Wawasee School Board Ok’s Land Buy

Tuesday night the Wawasee School Corp. Board of Trustees approved buying a strip of land between its property and the newly acquired land on Kern Road, and they awarded a bid for various work to Milestone Construction, Syracuse.
The bulk of the meeting, however, was spent discussing ISTEP.
Between a letter drafted by local superintendents and a learning report from Curriculum Director Joy Goshert, the board expressed its displeasure with ISTEP+.
Superintendent Dr. Tom Edington told the board that he, along with other superintendents from Northeast Indiana schools, drafted a letter in resolution form that requests state legislators consider replacing ISTEP+ with the Northwest Evaluation Association’s test. Wawasee schools have been using the NWEA test in addition to the state’s.
The reasons for such a request include their statement that they have lost confidence in the CTB McGraw-Hill platform, especially since it’s “been plagued with problems: such as online testing glitchs, defective test booklets, computer difficulties, repeated failed tress tests, delayed reporting and excessive testing.” They also claim the test costs twice as much as the one they suggest using.
Goshert reported that part one of the testing for third- through eighth-grade students was over and went well but not without problems. Besides some issues with the practice test, there were read-aloud scripts with incorrect units of measure and incorrect spellings of some words. The length of testing time was shortened from its original five or more hours, however, it was done in a convoluted manner.
She explained that part one sections of the test were split within the schools. For instance, Syracuse and Wawasee Middle schools took Form 1, which included math session and English/language arts sessions 3, 4a and 4b; Milford and North Webster schools took Form 2, math session 2, and English/language arts sessions 5, 6a and 6b. All fourth- and sixth-grade students took science.
There was some discussion over a “pilot” section. Board President Rebecca Linnemeier asked how educators could be held accountable by something that was not valid and reliable. Goshert replied that there were many unanswered questions relating to the test, but she would keep them current as more information comes from the state.
The board approved writing to state officials requesting that students be allowed to use paper and pencils on part two, which is supposed to be taken online.
They also approved raising book rentals so new Benchmark Literacy for Reading materials could be purchased.
Another letter was read that will be sent to local state representatives asking them to refrain passing a bill which would “remove State Superintendent Ritz as chairman of the State Board of Education … and to replace her with an appointed member.”
The letter stresses the board’s view that Ritz was voted in by 1.3 million voters, and this is a political move. It concluded, “After all, bullying is not allowed in our schools and should not be present in politics either.”
In other matters, the board awarded a contract to Milestone Construction for its bid of $670,200 to perform work at a few of the corporation’s schools. Work includes furnishing and installing new acoustical windows, entrances and lobby, new wood doors and finish hardware and lighting.
The board also approved the purchase, for $20,035.50, of a 1.08-acre strip of land between the Syracuse Eagles property on Kern Road and property from the Troup Family Revocable Living Trust. This parcel was thought to be an easement when the deal between the corporation and the Eagles was made, but now they have found out that it belongs to the Troups.
In other business, the board:
• Granted leaves of absence to Amy Eryman and Tabatha Reber.
• Accepted the resignation of Marci Reinhard, Milford School paraprofessional.
• Learned that the high school radio station was up and running. It is licensed by the FCC as WRWT 97.3 FM.
• Heard second reading of new policy pertaining to staff and intoxication on campus.
• Will donate excess student furniture that will be shipped to Haiti.