Wautoma School Board hears plan for possible extended school closure

The Wautoma Area School District held their monthly meeting virtually on Monday, April 13, in which District Administrator Tom Rheinheimer discussed the creation of a contingency plan during his administrative report.

The plan would be divided into phases. The first phase would be handling the rest of this year assuming school will not be back in session, which would take traditional occasions into consideration, including how to handle events like prom, graduation and 8th Grade promotion. The plan for the rest of this year would also include other tasks such as handing back Chromebooks and students retrieving their personal belongings.

The second phase would be the Summer. A plan has to be set in place for questions such as a possible virtual summer school. Rheinheimer believes a virtual summer school would be ineffective for students in the elementary and middle school levels but would have to be something to consider for high school level students who need their credit recovery programming. The summer plan would also look into a food distribution, as they have gone into June in the past to provide meals for students.

The third phase of the contingency plan is for the worst-case scenario of students not being able to come back in the fall. The Board would then have to look into virtual learning at every level from elementary to high school.

The administrative team, consisting of the building principals, assistant principals, curriculum director, IT director and chief financial officer, will tackle each phase in order, meeting every Wednesday for two hours to plan for “what if” scenarios.

Rheinheimer went on to discuss Policy 5120 - Assignment Within District. A parent who had moved into the Wautoma boundary moved into the Redgranite boundary in March and requested their third-grade child continue at Riverview for the remainder of the school year and then start at Parkside in the fall. Due to the fact the family now lives in the Redgranite they needed to request from the Board for exception to the Assignment Within District Policy.

Rheinheimer recom-mended the Board not to make the exception for this case due the fact that it would be create more citizens wanting the same result and the Board would have to review each request on a case-by-case basis. The Board ultimately denied the request for the exception, with the student continuing the remainder of the school year at Riverview Elementary and then transferring Redgranite in the fall.

The Board went on to discuss several agenda items including having Ross Peterson, Barry Mastricola and Brian Gustke as the three members to make recommendations for the Inwald & Anna Songe Scholarship as they have no relation to any senior this year. For diploma issuers, Board Members Jeannette Thom and Nicole Lehr volunteered for the 2020 Commencement Ceremony.

The WASD Unification and Retention Plan also discussed during the meeting, with Rheinheimer believing the plan was very consistent for every member of the staff and the Board wants to ensure a comfortable work environment for their staff.

Another discussion held during the meeting was the 2020-2021 Student of the Month Board Meeting presentation structure. The goal of having the Student of the Month presented at the board meetings was to draw more traffic from the community to stay the entire meetings. Most of the families and staff there for the Student of the Month leave after their presentations.

Rheinheimer presented his idea for the achievement staying as a school level honor, as attendance the past year has gone down gradually. If that were to happen, Rheinheimer would arrange some way to recognize the WHS student, as the elementary and middle school levels recognize their Students of the Month in front of the entire school.

The Board suggested keeping the meeting recognition a high school level honor or presenting the award during a home sporting event.

The following agenda items were approved by the board: the resignations of A+ After School Enrichment Leader; Eric Highlander, Advisor, Middle School Yearbook; the hiring of Tynae Phillips, High School Volleyball, Head Coach,; Nicole Reese, Advisor, Middle School Yearbook; SY2020-21 Individual Bus Driver Contracts; SY2020-21 Substitute Bus Driver Contracts; SY2020-21 Individual Support Staff Letters of Intent; SY2020-21 Individual Teacher Contracts; the March 2020 Treasurer’s Report; vouchers and payroll; the revised and/or new policies, 1st consideration; and revised policy 0167.1:voting – first and only consideration.