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.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007


OK - so maybe it's not shocking, but it's at least surprising to see a bill going through the legislature that repeals a duty that was handed off to public schools. This may be the first time I can recall a law change that didn't add a new requirement for public schools.

Senate Bill 0010 would repeal the public school requirement to test all students in grades 5, 7 and 9 for scoliosis.

Speaking of Bills - here is the entire list of bills introduced into the Indiana General Assembly.

If you have an opinion on one of them, go to the blue sticker on the sidebar where it says "Write Your Legislator." Put in your zip code and then your address, click "GO" and you will be given the email addresses of your representatives. In 60 seconds you can tell them what you think.

One legislator told me privately, that he puts far more weight behind the personal emails and letters from constituents than he does the form letters from professional lobbying organizations.

One of the first reasons I started blogging was to try to make it easier for patrons to not only know how laws affected their local schools but to make it easier for patrons to let their own personal opinions be known to their representatives.


Vanessa said...

Wow. I truly wonder what took the Senate so long to even propose repealing the requirement. I also wonder how many students have been diagnosed with scoliosis even though schools have been required to test for the condition.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the link,it makes it so easy to do. I really appreciate what you do to keep us informed!!

Vanessa said...

Sorry...I meant to say I wonder about the students who have been diagnosed with scoliosis even though the schools declared that the students don't have it.

does it save money to do less said...

I have a cousin that was caught in a scoliosis screening years ago. I was screened for poor vision while in Jr High.

Schools don't have to be the community clinic, but a lot of emerging medical conditions are detected during sports physicals.

I can't imagine the cost for these screenings is beyond the reach of the school district, and if it is, an outreach to the area physicians would quickly result in enough medical volunteers to meet the need.

Area doctors and nurses routinley volunteer for sports physical night.

Why would the district not take this small step to improve the overall community health if the cost is nearly zero?

If giving an all sports pass to the medical volunteers is too much of a financial burden, a paper certificate of appreciation will probably work just as well.

The corp has nurses on staff, so the savings of eliminating these types of screenings is a question in my mind.

As a side note, perhaps it would also be appropriate to evaluate the job performance of the school nurses already on staff.

As 'the boss' you might check on the overall satisfaction of the performance of these on staff professionals with some of the area nurses and doctors.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the no school
WOO HOO we got a foot of snow!

Mitchell Smith
WHS student

Mamacita said...

Dr. Stock,
I am still amazed and impressed that an administrator cares enough about his community that he dares blog about issues and opinions, and gives the community carte blanche to express theirs here where the public can see them all. I am not used to an administrator who even knows how to turn his own computer ON, let alone dares to blog about important things. (Here, everything is a secret) Congratulations to you, sir, for being a brave man and an excellent administrator. I mean that sincerely. Your teachers are fortunate.

Superintendent Mark Stock said...

Thank you for the kind words. I am trying to help other superintendents see the potential. Some are afraid of the downside.

Superintendent Mark Stock said...

I don't worry about the scoliosis screenings as a major financial expense. I was just pointing it out as another example of a task that schools are asked to assume that is actually a good idea but it adds to the list of things that take away from other responsibilities.

It's not a big deal, but the teacher has to stop instruction, take the class down, stand around and wait or send them down while study hall goes on etc.

If you haven't see the list of "burdens" on Jamie Vollmer's website you should watch his animated version of the burdened teacher being weighed down by all the "good ideas."

It just seemed interesting to me to see a bill that "repealed" a responsibility instead of ADDED one!

That just doesn't happen!

please don't let me be misunderstood said...

Dr. Stock, thanks for your response.

I do appreciate your views, and also believe that less from the statehouse is more in many ways.

I echo mamacita that this forum really is one of a kind.

However, the burden of these screenings either falls on the parents or the schools. Its really that simple.

So, in the interest of improving community health, do we rely on the parents to take a day off work, make a doctor's appointment, pick up their child at school (or keep them home from school), take their child to the appointment for the screening, etc?

