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.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


We evidently have attracted a lot of new readers with the recent snow delay controversies. Evidently it was the "Jerry Springer" atmosphere that attracted so many! There were 11,000 separate computers that accessed the site over 39,000 times yesterday. Given the volume, I thought it might be helpful to provide a few links that review internet etiquette. Why?

In educational terms, it is a "teachable moment!" :-)

Most blog sites or internet forums go through growth stages as new readers grow accustomed to interacting online. It is said that much of human communication is transmitted through non-verbal cues. If this is true than it would be easy to misread the written communication of others in an online format, or to forget basic courtesies when posting anonymously.

Here is a link to Wikipedia (an open, collaborative, online encyclopedia) that discusses some of the pitfalls to online communication.

Here is a link to an excerpt from a book entitled "Netiquette" that summarizes 10 guidelines for online interaction.

Here is a link to a 10 question quiz on "netiquette."

I do not post these because I am offended or upset by the criticism. It comes with the territory and sometimes it is deserved.

I post these because a number of commenters tried to bring civility and politeness back into the picture and found it difficult.

Online access to grades and attendance

Do you know what your current grade average is in each class?
Do you know if you have missing assignments still to turn in?

Have you sat down with a printout of your son or daughter's grades and discussed it with them?
Don't forget those high school age young adults. They need to know you care too.

It's a click and a password away.

Click on the grade portal links on the sidebar, enter your password and take a "look-see."

If you do not have your password handy or you lost it, call the school or e-mail them for the information. (TIP: Post the passwords somewhere handy and teach your children to access and monitor their own grade book!)

SE 457-4484
MLF 658-9444
WMS 457-8839
NE 834-7644
WHS 457-3147

In addition to having online access to grades and attendance, next year we will be able to provide access to your child's lunch account as well.

Wednesday Delay Update

Road reports show that many of the drifted areas we were worried about this morning are plowed out now.

Drive careful. Have a good day.

Wednesday Delay

Two hour delay.

Road conditions are actually pretty decent considering everything. But....there are isloated sections of certain roads where we have drifting.

Ninety-percent of the roads are clear. The remaining 10% are one lane. Some of those would hang up a school bus.

Skies are clear, some roads are even bare.

This will give the county road crews time to knock down the extra drifts.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Our Condolences

We would like to pass along our condolences to the family of Jodi Molle. Jodi was the driver of the vehicle involved in the head-on collision with the Wawasee school bus on Friday morning north of Dewart Lake. Jodi has family that attend the Wawasee Schools.

Jodi passed away Monday afternoon at KCH hospital.

Thank you blog reader D.S. for the private e-mail concerning the details.

Early Dismissal

Wawasee Schools will be dismissing early on Tuesday due to the wind advisory being extended. Blowing and drifting snow is expected until 1:00 AM Wednesday morning.

Dismissal is 1:00 PM for all schools except Wawasee Middle School which will be 1:20 PM.

Afternoon Kindergarten will be cancelled.

I blew it.

As many commenters have pointed out, some politely and some not so politely - there should have been at least a two-hour delay today without any question. Yesterday we could have gone without one and not much would have been said.

I made a bad call no matter how you look at it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Survey Results

I have re-posted the snow delay survey above by request. In order to see the current results of the survey, click on "view stats."

Due to the results I did not do a follow up survey on TV stations.

Stay warm. Drive carefully.

Monday Delay

Wawasee Schools will be on a two hour delay for Monday morning.

County road crews are already out ( it is 4:53 AM right now) but it will take them awhile to cover the routes.

There are still many slick areas and 1 to 2 inches of fresh snowfall during the night.

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Morning's Bus Accident Update

Some of you know by now that there was bus accident around 7:30 AM this morning. Bus 16 was traveling on the north side of Dewart Lake and was struck head on by a small car.

Everyone appears to be ok but due to the severity of the collision we transported all the students to Kosciusko Hospital just to be sure.

