GC school board updated on testing, WASB conference

By Cara L. Dempski

GLENWOOD CITY — Glenwood City School District administrators provided updates on test schedules and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards conference held last week in Milwaukee.

The January 23 meeting focused mostly on updates on upcoming student testing in the schools, and reports from the WASB meeting in Milwaukee held January 18 through 20.

Nicole Brite explained the junior class will be taking the ACT exam on February 28 at the WITC campus in New Richmond. She said the room used will be large enough to fit the entire class with enough space for every student to be at least five feet apart, as stated in the criteria. 

The district will purchase pizza for lunch and then the juniors will spend some time at the New Richmond Centre to celebrate having completed the exam. The students will complete the ACT process on March 1 at the school in Glenwood City.

Building principals Betsy Haltinner and Pat Gretzlock gave a short presentation on the Analyzing Teaching for Student Results Workshop. The two administrators attended the workshop because they are looking at ways to enhance student learning through teaching practice.

Gretzlock stated “ultimately, what we talked about over two days, was how we as leaders have the responsibility to make sure our teachers are doing things that move our students forward; asking ‘what does make a good teacher?’”

The duo were charged with making goals to collaborate more closely with instructors to determine what teachers are able and willing to do and how the administration can support them, and providing evaluation and feedback. Haltinner and Gretzlock are already actively engaging with their staff to shift from teaching as a job and teaching to help students learn.

“We need to have a growth mindset and help our teachers improve in areas where they might be weak,” Haltinner said.

The two principals need to complete 10 to 11 assignments in their buildings by February 11 and put their plans toward reaching their goals in motion to report on when the workshop attendees meet again in May. Both Haltinner and Gretzlock said they will provide further reports at future board meetings.

Maintenance worker Bob Swanepoel addressed the board during the community comments portion of the meeting to advocate for one of his fellow maintenance workers. The worker in question served as part of the maintenance staff cleaning the facilities after both days of the holiday basketball tournaments. 

Swanepoel, and superintendent Tim Johnson, explained during the meeting that when holidays like Christmas or the New Year fall on weekends, either two days before or two days after the holiday weekend, dependent on class schedules for the district.

In this case, both the Christmas and New Year holidays fell on the weekend, which meant maintenance staff were given two paid holidays on December 26 and 27, and two paid holidays on December 29 and 30. The holiday basketball tournament was scheduled for December 29 and 30 in the high school and middle school gymnasiums and required maintenance staff for clean-up.

The employee in question worked both days for the tournament, and Swanepoel was advocating for this person to receive double-time, since she had worked on what was technically a holiday. Johnson explained to the board he denied the request because the employee was instead given two days off the week following New Year’s weekend to compensate for having worked the tournament days. Swanepoel and Johnson agreed there will be adjustments made to the staff handbook to clarify this issue in the future.

The superintendent informed the board the district has reached the point of the school year where they can begin making budget projections for the 2017 – 2018 school year. Johnson said things are not set in stone, but right now it does not look like there will be substantial changes for the budget. 

Johnson also said the personnel committee is at the end of meeting in closed session to formulate a compensation plan. He asked board members if they would be willing to limit the two February meetings to one hour to allow for time to meet with teachers from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the meeting dates to discuss the compensation model. 

Personnel committee chair Jon Mrdutt voiced his willingness to do this, and the board approved moving forward with the plan to meet with teachers after the next two regular meetings.

Judy Achterhof, who served as the board’s voting delegate at last week’s conference said all the proposed resolutions before the school boards passed but the resolution regarding safe spaces for transgender students did not pass.

In other business, the board: 

• Approved policy 840 regarding public gifts to schools.

• Accepted the resignation of maintenance worker Roger Bonte. Bonte took a full-time position with another organization.

• Approved posting for up to a full time custodial position.

• Approved Matt Radintz as a volunteer wrestling coach.

• Approved Jessica Knops as a volunteer coach for Destination Imagination.

• Approved the financial statements and the January 9 meeting minutes.