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.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
This year Clayton Wilcox and I were asked to address the nation's school administrators and school board members about the topic of "blogging." (List of Distinguished Lecturers is here.)
Then AASA called and asked if I would be willing to "blog" the conference each day so that people around the nation who were unable to attend would get some idea of the topics being covered and what is happening down here.
Hence, a new blog is born, "Taking Stock of the AASA Conference."
I will not be posting as often on The Wawascene this week, but you may be interested in following along by checking in over on the other site!
P.S. It's not snowing here!
At this point, we do not anticipate any problems with weather, and hopefully we will have none.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Here are a few talking points that we intend to share:
1. NCLB was a noble idea. (But...do all noble ideas make good laws?)
2. Schools should be accountable for the growth of their students but that accountability should take into consideration where the students are performing before the teachers receive them. In others words, move the accountability system to a growth model but still report the percentages of students meeting overall proficiency.
3. Someone at the federal decision-making level needs to spend some time IN the classrooms of today and see if this level of "accountability" is worth it. This is a hugely important national discussion. It is easy to chart changes in the test scores and call it "improvement." It's not so easy to chart what is NOT being taught now. A recent commenter mentioned the difference between teaching rote history dates versus teaching/discussing/debating sociological changes.) Well, guess which one will be taught if it's "on the test?"
4. How fair is it to hold an entire school's reputation (under current NCLB rules) based on the performance of a sub population of 12 students? This is what is happening now.
5. Special Education students have been doing well considering the circumstances. But some changes in the testing expectations for some types of students in this population HAVE to be considered.
So....what would YOU respectfully tell the Congressman if you had the chance?
Saturday, March 3
Wawasee -vs- Brebeuf Game time 6:00 PM Conseco Fieldhouse
Tickets will be $10.00. No ticket will be required if a child is 24 months of age or less. Presale tickets will be made available in the Wawasee Athletic Office in the following order: (All seats are reserved)
Monday, February 26
7:00 p.m – 8:00 p.m.: Parents of Players and Cheerleaders
Tuesday, February 27
7:00 a.m.: Corporation Faculty and Students
9:00 a.m.: Green and Gold Ticket Holders and Season Ticket Holders, until 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 28
Open sales Begin at 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Wawasee Basketball coaches and players will be available for a media night Tuesday, February 27th at 5:00 p.m. Please announce – Community pep rally Thursday, 7:00 PM.
16th in the 200 medley relay. Swimmers were Tyler Wear—backstroke, Cory Smith—breaststroke, Jake Garner—fly,
Chris Szynal —free.
18th in the 400 free relay. Swimmers were Haven Hoffman, Szynal, Smith, and Garner
20th in the Fly—Szynal
32nd in the 200 Free—Smith
26th in the 100 Free—Smith
Special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Alan Frank, and Mr. and Mrs. Dave Stookey for making the trip to support the Warrriors.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
The video will be available on wawaseetv.com by 4:00 PM on Sunday. Thanks Bill!
Friday, February 23, 2007
Here is an article about adolescent sleep patterns...or lack thereof.
No solutions proposed.
I guess you could push the high school student day to 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM but then there are all those extra-curriculars etc. If you went later in the day the students would be awake but then the adults would be nodding off! :-)
Thursday, February 22, 2007
This slide show, entitled "Gone Fischin" is a slide show set to music that simply lays out changes happening in the world today.
This comes from a blog site by Dr. Scott McLeod who teaches at the University of Minnesota. Dr. McLeod teaches in the educational leadership program, preparing future educational leaders to be users of technology. His site is called "Dangerously Irrelevant."
The "Gone Fischin" slide show takes 6 minutes to view and he gives you a variety of download options.
Are your children ready for this world?
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I have not personally read Thomas Friedman's book referred to in the posting.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Driver's license suspension for minors who smoke. Permits a court to order a: (1) one year suspension of a driver's license of; or (2) a six month delay in the issuance of a driver's license to; a minor who violates tobacco laws.
Authored by Senator(s) Boots
Hmmm. Is this a good idea or not?
If you have an opinion - just put your zip code in the blue box labeled "Write your legislators." Enter your address and your legislator's email address will come up. You can let your representatives know what you think.
Here is a list of all proposed legislation. Scroll through them and see what your legislators are up to!
Monday, February 19, 2007
Here is an article discussing some potentially revealing genetic research.
If that one was a little boring because it had words like "genome" in it, then try this one.
Here is a heartwarming story about a little boy with autism who is making great gains.
Wawasee has 25 students with autism.
