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Superintendent Terry Slack and the Board of Education gather in the library of Wisconsin Dells High School.

Wisconsin Dells High School students have new class options to look forward to in the 2018-19 school year.

At the Wisconsin Dells School Board meeting Jan. 8, WDHS Principal Hugh Gaston explained the classes updated, added and deleted. One addition is Spanish for Native Speakers.

“Teaching them is a little bit different,” he said. “Their conversational skills, which is a lot of what’s happening in our Spanish courses, are really incredibly strong.” He said this course focuses on deeper writing and reading skills for knowledge, content and critical thinking.

Gaston said agriculture sciences and technology education teacher Nathaniel Nolden is looking to create a landscaping course, utilizing the information students learn in Plant Science 1.

“He spent quite a bit of his college years working at a landscaping area,” Gaston said.

The business and information technology class Sports and Entertainment Marketing is no longer added, he said. To teach this course, instructors are required to have a marketing license. He said neither of the instructors have one. He’s going to talk to other South Central Conference principals who offer this type of course at their schools and do more research.

“I think it would be a nice hook to get some more kids involved in that section and understanding what goes on in marketing,” he said. “I’d like to get it back in.”

PE 10-12 will be split into two separate courses, aligning with students’ interests. “For PE 10-12, some kids sign up for it but are only interested in certain games,” he said. This will allow students to choose between net/target games and team sports/invasion games.

The school board approved the course catalog.

Crowdfunding policy

The Board of Education accepted the first reading of the new crowdfunding policy. The policy states “The Board of Education does not permit or sanction the use of crowdfunding for District or specific school programs or activities including co-curricular or extra-curricular activities.”

Superintendent Terry Slack said teachers were using crowdfunding for things the district could easily afford, like classroom supplies. The district already has money set aside for those types of needs, he said.

“We’ve taken proactive steps by beginning to adopt this policy to make sure teachers can focus on their teaching and feel supported instead of going to crowdfunding,” he said.

There are specific and legitimate reasons for crowdfunding, he said. A positive way a staff member used crowdfunding was for a food drive. He said for situations that are beyond the scope of the classroom, staff members would need to go to the board for authorization.

Structural Updates

Slack said he is in communication with Steve Kieckhafer of Plunkett Raysich Architects about moving forward with a secured entrance at Spring Hill School. He is also talking with Kieckhafer about refreshing the Wisconsin Dells High School library, similar to what has been done at Spring Hill.

In other business

  • 190 new students enrolled in the Wisconsin Dells School District between July 1 and Dec. 22, 2017.
  • 73 have withdrawn.
  • Junior Literature and Junior Composition at WDHS are combining into one year-long course.
  • WDHS was considering dropping Women’s Studies. When students heard that it wasn’t going to be offered, they voiced their concerns, Gaston said. The school is planning on continuing to offer it at this point.
  • Two bus drivers in the district resigned.