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Colfax school board approves electronic device policy, meets new staff members

By Marlys Kruger

There was plenty of business on hand when the Colfax school board met Oct. 28 for their regular meeting.

Several new staff members attended the meeting including Lori Halpin, a Colfax graduate teaching middle school language arts, Carly Rubenzer, a native of Bloomer who was hired a day before school started to teach special education and Malia Clements, an elementary guidance counselor, also from Bloomer. All three introduced themselves and gave the board some background information and said so far everything is going very well with their jobs.

Hiring some more staff members was on the list of new business items as the board approved the hiring of a school nurse for the 2013-14 year.  Terri Ruff, a Registered Nurse working at Colfax Health and Rehab, assumed her duties for the school district recently.  Jaymie Meyer was also hired for a few hours a week as a support aide to the school psychologist and will help with testing in various grade levels throughout the year, and another hire who is more old than new to the district was approved when long time middle school teacher Tim Devine requested to take the eighth grade boys’ basketball coaching position, taking over for Garrett Maas who moved up to the boys’ varsity position.

If anyone is looking for a part time job, there are several openings in the district at this time. The board approved the resignation of Brianne Link as the cheerleader advisor and the drama/musical advisor, Mick Hover as girls’ junior varsity basketball coach and Andrew Berlin, the assistant wrestling coach who also transports the wrestlers to and from Bloomer every day. As of now, there was no interest by any staff members in these positions so the jobs will be posted outside of the district.

After attending a Science Olympiad workshop, high school biology teacher Mark Mosey expressed an interest in a letter in starting a team for the school. Teams of up to 15 members compete against other schools in hands on science activities in a relaxed, safe and fun atmosphere. There is a competition at Boyceville High School Dec. 7, another at UW-River Falls Jan 25 and a regional tournament March 1 at Menomonie High School. Anyone advancing to the state level would compete April 5 at UW-Stout. The board agreed to allow Mosey to coach a team.

The board also accepted a donation of $500 for the Colfax football team from Elaine Bjork on behalf of her late husband Wally. Both are Colfax graduates and Wally was a former bus driver for the Colfax district and was a faithful sports fan.

The final reading of the Student Use of Cellular Phones, Digital Imaging Devices and Other Personal Electronic Devices was approved. Use of electronic devices will be prohibited in classrooms, media centers and testing centers during the school day unless the student has prior approval from the principal or their teacher. Cellular phones and other devices may be used appropriately and respectfully before and after classes in common areas such as near lockers, the cafeteria or outside on school grounds. Each student and a parent must sign a form stating they understand the rules and regulations of the policy and the repercussions if they fail to abide by them.

Open enrollment numbers show there are 58 students enrolled in our district from somewhere else while 47 from within the district attend school elsewhere. Total pupil count from the September count is 861 which is up 11 students from last year.

Principals Reports

Grades 7-12 principal John Dachel congratulated all the fall sports teams for their achievements this year and stated winter sports are just around the corner. Boys’ basketball and wrestling practice starts Nov. 11 and girl’s basketball practice begins Nov. 18. The first boys’ basketball game is at McDonell Central Nov. 19, the girls begin Nov. 26 at Elmwood and the first wrestling meet is Dec. 5 at Superior.

Members of the FFA attended the National convention in Louisville, Kentucky  Oct. 29-Nov. 2 along with students from area schools.

The public is invited to the annual Veterans’ Day Program at the high school Monday, Nov. 11 starting at 10:00.

Elementary principal Trevor Hovde gave a pupil count of 506 in grades Early Childhood-sixth grade, up 15 from last year. He also stated staff members took part in the teacher in-service Oct. 25 and spent time on CPR-First Aid training, SLO goals and teacher goals, WKCE preparation, DIBELS results, PALS assessments and Math Exemplars.

Students took part in Fire Prevention Week activities the first week of October and in National School Bus Safety activities Oct. 21-25 including a bus evacuation drill on the 23rd.

High school Family and Consumer Science teacher Mrs. Neuburg opened up her kitchen and along with several of her students helped elementary kids  make 60 apple pies which will be given to veterans attending the Veterans Day Program Nov. 11.

District Report Card

Special Education Director/Curriculum Coordinator Polly Rudi presented the School Report Card Summary from the Department of Public Instruction. Overall, the district meets expectations with an accountability score and rating of 72.7 on a scale of 100. The benchmark for meeting expectations is 63-72.9 so Colfax is very close to the Exceeds Expectations level which runs from 73-82.9. Elementary students meet expectations with a 70.9 score while high school students are at 72.3. On a scale of 50, Reading Achievement Average for Colfax Elementary students is 29.9 which is above the state average of  28.7 while the Math Achievement Average is 35.9, slightly below the state average of 37.8. Reading Achievement Average at the high school level is 34.3 compared to the state average of 31.1 and Mathematics Achievement Average  is 35.7 with the state average at 36.3. (A complete breakdown of the Report Card can be found on the DPI website at

Rudi stated Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Testing begins throughout the school this week and continues through Nov. 14. This will be the last year students will be tested in this format with the Smarter Balanced Assessment in reading and math, which is 100% computer based, beginning next year.

The first Special Education Parent meeting will be Nov. 25 from 6:00-7:30 in the SPED conference room.

There was nothing to report from the executive session which took place after the regular meeting.