Saturday, February 24 Two Semi-State Championship Games:
Game 1 Class 2A Jimtown -vs- Oak Hill Game time 1:00 PM
Game 2 Class 3A SB St. Joseph’s -vs- Wawasee Approx 3:00 PM
The winner of each Semi-State game advances to the IHSAA State Championship game at Conseco Fieldhouse the following Saturday.
Tickets will be $7.00. There is no charge for a pre-school child who is with their parent/s and will not occupy a reserved seat. Presale tickets will be made available in the Wawasee Athletic Office in the following order: (All seats are reserved)
Tuesday, February 20
7:00 a.m.: Students at Wawasee High School, Parents of Players and Cheerleaders, and Corporation Faculty
12:00 Noon: Green and Gold Ticket Holders and Season Ticket Holders, until 4:00 PM.
Wednesday, February 21 and Thursday, February 22
7:30 a.m.: Open sales until 4:00 PM. All unsold tickets returned Friday.
Columbia Cty 79
Tippy Vly 43
The following swimmers will be going to the state meet at the Natatorium in Indy this Fri. and Sat. (2/23,24/07)
220 Free Relay—Tyler Wear, Cory Smith, Jake Garner, Chris Szynal
200 Free—Cory Smith
100 Fly—Chris Szynal
100 Free—Cory Smith
400 Free Relay—Chris Szynal, Haven Hoffman, Jake Garner, Cory Smith
Sunday, February 18, 2007
After posting a 47-26 win over Concordia, Wawasee will move to semi state action next week!
Don't forget to go to http://www.wawaseetv.com/ to watch the games. Bill will appreciate the traffic!
Saturday, February 17, 2007
The girls BB team won in the regionals this morning in Peru against Elwood and will play Concordia this evening at 8:00 PM at Peru.
The boys BB team will play this afternoon at home.
Friday, February 16, 2007
1. Monday, Feb 19th is now a school day as a snow makeup day
2. Monday, Feb 26th WAS a teacher work day with no students but will now become a regular school day as a snow makeup day
3. Friday, March 2nd will now be the end of the second trimester BUT it will be an early dismissal day (approximately 12:30 PM depending on the school) for students in order to allow at least SOME work time for staff for grading exams and getting ready for the new trimester on the next Monday. This also gives the weekend for teachers to prepare for the new classes on Monday.
4. Friday, March 23rd is now a school day as a snow makeup day
5. Monday, May 14th is now a school day as a snow makeup day
This will still leave Friday, June 1st as a snow makeup day if there are any other cancellations yet to come. Commencement will remain on Friday night even if school gets pushed into the next week. This is because many parents and grandparents already have their travel plans arranged.
This schedule does the following things:
It allows more second trimester teaching days for those teachers whose course content cannot be easily adjusted .
It provides at least a little work time for teachers to grade exams and enter grades into the computers.
It maximizes the use of available days for student instruction.
It decreases the chance we would need to require seniors to return after commencement .
1. What are "page loads?" When you click on "The Wawascene" and then click on the "Comments" that would be two page loads. The stat counter program records every page load.
2. What are "unique visitors?" Each computer has a unique numerical address. There is a little piece of software code on your computer called "cookies" that allows web sites and blog sites to recognize that unique numerical address. Whenever you log onto The Wawascene the stat counter program checks to see if you have been on in the last hour or so. If you clicked on the blog site 45 times in that hour the stat counter would only count you as one "unique visitor." However, if you have your "cookies" turned off, the stat counter program will think you are a new visitor each time. How would you know if your "cookies" are on? If you go to a web site you have registered at before and it recognizes who you are, then your "cookies" are turned on. If you register over and over again every time you go, then your "cookies" are turned off. And that my friends, is how the cookie crumbles!
3. How is a blog site different than a web site? A blog is an informal, frequently changing web site that often links to other sites. Web sites are generally more formal sites that contain information and links that are changed less frequently.
4. Did you ever have a question, but then wonder if I have already blogged on the topic before. All you have to do is go to the to the top left corner of The Wawascene's homepage and look for the little white rectangular box. Next to it is a button that says "Search This Blog" if you type a word such as "ISTEP" in the box and then click on the "Search This Blog" button it will list every post I have made that has "ISTEP" in it. There is one caution though. That post was written at a certain point in time. Laws and opinions of those laws may have changed since then. But, you can at least see what was written about that topic at that point in time.
Enough for now. Have a good day.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
This will give the county plows a little more time.
They will pull the plows at 4:00 PM tonight and return at 4:00 AM to see how much progress they can make.
While most roads are open (at least one lane) there may still be turnarounds and intersections where buses cannot negotiate the turning radius. The problem is that going is slow because the snow is unusually hard packed. That wind just packed it in.
P.S. Due to popular demand we are adding WNDU Channel 16 back to the call list today. We dropped them last year due to their internet system failing to post our information or posting incorrectly on several occasions. We will try it again.
