or North Webster areas also?
All registered voters in the Wawasee school district can vote for one (1) person in each district AND no more than three (3) total in this year's general election. In the at-large election in 2008 you can vote for no more than two (2) candidates.

6. What happens to the votes when people do not follow the ballot instructions and they vote this year for two people in one district?
Their votes are invalidated (thrown out).

7. Wasn't there some ballot controversy here a few years ago?
Yes. It was before I came here so it was at least 11 years ago. There were a lot of votes invalidated due to confusion with the ballot. Every year now the school board attorney and I review the ballot construction to make sure the directions are as clear as possible.

8. When are the elections this year?
November 7, 2006.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Top 10 things you didn't know about Wawasee

...but won't hear on David Lettermen either!

Back by wildly popular ten things you didn't know about Wawasee...

1. Property wealth per student…
Wawasee ranks #2 among 292 school corporations in the state in assessed valuation per ADM (student enrollment)
State average $275,542
Wawasee $561,810

2. Tax Rate
Wawasee is ranked LAST (lowest) among public school corporations in the state of Indiana in school tax rate
State average 1.4457
Wawasee .8605

3. State financial support
Wawasee ranks #279th out of 295 school districts in the amount of state financial support per student
State average $3,844
Wawasee $2,619

4. Student Enrollment
Wawasee ranks #90 out of 300 school districts listed on the IDOE website
State average 3,182
Wawasee 3,434

5. SAT scores
Wawasee ranks #81 out of 293 school corporations in average SAT scores
State average 1012
Wawasee 1016

6. Suspensions and Expulsions
Wawasee is ranked # 123 out of 294 school districts in the number of suspensions and expulsions per 100 students
State average 14.7
Wawasee 8.9

7. Percent of Special Needs students
Wawasee is ranked #263 out of 294 school districts in the percentage of students with special needs
State average 17.9
Wawasee 13.5

8. Minority students
Wawasee is ranked 79th in the state out of 300 school districts in the percentage of minority students
State average 22.3
Wawasee 11.0

9. Students Eligible for Free Lunch
Wawasee is ranked 166th out of 300 school districts in the percentage of students eligible for free lunches
State average 26.6
Wawasee 19.1

10. Limited English Students
Wawasee is ranked 42nd out of 300 school districts in the percentage of students with limited English speaking skills
State average 2.98%
Wawasee 3.89%

Question: Why do the total number of school districts in the state listed above vary by item?
Answer: I have no clue. It is how the IDOE website lists them. Generally speaking there are 294 "public" school districts listed in the majority of state reports.

School Board Meeting Highlights

At tonight's board meeting, the WCSC Board of School Trustees:

Heard from Lisa Glon, spokesperson for the Northern Lakes Area Concerned Citizens Association, a local group that has been publicly opposing the proposed ethanol plant near the town of Milford. The group asked the school board to consider writing a letter to the county commissioners expressing their concerns about the proposed location. Three members voted to send a letter opposing the plant and one member abstained stating that he didn't have enough information since the board only heard from those opposed.

Accepted donations from the Pamida Foundation, Shoop Foundation and Women of Today

Approved the minutes, claims and personnel items

Heard a report from the Dr. Stock titled, "The Top Ten Things You Might Not Know About Wawasee.... but won't hear on David Lettermen either."

Approved the financial report

Approved wage increases for certified and classified employees and the WCEA master agreement.

Heard a report from the superintendent on the months activities
Announced that the January meeting has been moved from the 9th to the 17th.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

US Science the best in the world

276 Nobel Prizes in Science: U.S. Science Education the World's Best

The United States leads the world in technology, scientific research and the quality of its scientists because U.S. science education is the world’s best. From 1950 to 2006 Americans have won 206 or 58% of the 357 Nobel Prizes awarded in Medicine, Physics and Chemistry. In October 2006, Americans were awarded all five of the Nobel Prizes for science achievement. The American winners are in Medicine: Andrew Z. Fire Stanford University and Greg C. Mello, U. of Massachusetts Medical School. Physics: John C. Mather NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and George C. Smoot University of California and Chemistry: Roger D. Kornberg Stanford University.

