By Cara L. Dempski
GLENWOOD CITY — Glenwood City Superintendent Tim Johnson reported to the school board at its August 8 meeting that the construction to the Elementary, Middle, and High Schools will be sufficiently completed to house students safely by the first day of school, which is set for Tuesday, September 6.
In comments to the school board, Johnson stated that he will need three to four extra staff to come in and work the week of August 29. These staff will assist regular maintenance staff in giving the school a “complete wipe down” to clear the place of the dust of construction. Still, Johnson said during the board meeting that “the bulk of the work will be done by the time students return to the school.”
With rooms coming together and the new office spaces needing only flooring, glass and doors, the school is on target to be completed within the next four weeks by the estimation of the board members and district administrators who toured the facility prior to the 6:30 p.m. meeting.
Board clerk Lori Klinger praised the size of the new office spaces during the tour, stating “I like the look of the new layout and the new ‘Innovation Room’ in the elementary school.” Elementary principal Betsey Haltinner stated that the “Innovation Room” in the elementary school started as a technology room available for all the teachers and students K-5 and has grown into something a little more.
“What started as just a computer space has grown into a space of creativity and design for the younger students,” Haltinner said of the room. She gave a tour of the new elementary office suite for school board as the last stop before heading upstairs to the high school art room for the meeting.
After some discussion of the consent agenda, the board unanimously approved all items. Haltinner then opened the discussion of the administrative items with discussion of the elementary open house. This year, the open house will be September 6. The Parent Teacher Convention will have a booth at the event and students will be able to pick up “passports” at the booth. Once a student has visited every area on the passport, he or she will be able to take it back to the PTC booth to receive a special treat.
During the open house, Haltinner will be spending time in the Innovation Room and administrative assistants Mary Blaser and Shelley Doornink will be on hand in the office to greet people and answer questions. There will also be photographers at one of the stops on the passport to take each student’s school photo.
Haltinner also discussed the new protocols for the positive behavior intervention and supports initiative in the school district. She presented a behavior matrix for teachers to have on hand in their classrooms as well as a flow chart and discipline system.
“In the three years since we started, we’ve not been as consistent as we could be in our disciplinary practices and data tracking,” Haltinner said of the program. As a result, the new protocols will place the expectation of teachers or administrative staff placing behavioral reports on the student management system, Skyward and completing a referral form to the district’s REACH committee. The committee will then meet monthly to make any suggested changes to the program.
Haltinner finished off her reporting with seclusion and restraint data for the district. In the 2015 – 16 academic year, there were 10 total incidents of seclusion, restraint, or both. All occurred in the elementary school.
Middle and High School principal Patrick Gretzlock then took over to discuss the tentative plans for sixth grade orientation. At this time, this is planned for September 1 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Gretzlock cautioned that this may change due to there being so many things still needing to be finished for construction. “Basically there are just too many questions about when things are happening and no set times of building access,” Gretzlock said. He advised the board that he should have a better time table at the next meeting.
Gretzlock also discussed extra programming for the district for this year. He has three potential presenters for this year, but is in need of ways to provide extra funding for each. Recommendations were made to seek out business leaders to assist with the cost of the proposed trip for seniors to the UW – Stout Challenge Academy. Likewise, it was recommended that local and county public safety committees be approached regarding providing some funding to mitigate the cost of a distracted driving program.
A third program involves a speaker. A young man from Tennessee who was named a country music “up-and-comer” in 2014 is working with the district to make his trip to Glenwood City to speak to the students about being able to achieve whatever they choose to in life as cost effective as possible. “He’s working with the airlines and hotels to get some cost savings, and we’ll keep talking to him,” said Gretzlock.
Superintendent Johnson went on to provide the construction update and updates to the district’s Fund 80 for community education. This year will include the usual $20,000 levy to fund the programming, but are hoping to find ways to add additional money to this levy without raising the tax levels past the $10 they are already.
Also discussed during the meeting was the new teacher orientation, scheduled for August 25. This year, new teachers will be provided with more senior staff members to help them navigate the challenges provided by teaching at a new school. This early meeting date will also give these teachers a chance to meet a smaller group of new people prior to meeting the entire district staff at the teacher in-services scheduled for September 1 and 2.
Haltinner and Gretzlock provided daily schedules for the in-services. “They’re packed schedules, but we tried to make sure they would have as much classroom prep time as possible,” said Haltinner of the schedules.
Finally, board member Jon Mrdutt presented several proposed changes to the staff handbook. The proposed changes would be made to alarm and boiler check pay, employee life insurance eligibility, long-term disability insurance eligibility, family and medical leave benefits, clarification on qualifications for potential paid time off, and clarifications on some of the PTA definitions. These changes will be considered and voted on at a future meeting.
The next school board meeting will be August 22 at 6:30 p.m. The budget meeting will be held September 12 at 7 p.m. and the annual meeting will be the same night at 7:30 p.m.