Administrators met the parents at the hospital to explain the situation.

After checking all the students over carefully, KCH released some to their parents and others were transported back to the school.

KCH provided a breakfast and snacks for students after they were officially released.

We wish to thank the EMS workers and volunteers as well as law enforcement officials for their professional and speedy response.

Thanks to the hospital for allowing me to blog this directly from the hospital computers.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Students With Special Needs Across the State

Highest 10 School Corporations
1 Benton Community School Corp 29.6%
2 Kokomo-Center Twp Con Sch Corp 27.2%
3 M S D Mount Vernon 27.1%
4 New Harmony Town & Twp Con Sch 26.7%
5 Richmond Community Schools 26.2%
6 South Henry School Corp 26.1%
7 Southwest School Corp 26.0%
8 Cannelton City Schools 25.8%
9 Muncie Community Schools 25.6%
10 Randolph Central School Corp 25.4%

Lowest 10 School Corporations
285 School Town of Highland 12.0%
286 M S D of New Durham Township 12.0%
287 Greater Jasper Con Schs 11.9%
288 Adams Central Community Schools 11.9%
289 Pioneer Regional School Corp 11.7%
290 Dewey Township Schools 11.3%
291 Westview School Corporation 11.2%
292 Southeast Dubois Co Sch Corp 10.2%
293 Bremen Public Schools 10.1%
294 Northeast Dubois Co Sch Corp 9.8%

State Average 17.9%
Wawasee Average 14.8

OK - now hang with me here. This is a crash course on statistics.

Pearson Correlations

The Pearson R Correlations listed below compare the student special education counts with other statistics and tries to see if they are related to one another. A very high number for a Pearson R (such as .90) means that the two items are highly "co-related." If you "square" .90 (meaning multiply it times itself [.90 x .90] ) you will get .81. This means that 81% of the variation in the numbers on the one statistic are in some way explained by the other statistic. In other words they are highly "correlated."

Pearson Correlations (For All Corporations)
Special Ed Students, Pct 2005-06,

Dec 1 Count with Pearson R Pct of Variation Explained

Free Lunch, Pct Pupils Elig 2006-07 0.3069 9.4%
ISTEP Pct Pass Both Engl and Math 2006-07 -0.3029 9.2%
ISTEP Pct Pass Math 2006-07 -0.3087 9.5%

What does this mean? It means that only 9 % of the variation in percentages of students in special education across the state of Indiana can be explained by poverty or ISTEP scores. And...these were the highest correlations reported. Now - you will notice that the ISTEP Pearson R numbers were negative. This means that as the special education numbers increased, ISTEP pass rates slightly decreased, but still the relationship was not a very strong one across the state.

All data has been taken from the Indiana Department of Education website.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The day I became convinced that special needs students aren't the only ones benefiting from being included.

The Setting

It was the fall of 1984. I had just moved to Indiana from Ohio to take a 6th grade teaching position. One of the differences I noticed at Washington Elementary in Warsaw, was the number of special needs students in the school due to the centralized special education cooperative. There were students from Whitko, Wawasee, and Tippecanoe Valley all attending our school. The school I came from in Ohio did not have any special needs students with the exception of Learning Disabled (LD) students.

The Story

The sun was shining brightly, reflecting off the dark asphalt of the outdoor basketball courts outside Washington Elementary. Several hundred students stood silently in straight lines, hands at their sides, squinting into the sun and watching their teachers for a silent signal to re-enter the school after a fire drill practice.

Suddenly a strange noise came from the playground. The students silently turned to look. A little handicapped boy with Down's Syndrome came skipping and prancing off the playground, dancing and singing loudly to a tune only he could hear. A fire drill wasn't going to interfere with his day!

I immediately whipped around and gave everyone the "evil teacher eye." You know, that stern piercing look that all teachers learn fast or they don't survive long. I expected rude laughter and some version of poking fun at him. Young teenagers can be cruel and unmerciful at times when it comes to picking on others and I expected this to be ugly.

