EL-G Board hears from Poetry Out Loud, Youth Apprenticeship students

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE — At its Monday night meeting, the School Board heard from a student involved in Poetry Out Loud - a state and national program - and from two students in the district’s Youth Apprenticeship program.

High School Principal Ryan Faris introduced Mandy McLaughlin, who recently participated in the Poetry Out Loud program in Madison.

Faris told the board, “At the state contest, Mandy finished third, the highest ranking ever of any contestant from our region.”

McLaughlin recited “La Belle Dame sans Merci” (“The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy”), by John Keats, which brought applause from the board and others present.

Instructor Beth Roehl introduced students Holly Francis and Jonathan Roll, students participating in the Youth Apprenticeship program. Francis is doing accounting work. Roll is working as a machinist.

Roehl asked the students about the kind of work they did, how many hours they worked, post-high school plans, how high school classes helped with their Youth Apprenticeship work and if they were glad they participated in the program.

Francis said she’d learned a new set of skills and had better defined what her career goals were because of the work she’d done through the program.

Roll said he gained an expanded view of what his options are, what it is like to work as an adult in the workplace, being exposed to an expanded skill set and a sense of financial planning for his future education.

Roll added that he is surprised there are not more EL-G students enrolled in the apprenticeship program. “It’s amazing,” he enthused. “I think other students should try it, too. It’s a good experience.”

Francis added that students should know it is not that difficult to get into the program. Roehl said the program’s success rate is very high. Superintendent Dr. Ann Buechel Haack made the point that some students already have part-time jobs, and are concerned they’d have to give them up. Roehl said the school is trying to work with employers to see if such jobs could be incorporated into the program.

Roll said his previous employment at a sub shop had helped create the opportunity for his current machinist work.

As Francis and students at past board meetings have stated, Roll said the program allows participants to see if interest in a field is strong enough to lead to a satisfying career. Even if students find the work done through the program is not right for them, that is helpful in making career choices.

Francis and science instructor Travis Moore gave a presentation, “Solar Our School,” which proposed installing solar panels on the school’s roof. Buechel Haack said consideration of this proposal as an actual project would take some time, but the initial idea was well-received by the board.

Brian Feldmann reported on planned and potential summer maintenance projects. The board approved spending up to $7,500 for Bray Architects to evaluate and redesign the front entrance of the high school.

Buechel Haack shared findings of the district’s self-evaluation of the Status of Pupil Nondiscrimination and Equality of Educational Opportunities.

Buechel Haack reviewed several policy revisions with the board.

The board unanimously approved contracts for certified staff.

The board decided unanimously to impose only half of a $1,500 penalty against a parttime staff member who had resigned. The penalty is written into part-time contracts, and can be imposed at the board’s discretion if the staff member leaves before the school term of the contract is over. Buechel Haack said the person in question had accepted a full-time position elsewhere that would start right away. Buechel Haack said it’s hard to begrudge someone wanting to go from parttime to full-time.

Buechel Haack shared with the board a newspaper clipping that announced over 300 recipients of awards from the Herb Kohl Foundation. Two recipients work within the EL-G school district. John Ostermann, technology education instructor, received a teacher fellowship. Deborah Hammann, elementary principal, received a leadership award.

An electronics recycling event, open to the public, will be held at the high school Saturday, April 8, from 8 a.m. To 12 noon. Some items can be brought to the event at no cost, while for other items there is a fee. Proceeds will assist the National Honor Society.

The board voted unanimously to accept several donations and expressed appreciation for each one. A goal of $150,000 has been set for Phase I of fundraising for new playground equipment. $101,990 of that has already been raised.

The regularly-scheduled date for the monthly School Board meeting is the third Monday of the month. That will be changed for April and it will be held the second Monday (April 10).

Student Council representative Aryka Klemme told the board of the coming staff vs. seniors basketball game.

Elementary Principal Deb Hammann’s K-8 highlights included several activities for a celebration of Dr. Seuss books, Literacy Night in conjunction with Reading Across America, a seventh- and eighth-grade trip to the planetarium in Appleton, fifth-graders seeing a Robin Hood play, fourth-graders viewing cheese and maple syrup production, third-graders attending the Sheboygan Symphony, the April Reading Incentive program and Music in Our School Month.

High School Principal Ryan Faris’ highlights included recent ACT tests for the juniors; the coming end of the quarter with parent-teacher conferences (which Buechel Haack emphasized were for high school only and not the elementary at this time); band and choir participation in Solo Ensemble, from which 34 students will go on to the state level; academic competitions; forensics; a well-attended pops concert; conclusion of winter sports and the start of spring sports.

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