12/16/2019 8:38:00 AM Dr. Jacobson calls it a career, will return end of June, 2020
The Dodgeville school board was faced with a decision Monday night that they did not want to make, but in reality, had to. Board president Mike Humke had received a retirement request from Superintendent Dr. Jeff Jacobson effective the end of June before the new fiscal year starts. The board accepted the request with regrets and were unanimous in their comments that Dr. Jacobson has been an administrator strong in making the district better, seeing the district through needed upgrades and making sure the curriculum taught was the best for the students. Jacobson said he plans to remain in Dodgeville. His wife is the minister at churches in Cobb and Castle Rock. The board used the unanimous rule to put a policy into effect immediately instead of going through three readings. The policy was requested by Middle School Principal Sally Baxter and deals with therapy dogs in schools. Baxter said there are two instances presently where therapy dogs are needed. There will be behavior guidelines for the dogs and allergy concerns will be addressed along with fear and supervision matters. Dogs will be considered only by request. Therapy dogs are becoming more common in society as they help with social and emotional needs. Baxter said a notice to parents will be sent out two weeks prior of therapy dog placement so any concerns can be addressed. After the board waived the other two readings Baxter thanked them for their approval. At the beginning of the meeting Dr. Jacobson introduced Kevin Zajicek to the board and discussed his recent designation as The Dodgeville Chronicle's "Best Of" coach of the year. Zajicek coaches the trap team which is in its third year of existence. Membership is now 68 which is triple what it was the first year. Zajicek told the board it is a successful program because of the dedicated coaches which include Roger Geisking, Jeff Johnston, Greg Wolf, Larry Tremelling, Dave Blume and Chuck Washburn. Director of Student Learning Jacque Goetzke presented the work of reading specialist Julie Lewis to the board and said she even thought she lives between Richland Center and Weston, she is at school by 7 a.m. every day and stays past 5 p.m. She has been a big proponent of improving math and science awareness. Her latest project was bringing representatives of King Arthur Flour Company to the district who in turn taught the fourth and fifth graders how to make bread using reading, math and science skills. The students were to bake two loaves, one for their family and one to donate. Lewis has also introduced reading and coloring exercises for pre-school students. Also recognized was Food Service Director Chris Lindner who recently guided the district through an extensive three year audit which included lots of visits and correspondence with the state. She recently received notice the audit is completed and closed. Lindner was also recognized for her "cookie dough" project where cookies are sold to make up for delinquent lunch accounts. District history teacher Chuck Tank addressed the board about the Distinguished Alumni project that is in its third year. There are currently seven alumni with plaques on the wall signifying they have done outstanding work since graduating from Dodgeville High School. Tank said nomination forms are on the district website and a committee will select those who will be honored in May. Student representative to the board McKenna Bucci said there are problems with chromebooks not booting up when they are turned on. She also said some students had problems with scheduling procedures. The policy committee presented the second reading of the building use policy which will be needed when the new construction is completed on the auditorium and gymnasium, They also worked with the draft fundraising policy revisions which will establish a chain of responsibility prior to approval. Later in the meeting the first reading of the fundraising policy was approved. The building and grounds committee report noted that the remodel/addition project is both on schedule and on budget. The only glitch so far is the size of pipes to carry water away from the buildings do not match but that situation will soon be remedied. The curricular/co-curricular committee reported on a several hour meeting that resulted in revisions, drops and additions to class offerings next year. The committee also addressed summer school offerings and announced there will be two sessions, three weeks each with one in June and the other late July/August with a break in between. Last year the students taking summer classes showed improvement in retention of learned information. Financially the summer school breaks about even. The finance committee reported now that the high school project is nearly complete they will be determining needs and funding for projects at the other schools in the district. Athletic Director Joey Martin told the board that 34% of students participated in athletics this fall. He said he would like to see that grow to 50% and that football is in the need of numbers. He added there will be a coaches meeting in the spring to discussed how to get more kids out for fall sports. His report included that volleyball had 23 overall wins and five wins in the SWC which is an upswing for the program. He said boys soccer was 5-11-1 with the record not indicative of how well the team played as they lost several close matches. Martin said there were 24 athletes making all-conference this past fall and he is looking into a SWC Wall of Fame to display the students who achieved all conference recognition. Coach Todd Biddick who announced his retirement after the past football season has been honored as SWC and All-District Assistant Coach of the Year. Martin also said there are 20 new athletes out for trap shoot and the team finished third in the conference. As for winter sports participation there are 33 boys out for basketball and there were 29 girls signed up for basketball with 20 actually staying out. He is looking at three team round robins at the sub-varsity level to make sure the teams get enough competition. Also, there are 14 out for wrestling and 10 out for gymnastics. Board member Tom McGraw asked about honors for athletes in academics and was informed the football and baseball coaches associations have that in place. Martin will look into having it on a conference basis. Martin also said the athletic storage area is being cleaned up and organized to take full advantage of the space. High school principal Laura Nyberg talked to the board about the recent school safety drill that was held. She said the high school has adopted the Run-Hide-Fight model and ran it recently. Students were surveyed after the drill for their comments and concerns and there are plans in place to run the drill again soon. Bucci commented from the student perspective the alarm in the building which notifies of being breached by an intruder is nearly inaudible. She also said she did not feel the message was delivered that kids are being cared about but rather that it was just a drill. She said students feel it should be more personal in nature. Dr. Jacobson and Assistant Principal Scott Tolzman presented the school safety drill performed at the elementary school. That drill model was hide and secure with doors locked and blinds pulled and the most important message being "listen to your teacher." Both Jacobson and Tolzman felt the exercise at the elementary school went well. Tolzman also said parents were notified two weeks in advance of the drill and were supportive. He added there was a video to share with both parents and students. He also said the students were well behaved and quiet throughout the drill. Board member McGraw said he feels the district is well ahead of other districts when it comes to student safety. Four early graduation requests were granted. The deadline for approval was October 1, but Nyberg said these came about because of extenuating circumstances. Lexi Lundell will graduate early so she attend a seminary in Jerusalem. Skylar Symons, Jacob Books and Nick Venden will be incorporating work and school into what would be their final semester. The board heard a report from Goetzke about the district's report card and how the process works with staff being able to use data to improve learning. The board also received a report on how the work release program is monitored. Martin had two winter coaching additions and the spring coaches contracts ready for approval. All were approved as presented. The board also conducted the first reading of the graduation policy which addresses the need for a half credit for personal finance. Jacobson said this will begin with the class of 2022. The board approved a calendar which was approved by staff that sets the start day of school September 1 (four days before Labor Day) and ends classes June 4. The board held a closed session to address how the search for a new district administrator will be handled.