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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Coleman School Has "Awesome" Open House, Adopts Covid Rules

Issue Date: October 6, 2021

For two years, the Coleman School District has been busy with a series of remodeling and renovation projects made possible when voters approved resolutions authorizing the district to borrow up to $13,830,000 for improvements and upgrades to its existing school facilities.

The work is now done, and on Friday, Oct. 1 the district celebrated by inviting students, families and friends to attend an Open House followed by the annual Tackle For Cancer football game fund raiser.

"The open house was awesome," declared Board President Ryan Wendt. He said lots of parents and kids enjoyed the bouncy houses, face painting, games, DJ music and refreshments outdoors, in addition to getting a look at the improved and renovated school facilities. Wendt said turnout was great, and the Tackle For Cancer football game event raised lots of money for a good cause.

On the more serious side of school business, the School Board will hold a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 11 to deal with a number of issues, including approving the proposed budget for the 2021-2022 school year for publication in advance of the annual meeting and budget hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25.

The board will also discuss a possible student trip to Germany in summer of 2023, and is expected to approve hiring of Cindi Wautier as Junior Class Advisor. They will be asked to accept the resignation of Tim Forner as Varsity Boys Basketball Coach and approve hiring of Jeff Bronson to fill that vacancy. Bronson is resigning as JV Boys Basketball Coach to take on the varsity coaching position.

Approval is also expected for applications to the Start College Now and Early College Credit programs, as well as donations from from M&Z Cabinetry and Dan and Billie Kimmell to the Equestrian Team.

COVID concerns continue to pose problems and cause some unanticipated changes in plans.

After hard discussion at its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 20, the board agreed to postpone the Washington, DC trip that had been planned for this fall, and extended hope it can be offered in spring instead.

Wendt said the numbers of Covid cases and known exposures among students and staff were high at the start of September, with about 30 cases, but things have gotten better. There were a number of cases reported after the stay at Camp Bird, but the count has gone down and this week there are only four cases total, students and staff.

In regard to the Washington DC trip postponement, board members and administrators expressed concern that if a student got sick with Covid while out of state they would be unable to come home on the bus, and also would be unable to fly, leaving no easy answer as to how they would get home. "It doesn't pay to take that chance," Wendt commented.

During time for public comment at the start of the Sept. 20 meeting, Edward Hammond expressed concerns about real history being taught at school and the 1619 project. He also was worried about any type of CRT (Critical Race Theory) being taught, and asked if any teachers have CRT training and if there was any political propaganda being taught in the Coleman school. Again, he urged the board to be sure that students are taught real history, not a made-up version.

Bonnie Murley thanked the board for its efforts on behalf of students, and added, "I can tell you care." She voiced her concerns about a possible vaccine mandate, and cited doctors warnings against allowing this to happen. She said there have been adverse reactions and deaths reported for Wisconsin in connection with taking the vaccines.

Sarah Thomas spoke about her personal experience with the COVID clinic and said it was much appreciated.

Elementary/Middle School Principal Yvette Marshall reported she and the rest of the staff were excited to welcome students back for the new school year on Wednesday, Sept. 1 and added, "We know it was great for them to see their classmates again too."

Elementary's first day consisted of "building relationships" which was essential after last year's experiences, Marshall said. On the second day they engaged in PBIS activities before moving into regular classroom routines.

Middle School students reviewed the Student Handbook on the first day of school and had introductory activities with their teachers. "The school year is off to a strong start and we are happy to be together again," Marshall declared. Students in 6th and 7th grades attended Camp Bird September 14 through 17, and Marshall said they had great weather for making memories this year. She thanked Keith Long, the Middle School Staff, Taher, "and all the families who continue to support this magnificent experience for our students."

"September is the beginning of the school year, and is also the time to gather baseline information on how our students are performing so we can measure their progress throughout the school year," Marshall said. "Our Elementary and Middle School teachers have been busy gathering this data with our students these past few weeks, using FastBridge for Reading and Math. This information will be used for writing AGR goals and Student Learning Objectives in the Educator Effectiveness project as well.

Marshall reported that the Elementary PBIS Leadership Team attended a conference in August which led to development of an action plan. "Through our evaluation, it was determined that we are revisiting and revising our behavior system throughout the school since last year," Marshall commented, adding that last year students were in classroom cohorts and did not interact in assemblies, the cafeteria, or at recess with other classrooms or grade levels. "So, this year, we have a new goal: Students at Coleman Elementary will be Responsible, Safe, Respectful, and Caring throughout the School Day."

