BOSCOBEL - The Boscobel school board approved adding a school resource officer back into the district and once again made changes to their COVID Matrix during their Monday, Jan. 10 meeting.
Boscobel Police Chief Jaden McCullick met with the board to express his desire to have a resource officer within the school. McCullick noted it has been a topic he had been mulling over for quite some time before approaching the board.
“A lot of the demographics in the district need structure, and do not always have a good support system at home,” McCullick explained. “Bringing a strong (police) presence in the school can help with early intervention with a lot of these kids. We’d like to help kids through trying times in their homes and lives and being a smiling face in the schools. A lot of kids these days don’t respect law enforcement like they did when we were coming up. I think this could benefit the change in culture and help change kid by kid.”
McCullick proposed to the board having an officer within the buildings of the district for 10 hours a week, at two hours a day.
“I see the day going like, the officer maybe spending an half hour reading to the kindergarten class, having lunch with them, going to gym class, going to the high school to do some of the truancy stuff,” McCullick explained.
He also added that he would like to bring the Counter Act program to the district. There was some discussion at what age group to target with the class, with McCullick noting he felt fifth grade was a good start as they are still “impressionable” however, board president and former Fennimore School District Resource Officer Todd Miller, made note that in some cases fifth grade was “too late” for intervention in behaviors.
Miller did add much praise to the program over all though, sharing that during his time as a resource officer he was able to bring a full conviction to a sexual assault case.
The board expressed overall support for the proposed program.
“A lot of times for a lot of these kids at school may be the only positive interaction they have with a police officer,” noted board member Caleb Mueller.
A motion was passed by the board to contract with the police department for the cost of $10,000 for the 22-23 school year and for the administration team to determine the same rate of pay, prorated for the remainder of the 21-22 school year.
“I hope to sit down with everyone and figure out what the school wants out of this program,” McCullick noted. “The first year will be fluid, but by the second year I hope to have a more concrete path to follow.”
Laurie Genz-Prien, Pupil Services Director shared in her update that students in the Transition Class have started a great opportunity collaborating with a community partner.
“Through a series of conversations that lead Skyler (Reynolds) to the Boscobel Gundersen Hospital and Nursing Home, the students in the transition class will be a culinary team member by setting up, maintaining and then tearing down the salad bar during the lunch time for its employees,” Genz-Prien reported.
The students participated in their first orientation and work shift on Monday, Jan. 10. Board member and hospital employee Wendi Stitzer reported warm reception at the hospital for the students.
Genz-Prien added that the long term plan for this program is for all of the students to gain employment with minimal support within the community.
She noted that Reynolds has reached out to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to see if they’d also be able to support the collaboration with potential payment for the students while they work and also possibly buying scrub pants for students to wear while they’re working.
Boscobel Elementary School Principal Danelle Schmid shared her update in a report as well. Schmid noted that the winter iReady diagnostic testing was set to begin this week with two weeks set aside to complete the assessment.
On January 17 and 18 Clarity Clinic was invited to the school to meet with the fourth and fifth graders to work proactively in supporting students with their mental health.
Schmid also noted that the elementary school continues to struggle to find substitute teachers.
“We’ve had to pull from within and get creative to cover absences that are due to COVID and other emergencies and situations,” Schmid shared in her report. “I hope it gets better but right now, we are taking it day by day.”
Schmid also offered thanks to those who have been helping when situations arise.
Wally Bryne, Boscobel Middle and High School teacher shared the highlight of his report was the Holiday Class Jamboree.
“It was a great mental break that the kids really needed,” Byrne noted.”
District Administrator Lisa Wallin-Kapinus shared that she will be joined by board members Stitzer and Miller at the Wisconsin State Education Convention held in Milwaukee next week.
Wallin-Kapinus also praised the school district’s food service department. She noted that Sarah Ashmore-Ole applied for a grant through the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin for a new milk barrel for the middle and high school as well as new breakfast bags for the elementary and she was approved for the grant items.
Other positive news that Wallin-Kapinus highlighted noted that Activities Director Rob Scherrer received a phone call from Jim Prohaska, the Fennimore School District Athletic director.
