New London schools have received $4,700 in donation, grant and award funds recently.
The New London Board of Education’s meeting on Monday, Dec. 9, included presentation of a celebratory oversized replica check for $1,200, won by Readfield Elementary School in the new Fire Up Your Feet Challenge to encourage students to get active.
Parkview Elementary School students will benefit from a $1,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to fund new outdoor activities and a walking program.
Special needs students will reap the rewards of a $2,500 gift from the family of the late Sig Krostue. Administrator Kathy Gwidt described Krostue as “a friend of education,” adding that his granddaughter had been a part of the school district program.
Bus Riders Get Moving
Fire Up Your Feet is a new effort to inspire children to be healthy and active.
It’s an offshoot of Safe Routes to School, which helps communities plot routes for children to walk or bike to school.
In rural schools, 98 percent of students ride the bus to school, said Kristin Grable, principal of Readfield and Sugar Bush, the district’s two rural elementary schools.
Grable learned about Fire Up Your Feet through the Safe Routes program. Safe Routes is a program of the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, based in Menasha.
Melissa Kraemer Badtke, the Safe Routes coordinator for the planning commission, presented the $1,200 award to Grable at the school board meeting.
Badtke said Fire Up Your Feet found half a dozen schools in Wisconsin — Readfield among them — to test pilot a “soft launch” of the fitness initiative.
Participants, including students, staff and families, could register online to log and track the time they spent on activities such as hiking and biking.
Readfield took first place in the Fire Up Your Feet Challenge, winning $1,000 and beating bigger schools in Milwaukee. Readfield also won two of four weekly challenges, which paid an additional $100 each — one for having the highest number of participants; and the other for the highest percentage of participation by parents, students and teachers.
At Readfield, 25 percent of students, parents and staff took the challenge.
The school plans to use the $1,200 to promote health and fitness.
Elementary students are the target of the successful $1,000 grant proposal by counselor Shandee Kempf-Cohen, who was at the board meeting in a dual role as representative of the monthly Bulldogs of Character update.
The grant will provide activities to keep students too busy to bully. Gwidt’s monthly update noted that student groups had asked for more blacktop activities and creation of a walking program.
Krostue’s family carried out his wish that a donation of $2,500 be given to benefit students with special needs. Special education teachers Dani Kamba, at the high school, and Jill Spencer, Lincoln elementary, teamed up to “recommend furniture and equipment to enhance sensory areas in their classrooms,” according to Gwidt’s report.
Business director Joe Marquardt explained why the purchase of a used boiler appears to be the best choice for Sugar Bush Elementary School.
Marquardt said the 2006 Weil McLain cast iron sectional boiler will cost $18,000 and has a 30-year life expectancy. Three different new boilers, with 15-year lifespans, would cost $36,200 to $58,000.
The current boiler at Sugar Bush has a 15-year lifespan — and is in its 21st year of operation. There have been problems when the boiler operates at high temperatures, according to Marquardt, although he said there is no urgent need to replace it.
Marquardt said it costs $8,000 to $12,000 for natural gas to heat the school. A new, high efficiency boiler would not save enough on fuel costs to offset the higher purchase price.
Board member Virginia Schlais asked when the boiler would be installed, noting that boiler failure could close the school for replacement work.
Marquardt said preparation work could be done in advance, and the new boiler could be delivered to the school within a couple of hours.
No board vote was needed on the expenditure, as maintenance funds are part of the total budget approved annually for the district by board members. Marquardt said he brings any expenditure more than $5,000 to the board’s attention.
In other business, the board:
• Heard that elementary students were taking bell-ringing shifts at Festival Foods for the Salvation Army holiday effort, as a Bulldogs of Character activity. “We’re not brave enough for Walmart,” said school counselor Shandee Kempf, explaining the choice of the bell-ringing site in the enclosed entry at Festival rather than the outdoor exposure at the discount retailer. Kempf said plans are under way for a repeat of random acts of kindness in February and a fund-raising and awareness family 5K event in the 2014-15 year.
• Approved revised weighted grading guidelines that give an additional grade point for core Advanced Placement courses — English, math, science and social studies. The weighted grades begin with the Class of 2017. An A grade in an AP course will be worth five points on the traditional 4.0 grade point scale.