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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Monday, May 11, 2009

WHS Update

Today, Wawasee High School principal Ellen Stevens sent the following letter to high school parents updating them on today's events in responding to the bomb threat made for Monday, May 11, 2009:

This letter is to follow up on the events of this morning at Wawasee High School. As you are all aware, there was a thorough search involving dogs this morning before school opened. Everyone entering the building had to check in with a police officer who searched their bags. Nothing suspicious was found in the search of the building or the belongings that were searched.

An investigation is underway and the police are working to identify the person or persons responsible for the threat to our school. If we are able to identify a responsible party, it is our intent to handle the situation as an extremely serious event. Anyone having information related to this incident or any other threat to our school's safety is encouraged to contact a school administrator.

I regret that all of us had to go through the extra security measures this morning. It is an unfortunate reality that we have no choice but to take such issues seriously.

For the remainder of the day, there were extra police present in our building. We owe a great deal of thanks to our police officers from the Syracuse Police Department, the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department, Allen County, and Vigo County. They all responded quickly and thoroughly to our need. Working together we will continue to maintain a safe and secure building for our students and staff.

Friday, May 08, 2009

WHS Information for Monday, May 11, 2009

The following was sent by principal Ellen Stevens to Wawasee High School parents on Friday afternoon regarding Monday, May 11, 2009:

Officials at Wawasee High School discovered a hand written message in a bathroom stall that relayed a bomb threat for the high school on Monday, May 11, 2009.

Immediately upon the discovery of the message, the Syracuse Police Department and the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department were notified of the threat and have been assisting the school in taking the necessary steps to be certain that the school is safe for staff and students on Monday. Officers from the Syracuse Police Department and the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department will be present at the high school, and the building will be thoroughly searched before school on Monday.

Students will not be admitted to the building until 7:15 a.m. on Monday. All students and staff will enter the building by the front door (door #1) only. All other entry points will be secured and unavailable for entry. All buses will drop students at the front door. Upon entering the building, students should expect that all bags, purses, and backpacks will be searched as they enter.

Once the students have checked in to school, they will be expected to make only a brief stop at their locker and then go directly to their first class where their teacher will be waiting. Once all of the students are in class, we will begin school and run the day on our normal schedule.

We regret the disruption and inconvenience that we will face as a school on Monday. However, this underlines the need for cooperation from all groups associated with the high school to help us be proactive with these types of issues. Anyone who has information related to this specific incident or any other safety issues at the school is encouraged to call and report immediately so the school officials can react. The safety of our students and staff is a priority.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wawasee Community School Coporation Board Meeting - April 21, 2009

The Wawasee Board of School Trustees met on May 21 at Milford School. A work session at 6:30 pm preceded the regular meeting. The Board was updated with plans for summer construction work to be completed at each building.
The regular session began at 7:00 pm. A $500 donation to the WHS by Brenda and Jay Rigdon was accepted by the Board, along with a $25,000 Safe Routes to Schools grant to educate our elementary children on safe walking and bicycling techniques to school. Over 80 trains per day pass through our school district, and they do not travel slowly! MS teacher Christie Holst and Roy Hufford wrote the successful grant.
Minutes, personnel recommendations, and claims were acted upon. Our retiring teachers this year, in addition to earlier announced WHS Career and Technical Education Director Phil Metcalf and WHS assistant principal Alan Frank, are Laurel Graham, Julie Gunden, Nancy Nelson, Betty Lambert, Jerri Mahnensmith, Karilyn Metcalf, Cindy Peterson, Beth Skaggs, and Mary Jo Short.
In other personnel news, Tracy Roberts was hired to replace Phil Metcalf, and MS teacher Roy Hufford is heading to Carroll Consolidated Schools as elementary assistant principal.
The Middle School Leadership Academy students and teachers presented their activitites during this school year.
ISTEP data for each WCSC school relating to adequate yearly progress (AYP) was discussed with Dr. Bob Cockburn, corporation data specialist. Syracuse Elementary School and Wawasee High School passed AYP in every category, while Milford School missed in only one area out of 23 possible. Wawasee Middle School missed the mark in the language arts portions of the ISTEP test, while North Webster Elementary missed on some math and language arts areas.
The Board approved 2008 construction projects that include replacing some classroom heating/cooling units at WHS and SES; lighting at WHS and portions of MS, WMS, and SES; boilers at WHS and WMS; and pool heaters at WHS and WMS. Final portions of the middle school roof will be replaced, and the vocational building will be remodeled. It will be a busy summer!
Salaries for both teachers and non-teachers will go up 1 and 1/2 percent for the 2009-10 school year.
The vocational business classes at WHS will be eligible for additional state reimbursement next year, due to additional teacher training and licensure.
Federal stimulus monies and Indiana state budgets were discussed as we look toward our financial future as a district.
Proposed handbook changes for '09-'10 were distributed to the board members. Those changes will be considered at the May meeting.
Middle and high school social studies textbook and materials adoptions were completed.
Next year's calendar, with the now-required 180 full days, is currently being discussed and changes will be brought to the board at a later date.
The next meeting is set for May 12 at 7:00pm in the WHS Lecture Room.

