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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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Notes from School Board Meeting on March 10, 2009

The Wawasee Community School Corporation Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, March 10, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. in the North Webster Elementary School Library.

Donations were accepted for the WHS choral department from the Knights of Columbus ($1150.00), a sound system from Mr. And Mrs. Walter Palmer, and the Academic Super Bowl from Wawasee Kiwanis ($500.00). The WHS Student council sponsored a Winterfest for Riley Hospital, with the total of Riley donations for the year at $8000.00.

All-NLC Frosh Brittany Robinson swam to an 8th place in the state championships in the 50 freestyle and a 7th place in the 100 butterfly. Along the way, Brittany won both events at the NLC and sectional championships and established school, pool, conference and sectional records.

All-NLC swimmer Senior Jake Garner placed 14th in the 100 butterfly in the IHSAA state championships. Jake established the WHS record for this event at the Concord sectional. Also swimming in the state championships were Junior Robert Smith, 31st in the 50- freestyle and Warrior 200 yard medley relay swimmers Garner, Smith, Caleb Buyer and John Kirkwood, finishing 27th.

The Warriors are coached by Julie Robinson, Lenore Stump and Kevin Hite.

Minutes of the February meeting were approved, as were claims for payment.
Personnel recommendations, including the retirement this year of WHS assistant principal Alan Frank, were acted upon. Mr. Frank's knowledge, compassion, and work hours will leave a hard-to-fill void!

Dr. Bob Cockburn presented data relating to the changing demographics of our district and the Wawasee community. Free/reduced lunch numbers are double ten years ago, and English as a second language student have increased markedly.

Mr. Phil Metcalf, Vocational Director, and Ms. Shannon Fry, WHS counselor, discussed dual-credit opportunities for our high school students. Dual-credits are a way of awarding college credit for certain high school courses. WHS has been involved with dual-credits in several vocational areas. Advanced Placement, dual-credit classes for an Academic Honors Diploma are now being investigated.

The WCSC is piloting a full-day kindergarten program this school year. Teachers in that program presented preliminary results from this year. Full-day students are spending much more than double the ½-day students in learning activities. The teachers recommended continuing the program at least at the present levels for 2009-2010.

Mr. Jim Evans, finance director, reported to the Board on levels of the various funds. The Board approved a resolution to appropriate the construction funds to be used during the next two summers. A new copier lease was approved, too.

Dr. Edington, superintendent, reported about reading level (vocabulary) issues with the mathematics story problem portion of the recent ISTEP tests. District school nurses were thanked by the Board for their efforts. The status of planned summer facility work was discussed.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Mrs. Joy Goshert discussed Fall ISTEP test results which impact our school designations. Wawasee Schools passing No Child Left Behind this year are Wawasee High School and Syracuse Elementary School. Wawasee passed as a district.

The School Board adopted new policies which have been researched and discussed during the past year. The policies officially begin on August 1.

The next Board meeting is set for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, at Milford School.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dr. Bennett Announces Changes to 180 Instructional Day Policies

The following is a March 17, 2009, press release from the Indiana Department of Education. Wawasee Community Schools will need to work on options to respond to this new directive, which may cause a change in our board adopted 2009-2010 corporation calendar.

"(Indianapolis) – Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett announced changes in Department of Education policies designed to ensure students receive at least 180 days of instructional time each year, the minimum number required by state law.

“As President Obama said last week in unveiling his education agenda, ‘the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom,’ and I couldn’t agree more,” Bennett said. “The academic achievement of students is an urgent state priority and we should begin by ensuring students are in class at least the full number of days required by state law.”

Bennett announced a change in the way the Department of Education will handle waivers of the financial penalty for canceled instructional days due to severe weather. Last week the Department of Education adopted an emergency policy establishing guidelines for school corporations to apply for waivers of the financial penalty for canceled instructional days during the 2008 – 2009 school year only.

However, beginning in the 2009 – 2010 school year, the Department of Education does not intend to adopt such emergency policies.

“In the past, the Department of Education has occasionally allowed school corporations not to make up all the days that were canceled due to weather,” Bennett said. “Going forward, we believe this practice does not meet the needs of Indiana’s students. School corporations have it in their power to create academic schedules that build in the necessary flexibility that will allow them to ensure their students receive at least the minimum number of instructional days. The Department of Education stands ready to assist schools in planning their calendars and seeking creative solutions to guarantee students receive the 180 days of classroom instruction.”

After comprehensive review of the statutory language authorizing the waiver of a financial penalty by the Department’s legal staff and independent experts, the Department concluded that the practice of allowing eligible schools to schedule up to six half-days professional development during the school day was outside the scope of the waiver statute that authorizes the Department of Education to grant waivers only when instructional days are “canceled” due to “extraordinary circumstances.”

Beginning in the 2009 – 2010 school year, the Department of Education will no longer permit schools to use half-days for professional development activities within the 180 full instructional day requirement.

Additionally, parent-teacher conferences must be conducted outside of the 180 day requirement. A one or two hour delay due to weather-related conditions will still be considered an extraordinary circumstance. The school day will still be counted as an instructional day with this type of delay.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Use of WHS Computers to File Unemployment Benefits

Beginning the week of March 16, community members will be able to use the computers in the Wawasee High School media center to file their unemployment benefits.

The media center is located directly inside the front door of the high school and will be open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 3-5 p.m. to enable patrons to use the computers.

If you have any questions, please contact the high school. This is Wawasee High School's opportunity to give back to the community for the support that has been shown over the years to our students and staff.

written by Ellen Stevens, Principal of Wawasee High School

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

School Delay on March 11, 2009

Wawasee Community Schools will be delayed 2 hours on March 11, 2009, due to high water on roads.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alternative to Suspension & Expulsion for Middle School Students

The Alternative to Suspension and Expulsion Program, otherwise known as ASE, provides placement for students in middle school who have been suspended or expelled from school. Prior to the ASE program, a student who committed a major infraction of the school rules was suspended or expelled to home for some period of time. The result was that the student returned to school further behind than when he or she left, and nothing was done to address the behaviors that led to the suspension. The ASE program was created for this need.

Students that are sent to the ASE now have the opportunity to attend alternative school for half a day. During this time the students work on their academics, as well as the reasons why they were sent there in the first place. A licensed teacher provides personal instruction to help the students keep up on current assignments, catch up on late work, as well as assess the students' academic abilities. The students also work with a licensed mental health therapist to work on behaviors and conflict management. For students who are assigned there for three or more days, they are required to meet with the school, parents, and ASE staff members to help communicate the students' needs and discuss preventative measures to reduce repeated offenses.

The ASE program is in its 5th year, and each year helps provide new insight as the program continues to grow and evolve to help best meet the needs of Wawasee’s students.

-written by Mark Mitchell, Mental Health Therapist

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

This is a reminder that Wawasee Community School Corporation will be in session on Friday, March 20, 2009, as a snow make-up day. Students will be dismissed at their building's regular dismissal time.