Or, do we impose the 30 minute hardship on the teacher to gather up the class, take them to the nurses office for a :30 second screening exam and return to class?

In a perfect world, all parents would be responsible for their children, and provide them with high quality annual child wellness visits with their family doctor. If they have one, other than the ER.

So, we have burdens like these imposed by the legislature (or in this case repealed). I consider this evidence that we do not live in a perfect world.

From this reality comes the unwanted burden. From the legislative perspective, the alternative would seem to impose this responsibility on the county health departments, which would likely result in the diversion of funding.

The second problem then becomes that the county health departments do not have access to the children.

If we think outside the box a bit, another alternative would be to make scoliosis screening part of the trip to the shrine circus.

Shriners' hospitals do provide surgery for these types of conditions, so I suppose that as a charitable service, they could focus on these types of screenings and the accompanying referral for treatment wrapped up all in one innocuous field trip.

Superintendent Mark Stock said...

I wish sometimes as educators that we DIDN'T view these good ideas as small burdens, but with increasing cries for academic accountability I don't think we have a choice but to speak up. What exactly IS the major mission of American public education? We hear it from all sides.

I saw this week another federal commission recommending that teachers and principals be held accountable for student test scores even though current research says that 70% of test score variation lies in factors outside the school's control. But don't take that wrong - 30% is a powerful influence but I am not so sure it is enough to begin holding schools totally "accountable" for it.

Meanwhile American schools continue to accept more and more social responsibilities, yet I am pretty sure that the American school year (180 days) is the shortest school year among industrialized nations.

Perhaps the school year should be about 240 days like many other industrialized nations and then perhaps the playing field would be more equal and there would be time to take on a more expanded mission.

I don't see that being a popular choice! :-)

Anonymous said...

Rietveld resigns at Wawasee
Published: Saturday, February 17, 2007 -- The Truth, B1
Last updated: 2/17/2007 12:17:28 AM

By Bill Beck
Truth Staff
Joe Rietveld Wawasee head coach Wawasee football returning letter winners 2006 season

By Bill Beck

Truth Sports Editor

SYRACUSE -- Two seasons after leading Wawasee's football team to the Class 4A state championship game, Joe Rietveld has decided to step away from the program.

Rietveld, who compiled a 51-48 record in nine seasons with the Warriors, submitted a resignation letter to the school Friday. He will remain on the teaching staff in the math department.

"It was a very, very tough decision for me professionally and personally,'' said Rietveld, who led the Warriors to 36 wins in the last four years. "My son is a fourth-grader and I thought I'd finish my career at Wawasee when he graduated. It will not be that way.''

Rietveld, who tied Myron Dickerson for the most football coaching wins in Wawasee history, indicated that the time was right for him and that resources for the program were not at a workable level.

"I've been in this business for 21 seasons and been here for nine and I know what it takes to have a successful program,'' Rietveld said. "There are certain things you need to do for a program, and I didn't get them. The bottom line was that things needed to run a program from the seventh grade to varsity level weren't there.''

Rietveld informed his coaching staff of his decision on Thursday and met with a small number of players, including the 2007 team captains, Friday.

In 2004, the Warriors rolled to a 13-2 record and a berth opposite Indianapolis Roncalli in the RCA Dome. Wawasee also shared the Northern Lakes Conference title at 6-1 with Concord and NorthWood.

Rietveld and his staff built a versatile one-back offense which produced school record numbers and halfback Jordan Swain led the state in rushing.

"That was a great group of kids and to be able to play on Thanksgiving weekend was special,'' Rietveld said. "A lot of coaches who have forgotten more football than I'll know never had that opportunity and to be able to do that, you have to be lucky.''

Wawasee finished the 2006 season 8-3 with a 21-20 overtime 4A playoff loss at Plymouth as a two-point conversion came up inches short of the goal line.

"There isn't a day that's gone by where I haven't thought about what we could have done differently, what could we have adjusted,'' Rietveld said. "That eats away at you. We have talented kids, great kids coming back and somebody else will be coaching them, but this was my choice.''

Contact Bill Beck at or 296-5871.