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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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, February 27, 2009

Spring ISTEP+ Testing

Next week, Wawasee Community Schools will begin testing students in grades 3-8 on the spring 2009 administration of ISTEP+. According to Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana superintendent of public instruction, this "marks Indiana's official move to spring ISTEP+ testing."

The spring 2009 ISTEP+ will be administered during two testing windows at grades 3-8, an applied skills (writing items) testing window in March and a multiple choice items testing window at the end of April-beginning of May. Students need to take all sections of the test. According to Dr. Bennett, "Results of the spring 2009 ISTEP+ will be released in late August after cut (passing) scores are set and adopted by the State Board of Education. Results each year thereafter will be available to students, parents and educators before the end of the school year."

At Wawasee, we will test students in grades 3-8 on the following days:
  • Applied Skills (writing items) will be given on March 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  • Multiple Choice items will be given on April 28, 29, 30, and May 1.

We encourage you to make sure your student gets a good night's sleep each night and eats a healthy breakfast each morning. Keep in mind each school serves breakfast. For students who qualify for free lunch, there is no cost. For students who qualify for reduced lunch prices, the cost of breakfast is 30 cents. For students who do not qualify for free or reduced lunch prices, the cost of breakfast if $1.

The Indiana Department of Education has released information on what parents can do to help students prepare for ISTEP+:

  • Stay connected. Cramming for a test rarely results in the type of learning that will stay with your child throughout his or her life. The best preparation is to provide consistent support for your child throughout his or her education.
  • Know what's expected. Read Indiana's Academic Standards so you know what your child should know and be able to do; reinforce these expectations at home and stay connected to your child's academic performance through the year.
  • Check grades. Your son or daughter may say things are "fine" at school, but don't stop checking report cards, progress reports or, if available, your child's online grades or class progress.
  • Talk to the teacher. Teachers know how hard students are working, how well they are behaving, quality of their homework and what areas need improvement. Collect email addresses or phone numbers of all your child's teachers and check in periodically.
  • Don't buckle on homework. If your child is not studying at home, ask why, and double-check with teachers. It's tough to hold the line, but making sure your child does his or her homework is important for academic success.
  • Ask for help. Students who are struggling in a particular class may need extra help after school or with a tutor. Find out from your school where you can go for help and make sure your student gets the help he or she needs. Catching a problem area now can make a big difference.
  • Go to parent meetings. Most schools offer parent nights or teacher/parent sessions that provide great information. Check your school's calendar at the beginning of the year and plan to attend.
  • Get involved. Nothing will have a bigger impact on your student's success than your involvement in his or her education.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

U.S. Students Move Up in Math and Science

Critics who argue that the United States lags behind its international peers in the education rankings might find some evidence to the contrary in recent results of a major international assessment, which shows fourth-and eighth-graders making strong gains in math and modest improvements in science.

“The message for the country is that we're improving in mathematics, particularly at the 10th percentile,” or the lowest performing students, says Patrick Gonzales, the U.S. coordinator for the test, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), at the Department of Education. “In science, there are more mixed results.”

U.S. fourth-graders scored 529, on average, in math, which is higher than the TIMSS scale average of 500, and they scored 539 in science. Eighth-graders scored 508 in math and 520 in science.

Some experts, while supportive of the results, say the devil may be in the details. Mike Cohen, president of Achieve, a nonprofit education organization, cautions that the U.S. results are relative. More developing countries participated in TIMSS this year than in previous years, and so while the results are heartening, “there is still much work that needs to be done,” he says.

Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, offers another perspective: If the United States were in the international education emergency room, our vital signs would now be stable. “However, all the other patients are getting better faster. It's time to ask, “What do we need to do to catch up with the others?”

Top 10 Average Math Scores of Eighth Graders
China - 598
Republic of Korea - 597
Singapore - 593
Hong Kong - 572
Japan - 570
Hungary - 517
England - 513
Russia - 512
United States - 508
Lithuania - 506

School Delay 2-26-09

Wawasee Community Schools will delay the start of school on February 26 for 2 hours due to fog.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Swimming Success

Congratulations to Brittany Robinson who competed in the IHSAA Girls' Swimming State Finals on February 13 and 14 and earned a 7th place finish in the 100 Yard Butterfly and an 8th place finish in the 50 Yard Freestyle.

This week on Friday and Saturday, Wawasee has boys' swimmers competing in the IHSAA Boys' Swimming State Finals. Jake Garner will be competing in the 100 Yard Butterfly, and Robert Smith will be competing in the 50 Yard Freestyle. The 200 Yard Medley Relay team comprised of Jake Garner, Robert Smith, Caleb Buyer, Nicklas Thystrup, and John Kirkwood will also be competing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Congratulations to Kristina Long!

Syracuse fourth grade teacher Kristina Long has been selected to receive a 2009 Teacher Creativity Fellowship grant funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc. She is one of 129 Indiana educators selected to receive a Teacher Creativity Fellowship grant.

Mrs. Long will receive $8000 from Lilly Endowment, Inc. to use for her project "The Three R's - Rebuild, Revive, and Renew." Mrs. Long applied for the grant because it "would afford [her] the opportunity to impact the lives of hurricane victims from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and spend six weeks [this summer] involved with the rebuild and recovery efforts in three key areas impacted by these hurricanes. In addition, [she] would like to do a comparison study of the rebuilding efforts of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Galveston, Texas."