The boys BB make up game for the make up game tonight will be played here at home with one major change.
There will be no JV game and the varsity game will be played at 6:30 PM in order to get people home in a timely fashion.
The report from the Kosciusko County highway department is that they should have every country road open by 4:00 PM this afternoon. There will still be some that are one lane.
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.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
The "2% circuit breaker," passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2006 is designed to cap property taxes at 2%. That sounds simple enough, right?
Yet, this law could have a devastating impact on some municipalities, towns, cities and schools but little or no impact on others.
Here is how it works. To make the example simple, let's assume you had a home and property that was valued for property tax purposes at $100,000 and your total property tax exceeded $2,000. In this example the "2% circuit breaker" kicks in and then anything over that $2,000 is noncollectable and the taxing entities would not receive their portion of that money.
What if you live in a town that has a library tax? What if your town provides sewer service? Maybe they collect your garbage or plow your streets and pick up your leaves? These services are provided for those that live in the taxing area. But if your total property taxes including school taxes exceeds 2% (or in the $100,000 example - $2,000) then the taxing entities do not receive their portion over the $2,000 amount.
This seems a little weird to me. Just because you live outside these municipal areas doesn't necessarily mean you don't use such services. Maybe you pay for your own garbage pick up. When the private gravel drive to your subdivision is drifted in you may have to pay separately to have it plowed. You probably pay every year to have it scraped and potholes filled. Maybe you pay for septic tanks to be pumped and when the systems go bad you may pay privately to put in a new system. These items are not covered on the property tax rolls but that doesn't mean you don't have to use those services. I suppose the thinking is that at least you have a choice. I suppose so. You could let the garbage pile up at the roadside I guess! :-)
But, here are the real problems with the "2% circuit breaker:"
1. These towns, municipalities and schools already have their budgets set and services developed long before they are informed about how much revenue is not collected.
2. The Indiana General Assembly passed the law without solid information on how and who it would affect.
3. They did not pass any alternative revenue sources.
As far as Wawasee Schools is concerned, it does not appear to have too much of a direct effect. Wawasee Schools tax rate is low enough that even adding all the other property taxes up inside the towns it should not have a major impact on our schools. But time will tell.
To see Wawasee's property tax rate and current ranking (Click here) then scroll down to "Delve deeper into data" and select "top 10 corporations," then select "tax rate (before CAGIT)" and you will see Wawasee ranked 292 of 293 school districts.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Last year when Dina was teaching Kindergarten she had a little fellow come up to her and exclaim, "Miss Coverstone, my mom is having her throat cut and her thyroid taken out."
Another little girl chimed in and added, "Now your mom can't have babies anymore!"
Have a great weekend. Go Warriors! Beat Northwood in the girl's sectional tonight in Angola. We play the early game.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
North Webster Community Public Library, Milford Public Library, and Syracuse Public Library will host book discussions in March on the book “The Grapes of Wrath,” by John Steinbeck. All of Kosciusko County is being encouraged to read “The Grapes of Wrath,”in March for “The Big Read,” a program that was planned by Kosciusko Literacy Services to encourage our whole community to read one book for pleasure and enlightenment.
The book discussions, open to anyone, are scheduled for March 1 (Thursday) 6:30 PM at Milford Public Library, March 5 (Monday) 5:30 PM at North Webster Comm. Public Library, and March 14 (Wednesday), 7 PM at Downtown Grounds in Syracuse.
Each time a student participates in an event of “The Big Read”, he or she may enter a drawing for an iPOD. Adults participating in an event may enter a drawing for two tickets to a local theater production and dinner for two at an area restaurant.
Other contests include a writing and art contest.
Contact your local library for more information.
FREE BOOKS are available in the Wawasee Administration Office (the small brick building in front of the high school). Stop in and pick one up! The only requirement is that you pass it on to a friend to read when you are done. Join the entire county in The Big Read!!
Provided by NW Librarian Helen Leinbach
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Blogging is best done in small doses because we all have work to do! The volume of inflammatory comments has created an editing problem. We do not have the time to monitor the blog all day and spend our time deleting or censoring comments.
Why do I say a "model for the country?" There have been 90,209 different computers access this site in the last 7 days for a total of 229,791 page loads in one week. That means other parts of the country are watching our "experiment" here.
For the near future we will only turn the comments on for posts that are substantive in nature where a variety of thought and opinion are relevant. Announcements of various kinds such as snow delays and announcements will have comments turned off.
We will see how that works. If that doesn't work then we will have to either require all commenters to register which many blogs do (that means you are identifiable) or turn off the interactive features which makes this all dry and boring!
