Extracurriculars supported by Plymouth School Board

by Dave Cary Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH – One hundred percent? Go for it.

The key feature of a package of changes to part of the district’s master plan approved by the School Board on Tuesday is a goal of 100 percent student participation in extracurriculars from grades six through 12, no date specified.

Although the “extra” in “extracurricular” may suggest “frill” to some, extracurriculars are widely held to improve a student’s school experience and performance. Assistant Superintendent Dan Mella told the board there seemed to be a group of students who stayed away from extracurriculars entirely – and these kids, as a rule, did not do as well academically and had a higher proportion from their ranks of the few kids that come up for expulsion every year.

Current high school participation is put at 75-80 percent, which is mirrored in the higher grades of middle school. There are fewer extracurricular activities available before sixth grade.

Board members thought the 100 percent goal was a good one – as long as it did not imply that a rate of 95 percent would be construed as failure.

• • •

Following an introduction from board member Richard York – who said he was “amazed how much is done” by the Community Educationa nd Recreation program with the resources it has, director Kathryn Murray summarized the program’s achievements. York is the representative board member on the program’s committee.

Murray said the program was quite active in several areas. In education, 15 new classes were added including “building with pallets” and a rope course after summer school, while the health classes of Dr. Dan Francis remained popular.

Under “nutrition and wellness” the program offers several courses in gardening and foods, such as “kids in the kitchen” and has other activities as well.

The program offers several options in childcare, including care from age 6 weeks through fourth grade and operates the Youth Center.

The program has reached out to the community with booths at several events and in forming partnerships with Piggly Wiggly, Generations, Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) and the YMCA, and a revamped communications program under Jamie Piontkowski.

Murray said the Community Ed program’s portion of the district’s budget was $200,000 per year, and that this had recently been frozen by the state Legislature. The rest of the program’s expenses are covered, she said, by income from user and course fees.

• • •

The board amended several policies, mainly to comply with Wisconsin Act 10, the recent state budget bill that largely impacted school fi- nancing.

The policies involved were: 537 (Professional Growth); 538 (Staff Evaluation); 524 (Teacher Non-Professional Employee Relationships; 523.e (Employee Assistance Program); 535.1 (Supervisory Responsibilities); 536.1 (Professional Staff Resignations); and 541 (Support Staff Positions).

The board also amended the district’s flex benefit plan language to comply with the Affordable Care Act.

• • •

The board accepted the following gifts to the district:

• $500 from Ray Zimmerman via the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Foundation to be used for a track and field electronic timing system.

• $150 from the Waldo State Bank to help offset the costs of the recent Physics Day at Great America in Gurnee, Ill.

• $2,712.22 from Horizon PATH for student travel.

• $1,116 from the Fairview PTO for Smart Board speakers.

• $100 from Laurie Helmke for Grade 3 literacy at Fairview.

• $200 from Dan and Jessica Mella for the School to Work program at PHS.

• $35 from the Parkview PPK for room sign engraving.

• • •

The board unanimously voted to elect member John Klemme as its vice president. Klemme succeeds Tim St. Clair, who became board president following the unexpected death of former President Mark Rhyan last month.

Board member Bob Travis was chosen as the board’s liaison to the Plymouth Education Foundation, also succeeding Rhyan. The board passed an amendment to the foundation’s bylaws that clarified procedures for midterm elections to the foundation board.


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