The incident I witnessed following this exchange, has forever convinced me that general education students learn a lot from going to school with students with diverse needs.

My class watched the little boy with understanding expressions and quiet, patient smiles. Several whispered his name, "Hi Jon!" Others covertly snuck their hands out and gave him a quiet "high five" as he danced by. No snide remarks. No secret whispers. No knowing grins.

I glanced at every student and studied their expressions carefully. I could see only signs of friendliness. I studied them carefully again, this time looking for pity in their eyes. Still - only friendliness.

It was awhile later before I truly understood how this could be. You see, Washington Elementary 6th grade students were friends with Jon. They routinely gave up their recesses and went to the special needs classrooms to help tutor and befriend the students. They didn't poke fun at Jon because they knew him. They didn't pity him because they knew he could do a lot of things. They were Jon's friends.

While there are certainly challenges when we include special needs students in regular education, let's not forget that special education students aren't the only ones who benefit.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Texting shows up in student writing

r u surprized?


Link here

l8tr dude

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The challenges we face in educating ALL children

I think one of the most endearing (and yes - challenging) things about America's public schooling philosophy is our desire to educate every child.

A person recently told me that her grandchildren are attending a rural school in China. There are certain tests they take and if the students do poorly, they are not allowed to come back. How is that for "high stakes testing?"

In the American system, right or wrong (it's ok to debate it!) schools are expected to take most of the responsibility for adjusting to the students needs. Americans will never tolerate a system that is designed to shut doors for students - and then lock them out.

Wawasee's teachers for some time have been discussing the trend of seeing more and more children with greater educational needs coming through the schoolhouse doors. The numbers back them up.

The graph below shows a 36% increase in students with special education needs since 2002/2003. The breakdown in numbers shows that the increases are in special education areas where the needs are the most serious.

Special Education Preschool: 17 students to 46 students (170% increase)
Developmental Delays: 8 students to 17 students (112% increase)
Learning Disabilities: 163 students to 159 students (2 % decrease)
Emotional Disabilities: 34 students to 86 students (153% increase)
Communication Disabilities: 115 students to 181 students (57% increase)
Autism: 11 students to 25 students (127% increase)

TOTAL Number of Students with special needs: 489 students

The state average for identified students with special needs is 17.9%. Wawasee's overall average is still under the average at 14.8%

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Board Meeting Highlights

At Tuesday night's meeting the WCSC Board of School Trustees:

...gave the oath of office to new board members Rebecca Linnemeier and Michael Wilson

...accepted donations of two vehicles from Subaru Of Indiana to the Automotive program; $7,000 to Summer Swim from Red Cross, Vineyard Community Church, Rinker Family Foundation; $500 from KCH and Dr. Van Ness; and $500 from the Wawasee Kiwanis Club to the Academic Super Bowl

...approved minutes, claims, personnel, year-end transfers, renewal of Dave Van Lue as Syracuse Parks Board representative and an overnight band tour

...approved Board Officers, Dallas Winchester - president, Mary Lou Dixon - Vice President, George Gilbert - Secretary, Mike Wilson - vocational representative, David Cates - attorney

...approved Dr. Stock, Mr. Evans, Mr Lahrman and Ms Swartzentruber as the only Board representatives to open sealed bids and receive quotes for school business

...approved the financial report

...approved Mr. Evans - Treasurer and Mrs. Hollar - Deputy Treasurer

...heard a report on Special Education in Wawasee from Director Mrs. Hite (these statistics will be reported on the blog site later this week)

...heard a report from Dr. Stock about forming a Reading committee to make recommendations on literacy issues in Wawasee, report on graduation statistics, and an update on the Wawasee Education Fund

...heard a report from Ms Swartzentruber on the Annual Performance Report, 2007-2008 calendar update, WHS Course Description Guide

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How does it feel to be a new English speaker taking a graduation exam?

