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Colfax school board approves high school retirement, hires bus driver

by Marlys Kruger

It appears Colfax High School history teacher Andy Meade was in the wrong picture in The Messenger a few weeks ago when school members met for the annual staff recognition get together. Meade was recognized for 30 years of service to the district but has since decided to retire at the end of this school year.


Meade was hired in 1984 as a history teacher and head boys’ basketball and track coach and Colfax was the first and only school he taught in. The board accepted his retirement and decided later in the closed session to begin the process of hiring a new teacher.

Needing a new full time bus driver, the board didn’t have to look far since after first posting the job internally, substitute driver Ken Wittmer was the only driver from the sub pool interested in the full time position.

The date for the audit review and budget review was set for July 21 with the audit review at 5:30 and the budget review at 6:00. The monthly board meeting will follow.

The 2014-15 school calender was approved with the first day of school for students Sept. 2. Staff will have an extra day of in-service to start the year, with four days from Aug. 25-28. There will be two early release days, Oct. 31 and May 1, and there will be a change in parent-teacher conference times this year with Thursday, Oct. 9 and Feb. 26 going from 4-8 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 10 and Feb. 27 from 8-12 a.m.

“We will try this schedule for a year to see if it helps accommodate parents who work different hours other than regular daytime hours,” District Administrator Bill Yingst said.”The Friday afternoons will be used for teacher-inservice time.”

Bids to continue to buy bread products which include whole grain steak, coney and hamburger buns from Earthgrains (formerly Sara Lee) was approved as was keeping Dean Foods as the milk supplier for the upcoming year.

Because of class sizes in the elementary grades, Deb Larson will move from fourth grade to third this fall, Jeannette Kiekhafer from fifth grade back to fourth and Suzanne Blomberg from sixth grade to fifth.

Administrators’ reports

Grades 6-12 principal John Dachel stated the first session of driver’s education will conclude June 27 and the second session will run from Aug. 4-22. Gym floors will be refinished from July 21-31 and will be closed during that time. Dachel congratulated Katy Toycen, who will be attending UW-Eau Claire this fall, for receiving the Academic Excellence Scholarship Award for finishing at the top of the 2014 class. He also  congratulated all the spring sports teams for their accomplishments and hard work the past few months.

Elementary principal Trevor Hovde gave a year end report on the Accelerated Reading program, saying there were 414 students in the program who passed 38,476 quizzes with an overall average of 90% comprehension.75 students read over one million words this year while Belinda Loew read over eight million words.

Colfax graduate Jenni Gust, now a student and basketball player at Lenoire Rhyne University in North Carolina, along with Jake Keefer, a student and football player for the Wisconsin Badgers, helped out during Field Day activities for students the last week in May. Gust and Keefer passed out National Fitness Awards, joined a few of the reading classes, played football and basketball with some of the students and ran a couple of the outside field day stations.

“These two student/athletes are excellent advocates for perseverance in reading and the importance of studies for the younger kids,” Hovde said.

Special Education and Curriculum Director Polly Rudi submitted her report as required by Sept. 1, of the number of seclusion/restraint incidents in the district. There were three incidents in the past year all involving one student with disabilities. Referrals to outside support agencies were made in all three incidents as well as a review and update of Functional Behavioral Analysis and the Behavior Improvement Plan.

The Special Education Transition team received word a Colfax student has been selected to participate in Project Search at Walmart DC in Menomonie. Project Search is part of the Transition to Adult Life program and is a one year internship program for students with disabilities who are in their last year of high school. Students experience total immersion in a workplace and work with a team which includes their family, a special education teacher and rehabilitation services to create an employment goal and support the student during the transition from school to competitive work. The student selected went through an actual interview and did a presentation before being chosen for the program.