WAKARUSA — Two longtime Wa-Nee school board members ended their tenures among accolades and tears during Monday’s board meeting.

With a combined 28 years of service, Larry Weaver and Ed Moser said goodbye to their fellow board members and to the community. Each expressed his gratitude to the communities they have worked to represent.

Weaver, who was on the board for 16 years, also shared a letter he had written that expressed his thanks and appreciation to the public, educators and staff at Wa-nee.

Moser had a difficult time maintaining his composure after Weaver’s letter was read aloud, but did articulate similar thoughts to Weaver’s, noting that he was thankful for the time he spent working alongside the board and the administration, and lauded the students, staff, and community for their many years of achievements and pursuance of excellence in education.

Following their remarks, board president Eric Brown presented each of the men with congratulatory plaques of recognition.

Attendance spikes

Director of Curriculum Jim Bennett gave a brief presentation to the board with regards to attendance numbers at each of the five district schools. With the exception of Woodview Elementary, each of the schools reported slight increases from the time school began in August, up until Nov. 1.

The numbers, when added together, give the Wa-Nee region 2,999 students, up from 2,988 this past fall. All five of the schools are consistently posting attendance percentages between 96 and 98 percent.

Bennett also provided statistics pertaining to the recent scheduling of parent-teacher conferences. Wakarusa Elementary had a 95 percent rate of parental participation, with at least one parent taking part in conferences. Nappanee Elementary was not far behind at 94 percent, and Woodview Elementary at 90 percent.

At NorthWood Middle School, there was an 82 percent rate of involvement from parents, with the eighth-grade students and staff conducting an open house format, and therefore exempt from the count. NorthWood High School, which presents conferences at an optional level, had a 25 percent participation.

Education excellence

Bart Rice, principal of NorthWood Middle School, gave an enlightening overview of the many activities, scholastic accomplishments and athletic endeavors taking place at the school, where the board meeting actually took place. The session featured performances from a number of students, including members of the Pep Band and students of the music department offering selections from electronic keyboards.

Staff member Valerie Anglemyer worked along with the board to lead them through a lighthearted quiz of NorthWood amenities using a program called “Kahoot.”

Rice, bolstered by a number of insights from additional staff members, talked with the board about the various clubs, programs, classes and other highlights of the 2014-15 academic year. Among the revelations that were noted was the institution of nine new clubs, many of which were inspired by student suggestions. Another encouraging fact was the drastic reduction of documented bullying incidents, from over 20 last year to only one so far this year.

Staff changes

Personnel items approved upon by the board included the hiring of Anni Boocher as the high school girls track head coach.

Donations received

Several donations were also accepted. A monetary gift of $47,000 to the NorthWood High School Captain’s Club was received from the Black Cat Ball Sororities. The group also gave $1,000 to each of the three elementary schools. An anonymous donation of 28 RCA 10-inch tablets with Bluetooth keyboards was also given to Sarah Davies’s kindergarten class at Wakarusa Elementary.

The next meeting of the Wa-Nee Community Schools Board of Trustees will take place on Jan. 12, beginning at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Administration Building in Nappanee.

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