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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Wausaukee School Board Okays Student Dress Code Changes

Wausaukee School District had already lost three full teaching days to bad weather, in addition to four 2-hour delays and one early release day by Wednesday, Feb. 13, when Principal Jared Deschane told the board at its regular monthly meeting that unless steps are taken now, the district will not be on track to meet the hours of instruction Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requires each year.

With possibly six weeks or so of winter remaining, more snow days are possible, so making up the time could become increasingly difficult.

As a first step to making up lost time, they have added four minutes of instruction to each school day, Deschane said. Other steps will be needed, but they have not yet been decided. Deschane suggested they may cut some teacher in-service days (which are normally days off for students and learning time for teachers), or extend the school year beyond the scheduled release date in June.

District Administrator Jan Dooley said the decision to call off school never comes easily. She praised Deschane for doing a good job handling the difficult and stressful task of balancing the safety of kids with the requirements of education. She said he gets up at 4 a.m. each day to monitor the weather and on bad days confers with Lamers Bus Lines personnel and administrators from other districts before deciding whether classes will be on or off.

“We’re one of the biggest districts in terms of miles,” Dooley declared. “Parts of our district are 45 miles apart. Weather in Silver Cliff may be very different from weather in Porterfield, but the kids all go to school in Wausaukee.”

Deschane reported that science teachers Laura Strueve and Jennifer Klimek have been awarded a WPS “Innovative Education” grant to purchase robotics to use in their science curriculums.

World Languages instructor Sarah Fayas had brought in an American Field Service (AFS) representative to explain the foreign exchange program to students at an assembly earlier that day.

Sixth grader Callie Orlando won the regional spelling bee on Tuesday, Feb. 12 and will be going next to state competition in Madison, Deschane reported.

On another happy note, Dooley stated she, superintendents Patrick Mans of Crivitz and Bob Berndt of Dunbar/Pembine/Beecher school districts, and Vickie Oldham of NWTC (Northeast Wisconsin Technical College) were in Madison recently to receive a Rural Recognition Award from Wisconsin DPI Secretary Tony Evers saluting the innovative partnership among the three school districts and NWTC.

The name of the partnership with NWTC is changing, Dooley said. The sign at the Wausaukee school, centerpiece of the partnership, currently identifies it as, “Northwoods Regional Learning Lab.” The partnership is becoming “Northwoods Regional Technical Academy,” and there will be a new sign.

NWTC is working on similar partnerships and programs with school districts in other parts of the state and they too will become technical academies. Wausaukee, Crivitz and Pembine schools are being used as prototypes for the new partnerships.

With a dissenting vote from board member Dennis Taylor the board approved an updated version of the dress code spelled out in the student handbook. Approval included a poster created by administration to help students make appropriate clothing choices. The poster can be updated to address changing fashion trends or when a particular dress code violation is prevalent.

Outfits for school must be appropriate for the weather, promote modesty and respectability, not make others uncomfortable, not expose too much, not advertise something prohibited to minors, not have obscene, profane, drug-related, gang-related or inflammatory messages.

Taylor objected to the requirement that clothing “promote modesty and respectability,” saying it was too vague and difficult to define, but the provision remained.

The rule also requires that shoes must be worn at all times, clothing is to be clean and unsoiled, clothing with improper slogans, writing or pictures is not allowed, and hats and hoods are not to be worn in the building. Skirts must go past the tips of fingers when arms are hanging at the sides, shoulders relaxed. Leggings and tight-fitting yoga pants may only be worn with a dress, skirt or shorts over them. Pants with holes higher than outstretched fingers are not allowed, nor are pants hanging so low that undergarments show. Bare midriffs are prohibited, as are shirts with spaghetti straps, tank tops with less than three-finger-width straps, and low cut shirts.

Students improperly dressed may be sent home or instructed to find something more appropriate to wear.

Responding to a request made last month, the board approved a pay increase for substitute teachers, from $85 to $95 per day, effective on Friday, Feb. 16.

Maintenance Supervisor Jim Keysers presented a proposed Indoor Environmental Quality Management Plan, which the board approved without dissent.

The board unanimously approved a one year extension of the existing TRITON distance learning contract, and tabled a proposal to create another junior high school or junior/senior high school teaching position until the Finance Committee has met and they are better able to determine where they are fiscally.

The Finance Committee will meet Monday, Feb. 25 to look at the budget versus actual spending so far this year, and to work on a 5-year financial forecast.

Board President Dave Kipp, board members Ken Jones, Sandy Wojcik and Mary Marquis and Dooley reported briefly on information gleaned at the recent state education conference.

Deschane reported the PTO is sponsoring a Healthy Heart dance for elementary students on Friday, March 1.

The Senior Class Snow Ball activities the previous week went well, and everyone had a good time with the sledding and bonfire on Friday and dance on Saturday, Deschane said.

The High School Forensics team competed well at district competition at Coleman on Monday, Feb. 4. The next competition is to be Monday, Feb. 25 at Florence.

Deschane said several teachers continue to take CESA training on science and the Common Core Standards.

Deschane reported 27 percent of elementary students had perfect attendance during the Second Quarter of the current school year, and overall 14 percent of students had perfect attendance for the semester, which he felt was excellent, considering the amount of flu and other ailments that were going around.

Elementary Phy Ed Teacher Paul Moser and Nurse Kathy Croft are holding sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for youngsters from 4K through 6th grade in connection with the NFL’s “Play 60” program that is designed to keep kids active and healthy.

First readings of several policy and by-law updates and revisions were read and will be considered at the March meeting. They included policies regarding E-mail, use of personal and wireless communication devices, nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity, nondiscrimination, access to equal education, school sponsored publications and productions, high school voter registration program, equal access for student activities and clubs not sponsored by the district, purchasing, prevailing wage coordinator, weapons, use of district facilities, cell phone allowance, regulations for personal communication devices as they apply to board members, students and staff, and student records.

There was a second reading of revisions to the food service policy.

After concluding regular business the board went into closed executive session to discuss WEA negotiations. There was no further action taken.


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