In her proposal, Mrs. Long wrote, "Life is full of ups and downs. Nietzsche once said, 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger.' Heartache can be brought to us by unforeseen tragedies that can turn our lives upside down. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike have been these kinds of tragedies. The impact from these hurricanes could be felt throughout our country. Being married to a native Texan and having lived and taught for five years in the Houston area, my heart ached for the people of Louisiana and Texas as their lives were uprooted. My heart has a mission to help these individuals recover from this devastation, bless their lives with encouragement, and help build a new and brighter future for them. Beyond the goals of home reconstruction and the comparison study, my additional objective is to help the adults and children of these areas. I want to give back to the people of Texas and Louisiana and provide hope by forming life-long relationships with these individuals. Most importantly, I am hoping this experience will humble me and give me a greater appreciation for the good fortune I have been blessed with as an educator. I want to have a heart of compassion and desire to understand life in a new and meaningful way...

"A Lilly Endowment would provide me some welcome challenges, both personally and as an educator. It would also give me the resources to impact the lives of three different areas of our country by being part of three different rebuilding teams. I would work alongside a team to rebuild homes, schools, and lives that have been devastated by Katrina, Rita, and Ike. It is my goal that these rebuilding efforts will not only make a difference to those I help, but also renew my spirit by humbling me to have a greater appreciation for good fortunes that are bestowed upon me.

"As a follow-up, I would use this experience to provide real-life stories and examples of weather-related devastations to my students back in Indiana. I would also be able to provide key teaching illustrations for linking learning to schemata in real situations. Additionally, I believe these experiences will change my inner spirit to be a more compassionate person and teacher."

Mrs. Long, Wawasee applauds you, and we are truly blessed to have you as teacher for our students!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Vaccination Update

There were not enough vaccines for all of the high school students who were planning to be vaccinated. The Kosciusko County Health Department has arranged to return to Wawasee High School on Thursday, February 12 from 12:30 p.m-2 p.m. to finish vaccinating those high school students who were not able to receive vaccinations today. Students need a signed consent form in order to be vaccinated.

If parents have had their children vaccinated at another health care provider site, please let the school nurse know so the information can be posted to the students' school records.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Free Vaccinations for Meningococcal Disease

The Kosciusko County Health Department is scheduling free vaccinations on Thursday, February 5, for students ages 11 through 18 at our middle schools and high school. The schedule will be
  • Milford Middle School: 7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
  • Wawasee Middle School: 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
  • Wawasee High School: 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m.
Click here for information on the meningococcal vaccine, date/times, and a consent form which a student MUST have in order to receive the vaccine. This information will also be coming home today with your middle and/or high school student.

February 2, 2009: Kosciusko County Health Department Press Release

Below is an updated press release from the Kosciusko County Health Department in cooperation with the Indiana State Department of Health in reference to a Wawasee Middle School student.

The administration wants to thank the Kosciusko County Health Department, our instructional and guidance staff, mental health therapists, custodial staff, and our local ministerial staff members who have provided and will continue to provide support during this time.

WARSAW, IN 46580-2877
(574) 372-2349
Fax: (574) 269-2023

February 2, 2009

The Kosciusko County Health Department, in cooperation with the Indiana State Department of Health is investigating a suspected case of meningococcal disease. There is only one unfortunate and isolated case. No other illnesses have been reported that meets the criteria of meningococcal meningitis or disease.

The Kosciusko County Health Department has continued to collaborate with the school system, the local hospitals, and the ISDH throughout the weekend to monitor for possible cases or threats to the public health.

The Kosciusko County Health Department, has contacted persons who have had close contact with the case and has made recommendations on who should have antibiotics to prevent infection.

A person must have direct contact with an infected person’s saliva during the 7 days prior to the onset of illness in order to become infected. The disease is not spread through casual contact or by simply being in the same room as an infected person.

This disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis generally affects people in two ways:
· meningitis (an inflammation of the tissues covering the brain and or spinal cord)
· bloodstream infection (that usually leads to bleeding under the skin)

These include, but are not limited to a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion and
sometimes a rash. Newborns and small infants may also vomit, and be tired or very fussy. If any of these signs or symptoms should develop, the person should be taken immediately to a physician or emergency room to be evaluated for possible meningococcal disease.

Close contact means:
· household members
· persons who frequently eat or sleep in the same house
· persons who spent 4-6 hours per day together
· persons who have come in contact with salvia of the infected person by kissing, sharing eating and drinking utensils

For all other persons, including those who had casual contact as would occur in most school, social, or church activities, the risk of infection is very low. Preventive antibiotics are not recommended for casual contacts of infected persons.

There are two vaccines that protect against most types of this disease. A dose of meningococcal vaccine is recommended for children and adolescents 11 through 18 years of age. Meningococcal vaccine is also recommended for other people at increased risk for meningococcal disease such as:
· College freshmen living in dormitories
· U. S. military recruits
· Travelers to countries where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa
· Anyone with a damaged spleen, or whose spleen has been removed
· Persons with certain medical conditions that affect their immune system (check with your physician)

To reduce the spread and risk of any communicable disease, it is recommended that individuals avoid sharing foods, drinks, lipstick/balm, cigarettes or other media on which there is contact with another person’s saliva.

For more information you can visit the ISDH Quick Facts site at: Or the CDC Meningitis (Meningococcal Disease) web site at If you have questions please call the Kosciusko County Health Department at 574-372-2349.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Monday Night 8th Grade Parent Meeting

The meeting for parents of eighth graders for planning/preparing for high school that was scheduled for Monday night has been cancelled.

A Message to Wawasee Middle School Parents

Dear Wawasee Middle School Parents,

On Monday, counselors and ministers will be available at Wawasee Middle School to assist students in the wake of our recent tragic situation involving one of our students. The administration and staff will work with class schedules on Monday to facilitate taking care of our students’ emotional needs.

As an extra precaution, the Wawasee Middle School building has been thoroughly sanitized by our custodial staff. We will continue working with the Kosciusko County Health Department. At this time, there is only this one case that is under investigation by the health department.

Thank you as we cooperate together to work through this situation.