This is the second time Americans have made a complete sweep of Nobel science prizes, the first was in 1983.

Editorial Comment (sarcasm intended): Now...if Margaret Spellings can just get all American Universities to take more standardized science tests we will have even more Nobel prizes right?

Monday, October 09, 2006

10 Myths about school shootings

MSNBC provides a concise breakdown here of ten myths about school shootings.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

School Violence

The tragedy of recent school shootings has left the impression that schools are more unsafe than ever before. Not so, reports a joint effort by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Center for Education Statistics.

Key report findings include:
(1) The violent crime victimization rate at school declined from 1992 to 2003.
(2) In the 2002-03 school year, there were 15 student homicides and 8 student suicides in the nation's schools, figures that translate to less than one homicide or suicide per million students
(3) In 2003, 5 percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported being victimized at school during the previous six months: 4 percent reported theft, while 1 percent said they were victims of a violent crime;
(4) In 2003, 21 percent of students reported that street gangs were present at their school during the previous six months;
(5) In 2003, 33 percent of high school students reported having been in a fight anywhere, and 13 percent said they had been in a fight on school property during the preceding 12 months; and (6) In 2003, students in urban schools were twice as likely as students in rural and suburban schools to fear being attacked at school or on the way to and from school.

I am not sure what the trends would say since 2003 - but even a few of these tragedies is a few too many.

The population is increasing so the number of events is bound to go up. Plus...the 24/7 news media makes one incident anywhere in the world seem like its right in your living room.

My big fear is that I see no way to make things safer in America without continuing to take away individual freedoms and liberty, infringing upon the open society that has made America the greatest nation in history.

So...what to do...

Friday, October 06, 2006

New Process for School Delay Decisions

Dragging these weary old bones out of a nice warm bed at 4:50AM when the Transportation Director calls and says it is snowy or foggy out can get old.

Maybe I will pilot my new decision making tool. I will put up this little device on the blog site and tally up the votes!

Come to think of it, that might be the only way to get a teenager up early...just tell them they get to vote on school delays!

What if there is a fog delay Monday?

Looking ahead to Monday:

If we have a 2-hour fog delay on Monday, we will not have the early release inservices for staff as currently scheduled.

This means students will have a regular school day on the 2 hour delay schedule if there is a fog delay Monday morning.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Should there be a national test?

Here is an interesting article by conservative Bill Bennett and former Education Secretary Rod Paige, titled, "Why there should be a national test."

I have been very public about my growing concerns about the overuse of standardized test data for ranking and rating schools in the media. But this doesn't mean I am against standardized testing. It has its place.

Bennett says in the article that some states have created easier tests than others.

You might find it interesting to know that Indiana's academic standards have been rated among the highest in the nation. Comparing our state's results to other states may not be fair.

He says America's federal government should create high national standards and a national test to go with it and then "Butt Out" of education.

Now that I might agree with.

Syracuse Youth Resource Center

Bowen Center has opened the Syracuse Youth Resource Center at the old Enchanted Hills Playhouse.

The facility is open to anyone between the ages of 4 and 17 years old and is open Monday-Friday after school until around 6:30 p.m.

Students who attend have a chance to receive homework help, participate in sports, receive cooking help, and participate in games, educational groups, and crafts.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Wawascene clears 100,000 per month

The Wawascene is now averaging over 100,000 hits per month!

Thank you to everyone for staying in touch with educational issues at the local, regional and national level through The Wawascene.

The last 30 days we had 100,634 hits!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Making sense of it all..

I guess you can't really. My stomach turns over reading what happened in the little Amish School in Pennsylvania.

Article here for those who haven't seen it over and over.