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BPS School Board Meeting - 6/17/14

by Amy Wenger on June 19, 2014

In what was quite likely the last public school board appearance by Superintendent Russ Mikel, there was a touch of bittersweet that lingered in his parting words, for the man literally could not speak.  Mikel was stricken with a bout of vocal troubles at the Tuesday, June 17 session of the Bremen Board of School Trustees, which left him able to utter only a few whispered thoughts as he thanked the board members for their support during his nine year tenure.  "When I first came to the district, I felt as though I had something to offer," Mikel mused.  To that statement, board member Todd Stuckman reassured him, "You've left the schools in better shape than how you've found them."

The process for selecting Mikel's replacement is still ongoing, and while negotiations have been conducted, the board has been approaching the issue with careful consideration.  This was evident in opening remarks of prayer offered by board member Sheila Kelty as the meeting began, in which she asked for wisdom and guidance in the decision making endeavor.  The board does not meet again for four more weeks, so it is hoped that a candidate may be nudged to the forefront on or prior to that time.

The remainder of the board agenda was dealt with expeditiously, and featured several courses of action.  Among the issues reviewed was a presentation of ISTEP scores from Bremen Elementary-Middle School principal Larry Yelaska, in which he revealed that the student results were very encouraging, with a slight dip in the 8th grade math category.  Even so, he said, the scores were still above the 90 percent range, which is a consistent goal, Yelaska explained.

Another section of scores that Yelaska briefly discussed was that of the 4th grade, noting that their scores between the 70th and 80th percentile do not portray the full story.  He told the board that this grade level has many special needs and ENL students, and that they should view their classroom successes over the duration of the school year as a more true reflection of their progress.
Bremen High School principal Bruce Jennings was next in addressing the board while distributing copies of his extensive report, in which he described a busy itinerary of activities, recognitions, and achievements from May and June.  (Information culled from that submission will be featured in a separate story.)

The board reviewed and passed several changes pertaining to policies and handbook updates, including one which involves attendance waivers for students with excessive absences.  Minor handbook revisions were also approved for grades K-8 and for the high school, with only slight clarifications.  The first reading of a new state-sponsored policy was also rendered, outlining proper procedures for seclusion and restraint of students in extenuating circumstances.

Textbook rental fees were also given a nod by the board, and the rates for the 2014-15 school year will be as follows:
- Kdg. through 3rd grade = $100
- 4th through 6th grades = $75, plus $25 iPad insurance
- 7th through 8th grades = $60, plus $40 computer insurance
Course fees were also established for Bremen High School's 2014-15 academic year, and all costs will remain unchanged from what they had been in the 2013-14 school year.  A full slate of those class fees can be found HERE.
In other business, the board approved the use of a Bremen Public Schools bus and one driver to transport students from Bremen, NorthWood, and Wawasee Key Clubs to Riley Children's Hospital on Saturday,August 23.

    Also briefly touched upon was the topic of the 2014-15 budget calendar.  Board members were given copies of the suggested timetable through which certain actions must be dealt with, such as conducting public hearings and various stages of approval.

    A lengthy list of staffing changes was also approved upon by the board, including the following:

- Audra Blasio, 1st Grade Team Leader
- Michaela Walter, 2nd Grade Team Leader
- Stacey Newsom, 2nd Grade Team Leader
- Laura Watts, High School Drama Director
- Emily Tracy, K-5 Assistant Principal
- Jenny Meyer, High School Math/Physics Teacher
- Melissa Hullinger, Special Needs Aide
- Maria Mikel, Instructional Assistant (Computer Lab)
- Ben Yeo, Instructional Assistant
- Deanna Pendl, Central Office Administrative Assistant
- Kat Spencer, Breakfast Monitor
- Ellen Danner, Cook
- Shanna Walters, Lunch Assistant
- Maggie Aguayo, Cook

- Michaela Walter, from 2nd Grade to 5th Grade
- Stacey Newsom, from 2nd Grade to 3rd Grade

New Contracts
- Lori Hundt, Summer School Special Education Teacher
- Dawn Korra, 3rd Grade IREAD Summer Remediation Teacher
- Lisa Langdon, IREAD Summer School Teacher
- Lori Kois, 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher
- Shannon Verhaeghe, 3/4 CTE Teacher
- Wendy Solomos, Part-Time Cook
- Noelle Cannon, Middle School Cheer Coach
- Eric Hudson, Middle School Cross Country Coach
- Sarah Moyer, 8th Grade Head Volleyball Coach
- Randi Brooke, 7th Grade Assistant Volleyball Coach
- Ashton Hueni, High School Cheerleading Coach
- Tori Prendergast, High School Cheerleading Coach
- Jordan Leeper, High School Football Assistant Coach
- Chris Simmons, High School Football Assistant Coach
- Shawn Campbell, High School Football Assistant Coach
- Martin Huber, High School Football Assistant Coach
- Jeff Fitch, High School Cross Country Head Coach
- Don Harrison, High School Girls Golf Head Coach
- Ricardo Reynoso, High School Girls Soccer Assistant Coach
- Mark Wagner, High School Boys Tennis Head Coach
- Tom Chang, High School Girls Soccer Head Coach
- Nate Rosentrater, High School Boys Soccer Assistant Coach

Leave of Absences
- Guadalupe Lopez, Unpaid Maternity Leave, from August 18 through September 15
- Audra Blasio, Maternity Leave, from August 18 through December 5

- Rom DePalma, Middle School Volunteer Football Coach
- Ben Hueni, Middle School Volunteer Football Coach
- Steve Zellmer, Middle School Volunteer Football Coach
- Kayla Turpin, Middle School Cheerleader Volunteer Coach

    The next meeting of the Bremen Public Schools Board of School Trustees will be held on Tuesday, July 15 in the Bremen High School Media Center.  The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.


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