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HSSD board hears about life and career skills

By Ben Rodgers
Staff Writer

SUAMICO – The school board observed some presentations pertaining to district policy at Tuesday’s Feb. 26 meeting.

The policy was Ends Policy E-6, Life and Career Skills.

“Thematically, really our goal has been to create these board experiences that correspond to the monitoring report you’re reviewing this evening,” said Damian LaCroix, superintendent.

Gary Westerman, physical education teacher and head varsity football coach talked to the board about another course he teaches, Developing Young Leaders.

“At the end of the day I don’t think it’s about money earned, friends you have, or property owned,” Westerman said. “But at the end of the day it’s about the sense of fulfillment you have helping others.”

His DYL class in it its fifth year and once a week students in the class go out and volunteer in the community.

“They leave my classroom daily with tools that can help put an impact in people’s lives,” Westerman said.

Some examples include playing cribbage with the elderly at assisted living facilities or working with students at elementary schools who need help reading.

Students also focus on themselves and how they can improve as humans. Part of that is understanding what level of influence they can have when helping others.

“It’s more about what is that level of influence and waking up every day and understanding you’re making a difference,” Westerman said.

Mark Smith, assistant superintendent of organizational development said the district currently uses four different methods to measure life and career skills, leadership and accountability.

“We are making progress and it’s good progress relative to this particular ends policy,” Smith said.

Two students who exemplified these themes were also honored at the start of the meeting.

Josie Flisakowski and Emma Daanen, both freshmen, combined for 30 hours volunteering ringing bells for Salvation Army.

They were the top two ringers for Bay Port High School, which was the top Green Bay Metro Area High School total this year with 147 total hours.

“We decided to volunteer for Salvation Army to ring bells,” Flisakowski said. “Emma and I found a really good joy in that and we’re like ‘let’s do this more…’”

LaCroix said the high school is not the same as it was a decade ago because of the implementation of curriculum and practices that focuses on creating leaders and preparing students for life after graduation.

“I’m so happy and proud that we as a district do what we do in order to stay up with that,” said Theresa Ford, board vice president. “We found we were having problems with doing enough monitoring doing the right assessments so we created our own.”

However, one concerned resident spoke to the board about recent events and to stress his opinions to ensure that every student has a future in HSSD schools.

Frank Ingram from Howard shared his thoughts on what the district should be doing in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“There is nothing normal about school shootings,” Ingram said. “We seem to have gotten into a situation where people are defining this as normal and define a response accordingly, and the school board should really do nothing to encourage the idea that school shootings are normal.”

Ingram said the answer does not lie in arming teachers or employing security guards.

“If you let it been known that there are any armed teachers in any of your schools you will be placing a target on the back of every teacher you employ,” he said.

The board had no formal discussion item planned for the meeting relating to school safety.

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