By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — If your children come home from school and say, “We had ALICE training today,” do you know they are talking about?
Eric Wright, superintendent in the Elk Mound school district, said he has had several parents tell him their children talk about ALICE training but they do not really know what it entails.
To help parents understand, the Elk Mound Board of Education discussed at the March 19 meeting the idea of hosting a safety presentation for the community.
ALICE, by the way, stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate” and is active shooter response training.
Students in the Elk Mound school district receive ALICE training two times per year, and staff are trained at least two times per year, Wright said.
The presentation will focus on what the ALICE strategy allows staff to do in an active shooter situation and will allow community members to ask questions and to talk about their own ideas on keeping school buildings safe, he said.
The Elk Mound safety presentation will take place on Thursday, April 5, at 6 p.m. in the Elk Mound High School Auditorium.
The Elk Mound school board also talked about summer school classes and discussed another option for summer school: a two-day event August 29 and 30 that will focus on team building and transitions between schools.
The two-day summer school in August will not be required, but students in kindergarten through twelfth grade will be “highly encouraged” to participate, Wright said.
The August summer school will focus on staff members building relationships with students and will also help those students who are leaving one building and going to another building, from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school.
“We are a family here,” Wright said.
The event will ensure students in the district know they have a trusted adult they can talk to and will allow the students to see staff members in a different light than the usual student-teacher relationship, he said, adding the event also will allow older students to help younger students.
“This will be a good way to have some fun, team-building activities,” Wright said.
“It will be a positive way to have the kick-off for the year,” he said.
The two-day summer school event in August was planned before the February 14 shooting at a Florida high school, but now, because of a variety of societal issues, it has become even more important to work on team building, Wright said.
In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:
• Recognized Tom Newman for his notable educational contributions. Newman is the lead bus driver in the school district. He does all of the scheduling for bus trips and hires substitute drivers, but most importantly, “he treats every kid as if that child is his own, and the kids just love him,” Wright said.
• Received a request during the citizens’ forum portion of the meeting from Ken Books to post the school board agendas on the school district’s website.
• Approved budgets for each school building for the 2018-2019 school year in the same amount as last year.
• Approved purchasing Skyward financial software for the school district at an initial cost of $41,000. The school district also will pay an annual software hosting fee that will cost less than the current software hosting fee paid by the school district. Of the school districts in Wisconsin, 80 percent of them use Skyward, and the software has good cyber security.
• Established that the next school board meeting will be April 23.
• Approved hiring Shawn Hoag in closed session as a full-time custodian. Hoag has worked for the school district as a school-year custodian but now will be employed year around. Hoag’s school-year position will be posted.
• Approved a CESA 11 contract for the same services as last year.