Wrightstown school board celebrates successes of 2020

Submitted photo
Wrightstown High School Sting Cancer members have been busy making tie blankets and assembling cheer packages for local community members fighting cancer.

By Brian Roebke
In the student achievement portion of the January meeting of the Wrightstown Community School District’s Board of Education, Superintendent Carla Buboltz showed a video of some of the good things done in the school during the year.
“Every year has struggles and successes, there’s no doubt about it,” Buboltz told the board. “2020 was certainly one for the books.”
Buboltz said instead of focusing on what had to be given up in 2020, she wanted to find ways to celebrate what the school district was able to do through a slide show produced by Kris Baeten.
“Our staff has been the calm in the storm, the beacons of hope for our students and families, so tonight we wanted to celebrate some of those successes,” Buboltz said.
Included was what the school was able to do while school was completely shut down from mid-March through May as well as what happened from September through December while students and staff were face to face while taking precautions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“We’ve been able to give the students many of the opportunities they deserve, even given COVID,” Buboltz said.
Board members saw students engaged in learning, smiling through their eyes, and loving what they’re doing.
Some field trips have been virtual, and some, like Fallen Timbers Nature Center, have come to the school.
“Our students and staff have not only survived the first semester but actually thrived during it,” Buboltz said. “We still have a semester to go but we are pretty darn proud of what our students, staff, and families have done the first semester.”
The slogan for the school year is Tiger Tough and Stronger Together.
The numbers for COVID-19 are looking very good for the school district. As of Monday, Feb. 1, there were just one active case in the district, a student. Just nine students, and no staff members, were in quarantine because of close contact with someone who tested positive.
The district is partnering with CESA 6 for staff COVID-19 testing. Staff can get tested one day and receive the results the next day. New test sites recently opened at West De Pere and Freedom.
Eight staff members who are providing health services to students were vaccinated but the remainder of the staff will likely not be vaccinated until March.
When staff members were asked if they wish to receive the vaccine when it’s available, 95 percent of staff said yes.
The number of virtual students continues to decrease. The middle school is down from 32 to 16, the high school is down from 34 to 18, and the elementary school is down from 58 to 37.
High School Principal Scott Thompson told the board they’re starting to plan a scaled-down prom and senior snowball dance.
The wellness center is turning to Phase 2 of reopening, resuming some classes, in particular the 9 a.m. senior citizen class. The limit is 10 people, but they’re planning to make it a Facebook Live event from 11:15-11:45 a.m.
The first virtual event Jordan Martzahl held had more than 500 views on Facebook, and the feedback from members was very good.
They are increasing the number of people allowed in the center from 25 to 30 at one time.
The school is also opening the school buildings for outside groups.
Activities Director Craig Haese lauded students, coaches, and families for doing a good job of following CDC guidelines. “In my opinion I’m probably biased but I think Wrightstown kids are some of the best that abide by rules and I think that’s a reason why we made it through a lot of our seasons,” he said.
The architect reached the 90 percent mark of design completion of the building project, with the project set to be out to bid on Feb. 4. A walk-through for contractors is planned for Feb. 19. Bids are due March 3, and there will likely be a special board meeting to award contracts shortly after that.
The board approved open enrollment seats for the 2021-22 school year. Open enrollment begins in February, where families can apply to enroll their children in Wrightstown schools if the district determines there is availability in certain grades without having to hire additional staff.
The board approved three seats in kindergarten, one in fourth grade, 19 in ninth grade, 13 in 10th grade, 12 in 11th grade, and 13 in 12th grade. No special education seats are available.
Buboltz said while other school districts were closed to in-person instruction this fall, the district weekly received calls from parents looking to open enroll their students to Wrightstown but didn’t want to compromise the education of the students who live in the school district.
The board approved an agriculture/science course, zoology and wildlife, that can be counted as a science course for graduation. After board approval, the state needs to approve it.
The board also approved the revision of several policies including extended day care facility use. In the past, the district charged non-profit organizations the use of a facility or site for $5 per day of operation.
However, the YMCA informed the school district that it’s after-school program was the only school district that charges for building use.
Elementary students can go from their classroom to the cafeteria for after-school activities while they wait for their parents to pick them up as late as 6:30 p.m. Fifth grade and parochial students are also included.
“It is an incredible partnership for our families,” Buboltz said, noting the YMCA has used the space for at least 10 years and she worries about losing the program for a nominal loss of income, less than $1,000 per year.
During a normal year there are 37-40 students who take advantage of the program daily. Families pay the YMCA a nominal fee to cover staffing costs.
Personnel report
Maria Andrade, school nutrition assistant
Eric Beard, varsity baseball coach
Lisa Durocher, high school administrative assistant
Karen Kleiber, high school administrative assistant