Class of 2023 honor students recognized during Boyceville school board meeting
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BOYCEVILLE — With their parents in attendance, the top honor students for Boyceville’s Class of 2023 were officially introduced by Patrick Gretzlock, high school/middle school principal to the Board of Education during its March 15 meeting.
This year’s co-valedictorians Haylie Rasmussen, Jackson Phillips and Cambrie Reisimer, who all earned a 4.0 grade point averages, class salutatorian Rachael Montgomery and Andrea Jensen, who was announced as this year’s recipient of the State of Wisconsin Technical Excellence Scholarship, were all in attendance to receive the board’s collective congratulations on their individual achievements.
All five students introduced themselves and their parents to board members and stated where they planned to continue their post-secondary education and what they would likely be studying at those chosen institutions. Several board members then took the opportunity to ask the quintet questions before offering a final congratulations. The students along with their parents had their pictures taken.
It was revealed at the meeting that Andrea Jensen, daughter of Lori and Dan Jensen of Wheeler, is the Class of 2023 recipient of the State of Wisconsin Technical Excellence Scholarship which is valued at $2,250 per year and is renewable for up to three years for a total of $6,750. Jensen informed the board that she will be attending Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) this fall to earn her certification as a paramedic. Jensen told the board that she has already completed her EMT course-work at CVTC and was preparing to take her National Registry exam.
During administrative reports to the board, Gretzlock informed members that the 2023 testing season had gotten underway March 7 with the junior class taking the annual ACT.
Gretzlock stated that the ACT is used to measure/predict an individual’s level of success at the post-secondary level and although a majority of Boyceville students do not move on to a post-secondary institution following graduation, the results of the exam are one of the data points that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) utilizes in creating the accountability report card that each district in the state receives.
Gretzlock was also effusive with his praise for staff members RuthAnn Ledgerwood and Frank Fetzer who provided juniors with test preparation opportunities that focused on English, writing and math throughout the month leading up to the ACT. He also thanked Ledgerwood, Tim Engel, Jennifer Bignell and Sarah Stone who each served as proctors for the test and high school guidance counselor Karlene Berry for her “behind-the-scenes” efforts which included creating rosters for each test center, completing documentation and packaging of materials and coordinating with the food service staff to provide a variety of snacks for the students during breaks.
Another issue that Gretzlock touched upon at the meeting was a growing concern about failing grades in the high school. Gretzlock had included a snap shot of failing grades in his previous month’s written report to the board. He then gave a more in-depth overview of the problem during the board’s work session earlier in the month. In his update at the March 15 meeting, Gretzlock noted that he has been generating a failing grades reports each Monday since late January and provided a summary of each report that showed a steady increase in the number of failing grades.
The January 20th report showed 97 failing grades in the high school that involved 49 students or just over 25 percent of the high school student population. By the March 6th report, it showed failing grades had grown to 184 with 83 students or nearly 43 percent having at least one failing mark.
Gretzlock said there was some good news as failing grades had declined according to his March 13th report.
“The data demonstrates the impact that not being in school has on our students’ performance,” Gretzlock wrote in his board report.
“From Monday, February 20 until Monday, February 27, our students were physically present two days; February 22, 23, and 24 were all pre-emptively designated as Flex Learning Days in order to account for lost time. Flex Learning Days help us to account for lost time, however they do not account for the power that direct instruction has,” he concluded.
In other business, the board approved several action items during its March meeting.
Under personnel matters, the board approved a recommendation to hire Trevor Hollister as a junior varsity baseball coach and accepted the resignation of part-time speech and language pathologist Kalani Krautbauer who has worked in the district for the past seven years.
On the recommendation of guidance counselor Karlene Berry, the Start College Now and Early College Credit Program applications of six high school students were approved. Both programs allow Boyceville students to earn up to 18 credits, paid for by the district, at Wisconsin technical colleges and UW system schools. The maximum cost to the district for each student approved for these programs is nearly $3,000 for technical college credits (estimated at $166 per credit) and $6,300 for UW system credits (estimated at $350 per credit).
The board also approved the 2023-24 CESA Shared Services contract which Superintendent Nick Kaiser noted will have a decrease in the number of hours for consulting.
Finally, three grants were officially accepted by the board. Those were a $1,000 award from the Community Foundation of Dunn County that will go in to the TCE Wellness Walk account, a $4,000 grant, also from the Community Foundation of Dunn County, for CPR mannequins and a $3,679 Robotics League Participation Grant from the DPI that high school science teacher Andy Hamm had applied for and received and will be used to help fund the science olympiad program.