EL-G School Board wraps up year, looks to next

by Rodney Schroeter of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE—At its last monthly meeting for the year, the Board of Education of the Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah School District looked to the future as it considered and approved programs for the 2015-16 school year.

Agriculture teacher Michelle Arbuckle had designed curricula for two new classes: Large Animal Science, and Wildlife and Natural Resources. District Superintendent Dr. Ann Buechel Haack told the board that she’d expected Arbuckle to have one of the courses designed and ready for presentation at that night’s meeting, and complimented Arbuckle for having both of them completed.

The two courses are classified as Agricultural Science. Arbuckle worked with performance standards set by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The DPI’s Model Academic Standards for Science define general performance standards for Science, and more specific standards for Agriculture. Arbuckle created student objectives specific to the EL-G school curricula, based on the Science and Agriculture standards.

The board complimented Arbuckle on all the work she’d put into the two curricula, and unanimously approved them as presented. The next step will be to submit them to the DPI for approval. How long that process would take is not known, but Buechel Haack said it should be soon enough that students can sign up for either course next year.

High School Principal Jim Brown presented the high school’s course catalog for the 2015-16 school year. Changes to the catalog include the two new courses designed by Arbuckle. The board approved the catalog unanimously.

Other board topics

Buechel Haack reviewed a preliminary budget and financial plan. The district will be debt-free in March 2015. If the district decides to borrow money for future projects and maintenance, the goal would include being debt-free again win four years.

The DPI and the Higher Edu- cation Aids Board (HEAB) have developed a new scholarship for technical excellence. This program had been announced in a general way some time before, but it had only now been officially released, with local schools having only two months to create a policy to address it. Buechel Haack wrote a policy and introduced it for the board’s consideration. The board will decide whether to approve the policy at the January meeting. The program is intended for students planning to attend a post-high school technical school.

Buechel Haack explained the combination of criteria and the decision process that leads up to a school closing. School could be called off for either snow or extreme cold temperatures.

Elementary Principal Deb Hammann’s report on K-8 activities included the fact that parent participation in the Fall parentteacher conferences the previous month was 96 per cent. She named winners for each grade in the Fire Prevention Poster Contest. 7th graders “adopt” a grandparent through a school program, and write cards to them each month. “However, in December, students visit their adopted grandparents at Rocky Knoll,” Hammann explained. Kindergarten students participated in a fire prevention program at the fire department.

In his report of grades 9 to 12 activities, High School Principal Jim Brown said the school enjoyed its “best turnout in years, in numbers” for parent teacher conferences. “Every teacher I talked to said they were extremely happy with the turnout that night.” He said the Thanksgiving luncheon was very successful, with over 250 people served. That event was covered by a Green Bay TV station. The December 8 Christmas Concert was, “as always, well done.” Student progress reports have been mailed out.

Buechel Haack and other staff have worked with the manufacturer of the LearnPad tablets to overcome some difficulties the school has had with the devices. Resolving the problems included a conversation she had with LearnPad reps in the United Kingdom (a call which, she assured the board, was made by LearnPad, and cost the school nothing). The Cedar Grove school system had the same problems with the tablets, so they and EL-G cooperated to compare notes. The school will receive new devices and support at no additional cost. Buechel Haack said it’s taken longer to get the devices working as expected, but she believed the manufacturer is com- mitted to making things right.

Buechel Haack reported on several projects in the works. The greenhouse should be ready for use at the end of January, or early February. The school’s green van, she said, is wearing down and will need to be replaced, perhaps next Summer. The school was approached by Johnson Controls to do an analysis of energy efficiency in school facilities, but a little preliminary research showed that the school is already quite efficient and on the right track in that regard.


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