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EMHS principal asks school board to consider increasing math credits to 4

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND  —  Elk Mound High School Principal Paul Weber believes high school students should take two full years of mathematics classes for a total of four credits.

Under the current requirement of three math credits, students can be finished with math in one-and-a-half years, Weber explained to the Elk Mound Board of Education at the February 16 meeting.

Weber said he was requesting the Board of Education consider increasing the required math credits to four.

Freshmen and sophomores at Elk Mound High School typically have 90 minutes of math instruction per day for two years, he said.

The year-long math classes count as two credits, and if a student then takes a one credit math class, he or she could be finished with math in one-and-a-half years, Weber said.

After the students are finished with Algebra II, they have met the requirement for taking Pre-calculus. If sophomores meet the requirement by their second semester, the Pre-calculus teachers believe that sophomores are not ready for Pre-calc, he said.

If students take two years of math classes and then begin Pre-calc in their junior year, they will have math instruction up until the time they take the American College Test (ACT), he said.

If students do not have a math class at the time they take the ACT, does that affect their ACT scores? asked Tim Sivertson, president of the Board of Education.

“It could,” Weber replied.

Some students take a year-long geometry class in their junior year, and most juniors do take a math class of some kind, he said.

Still, Weber said, he would like to see the math requirement be increased from three credits to four credits for Elk Mound High School students.

Increasing math credits from three to four was not on the agenda, so the Board of Education did not discuss the issue and did not take any action on requiring students to take more math classes.

ALICE training

Eric Wright, principal at Elk Mound Middle School, reported that staff members had taken school safety Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate (ALICE) training on February 2.

ALICE is a response-based training intended to help students and staff react to an active shooter in a school building.

Wright noted that the Dunn County School Safety Committee would be meeting two days after the Board of Education meeting.

The next step will be to send a letter to parents and then to go through training with students, he said.

ALICE training for elementary students can create fear and anxiety, so rather than training for an active shooter, it is best to say a “bad person” representing “stranger danger,” Wright noted.

For many years, lockdown was considered to be the best response to an active school shooter, although it is now known that it is better for students and staff to get away from the school building if at all possible, he said.

“ALICE is about buying time,” Wright said.

Most school shootings are over in seven to nine minutes, he said.

“This is about buying time any way you can,” Wright said.

Other business

In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:

• Approved Katie Paulich as the Legislative Scholarship winner for the class of 2015 pending final verification of grade point average.

• Learned that the four-year-old visitation on February 13 drew 57 youngsters. This year’s four-year-old visitation represented the most that have ever come to Mound View for the event, said Eric Hanson, principal at Mound View Elementary. Last year, there were 43 four-year-olds, the year before that 52, then 46 and 47, he said.

• Learned that the high school band and choir concert will be held March 17 in the high school auditorium beginning at 7 p.m.

• Learned that the school play, “An Evening with Poe,” will be held March 19 and 20 in the high school auditorium.

• Approved a contract for auditing the school district’s financial statements for the 2014-2015 school year with Clifton Larson Allen LLP in the amount of $11,150 plus $1,200 if there are additional required federal audit procedures. The approved contract includes a $150 increase over last year’s auditing contract.

• Approved policy revisions for Health and Wellness Promotion, Student Attendance, and a second reading of the Use of Federal Funds policy. The revisions and the new policy will help the school district meet legal requirements, said Dr. Ron Walsh, district administrator. Elk Mound receives $500,000 per year in federal funding for special education staff salaries and fringe benefits, he noted. Title I and II funding brings in about $100,000 to the district, Hanson said.

• Approved the school calendar for the 2016-2017 school year, with the last day of school scheduled for June 2, 2017.

• Postponed until the March 30 meeting taking any action on CESA 10 and CESA 11 contracts. Dr. Walsh noted that the contracts had only just arrived and needed to be reviewed before being presented to the Board of Education for consideration.

• Learned that under the budget proposed by Governor Scott Walker, Elk Mound will lose around $165,000 in state aid next year.

• Accepted a request for early retirement from Mark Traun, a sixth grade science and math teacher. Traun has taught at Elk Mound for nearly 30 years.

• Scheduled the next Elk Mound Board of Education meeting for March 30.

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

• Hired Samantha Weix as the new head volleyball coach.

• Hired Dylan Pronschinske as an assistant high school football coach.