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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Neumann Retiring After 32 Years As Track Coach

Peshtigo School District's search for a new superintendent is progressing. Long-time Superintendent Kim Eparvier will retire at the end of the current school year. After completing regular business at its monthly meeting on Monday, Feb. 12, the board met in closed session with representatives of CESA-8, which is assisting with the superintendent search. They reviewed applications and scheduled interviews with the selected candidates for Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 20 and 21.

Eparvier said he did not sit in on the superintendent search portion of the meeting. Names persons being considered will be released after the field is narrowed to finalists, Eparvier said.

Also after returning to open session before adjourning the board agreed to waive a policy regarding transfer of grades from non-public schools, at the request of the family of a student who is coming to Peshtigo High School from a private school. Existing policy accepts pass/fail credits from private schools when students transfer in, but not grades. Eparvier said this potentially could affect a student's chance for a scholarship. The board's action means in this case the student's grades earned at the private school will count toward the grade point average at Peshtigo High School.

Closed session discussion included a request for early retirement from elementary teacher Lisa Berth at the end of this school year and that was approved before the meeting adjourned.

Near the start of the meeting the board reluctantly accepted the resignation of Rick Neumann, who is stepping down immediately from his position as boys' head track coach. Neumann said later he may continue as assistant coach for some sports.

Before asking the board to accept Neumann's letter of resignation, Board President Gary Larsen read it aloud:

"After much thought, I am writing this letter to inform you that after 32 years of coaching track and field at Peshtigo High School I will be stepping down as boys head track coach effective immediately. I will certainly miss the competition involved with such a great sport," Neumann wrote.

"To the administration, coaches, and athletes, both past and present, thank you for making the past 32 spring seasons so memorable. Having coached five sports in 12 different positions over 83 sports seasons, completely walking away from coaching would be difficult, so I am hoping the board will allow me to help out if the current coaches will have me," the letter went on.

"Thank you to the Peshtigo School District for allowing me to coach your student athletes. Beginning with my first middle school basketball position in the late 70's there have been lasting memories and I have formed friendships that will last the rest of my life," Neumann concluded.

"We can deny it," Larsen suggested facetiously, ඛ seasons is pretty impressive!"

Steve Coble also saluted Neumann for his 32 years of coaching, and Eparvier and others present concurred.

Josh Greetan was approved as JV baseball coach and Jim Dufrane and Kyle Cheney were approved as co-head golf coaches.

Volunteer coach appointments approved were Lee Mylener, Bill Wickman, Jim Demuese, Jaden Russell and Dani Zahn for girls softball, and Joey Sparks, Ty Bebo and Justin Fischer for boys baseball.

The board accepted a donation of $1,000 from New Life Church for the SEED Program and $1,130 from Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. for The Locker.

After a bit of discussion the board accepted the proposed calendar for the 2018-2019 school year. The first day of school for students is Tuesday, Sept. 4, and the last day is Friday, June 7. Students will have the entire week of Nov. 19 through 23 off, but staff will have inservice days on Nov. 19 and 20. There are also inservice days from Aug. 27 through 30, and on several Fridays, Oct. 19, Nov. 2, Jan. 18 and March 22. Students and staff will be off from Friday, Dec. 21 through Tuesday Jan. 1; Thursday, Jan. 17, Monday, Feb. 11, and the entire week from Friday, March 22 through Sunday, March 31, as well as Friday, April 19 and Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day). Graduation is Friday, June 7.

Eparvier said the calendar represents a cooperation between the administrative team and instructors at all grade levels. He said Middle School and High School teachers wanted time off for grading around the semester and Elementary instructors wanted time for inservices to evaluate data after fall evaluations.

Before the vote to accept the calendar Jenni Schwittay questioned the number of inservice days in October and November. She felt too much new staff development information might be a problem for teachers at the start of the school year.

Eparvier explained they always have a lot of inservice in August. Few students attend during deer season in any case, so that is a good time for inservice, and the Nov. 2 inservice day is at the end of the quarter. Elementary Principal Kelly Collins said teachers come in a lot on their own time during the summer, and the October days are when they look at data after the fall tests are in. November is for grading, "and then the days off in November are a bonus in our minds."

Larsen reported the advisory committee ha a visioning session with planners from Miron to discuss ideas for the new school that will be built if the referendum passes on April 3. He said it was a good discussion but poorly attended.

Collins presented the mandatory annual report to the board on Achievement Gap Reduction efforts. She said they set goals in fall and then use universal tool testing to determine results in kindergarten through third grade. Peshtigo qualifies for the program because of the number of families below the poverty line. The initial goal was to have 18 student per teacher in the early grades, but increased enrollment brought that to 19 per teacher and in one class 20 to 1, so they had to change ways they are helping students. She said 83 percent of kindergarteners tested proficient and expressed confidence they will reach the 95 percent goal by spring. In math skills for kindergarteners, 55 percent tested proficient in fall, and that has risen to 79 percent, "so we're excited," she declared.

She said their new system of teaching in "pods" has proven very efficient, and they are working together to be sure everyone is teaching the needed skill at the same time.

"We don't have anything alarming going on, and we're moving in an upward direction for sure, she concluded.


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