OUTSTANDING SERVICE… The second Panther Pride Award was given at the Watervliet School Board meeting held Monday night. The recipient Greg Krell (center) received a certificate of appreciation for his many years of dedication to the Watervliet athletes programs and community. Making the presentation were members of the School Board (John Oliphant, Bill Spaulding, Andy DeHaven, Eric Laws, Matt Clay, Amanda Morlock-Fisher and Ted Tees) and School Superintendent Ric Seager. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)
WHS freshmen attend career event
By Annette Christie All freshman students at Watervliet High School were able to attend the Career Pathway Day 2019 at Lake Michigan College in November. Mrs. Dawson, High School Counselor and Mr. Bill Tiefenbach, District Technology Integration Specialist presented on the subject at the December 9 Watervliet School Board meeting, along with four of those freshmen. Tiefenbach and Interim High School Principal Susan Toothman attended a career development facilitator training earlier as the career development is a huge part of the school improvement plan. Students are first asked about their future careers in 7th grade and it is then reviewed annually with every Child’s Education Development Plan. Students are using a software program called Xello, a platform being used in both Berrien and Van Buren County schools. Students have assignments which help to build their talent portfolio. Dawson said that she posts links to information that will be helpful to students. For example, she recently posted a link to the hot 50 careers in the country. It also provides a lot of opportunities to share information. The Career Pathway Day at Lake Michigan College played host to over 2,000 students. Students were able to speak one on one with professionals in the fields of communication, health Services, engineering, manufacturing, business management, human services, computer technologies, and natural resources. Tiefenbach stated, “Our students were very involved and engaged.” Most of the students that spoke acknowledged that going into the event they didn’t really have a plan for their lifetime careers yet or maybe they were aware of a field but didn’t quite know the specifics. They were able to speak to people who were passionate about what they do for a living. One young man stated, “I have a better understanding of what I want to do when I grow up.”
Panther Pride Award presented to Greg Krell The second Panther Pride Award was given to a long-time staple at Watervliet athletic events. Athletic Booster member Greg Krell was nominated by both Board President Bill Spaulding and Renee LeVeque. The nominators stated, “Greg has been extremely involved in WHS sports activities for many, many years as a volunteer. He has been totally involved in the Boosters and served on the Chain Gang as well as attending a lot of away games. He’s hard-working, caring, responsible and committed to everything he does. He helps in as many ways as possible and is a true Panther.” “Greg exemplifies Panther Pride through his tireless service at athletic events; his dedication never waivers!” “Greg has been one of the cornerstones of our Athletic Boosters for the last 14 years. His tireless hours of dedication to our athletic program and kids at WHS are greatly appreciated.” Superintendent Ric Seager said that Krell was recently selected to enter the Watervliet Athletic Hall of Fame, Class of 2020, which will take place in February. The Panther Pride Individual and Group Award program was developed to recognize businesses, service groups, community members, parents, faculty, staff, and students who have provided exemplary leadership and service. Accomplishments worthy of a Panther Pride nomination should reflect outstanding leadership and/ or service and reflect actions that go beyond or above normal work, reflecting a deep sense of pride, ownership, and responsibility to the school community. “Panther Pride recipients should embody the values we hold dear at Watervliet Public Schools,” Seager said.
Reporting tool Tiefenbach also displayed the program being used for financial and data reporting – Munetrix. This new tool helps with the required reporting as well as improving transparency. It can be found on the school’s website: www.watervlietps.org under district reporting and transparency reporting. Tiefenbach described it as a pretty comprehensive data warehouse, showing as an example: Pupil to staff ratio; staffing trends and comparisons to the 65 other schools in the Southwest Michigan region; in depth budget information; security safety drill reports; and detailed enrollment information. “Everything that we have to report we can do on this one site,” Tiefenbach said.
Superintendent report Superintendent Seager gave a Strategic Planning update that the district has been working on since October. He noted that many individuals including board members have been interviewed by the specialist. This Thursday, students (high school and junior high), teachers, and support staff focus groups will be completed. He said that the data analysis is done. The work by a couple of other teams will begin as they work on vision, mission, values and beliefs statements. Seager provided the board with the high school principal search update. The district received 14 applicants to start with, that number was whittled down to 7, and five were selected to start the interview process. There is a round two, where it is a 5-panel mini interview process. It is expected that next Tuesday, there will be two candidates that will provide a public presentation. “We will have a good candidate,” Seager said. The top five candidates are Robin Hadrick, former principal at Niles High School; Lauren Burnat, administrator at Benton Harbor Public Schools; Erin Rolfe, teacher at Loy Norrix High School; Kelly Jo Thomas, assistant high school principal at Battle Creek Pennfield High School; and Dustin Gill, assistant high school principal at Everett High School in Lansing. Seager noted that three candidates have been high school principals or central office administrators, one is currently and assistant high school principal, and the other has levels of administrative experience. Seager reviewed the certified enrollment data reflecting that Watervliet Public Schools continue to be a draw for students. He noted that the 10-year trend shows Watervliet doing what a lot of schools aren’t, gaining students. While there are dips here and there throughout the 10 year numbers, the fall count was at 1,463.27, up from the spring of 2019 at 1,413.41. Seager noted, “Continuously increased enrollment – that is a good problem to have,” adding, “We want to keep this going or at least stable.”