Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Didn't get a chance to finish your story? Purchase a day pass digital subscription and you'll receive unlimited online access for one day (24 hours). You will have immediate access upon completion of your purchase.

“We have much to be grateful for,” said W-SR School Board President Kelly Flege, discussing her thoughts to be delivered at the 2019-2020 staff kickoff breakfast on Monday, Aug. 19. Students start classes on Monday, Aug. 23.

“I’d like to give a shout-out to custodial and grounds staff,” said Superintendent Ed Klamfoth, commenting on the summer preparations by those staffs for that Aug. 23 start. Fall sports and band practices have already begun.

Student and teacher learning continues during the summer months, evidenced by teacher presentations made by Industrial Technology instructor Bryan Benham, and high school science teacher Renee Borglum.

Benham presented details and recommended acceptance without reservation of a grant to establish a Pre-Apprenticeship Program at W-SR. The program would include at least four seniors who will be paid and supervised for work in a local manufacturing setting. Students collect experience and program credit hours towards an apprenticeship, streamlining workplace entry.

“Kids who want to enter the workforce directly after graduation need this kind of program,” Benham said.

The initial $15,000 grant from Iowa Workforce Development may be enhanced by a $50,000 grant the following year as the program takes root. At present, Welding and CNC (Computer Numerical Control) are the targeted Pre-Apprenticeship Program opportunities currently taught in W-SR’s Advanced Manufacturing course.

“Do you feel that we have students that you could fill those spots easily?” asked Board Member Corrie Ramige.

“Yes, easily,” Benham replied, adding that a W-SR Pre-Apprenticeship Program means tracking student progress continues after graduation.

Asked about a Middle School summer technology course, Benham received a round of consoling laughter as he commented that he was not fully prepared for the busy pace of instruction needed to work with middle school girls participating in W-SR’s Summer Industrial Tech program. He described the girls’ projects as “all theirs,” and noted their attention to project details. That summer program, geared to encourage female interest in manufacturing, will be offered again next summer.

“A trip definitely not about the destination, but about getting there,” was the way science instructor and organizer Renee Borglum characterized the summer high school Wilderness Studies trip to Colorado which including swimming, fishing, and rafting icy whitewater while learning about a variety of desert and alpine environments. The group endured camping in freezing temperatures and experienced daily hikes in mountains and sand dunes while gaining social skills. Borglum begins student preparation for this teamwork and ‘leave no trace’ camping adventure during the spring semester.

Exciting — but in a very different way — describes plans approved for the 2020 Spring Orchestra trip to Chicago. The out-of-state trip was approved for four days over spring break at an estimated cost of $650 per person. Led by music instructor Matthew McLellan, students will participate in a variety of activities and see a performance of Hamilton. About 45 students are enrolled in orchestra at W-SR.

The board also unanimously approved the resignation of business teacher and girls’ tennis coach Scott Giraud.

Handbooks, Policy Review & Legislative Priorities

Handbook approvals, policy reviews, and legislative priorities rounded out the remainder of the 90-minute board meeting. Handbooks have been revised slightly to allow seventh and eighth graders to use cell phones, kept in student lockers to contact parents between classes. Appropriate use of social media for staff was detailed, and smoking restrictions were extended to include vaping products.

Adding comment on the Middle School Handbook, Principal Jeremy Langner said, “It has been a step in the right direction for us,” about the new bullying report process which includes an unbiased individual in the investigation and problem-solving process.

After individual study and discussion, board members arrived at four legislative priorities for 2019-2020 which members will discuss with state legislators. These include:

1. PRESCHOOL — Support continued funding from the current weighting of 0.5 to 1.0 full-time equivalent to ensure that all 4-year-olds have access to the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program.

2. SPECIAL EDUCATION – Supports predictable and timely state funding to serve students receiving special education services at a level that reflects the actual cost including educational programming and health care costs.

3. SUPPLEMENTAL STATE AID — Supports setting supplemental state aid: •For FY 2020, by January 31, 2019; For FY 2021 and future budget years, at least 14 months prior to the certification of the school’s district budgets; and at a rate that sufficiently supports local districts’ efforts to plan, create and sustain world-class schools

  • 4. EXPANDING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES — Supports providing the flexibility to expand educational opportunities and choices for students and families under the authority of locally elected school boards to include: Investment in magnet and innovation schools; Expansion in flexible program offerings; Greater partnerships among schools and community organizations; Establishment or use of on-line schools or classes; Collaboration between public and non-public schools, however, opposes the use of additional taxpayer funds for vouchers or educational savings accounts, or an increase in tax credits or deductions directed toward non-public schools.

Business Manager Joan Loew reminded the public that School Board Elections are now held on the same day as the General Election, Tuesday, Nov. 5. Three school board seats are up for election, those currently held by Flege, Epley, and Jensen in Districts 2, 3 and 5, respectively. Persons wishing to run for election may pick up forms in the Business Office. Candidates must file by Aug. 26 and forms must be returned by Sept. 19 at 5 p.m.

The next School Board meeting will be held in the School Administration Building on Monday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are open to the public and can typically be viewed on Waverly Newspapers’ Facebook page.