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Committee reports highlight De Pere school board meeting

By Rich Palzewic
Staff Writer

DE PERE – Two curriculum reports highlighted the Sept. 4 school board meeting for the Unified School District of De Pere.

Jeff Byczek, the activities director at the high school, presented information to the board on the procedures and fees for facility rentals.

“There are set fees that have been in place for renting different rooms/areas of the high school,” Byczek said. “There is a whole list of steps that groups have to go through in order to rent out an area. We’ve looked at it here and there over the years.”

Byczek went on to note that when determining if a facility is available, priority is given to school teams or related affiliations.

For example, if there is a request for use of the auditorium by an outside dance studio for a recital, it would be denied if the high school band, orchestra and/or choir performances or rehearsals are in progress during the requested date.

It was also noted that in many cases, some fees can be waived for school groups if the area is already staffed and additional help doesn’t need to be called in.

“If there are already custodians/supervisors here at the school, there wouldn’t be an additional fee associated with that,” Byczek added. “We’d only charge for the cost of a custodian if someone would have to be called in after the fact because it wasn’t during school time. We try not to charge our booster clubs and youth groups any more than what our costs are.”

Shelly Thomas, the school district curriculum director, also presented information to the board on teacher orientation that all district educators must go through after they are hired.

“It’s a very extensive orientation program that we put the teachers through,” Thomas said. “It’s over the course of several days because it’s a lot of information to take in. When you get hired here, it’s made very specific to you that we have high expectations for professional development. Part of the reason for that is because we have invested so much in professional development. Our new hires – whether you’ve taught before or are new – are made aware of the vision we have in De Pere.”

Thomas will also periodically meet with those involved five times during the year to discuss how things are going and to introduce new topics/ideas.

After the two committee presentations, the regular board meeting was held.

Shortly after the meeting began, school board superintendent Ben Villarruel and the board went into closed session and approved the retirement of Michael O’Callaghan, district director of technology. O’Callaghan has been with the district for 12 years.

The closed session also dove into the employment, compensation, financial, medical, social or personal histories of specific employees.

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