Let's see if we can find the middle ground! Good luck!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Chase Davis won a high school wrestling regional championship at 130 pounds on Saturday. He will compete in the individual semistate on Saturday at Merrillville. Justin Wegener also advanced by placing third at 160 pounds.
Krista Spearman won the 100 yard breaststroke in the Warsaw Girls' Swimming Sectional on Saturday. She will compete in the state finals this weekend. Eleaya Rodes finished third in diving and will compete in the diving regional at South Bend Riley tonight
The varsity girls' basketball team became the champions of the Northern Lakes Conference by defeating Northridge on Friday night. They finished the conference 7-0. They play Angola tonight around 7:30 p.m. in the second game of the sectional at Angola.
If any postponements occur with tonight's events, we will post that information here on the blog.
On Wednesday, students will be in session all day. There will be no early release.
Monday, February 05, 2007
We tried this morning, but according to Mr. Green, our head mechanic, all the buses in the "bull pen" have trouble staying running. Cold weather is causing the fuel to jell up.
Too many buses will not stay running.
Make up day will be February 19.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
This will give the Transportation Department the needed time to make sure the buses will start after an idle weekend.
This will reduce the likelihood of children standing in the cold too long waiting for a late bus.
We are announcing it early to make it easy for parents to make plans.
(No - It's not a premature celebration of the Colt's anticipated victory! :-)
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Here are some random thoughts on the issue:
1. The wide-open forum of the internet is here to stay. Schools should embrace the technology and use it for good, instead of getting squeamish. The internet has given everyone an equal voice. You just didn't hear that voice before. Not all voices will make sense to you and not all voices will be respectful. That doesn't mean they weren't out there before - it just means they ran in different circles than you and you never heard that voice.
2. When you were in school did you know who the superintendent was? Did you interact with him or her? Having a voice in the past meant you had to have "connections." Today, connections may be technology-based.
3. It will take time for people to adjust to maintaining their dignity when they think no one is physically watching. You see, they just don't realize yet that the whole world is now watching. It's just electronic. Bill Gates calls it, "Living the documented life." Every key stroke you make leaves a digital footprint. Every place you go the security cameras and web cams are likely to be recording you. Every person that posts wild ramblings and embarrassing personal information on their website will have to explain it to a future employer. Many large businesses now employ people specifically to search out every internet reference to a potential employee before they hire them.
4. Twenty years ago you older folks left your imprint on the world by carving your initials in the tree with your rusty pocketknife. "Leroy was here." Today your children and grandchildren blog their views to the world and publish their daily lives to thousands by posting to their personal websites. It's no different in that respect, their imprint is just digital and far reaching - even into the future. It is a permanent record.
5. As far as censoring or deleting comments goes, I have not yet had to censor any comments except for one or two for profanity.
6. Comments, suggestions, criticisms and compliments are appropriate here when they are in reference to policies, practices or school-wide issues. If a criticism is in reference to a specific individual or department it is best made directly to the individual or their "boss." I will delete any inflammatory comments that reference an individual or employee. Except for references to me. Everyone considers the superintendent fair game I guess. (Someone came up to me recently and started pinching my upper arm lightly. They looked up with a grin and said, "I was just checking to see if you had thick skin!")
7. The biggest problem with internet communication is that it lacks the non-verbal cues that accompany face-to-face interaction.
8. And the simplest reason for blunt and sometimes inflammatory posting is actually quite simple. Some people get lazy (perhaps they aren't very good typists) and they don't take the time to soften their words and explain themselves more carefully the way they would face-to-face.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Mr. Garner, Principal of Syracuse Elementary, reported he saw the following methed up abbreviation running on a local TV channel during the snow cancellations:
"Milford Meth Church - Activities cancelled"
Have a Super weekend. Go Colts!
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Many veteran teachers feel like the curriculum has been shoved down and shoved down. Most parents wouldn't recognize the material from their elementary days!
Here is a 2nd grade writing standard for Indiana:
Write or deliver a research report that has been developed using a systematic research process (defines the topic, gathers information, determines credibility, reports findings) and that: uses a variety of resources (books, technology, pictures, charts, tables of contents, diagrams) and documents sources (titles and authors).organizes information by categorizing it into single categories (such as size or color) or includes information gained through observation.
Whoa Nelly! When I was in second grade I think I was still having 3 recesses a day and maybe even milk and cookies! If middle schoolers could do this with consistency we would be thrilled. Now granted, the subject matter can be scaled down considerably.
Parents, do you want to know what your children are expected to know and be able to do in Indiana at each grade level? Click here and choose a subject from the pull down menu. Then move your cursor over the colored buttons for every grade level and look at the standards. It's all here.
You can also print off sample problems to practice with too.