Wawasee Community School Board members Steve Baut (L) and Neil Likens prepare their tablets for Tuesday night’s meeting. Photo by Deb Patterson, InkFreeNews
Wawasee Community School Board members Steve Baut (L) and Neil Likens prepare their tablets for Tuesday night’s meeting. Photo by Deb Patterson, InkFreeNews
SYRACUSE - Milford resident Rich Rhoades has been in conversations with Wawasee Community School Corp. Superintendent Dr. Steven Troyer about a memorial wall for veterans to be built on Wawasee High School premises.

The memorial will honor Rhoades’ uncle and Medal of Honor recipient Harry J. Michael.

Rhoades was present at Tuesday evening’s school board meeting to encourage the memorial be built in a conspicuous location, as to ensure all students would be able to view it. “Should be right out there in the public space, right by the ticket taking area, right on the cement.

“The whole premise of this is to not only honor veterans, but that we educate the kids on why they have the freedoms today,” said Rhoades.

Troyer said he met with Dave Baumgartner, who presented some plans he has been working on with a former WHS alumni, out of Chicago to come up with a design.

Troyer went on to say it is going to take more private funding and Baumgartner will be there next month (April) to present the final details of the proposal.

Good news was received about the results of the iRead 3 testing for third-graders.

The testing has been completed for first-time testers in third grade, with the state passing rate at 70%. However, Wawasee School District has surpassed the state with an overall passing rate of 79%. Students who did not pass will have the opportunity to receive intervention and retake the test during summer school in June.

“The goal of the state is to have 95% of third-graders passing the iRead 3 test within two years. I hope that we reach that goal,” said Dr. Shelly Wilfong, assistant superintendent.

Syracuse has opted to do iRead 3 assessments for second-graders, which will provide them with an opportunity to practice the test and help teachers identify areas of focus for the following year.

The test is not mandatory for second-graders, but passing the test will allow them to bypass remediation in the future.

A new initiative was discussed from the Indiana Department of Education called Indiana Learns Tutoring. This program provides tutoring to fourth- and fifth-graders who did not pass both the reading and math portions of the iLearn test.

Teachers have volunteered to provide after-school tutoring, which is paid for through state funding. The district plans to track the growth of these students compared to those who did not receive tutoring and evaluate their performance on future iLearn tests.

Troyer provided an update on the Community Engagement Committee’s progress. Over the past three Monday evenings, school leaders, teachers and community members have been working together to discuss school finance, academic programming and a recent facility study. This upcoming Monday, the group will be wrapping up with a demographic study and breaking out into smaller groups to discuss options.

The Community Engagement Committee will conclude its work on March 25, and an executive committee will be formed to summarize the ideas generated and prepare for a presentation to the board at its regular meeting in April. The board will then consider the options presented and determine how the district will proceed with investments in facilities and programming.

Troyer stated this has been a great opportunity for authentic community participation and dialogue between schools and stakeholders.

“It is clear the district is committed to engaging with the community and making decisions that are in the best interests of the students and the district as a whole.

“I’ve appreciated the work and commitment by the group and enjoyed have enjoyed the open and honest communication about some critical issues we’re facing,” Troyer said.

Congratulations were given to several school groups including DECA students, who had a great performance, with 12 middle school, 34 high school students at the Indiana State DECA competition in Indianapolis. Nearly 2,000 Indiana students competed for an opportunity to represent Indiana DECA at internationals in Orlando, Fla., next month.

The school board accepted the following donations:

• $500 for WHS Student Council from Ryan and Amy Thwaits.

• $700 for Key Club from Kiwanis Club of Lakeland.

• $500 for Key Club from Kiwanis Club of Wawasee.

• $3,155 for WHS Band from Knights of Columbus.

• $1,590 for WHS cheerleaders from Knights of Columbus.

• $500 for WHS Hall of Fame from Knights of Columbus.

Approval was given for the hiring of: Rachel Rozow as a temporary Milford School eighth-grade science teacher; and Debbie DeRolf as a substitute bus driver.

The resignations of Giselle Vega as a Milford Elementary ESL paraprofessional, and Miranda Zorn as a North Webster Elementary cafeteria worker were accepted.