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EM schools adding math and science classes

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND —  When school starts next year, Elk Mound High School students will have more opportunities to take math and science classes.

The Elk Mound Board of Education approved staffing recommendations at the November 19 meeting that will add one and a half teaching positions and will offer four sections of biology and general science and four sections of algebra and geometry.

Elk Mound High School students are “going over and beyond” the three credits of math they need to take, said Paul Weber, high school principal.

Adding teachers and rearranging the assignments of existing teachers will allow more sections to be offered to reduce the sizes of large sections of algebra, pre-algebra and geometry, he said.

Adding positions and reassigning teachers also will allow for year-long classes in pre-algebra, algebra I and geometry for the first two years of high school in the 90-minute format, Weber said.

The year-long classes will benefit students who are struggling in math; semester-long classes also will be offered for those students who are ready to move on to the next level, he said.

By their junior year, “they will have a mastery of math,” Weber said, noting that the additional instruction will help students when they are ready to take the SAT tests that will replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE).

The new testing procedures are part of the state’s waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The changes in teaching assignments also will allow a second section of pre-calculus, Weber said.

Right now, the pre-calculus class has 30 students, he said, adding that one section of Advanced Placement (AP) calculus also would be offered.

Four sections of biology and general science will be available to students, as well as a second section of chemistry, a chemistry II class and AP biology.

Adding one and a half teaching positions will cost about $100,000, said Jim Holte, Board of Education member.

“Increasing staff is a sign of what is to come (with increasing enrollment),” said Tim Sivertson, president of the Board of Education.

Staffing changes at the middle school and the high school will allow for the additional sections to be added.

Juniors and seniors also will be required to take a personal finance class, Weber said.

In addition, exploratory technology education classes at the middle school will be replaced with computer application classes.

“It’s a safety issue, plus students will have the benefit of getting more technology,” said Eric Wright, middle school principal.

Managing 35 computers in a lab is safer than managing 35 sets of hands on power saws, he said.

The Elk Mound Board of Education unanimously approved hiring for one and a half teaching positions and making the recommended staffing changes.

Other business

In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:

• Approved adding additional classes for Career Technology Education, including four Odysseyware classes and four technology education classes. Odsseyware is an on-line program. The technology education classes will include construction, machine shop and cabinet-making.

• Accepted the resignation Dan Pedersen as the high school head football coach. Pederson has served the school district for 39 years.

• Changed the title of the Salary and Stipend Guide to the “Teacher Compensation Guide,” and approved changing from a committee of four to review teacher applications for promotions to a committee of 12 teachers (four from each building). Fifteen people will be up for promotion this year, said Ron Walsh, district administrator. Teachers will submit portfolios for review. A decision for promotion will be arrived at by consensus of the committee, and the decisions will be brought to the board of education for approval.

• Learned that the school district’s technology plan is due at the end of the school year and that students, teachers and community members will be asked to fill out an on-line survey about technology.

• Learned that the Mound View Elementary ornament workshop will be held December 10.

• Learned that the Elk Mound Middle School holiday concert is scheduled for December 6 at 6 p.m. Fifth and sixth graders will present their concert first. At around 7 p.m., there will be an intermission, and then seventh and eighth grade students will present their concert.

• Learned that 28 students have signed up for Science Olympiad at the high school. The first contest will be in December at Boyceville.

• Learned that enough girls have signed up for high school basketball that a C team will be formed and a C team girls’ basketball coach will be needed.

Following a closed session, the Elk Mound Board of Education:

• Hired Dave Lew as the new head football coach to replace Dan Pedersen. Lew has been an assistant football coach for a number of years and is a Civics teacher in the district.

• Hired Misti Leon as a new bus driver.

The Elk Mound Board of Education meets next on December 17.