Marshall said every member of the school staff is on a committee to refresh their foundation so all students know the expectations. She extended a big "thank you" to Linda Swenty, Katee Seyler, and Heather Blanchard for their leadership with her on this team and to the entire school staff for their support in this effort to provide positive behavior support for Elementary students.

High School Principal/Superintendent Doug Polomis told the board everyone seems to be adjusting well to the new school year, and commended students and staff for all their preparations to get off to a successful start.

School pictures were taken on September 9, with retake day on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Work on restroom/storage facilities at the baseball/softball fields are about finished but plumbing work is still needed, Polomis said. The mini barn has been started, with concrete was poured that day and the following morning. Talks were continuing with Bray Architects about the connecting link and the remodeling project that is expected to be done next summer.

Area superintendents had their monthly PAC meeting on Friday, Sept. 10. Discussion focused on professional development opportunities at CESA 8 for staff throughout the year.

Pupil Membership Count was on Friday, September 17. Coleman is up in membership from last year, along with an increase in open enrolled students. He did not yet have a solid count.

School Nurse Kelly Mitchell reported on COVID-19 Protocols. She outlined some mitigation measures that she said are strongly recommended by DHS and local public health to improve the health and safety of students, staff, and the greater community. "We currently have rapid testing at school and these mitigation measures could be enacted with minimal disruption," Mitchell said.

The measures included two choices:

1) Students or staff with a positive family member would need to quarantine and could return seven days after last exposure with a negative covid test on day 6, or 10 days from last exposure without a test. Household contacts are at greatest risk of contracting the virus due to extended and repeated exposure. Vaccinated individuals would not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms.

2) Students or staff who have a known exposure to a positive case and develop symptoms would need to either receive a negative covid test or stay home 10 days from onset of symptoms. A rapid antigen test would be accepted and could be administered at school with parent permission. The student could return to class (if feeling well enough) after receiving a negative result. School or community close contacts who do not develop symptoms would not need to test or quarantine.

A handout 񓠅-22 Illness Guidelines," was provided to the board showing what the Peshtigo School District is doing this year. The board reviewed these documents and also discussed the protocols for overnight out of state trips because the Washington DC trip was coming up in the next month.

After discussion, the board accepted recommendation Number 2 as provided by Mrs. Mitchell.

As for overnight trips out of state, board members felt they did not have a realistic solution in the event a student or chaperone exhibited symptoms of Covid-19. At the end of the discussion, the board agreed that having overnight trips out of state created too much liability to the district and decided to postpone or cancel the Washington DC trip.

The board action adopting recommendation No. 2 included an additional statement that all overnight out of state trips were to be cancelled through December 31, 2021. Votes in favor were cast by Wendt, Barb VanDrisse, Scott Herzog, Barb Klug, and Jeremy Hoida. Corey Kuchta cast the sole opposing vote. Joanne Nowak was absent.

In other business, the board approved the resignations of Layne Skrupky as MS/HS Health & Phy Ed teacher; Beth Gannigan as Assistant Softball Coach; and Lorie Karban, as District Administrative Assistant.

They approved hiring of Derek Marquardt as MS/HS Health and Phy Ed teacher, with Karl Peters hired as Mentor.

They also approved hiring of Karl Peters as Middle School Boys Basketball Coach; Samantha Graves as Junior Kindergarten Special Education Paraprofessional; Diann Weier as ELL Paraprofessional; Taylor Koon as Special Education Paraprofessional, and Joy Rohde as District Administrative Assistant.

Due to the Covid-19 protocol adopted earlier in the meeting the board refused permission for students to go to the Future Farmers of America National Convention to Indianapolis Oct. 26 through 29. Again Kuchta cast the sole opposing vote and the other board members present voted in favor.

Transportation Contracts with Jessica Riedy and Alison Jakups were approved, with Herzog abstaining on both votes and the rest of the board in favor.

At 8:30 p.m., after other business was completed, the board went into closed session for "Discussion and potential action regarding the procedure to implement to review the performance of employees which may involve the disclosure of employee performance record information." They returned to open session at 9:05 p.m. and adjourned without taking further action.


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