“He was very complimentary of how our girls played and acted on the court,” noted Wallin-Kapinus. “He also expressed that our fans acted in a very positive way. He wanted us to know that he can see the changes in our culture in athletics.”
Scherrer shared in his report that the high school girls basketball team is off to a solid start of the season with a eight to three record and a recent victory against River Ridge.
The boys team was noted to be continuing to improve and are “back healthy after a string of injuries.” Scherrer included in his update that the high school wrestling team just returned from bi-state where they had one wrestler that was able to compete the second day.
“They are struggling with numbers but there is improvement each and every day,” Scherrer noted.
The band and choir hosted their annual Christmas Concert, Scherrer reported.
“It was a big hit and enjoyed by all,” Scherrer reported. “I forgot to mention at the last
board meeting but the choir was able to host the madrigal again this fall. It was an awesome experience and a big shout-out should go to Mrs. Blackbourn for the performance. Finally, the band traveled to Fennimore for an Honors Band Performance.”
As with each meeting, the board also discussed pandemic protocols and metrics. Previously, the district would pivot to masking when there were three cases per middle school/high school or per the elementary school.
High transmission would be considered in four or more cases per middle school/ high school and per elementary school. This would result in face coverings/masks required at all times in indoor areas, during school hours, by all individuals entering the building for a period of 14 days. Low transmission would be one and moderate two cases.
During the discussion for masking protocols, board member Casey Updike made the proposal to adjust the mask mandate once again, raising substantial transmission to four cases and high transmission to five or more cases. The motion was seconded by board president, Todd Miller.
“Every time we put on the masks, the numbers go down,” board member Kim Trumm said. “Every time we take them off the numbers go up!”
“Wauzeka hasn’t been masked all year!” responded Updike.
School Nurse Susanne Brinkmann, who attended via zoom as she was working from home as a positive COVID case herself, questioned if other schools, like Wauzeka are able to implement other things to allow for optional masking all year to work.
Wallin-Kapinus answered by noting that Wauzeka-Steuben School district likely has bigger rooms with smaller class sizes, making for easier social distancing.
The motion to increase the number of cases needed to result in masking passed without a unanimous vote.
Universal masking on school transportation will remain in place per federal guidelines.
The school district also updated their COVID Matrix to reflect recent changes issued by the CDC for isolation and quarantine.
The new guidelines state “Isolate for five days and be released to activity on day six with masking in place through day 10 for all indoor school and school related activities, if symptoms are improving and the individual is fever free for 24 hours. If unable to properly mask the individual must isolate the full 10 days without exemptions or exceptions.
“Asymptomatic close contacts do not have to quarantine at home but must mask for the full 10-day quarantine (no exceptions or exemptions). Asymptomatic close contacts may participate in school-related activities and athletics (unless SWAL or WIAA are more restrictive with their close contact requirements), and these individuals must wear a mask for the full 10-day quarantine period (no exceptions or exemptions). People who had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days do not need to quarantine, as per CDC guidance.
“Symptomatic close contacts must quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not due to COVID. Close contacts who are symptomatic and don’t choose to test will be treated as positive cases.”
As of Tuesday, Jan. 11 the Boscobel Area Schools Covid-19 case count of Active Cases (students and staff in quarantine) reflected seven total positive cases, with one of those being students in the elementary, and two in the middle school and two elementary staff and two district wide staff.
There were 11 close contact elementary students in quarantine, three middle school students and two high school students.
In other board news:
• The board approved a policy to consider open enrollment for students who are habitually truant.
• The board approved the purchase of a UTV for custodial and maintenance use.
•Accepted a donation from the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility for donated gifts to select families in need in the Boscobel Elementary School.
•Made a motion not to cap open enrollment spaces in any area of the district for the 2022-23 school year.
•The board reviewed presentations made about updating their emergency response systems and other outdated school systems.
• No action was taken on the second shift custodian position
•No action was taken on spring coaches
•No action was taken on a long term kindergarten sub
•Allie Pickett was approved as the long term sixth grade ELA sub
•No action was taken on
administrative contracts•Open enrollments that were approved included six in and four out.