SYRACUSE – At the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee School Board on Tuesday, Wawasee Superintendent Dr. Tom Edington mentioned several things under good news.
The board recognized Leeann Estrada for being the recipient of a Wells Scholarship to attend Indiana University. The scholarship is a full-ride, complete with tuition, books, room and board, a meal plan, one year to study abroad, a paid internship and also a living stipend.
“I was so excited, I started crying,” said Estrada.
She was chosen out of over 100 students to receive the scholarship, and this is the first time in a few years since the Wells or any similar scholarship was awarded to a Wawasee student.
Edington provided updates on some projects.
Over the summer, Milford School will replace the food serving line due to the line not meeting specifications that had previously been set.
He also said that Feb. 1 had been the second attendance count day, which determines the amount of funding for the second half of the year. Typically, some students would have dropped by this count date, so he was pleased to report that on this count day the school district actually gained close to almost one student per grade level.
Finally, the high school darkroom is still not complete but is expected to be finished within three weeks.
Milford Principal Cindy Kaiser brought attention to the donation from Goshen Hospital of 30 lab coats for the medicine detectives class for Project Lead The Way at Milford Middle School and another 30 to Wawasee Middle School. The cost of the 60 coats amounted to around $1,300.
Milford School also received $100 cash from Fidelity National Title for use toward school lunches for children who have a zero balance in that area.
Wawasee High School Principal Kim Nguyen was recognized as having won the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce 2016 Outstanding Educator Award.
Syracuse Elementary School Principal Eric Speicher gave a report on Syracuse Elementary, mentioning the difference between the teaching process today versus. in the past. Speicher brought images of an in-class free-thinking activity under Jared Knipper, which allowed the students to solve a problem and delve into both mechanics and teamwork.
“As the principal, as I was walking down there, there was probably more noise than what I was maybe comfortable with,” stated Speicher. “But as you listened to what the noise was about, it was good stuff.”
Speicher went on to say that he was not sure the general public realizes how much education is changing and how much teachers are having to deal with, with all the changes teachers are trying to implement and with how high the expectations are for children today.
“It's not always everybody in straight rows with just the teacher in the front anymore,” agreed Edington.
Syracuse Elementary School currently has 555 students enrolled.
Speicher also supplied images of the progress of the new school building.
Shawn Johnson came to the meeting to explain the 2015-16 school grade report from the Indiana Department of Education in greater depth.
Schools in the Wawasee School district were graded at a “C.” Johnson explained the grading process takes into consideration performance domain for third through eighth grade, performance domain for 10th grade, growth domain for fourth  through eighth grade, and multiple measures domain for 12th grade.
Assistant Superintendent Joy Goshert reported that practice ISTEP will take place Feb. 13-24, and the testing window is from Feb. 27 to March 10.
Goshert also mentioned that Kelly Clifford from Five-Star Technology Solutions provided staff development for administrators and instructional/technology coaches on Feb. 7.