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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo School Board Hears PSI, Administration Reports

Issue Date: February 17, 2021

At the Peshtigo School Board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 10, a team from Performance Services (PSI) was present to guide the Board in how to go forward with the delivery and communication plan for the referendum of the option of the proposed complete renovation plan of the Middle/High School.

PSI will help with communication, presentation and explanation to the public of the rebuild referendum with press releases, brochures, display boards, banners, highlights of the plan, videos, virtual meetings, social media and information on the district website.

Peshtigo Middle/High School Principal Chad Sodini highlighted a couple of things about Pandemic life at the school. "Practices and protocols that we have been using are working. We have been in school since Aug. 24 and that is a huge compliment to the Board, the Staff and the Custodians, that what we are doing is working. What we prepared to do is, have our teachers measure and look at the classrooms and the class loads. We want to bring back both A and B groups and make sure we can have social distancing in our classrooms. We are preparing to make schedule changes, by readjusting numbers of students in classrooms by looking at re-arranging students schedules to make sure social distancing is happening and if need be we will be moving classes to the lecture hall which will fit more studentsâ€.

Sodini added, â€With the seventh grade student enrollment being higher, at present there are four sections of each class, there will now be five sections of each class to allow social distancing. We will give every seventh grader an academic support or a guided study hall with a teacher. First five hours of the day will be four core classes and a study hall with a teacher and allows us to drive the number of students a classroom down. Band will go into the gym and Chorus will go in the band room and hold their classes. Lunchroom distancing for middle school is no problem distancing. At the High School we can fit 115 in the multipurpose room, 32 in the commons and the third layover will be the lecture hall allowing about 28, so combined we can seat about 175 students socially distanced. We are working through the food serving process as wellâ€.

Sodini ended with, "We feel really comfortable as a staff, Are we a little nervous, absolutely, but we feel it is going to be the right thing to bring our kids back. We think we have covered a big majority of the possible problems and can adjust as need beâ€.

Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center (PELC) Principal Kate Willett shared information via Zoom on the Achievement Gap Reduction (AGR).The AGR program allows a participating school to meet the obligations of its five-year contract by implementing one of three strategies, or a combination of these strategies in every kindergarten through grade three classroom: one to one tutoring provided by a licensed teacher, instructional coaching for teachers provided by a licensed teacher and/or maintaining an 18:1 or 30:2 classroom ratios and providing professional development on small group instruction.

Willett stated,"Typically in years past we were able to use three strategies that DPI (Department of Public Instruction) recommends for closing achievement gaps. Strategy one is class size reduction, strategy two is a structured format provided by licensed teachers and strategy three is a one to one tutoring provided by teachers and working with children. In a typical year we would be implementing all three strategies, however with COVID restraints, we find that the strategy we were able to implement with success was strategy one which is class size reduction, To give an overview on our time line, we had fall assessments that were done in September, we really honed in on literacy and then moved into high quality instruction given to all students. With that data collected in September, we designed some targeted intervention that was delivered to some students needing that extra boost that were delivered by the teachersâ€.

Willett added, â€That led us to where we are now with our Winter assessment conducted last month. Teachers in general are using lots of different assessments, such as on-going classroom observations as well as instructions given to students at the end of an instructional unit to see if there needs to be additional assistance. Our goal is to get some data point on virtual students and in person students which has been a new challenge for this year. We are seeing really nice trends and looking to start the school year by filling in the gaps that they would have missed last Spring and moving forward. In speaking with other professionals throughout the building, they are not concerned about those gaps at this time and will continue to provide high quality instruction and intervention. So we are hopeful that we can fill those gaps and move forward and support them in the coming months. Our goal for the rest of the year is to use the data we are gathering to target individual students and identify opportunities for growthâ€.

In ending, Willett commented, â€Our plan for next school year is to implement all three strategies I discussed. We plan to have a reunited interventional team to work with students at a larger capacity. Our goal administratively is to provide professional development for the staff so the teachers will be empowered to make great decisions, We are looking forward to having our kids back in school full time".

Superintendent Patrick Rau spoke on the Covid status and mitigations saying, "Statistically there are three active cases and 16 were in quarantine due to close contact. Since Aug. 24 to present, there were 57 positive cases and 438 students placed in quarantine. We have no confirmed cases that Covid was ever transmitted within our building. If a student was positive in a classroom, the student was sent home and those that were in close contact were also sent home for quarantine and they continued to monitor students in that classroom".

Rau continued, â€All of our mitigation factors of masking, hand-washing, distancing, cleaning, disinfecting and contract tracing are working. We can't keep Covid from coming into our building, but the best thing we can do is mitigate the transmission. We now know a lot more about Covid and with all the mitigations we have taken there is a comfort feeling in the building and kids want to be back in school".

Moving onto the business end of the meeting, Rau announced the retirement of Kathy Bayerl as the Middle/High school nurse effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year and was approved by the board.

A donation was accepted and approved in the amount of $389.87 from the Eagle Express Spirit Pump for Student Engagement. Every month the school receives a donation based on a percentage of gas sales at Eagle Express.

A motion was made and approved to accept the altered Student Transportation Contract from Kobussen Busses with a contract in effect for five years. The School calendar for the 2021-22 school year along with the reading of technical corrections only of policies from 0142.1 through 8410 was also approved by the board.

In his Buildings and Grounds report, Committee Chairman Josh Seefeldt announced the committee did a walk through of the Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center (PELC) and a couple of classrooms at the first grade level have been updated. â€We got a chance to see the new boiler that is being installed. It is amazing the reduction in size of the new boiler versus the size of the old boilers at the High Schoolâ€. Seefeldt added, "The one at the High School is the size of a dump truck and the new one at the PELC is a little bigger than the size of a home furnace. It's amazing what 60 years will do. They also saw the new partitions in the girls bathroom by the locker rooms. We are going to be setting up another meeting soon to start establishing tenure and we need to have completed before changing of the Board and hopefully be approved for May of 2021â€.


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