WACS panel tells board to ‘think positive’
WESTFIELD – Westfield Academy and Central School can move into the future by keeping its focus on the positive events that take place, members of the reformed strategic planning committee told the board of education.
Scott Cooper, Bob Dyment, Kendra Bills and Rich Koerner attended this month’s meeting of the board to share some of the deliberations of the committee. The planning committee was reformed after the district completed its five-year plan this past year.
“We went into this with attitude that the glass is half-full,” Dyment said. “Our approach was to look at what is positive and how can we promote it.”
Dyment said the committee spoke with Westfield business and municipal representatives about what businesses were attracted to the area and how the school is integrated with the community.
Dyment said a top financial priority for the district would be negotiating with teachers and staff as well as expanding opportunities for donations.
Dyment said the committee endorsed the capital projects proposed for the district, especially because they are primarily concerned with maintenance and code issues.
If the planned facilities project is approved by voters, the committee would proceed to evaluate the best way to promote maintenance, he said.
Dyment also said the committee discussed the potential for other districts to tuition students to WACS, especially in light of the music and science programs. The district has a treasure in people such as music teacher Kent Knappenberger, who won the first Grammy Music Educator award. Students may also be drawn to Westfield by science teacher Lon Knappenberger who was named a Master Teacher by the state, Dyment said.
Bills focused her remarks on ways to promote WACS both within the school and in the community. Some of the ideas the committee had were to revise the school song, offer Wolverine sweatshirts and merchandise in local stores and educate the community about school events. “We tried to come up with ideas that would result in no cost to the district at all to achieve them,” she said.
Cooper addressed the board concerning academic changes. Plans to update the computer lab, add courses such as Lego Robotics, Spanish and AP courses, as well as develop an agriculture program are all in the works, he said. “We want it to be student driven to meet their needs, but also to meet the teachers’ needs,” he said.
In another presentation, the board heard from Lon Knappenberger, who outlined his journey to being named a Master Teacher, a process which began in 2008. Knappenberger has been recognized nationally and even globally for his work at the school in bio-technology, especially genetics.
Knappenberger described the master teacher process taking him through recommendations, application, transcripts, and essay and presentation and interviews.
In other business, superintendent David Davison said three FOCCUS groups have met so far and two more are on the schedule. Also, the district is working on two videos of “What Does It Mean to Be a Wolverine?”
Students are filming clips “in the classrooms” for the videos, which will be put on the school website and Facebook page.