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BOYCEVILLE — During its regular monthly meeting held January 13, the Boyceville Board of Education officially accepted four grants and donations totaling over $15,000.
Included in that amount was a substantial donation of $10,000 earmarked for Boyceville’s new softball complex that is under construction behind Tiffany Creek Elementary school.
The money was a gift from Ron Olson, who has family members that work and attend school in the district. He is the father of Boyceville physical education teacher and head wrestling and softball coach Jamie Olson and father-in-law to Rochelle Olson, an elementary teacher.
Superintendent Nick Kaiser also noted that Olson had also donated the new scoreboard that has already been placed at the complex.
“I want to tell him (Ron) thank you,” said Kaiser, who noted that the district is planning an official ceremony for sometime this coming spring once the complex is completed.
The new field will include new dug outs, a concession stand and press box. The field already had new fencing installed over a year ago.
In past seasons, the Bulldog softball teams have used Andy Pafko Memorial Park as their home field but it is anticipated that once the new complex is ready, all home contests will be played at the TCE field instead of Pafko.
The board also officially approved the acceptance of a $2,840 grant from The Community Foundation of Dunn County to be used to support youth mental health initiatives, and a pair of Ann Marie Grants totaling $2,500 for the purchase of middle school reading materials and a pair of IP (internet protocol) cameras.
Kaiser told the members that he had received a call from The Community Foundation asking if the Boyceville School District might have a need for money that could help with mental health initiatives, to which he responded, “Obviously, that is very true”.
The Community Foundation of Dunn County Grant, which was shared with other school district’s within Dunn County, will go to help with youth mental health initiatives.
Kaiser continued by saying that he had met with the district’s counselors and made them aware of the grant award. He said they are currently formulating ways to use the money to support students and staff.
During the administrative reports to the board, high school/middle school principal Tyler Moy said that planning is underway to take the middle school back into the cohort model of learning so that the students can return to the classroom on a daily basis after having spent much of the first semester this year socially distanced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will have single-seating charts so that when they (students) go from class to class, their close contacts will be the same in every classroom so we don’t have to try and figure out where they are sitting and who they are sitting by in every class,” said Moy.
That will be implemented at the start of second semester (Tuesday, January 26) Moy told the board.
Later in the meeting, Moy also explained some changes to the 2021-22 high school course handbook.
According to Moy, separate ceramics and sculpture courses will be combined into one class and a digital art course will be added that Moy said had been offered in the past but should do much better once the ceramics and sculpture classes are rolled in to one course.
He also said that there is an interest in offering a sports marketing and management course through the business department.
The district returned to in-person education on January 4th and the administration team said it was nice to see the students back in school.
Moy along with TCE principal DeeAnn Thompson noted that positive cases and close contacts are down significantly since following the district’s 3-week virtual session prior to the Christmas break.
Thompson noted during her presentation to the board that there are currently just five positive cases of COVID (two staff and three students) requiring quarantine along with another 12 students under quarantine due to post-travel restrictions.
There are still quite a few students that are continuing with remote learning – 46 in the middle and high schools and 34 at Tiffany Creek Elementary.
Prior to the meeting, Bonnie Barker, the district’s director of special education and school psychologist, distributed a “Feeling Thermometer” magnet to board members and others in attendance that was developed by the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health (children.wi.gov) and launched by Wisconsin’s first lady Kathy Evers this past fall.
Barker said the response to the magnets was overwhelming and they were all distributed within a day. Thankfully she said that a second printing was done and the district received several more magnets.
The magnet is a visual tool that helps kids and adults measure how they are doing emotionally and what steps a person can take to shift their moods when situations become difficult Barker told the board.
According to Barker, the magnets are intended to be placed in a high-profile area such as a home refrigerator and used as a reference to help identify calming activities that can reduce anger and anxiety.
“Being aware of your feeling is that first step,” concluded Barker, who hopes to get more magnets for distribution to area residents.
In other business, the board approved:
•The retirement request of speech and language pathologist Mary Kay Kryshak.
•The resignation of Marilyn Heifner as the district’s curriculum consultant.
•The continuation of the district face-covering policy in light of the impending expiration of the Governor’s state mask mandate.
•The appointment of board president Tim Sempf as the district’s WASB representative.
The board’s next regular meeting will be February 17.