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By Amber Hayden
BOYCEVILLE — Three teachers met with the Boyceville Board of Education Wednesday, May 20, to discuss the possibility of outdoor classrooms for all three schools.
Jacob Peterson, fifth grade teacher, Ben Simmerman, MS/HS choir and general music teacher, and Jenna Willi, Science teacher, provided a slide show to the board.
“When we started the restoration project we had discussed the possibility of an outdoor classroom and we kind of forgot that they had approved everything, which was written into the permits,” said Willi.
When the construction had begun there had been an area dug out by the construction company for the classroom area, according to Willi.
Peterson presented a 3D model and location, showing that it was at the average flood height and in the case of water flowing over it would reach the bottom of the stage that is to be built.
“We understand that the big flood that happens annually in the spring most of the stage, if not all of it, will be covered,” Peterson stated. “That is under the assumption that maintenance will be fairly easy with just sweeping off the debris.”
The area where the classroom stage would be located would have Boyceville middle/high school as a backdrop, and the sounds of natural water falling, said Peterson.
Peterson did answer the question of why closer to the bridge, stating it would be closer to Tiffany Creek Elementary as there is hope to bring some of their students over to utilize the space.
It would also put the students closer to a shelter if the weather turned bad during their time outside, he said.
Simmerman joined the committee for the project after seeing a vision of multiple uses for the outdoor space.
“The classroom is awesome, but I feel it can be used for a multitude of things,” Simmerman added.
It is estimated that 70 to 80 people could sit in the area comfortably, with the possibility of the Boyceville community being able to use the space.
“Personally I would love to start some live music over the summer,” Simmerman stated. “Bring in some local artists, and that would be something I would pursue if this gets completed.”
Simmerman stated he would be able to hold drama events at the stage, and it would draw in a large crowd fairly easily.
Willi agreed with Simmerman in that from the get go the district wanted to look at a space that would welcome a multitude of people, not just geared toward classrooms.
“We polled the staff to get an idea of what they would use the outside space for,” Willi explained. “A lot of them responded with reading, writing, discussion spaces, and the Special Education department looked at it as an alternative classroom as a place they could go outside if they were reading books about nature.”
The Tiffany Creek stream restoration and outdoor classroom project began two and a half years ago, according to superintendent Nicholas Kaiser, and in that time the group of teachers had yet to meet with the board.
“There have been a lot of changes in the plan from the original side of it, to where we are now,” Kaiser said. “We thought we would let the board take a look at what they have been working on and for you to ask them some questions.”
Kaiser hoped for a direction at the end of the presentation for the outdoor classroom group, in case there was more questions or a need for more information.
High school principal Tyler Moy discussed with the board the Spanish club trip that was to take place over the summer to Costa Rica.
He recommended that the trip be cancelled, with a bit of penalty cost with the cancellation of the trip.
“I asked Ms. Johnson to look into what the cancellation would look like,” Moy said. “She said families had paid in $1,500 right now, and $600 of it was for the flight.”
Students and families would receive a $300 penalty for canceling, and would receive $600 back from the total paid in with the money for the flight to be credited to the airline for 12 months.
If the credit is not used prior to the end of 12 months, then the money would be returned, according to Moy.
Vice-president of the board, Jeremy Mittlestadt, asked how many students it affected, eight to ten, and asked if there had been a time it has been rescheduled to.
Mr. Moy stated that if the Spanish club teacher, Ms. Johnson, would be returning in the fall, he would have postponed the trip to 2021, but with her leaving the district, he did not feel comfortable making that recommendation.
“We are looking at $3,000 dollars in cancellation fees then,” Mittlestadt asked. “I would think they wouldn’t have to be penalized that much since the borders to Costa Rica are closed.”
Mittlestadt stated he does not want there to be a bad taste left for future trips, and hopes that students would want to continue to sign up for trips in the future.
The Board of Education also elected officers during the May 18 board meeting. Tim Sempf remained president and WASB delegate, Jeremy Mittlestadt is the vice-president and WASB alternate, Peter Score is clerk and Erik Evenson is treasurer and CESA representative.
During the meeting the Board of Education:
• Accepted the resignation of Nancy White as Co-Yearbook advisor.
• Accepted the resignation of Katelyn Johnson as middle school volleyball coach.
• Accepted the resignation of Jo-Lynn Wolfe as paraprofessional.
• Approved awarding diplomas to the members of the Class of 2020.
• Approved a quote for bridge railings.
• Approved a quote for construction of softball dugouts.
• Accepted a $965.00 Ann Marie Grant – $500 for Science equipment and materials for the outside class room and $465 for 12th grade English books to support the goals of Wisconsin Act 31.
• Accepted an anonymous donation of $1,375 from a member of the 2008 Boyceville High School Class for the purchase of Seesaw for Schools for grades 4k through third.
The Boyceville Board of Education will meet again on June 17 with the meeting beginning at 6 p.m.