I would like to thank County Post West Editor Robert Cloud for the opportunity to write a monthly column sharing information about the successes and challenges facing our schools.
The school board has asked me to use this column to keep our community better informed of the local, state and national education issues affecting our school and community.
I know this community cares deeply about our children, their education and their future. I sincerely appreciate all our community does to support our schools and help our students achieve their full potential.
While I will most often author this column, I intend to share this space with other teachers and administrators who may have expertise in a particular topic of interest.
Please feel free to email me with suggestions for future columns and/or questions you would like addressed through this format. My email address is listed at the bottom of the column.
The 2012-13 school year will begin with an orientation for new staff members on Aug. 28.
This is our opportunity to share district expectations with new staff regarding the school board’s Ends Policies relative to Academic Achievement, Citizenship, and Responsibility, along with how these expectations for our students are measured and monitored.
New teachers will also meet administrators from other buildings, and be introduced to district technology, curriculum and business practices.
Returning staff members will begin the year with a breakfast, inservice and school level meetings on Aug. 29.
This year’s inservice topics will include an introduction to the new employee Health and Wellness Program, a review of our Blood Borne Pathogens policy and a general review of other district workplace policies.
Aug. 30 and 31 will find teachers and administrators working in their buildings and classrooms getting ready for the students returning on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Enrollments continue to trend down as they have since the district peaked with approximately 2,723 students in January 1999.
The district expects approximately 2,182 students to enter our doors in September 2012.
An interesting note relative to the declining enrollment is the pattern of decline.
As recently as the 2010-11 school year, Waupaca High School continued to average 200 students per grade level while the elementary enrollment average declined to 156 students per grade level.
Waupaca High School is now beginning to experience those lower enrollments and will average 175 students per grade level during the 2012-2013 school year.
While elementary enrollments have since stabilized at approximately 154 students per grade level, high school enrollment will continue to decline for the next three-four years before matching the elementary average.
The district has responded to this pattern of declining enrollments through a number of facility consolidation decisions including the closing of two elementary schools and the reconfiguration of the two remaining elementary schools.
The district is now in the process of consolidating elementary students to the Waupaca Learning Center and moving fifth-grade students to the Waupaca Middle School.
These facility changes are being made in an effort to maintain educational programs for our students.
A future column will address the transition from No Child Left Behind to the requirements of the Department of Public Instruction’s waiver request.
The School District of Waupaca will be working to prepare students and staff for a different student assessment model (from Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exams to SMARTer Balanced Assessment), aligning curriculum with the Common Core Standards and transitioning to different teacher and administrator evaluation models, all as part of the waiver requirements.
In addition, a future column will address the school district budget for 2012-2013 and how the district is impacted by reductions in state aid.
David P. Poeschl, Ph.D., is the Waupaca School District Administrator. He can be reached at email@example.com.