WASD Board hears plans for new virtual learning platform
The Wautoma Area School Board started off their monthly meeting on May 11 with a public hearing regarding community input on the proposed resolution for the waiver of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instructional (DPI) hours requirement. The hearing was required to be held so the minimum instructional hours could be waived. District Administrator Tom Rheinheimer found this useful in the event of a situation that students were to be back in schools next year and have to cancel suddenly again, then staff would have time to prepare without worrying about hours being met. There were no citizens requesting to address the Board.
Following the public hearing, the Board heard a report on Schoology, the new digital learning platform that the district plans to purchase to assist with virtual learning. During the District Administrator’s Report, Tom Rheinheimer explained more about the digital management system that will sync with Infinite Campus.
Rheinheimer explained Schoology would provide K-12 students with a new and innovative virtual platform and will also sync up to the current student information management system, Infinite Campus (IC) provides teachers the ability to post grades as well as receive their rosters. This is unlike Google and will prove to benefit the school more, according to Rheinheimer.
The District plans to train teachers on how to use Schoology in May so they will be prepared to implement the program next school year. Rheinheimer also explained that Schoology integrates well with other learning platforms such as Google and teachers can share educational videos and links with their students. Schoology will also be used during snow days or when a child is on vacation so students will never have to miss a beat.
Rheinheimer said the new program will cost $10 per student and added with setup fees it will be a $17,000 investment for the 2020-2021 school year. The money received from the CARES Act will assist in covering the expenses. The administrative team plans to present a full presentation on Schoology to the Board during a future meeting.
The Board continues to discuss plans moving forward during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the administrative team work together and observing other contingency plans in order to prepare for every possible scenario going into the 2020-2021 school year.
According to Rheinhei-mer, if Wisconsin schools are only allowed certain amounts of children in the building at once, the team is looking at bringing the students in geographically. If families can come at once, it could reduce the need of childcare for families with older and younger children, he stated.
Board President Ross Peterson brought up the fact that AP students would not being able to be together in a classroom setting, which could pose a problem.
While a set plan cannot be in place until further information regarding the next school year is released, the school will continue working on plans for every situation. Rheinheimer stated no plan will be convenient for everyone, but they will continue finding the best one for the district with cleaning being upgraded regardless of the situation.
Earlier in the meeting, the Board held their election of officers, with the current officers being re-elected for the 2020-2021 school year: Ross Peterson, president; Nicole Lehr, vice president; Jeanette Thom, clerk; and Karen Piechowski, treasurer.
The selection of Finance Committee Members was concluded with Brian Gutske to remain, Adam Heding to join and Karen Piechowski showing interest as well. The selection of WASB Delegate and Alternate was held, with Barry Mastricola assuming the role as the Delegate and Adam Heding the Alternate. Karen Piechowski was appointed as the PAC Representative and Nicole Lehr was appointed as the CESA 5 Convention Represenative.
The following agenda items were approved by the board: the resignation of Timothy Solarek, Physical Education Teacher; Joseph Anklam, Elementary Teacher; Amy Sheller, A+ After School Site Coordinator; Jonelle Erickson, A+ After School Day Liaison; Bryant Bednarek, WHS Assistant Principal; the hiring of Sarah Pagels, 4-Year-Old Kindergarten Teacher; Megan Oligney, Mathematics Teacher; Anthony Iwen, Business & Information Technology Teacher; Gregory Palo, Social Studies Teacher; Mark Espersen, Substitute Bus Driver; SY2020-2021 Individual Extra-Curricular Letters of Intent; High School Summer Credit Recovery Program Staff; Summer Food Program Staff; A+ After School Program Staff; Information Only: Staff Transfer; the April 2020 Treasurer’s Report; vouchers and payroll; the request to Wisconsin Department of Public Instructional Hours Waiver; Revised and/or New Policies, 2nd Consideration; Policy 3216: Professional Staff Dress and Grooming – Revision, 1st Consideration; Policy 4216: Support Staff Dress and Grooming – Revision, 1st Consideration; Policy 6116: Time and Effort Reporting – Revision, 1st Consideration; and the SY2020-2021 WIAA Membership Renewal.
The next regular meeting of the Wautoma Area School Board will be on Monday, June 8 at 6:15 p.m. at the Wautoma High School.