Here is an inside look at two ENL (English as a New Language) students taking a high stakes GQE (Graduation Qualifying Exam) graduation test. This is written by Phil Lederach, Assistant Principal at Goshen High School, and is published in the Goshen News as a letter to the editor. Mr. Lederach shares a teacher's narrative as she watched the students take the test.

I found it interesting from the human interest side of how high stakes testing can affect individuals.

Click here for Goshen News Letter to the Editor.

Monday, January 15, 2007

2006 Published Graduation Rates

Indiana has a new formula for counting high school graduation rates.

Here are the state definitions for these categories:

OTHERS: students who move to a lower grade, were enrolled for less than 1 year or were early graduates

UNKNOWN: students who left and no transcripts were requested by any other school

COURSE COMPLETION: students who successfully completed the required courses but did not pass the graduation exam (10th grade ISTEP test)

SP. ED. CERTIFICATES: students who completed their education within the special education program, were foreign exchange students, or were home-schooled

DROPOUTS: students who left school early and participated in an exit interview

How is this formula different than past years? GED students are no longer counted as graduates. Special Education Students not on "diploma-track" who complete their IEP(Individual Education Program) successfully are no longer counted as graduates. If any students are missing the correct documentation for their category (such as a foreign exchange student) they may count as a "non-graduate." Students who are behind in their credits and graduate a year or more late are non-graduates until the year they receive their diploma.

Graphics supplied by Dr. Robert Cockburn

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Do you know how well your child is reading?

Here is a link to a "Red Flag Screening Test for Reading" that you can use to determine what grade level your child is reading at.

Parents can follow the directions given and print copies of various grade level reading assessments, including a state (not Indiana) reading assessment. Directions for scoring are provided.

If the results do not seem to be in line with what you know about your child, or if the results do not seem in line with information you received from your school about your child's reading abilities, then it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your child's teacher to discuss it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A conservative voice ponders NCLB renewal

Here is an interesting article from someone who helped the Bush administration promote NCLB. I don't agree with everything he says, but there are quite a few interesting points.

This article is probably best suited for people with at least a little background on what the No Child Left Behind law was about.

A teacher's New Year's Resolution

Click here to read a teacher's New Year's resolution published in a letter to the Indianapolis Star.

Here is an excerpt:
The students felt they were not being heard or understood. A student who does not trust a teacher may not ask for help. Teachers have become so concerned about testing and standards, we have forgotten about the connection we need to establish with students. How many students do not like a teacher because they believe the teacher does not like them? Teachers should take time to understand the students, not just the curriculum....

Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday's Funnies

Found at TeachersFirst:

Here's a collection of wisdom from an anonymous mother. If you'd like to add something you've learned, send an e-mail to

A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. foot house 4 inches deep.

If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

A 3-year-old's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 by 20 foot room.

You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. However, when using the ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit.

A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

The glass in windows (even double pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

When you hear the toilet flush and the words "Uh-oh," it's already too late.

A six-year-old can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36 year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

A magnifying glass can start a fire even on an overcast day.

Certain LEGOs will pass through the digestive tract of a four-year-old.

The words "Play Dough" and "Microwave" should never be used in the same sentence.

Super glue is forever.

No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

VCRs do not eject PB&J sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

You probably do not want to know what that odor is.

Always look in the oven before you turn it on. Plastic toys do not like ovens.

The fire department in Austin, TX has a 5 minute response time.

The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earth worms dizzy. It will however make cats dizzy.

Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

My opinion? Kids are natural born researchers!!

Have a good weekend!!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Education Commission is off-the-mark...again

Jay Matthews gets it right.

Washington Post article here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reporter follows 9th grader around school for a year

"What I learned in 9th grade this year!"

A reporter followed several ninth graders through school for a year and reflects on what he has learned about life and schools today.

It is a remarkable story. There is little to argue about here.

Click here for the link to the St Petersburg Times.