School Board hears ‘book’ report

by Dave Cary
Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH — “One book, many families, one community” — a community-wide family reading program put together in the last year and launched last fall by Horizon Elementary School principal Dena Budrecki and several elementary teachers — was the subject of an upbeat report to the Plymouth School Board Tuesday.

The report was given through a series of short narratives by the teachers involved in a series of statements by the teachers, who took turns, often interacting with one another at the presentation progressed.

They began by saying the concept began about a year ago and drew significant inspiration from the popular adult “One Book, One Community” events in the community the last two years.

Initially, they said, the group’s focus was Horizon school; this quickly widened to include all Plymouth elementary schools and, ultimately, St. John Lutheran, St. John the Baptist Catholic and home-schooled families as well, making it an all community offering.

The overall aim was to foster a love of reading through a family activity, which, the group said, was in line with the district goal of community outreach.

Those who signed up for the program — about 90 families — chose a book from four offered, then received the book and a folder of supporting materials.

Families would read at home and gather periodically for discussion meetings, only one of which was held in a public school building — Generations and the Plymouth Public Library playing prominent roles — where they often drew curious attention from others. These gatherings were held outside regular school hours.

The books chosen were written by two authors, Juana Medina and Sara Pennypacker — who agreed to come to a meeting and speak about writing and autograph books if asked. The teachers said that both the talk and the autographs were very well received, especially from the students.

The teachers said they hoped the program would follow the adult version’s yearly growth record. As to funding, the original program was supported by a $1,200 grant from the Plymouth Education Association.

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Wisconsin statutes require school boards to determine the number of regular and special education spaces available for open enrollment.

The statutes, however, do not require setting of space needs for regular education students, but recognize that there exist a finite number of special education spaces. These are arrived at by use of a specific formula that incorporates projections based on the latest actual figures.

As it happens, in the four special education services offered the number of spaces available for open enrollment is zero.

Should there be more applicants than spaces available, a random selection process is to be used.

The board approved the required selection.

• • •

In personnel matters, the board approved a resignation request from Justin Lloyd, STEAM/ Project Lead The Way Teacher at Riverview Middle School, effective Jan. 19. He has served the district for 4 1/2 years.

In support staff matters, Kay Magnus has been hired as a Special Education Aide at Plymouth High School and Joanne Dvorachek as a server at Riverview Middle School.

• • •

In other matters, the board accepted a gift of $20 from Blair Seibert for the Plymouth High School Swim Team and the Plymouth High School Band Department.

The board approved the first reading of a package of policy updates as suggested by NEOLA, an organization that assists school boards in policy areas.

The board approved an out-of-state travel request from Plymouth High School Automotive Teacher Beau Biller, who will take students to the Universal Technical Institute in Lisle, Ill., to compete in the Top Tech Challenge Feb. 15. The request is consistent with board policy and expenses will be paid by the Tech Club.

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