EL-G board gets report card, hears fab lab proposal

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE — Technology Education instructor John Ostermann made a case to the School Board Monday for creating a Fabrication Lab/Maker Space for the school. He described a CNC (computer numerical control) machine that could be programmed to create a variety of products.

Ostermann asked the board for approval to apply for a grant that would help buy the machine and other equipment. District Superintendent Dr. Ann Buechel Haack said the grant would provide $25,000, and the school would need to match that amount.

Ostermann said the lab could be used for a wide variety of academic applications. Elementary Principal Deb Hammann confirmed this.

Board member Scott Heinig asked if the staff would need a lot of training to make use of the CNC machine. His concern was that, without adequate training, the machine would not be utilized. Ostermann replied that the learning curve for it is not that great.

The board unanimously approved application for the grant.

School report card

Buechel Haack reviewed the Department of Public Instruction’s School Report Card summary for 2015-16. The report has many numbers, measuring various factors — for example, student attendance and graduation rate — which determine a final number. Three factors could have lowered the school’s score, but did not, because EL-G were below goals for absenteeism and dropout rate; and higher than goals for test participation.

The overall score for the elementary/ middle school is 84.4, or “Significantly Exceeds Expectations,” while the high school received a score of 72.6, or “Meets Expectations” (a score of only .4 higher would have brought the high school into the “Exceeds Expectations” category). Score for the school system overall is 81.0, or “Exceeds Expectations.”

Buechel Haack explained that this number is not a “percent correct” measurement, but based on the previous year’s report card score. But then, to complicate matters, she explained that the DPI revised its methodology for evaluation and assigning scores. This “moving target” of scoring makes it difficult to know with confidence if the school improved by the DPI’s standards.

“So it is a piece of information,” summarized Buechel Haack. “But it’s just one piece. I wish it would be more inclusive of everything we do in high school. It says it’s supposed to measure career and college readiness. I don’t know how taking just one test measures that. It would be nice if they factored in our Youth Apprenticeship Program, or all the other options we offer.”

The report card can be viewed on the school website, elgs.k12.wi.us.

Other district business

A donation of $500, earmarked for the student trip to Washington, DC, was received from an EL-G alumni.

Aryka Klemme, representing the Student Council, gave some student activity highlights from the past month, including a fundraising dress-up day which raised $80 for the American Cancer Society, and the Rocky Knoll drive.

Student Andrew Sitko gave the board an overview of his Eagle Scout project to convert food waste from the cafeteria into compost, which was given away to anyone in the community who could use it. Sitko raised funds for the required equipment.

Instructor Beth Roehl introduced senior Shynaia Higgins. With Roehl’s supervision, Higgins researched what other schools are doing for a Distinguished Alumni Award. This information will be used in forming such an award for EL-G.

Roehl said there are several tasks ahead for this award: considering the data collected by Higgins to craft EL-G’s own award; selecting a selection committee from the school staff and the community; promoting the award, to solicit nominations; where the awards will be displayed.

The board unanimously accepted Roehl’s proposal to create the award.

Diane Schwaller, child care director, reported on the Day Care Program. Buechel Haack said one factor leading to the program’s success and popularity is its flexibility.

Revisions were unanimously approved for two policies that addressed graduation requirements and early graduation guidelines.

A School Board meeting had been scheduled for Monday, April 17, 2017. But because that is the day after Easter and school would not be in session that Monday, the board unanimously approved moving the meeting’s date up a week to April 10.

Activities in JK through eight, as reported by Hammann, included hearing screening for students; a fourth grade trip to the Heritage Center and the Kohler Arts Center; Early Morning Readers for PTA; the Veterans Day program for K through six; 98 per cent participation in recent parent-teacher conferences; middle school participation in the Lakeland College Middle School Math Meet; the coming seventh-grade play, entitled “Theater Magic”; a Junior Kindergarten outreach program that will include decorating cookies; seventh graders will visit their adopted grandparents at Rocky Knoll; a winter concert for grades two through five.

Buechel Haack pointed out that this will be the 30th year of the adopted grandparents at Rocky Knoll program.

High School Principal Ryan Faris gave some highlights of the past month’s activities: recognition for academic, athletic and attendance achievements in the first quarter; the beginning of winter sports; a co-op program intended to educate students about manufacturing; Mr. Yasko taking six students to a creative writing seminar in Whitewater; the holiday pops concert; donkey basketball; a very impressive Veterans Day observation; a fall play; parentteacher conferences; the coming Holiday Renaissance Show; the Thanksgiving luncheon for grandparents.

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