Friday, May 01, 2009

WCSC Community Newsletter

May is here, with five weeks remaining in the school year. For some, the countdown of days has begun! We will continue our focus on the academic growth of our students.

We honored secretaries last week on their special day. School Nurses’ Day is May 6, and Teacher Appreciation Week is next week. We appreciate all they do!

The general assembly concluded without a two-year budget being adopted. They’ll get back together in June to attempt to meet the Governor’s new expectations for a larger state reserve. Politics!

Property tax bills are out for Kosciusko County. The Wawasee school tax rate is $.48. Other school rates in our county range from Warsaw at $.97 to WaNee at $1.23. The General Fund has been removed from property taxes and is now covered by the state through increased sales tax. Certain property tax relief measures in place last year have been removed, too. In short, property tax bills for most are a little less than last year.

Ten teachers retiring this year are Phil Metcalf, Betty Lambert, Julie Gunden, Cindy Peterson, Jeri Mahnensmith, Karilyn Metcalf, Beth Skaggs, Laurel Graham, Mary Jo Short, and Nancy Nelson. WHS assistant principal Alan Frank is retiring, also. We miss them already, even though they’re not gone!

We were recently awarded a Safe Routes to School grant by the state. The $25,000 grant will pay for educational activities to help our students safely walk and ride bikes to school. With about 80 trains per day, several busy highways, and lack of sidewalks at a few locations, our children are at risk. We hope for a second grant to connect the North Webster Elementary School to town sidewalks. Thanks to Milford School teachers Christie Holst and Roy Hufford for authoring the successful grant.

Congratulations to WHS teacher Allen Coblentz, retired SES teacher Larry Pletcher, and the WHS students who did so well in Monday’s high mileage competition in Indianapolis. They averaged almost 1,000 miles per gallon with their specially-designed vehicle.

Coach Mary Lou Dixon is leading the WHS Academic Super Bowl social studies team to state competition again this year. Andrew Anker, Krista Bornman, Brandon Cox, and Cassady Palmer will compete on May 9.

The WHS band, under Fred Elliott’s direction, received two Gold ratings at ISMAA competition this spring. Great!

There are presently no swine flu cases reported in or around Kosciusko County. We’re working with the Department of Homeland Security to monitor the situation. Thanks to Myra Alexander and Bob Lahrman for their efforts to keep us informed. Now go wash your hands…..

WHS math teacher Kristi Harris will represent Wawasee in helping the state with Algebra I end-of-course assessment evaluation in June. How I Spent My Summer Vacation!

Columbine’s 10th anniversary passed on April 20. We’re older, wiser, and, hopefully, safer in our schools than a decade ago.

Raises for the 2009-10 school year have been set. Teachers and classified personnel will receive a 1.5% increase. Thanks to the WCEA for helping us look at options to retain jobs in these tough economic times.

When our students take ISTEP next spring, 7% more need to pass the test for WCSC to pass AYP. The following year another 7% more need to pass ISTEP for us to pass AYP…. until 2014, when all of the children in all of our schools and the nation’s school will pass their state tests. That is the way No Child Left Behind designed the AYP system. For us at WCSC, let’s look at next year and work together to achieve an 80% pass rate as a district. We’re at about 72% now. That’s a couple more students per class passing the test.

The calendar committee is meeting to find unique and creative ways to have some staff development and, perhaps, parent conference opportunities next year. With the 180 full student day mandate from Dr. Bennett, we’ll give it our best shot!

Stimulus money, over a two year period, is heading our way. These federal funds are targeted at special education (about $750,000) and Title I (about $200,000). The funds come with many strings attached. We’re looking at increased staff development, technology, and other one-time uses to help our students. In two years the funding will be gone, and we don’t want to start programs we won’t be able to finish.

A Milford School child custody case made the news recently. A local court had ruled one way, while an Indian tribal council had ruled another. We went to court to find out which order we should obey. Due to federal treaty language, the Indian tribal council ruling prevailed. Thanks go to the Milford School folks for protecting the child and keeping education as a focus over these difficult days.

Enjoy the wonderful Spring weather, the field trips, and other concluding activities for this year.

It is often said that history repeats itself, but that is not entirely true. Every moment is unique. history may offer similar situations from which some wisdom may be gleaned, but it never duplicates itself. The other thorn in historical account is that while we know what actually did happen when past actions were taken, there is no way to know what would have happened if different or no actions were taken.

Parallels between the challenges faced by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Barack Obama are obvious: bank failures, stock losses, foreclosures, high unemployment, and widespread economic hardship. Roosevelt made heroic attempts to mitigate calamity through government intervention. Obama seems likewise inclined. There was criticism then as now, and New Deal efficacy is still questioned, but most citizens saw it as evidence of caring intention, and it is fact that millions of Americans were saved from starvation through direct relief.

Today there is more abundance to eat though masses of the general populace are without the necessities of life. It took Americans until well after WWII to pay for what their survival cost – much longer than the 10-year duration of the Depression itself. It will take a long while to dig out of this hole too, but lessons come with losses – wealth of a different kind.

In times of change, learners inherit the Earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. - Eric Hoffer

I’ve always tried to be the guy who expects the most out of himself, so when I do ask those other guys to do the same, they’ll look at me and say, “Well, maybe this guy isn’t so full of crap.” - Tom Brady