Warsaw School Board Updated On Safety; Kawsky Honored

Ronna Kawsky (R), Warsaw Area Career Center principal and director, was honored during the Warsaw School Board meeting Monday. Dr. Dani Barkey, assistant superintendent of secondary education, spoke about Kawsky’s accomplishments during her tenure. Kawsky is retiring at the end of the school year. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union.

Dr. David Robertson, assistant superintendent of elementary education, updated the Warsaw School Board Monday on several safety items.

Warsaw Community Schools is rolling out Raptor on an app on school-issued devices and teacher devices. School principals were recently trained on the Raptor app for the devices, he said.

Raptor is integrated school safety software that enables schools to screen visitors, track volunteers, report on drills, respond to emergencies and reunite families, according to Raptor’s website.

Robertson also updated the Board on a countywide drill that is being planned for June 8.

Kosciusko County has a countywide school safety team that meets once a quarter, which includes law enforcement, fire departments and all the school corporations. One of the projects that have needed to happen for a while is some sort of countywide exercise where there’s a chance for not only schools to practice their responses in the middle of a “mass incident,” but also how first responders react to it, Robertson said in February.

Robertson said Monday he’s really excited to have everyone form a group on June 8.

The countywide drill is another step in a process that WCS is taking to help keep students safe, Robertson said. He also said Marshall County has had something in place for several years.

In other business, Warsaw Area Career Center Principal and Director Ronna Kawsky was recognized. She will be retiring at the end of the year. Madison Elementary Principal Ben Barkey was approved March 15 to be the WACC director and principal effective July 1.

Dr. Dani Barkey, assistant superintendent of secondary education, said the Board wanted to honor Kawsky Monday. Barkey said Kawsky’s work with the state for WCS was extraordinary.

Kawsky’s husband, Rick, was at the meeting Monday. Barkey said there have been some nights that Kawsky didn’t spend with her husband because she spent it at the school because she “had some amazing future goals that she wanted to get done.”

Barkey said Kawsky is super special and WCS was losing a gem. Kawsky was a “thought partner” for Barkey. Whenever Barkey had a problem, she said she could go to Kawsky.

Some of the things that didn’t exist before Kawsky’s tenure included the Blue Apron at the WACC.

Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert also brought up the savings the WACC was able to save students by obtaining dual credits and certificates.

The average public college credit costs $445 and private college credit is $1,081, Hoffert said. The amount of dual credits that were earned at WACC last year saved the community  from $2.5 million up to $6.138 million a year. Hoffert said the savings was a gift to students.

Hoffert said some of the messaging that Kawsky has instilled at the WACC is that college isn’t for everyone and there are careers that are in the trades that are out there.

When asked what she is planning on doing, Kawsky said she and Rick bought a RV and are planning on traveling across the country and learning Spanish.

Also, the Board:

• Learned the tennis courts at the high school are almost completed.

• Approved several donations, including an anonymous donation of $1,000 to the Warsaw Community High School Orchestra Department; $625 anonymous donation for the WCHS girls tennis team; and anonymous donation of $825.12 for WCHS football.