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Boyceville school board hears reports on summer programs and prepares for school year

By Cara L. Dempski

BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville School Board met August 15 at Tiffany Creek Elementary for their final meeting before the start of the school year.

To start the discussion items, fifth grade teacher Jacob Peterson made presentations on both the Shipboard Science program he participated in and the Bulldog Outdoor Adventure Class put on by Peterson and elementary physical education teacher, Cory Day.

Peterson worked with a crew of teachers and U.S. Environmental Protection agency researchers on the research vessel “Lake Guardian” from July 9 to July 15. The purpose of the program is to provide greater scientific literacy in communities by giving teachers a chance to work as part of a research team.

Peterson said of the program “the hope is that educators can take the new knowledge and practices back to local communities to help everyone learn more about science.”

Peterson also discussed the Bulldog Outdoor Adventure Class. This was the first year the class was offered, and 11 middle school students participated.

Day and Peterson held the classes Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The classes included team games at Tiffany Creek Elementary, Rock Climbing at UW – Stout, a high ropes course at Trollhaugen, Canoe Practice on both Lake Menomin and at Glen Hills, making a menu and grocery shopping for their overnight camping trip, and then a canoe and camping trip from Downsville to Durand along the Red Cedar River.

“We would like to change a few things for next year,” Peterson said of the program. “We’d like to add a class for high school students and have them go through the class first so they’re able to help the middle school students in the following weeks.”

Peterson said he and Day are looking into expanding into four, week-long classes for 2017 and are starting to apply for grants to assist in paying for the program.

Peterson said of his funding “we did go a little over the community education funding for it this year, so we’re trying to keep that from happening next year.”

Middle and high school Principal Steve Glocke reported on changes of location of various school staff to better support the students in the middle school. He also stated that several staff members attended a training regarding the 11 principles of effective character education and will be implementing a greater focus on character education in the middle school.

He also reported that he attended the Western Wisconsin Educational Technology Summit in Menomonie on August 2 and 3. He was joined there by teachers Rochelle Olson and Andy Hamm. He said it as a great opportunity and the staff there gathered a lot of resources and contacts.

“We hope to have a technology in-service day here as part of internship schedule in November,” said Glocke. “We would like to provide some of the resources to the rest of the staff here.”

Finally, Glocke shared that several students in the middle school had taken advanced placement exams and were named as AP scholars after having scored very high on the exams. He credits the district’s AP curriculum for the success of these students.

It was noted during the meeting that registration started August 15, and will continue until August 23. At that point, there will be an orientation for middle school students.

Special education coordinator Bonnie Barker introduced the Dunn County Partnership for Youth’s “Dark Side of the Moon” scholarship contest. This contest invites students to create a project that would start positive conversations surrounding mental health issues.

The contest is open to all Dunn County high school students, and applications can be found at each high school and at public libraries in Dunn County. Barker said there would be more information for the students at Boyceville High School after the partnership’s next meeting on September 9.

Barker also participated in a training for Mental Health First Aid; this was provided through Dunn County. The training is meant to teach participants how to recognize and respond to mental health problems or crises.

Barker said of the program “it’s the hope that all school staff in Dunn County will be trained in this.”

Superintendent Kevin Sipple reported that district in-service days start August 22 and will include five full and half days of training and education for staff. He also took some time to welcome the new staff to the district.

“We’ve been very lucky to be able to hire early and get quality people into our district,” Sipple said of the new staff members.

He also shared that the Dunn County Schools and UW – Stout have been working together to monitor the water quality in public schools. Sipple reported that all 29 water samples taken at district building were well within the accepted limits for lead, and said that to further ensure safe water for students and staff, the entire water system at all district buildings would be flushed prior to the start of the school year.

The brick restoration project on the school is nearly complete by Sipple’s report, and the school buses have all been switched over to the new eight-light warning system that goes into effect on August 16.

Also discussed during the meeting were:

• Paraprofessional Carol Schindler has tendered her resignation due to health issues. She has been employed with Boyceville schools for 28 years.

• Bus driver Laurie Swenson also submitted her resignation due to health issues. She has worked for the district for 18 years.

• Keri Peterson has resigned as middle school volleyball coach. Rochelle Olson was accepted unanimously as the new middle school coach.

• Steve Glocke read through minor changes to the school guidebooks. He noted that the books once again include the attendance agreement.

• Barker presented the 2015 – 2016 seclusion and restraint information. Two students in the elementary school accounted for all five incidents of seclusion and/or restraint for the year.

• The board unanimously approved the donation of an electric piano to the elementary music department. The board thanks Tim and Mary Sempf for this donation.

The board adjourned then adjourned to a closed session. Sipple reported later that the board took no action on the items presented during closed session.