Exchange program helps PHS earn `Top School’ award

by Dave Dary Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH – The high school’s involvement with foreign exchange students has become rather unique, Plymouth High School’s program advisor, Clare Sedlacek, told the School Board Tuesday evening.

All told, there are 11 exchange students attending PHS this semester, which helped bring about a “Top School” award from the U.S. State Department. Sedlacek said that four of the students are sponsored by organizations other than the time-honored American Field Service (AFS). She added that presentations made by the exchange students about their home countries have been very well received by local audiences, and that the students were quite willing to give them.

Board members asked the students – not all of who attended the meeting – what the most challenging thing had been about com- ing here for a year. “The cold weather” was one reply. “Language” said another, while still another said it was the food; although a different student said she actually liked peanut butter, which has not proven to be a favorite among foreign students.

The students said that what they liked most had been the people they met, one student adding that he had especially liked a tech course he would not have been able to take back home.

Sedlacek said the district was always searching for host families, who, incidentally, are not required to have other children living at home. She said this was not due to any wish on the school’s part for more numbers, but for the contact and opportunity the foreign exchange program provides.

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With little discussion, the board accepted a list of recommended fees for next year.

Most fees stayed the same. The largest single change was a reduction in the fee for Early Childhood registration from $16.50 last year to zero in the next school year. The only fee to be raised (and the only other fee to be changed at all) was the Community Ed’s Youth Center membership fee, which was raised from $40 to $50 next year.

All other fees – including food service charges for milk and lunches – remain the same.

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In personnel matters, the board approved a limited-term contract for Brittany Hoffman to teach special education at Riverview. Hoffman received her bachelor’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University, and this will be her first teaching assignment. She will replace Daphne Peterson, who resigned last month.

The board also accepted the retirement request of PHS Assistant Principal Pam Harney, who has served the district for 23 years.

Diana Schneider, special education aide, announced her retirement as of March 22, 2014.

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In other matters, board member Bob Travis, the board’s liaison to the PHS Foundation, told the board he was amazed how active the foundation group was. Upcoming events include a May 8 “Business Connection” in cooperation with the Plymouth and Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce groups, as well as a presentation at Generations on May 9. In addition, he said, the group was reviewing over 100 applications for scholarship funds.

In his report, Board President Tim St. Clair said he had formally toured the new PHS Tech Ed center and been impressed by “a multitude” of talented PHS students “doing very good work” in welding. He also praised the auto hoists that had come through the Van Horn dealership donations.


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