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State report card reveals work to be done in district

Lake Holcombe School Board

They weren’t the test results the district was hoping for, but at the Lake Holcombe School Board meeting Nov. 18, it was discussed how assessments from the state report cards can be improved. Based on the test results, Lake Holcombe fell into “meets few expectations” categories.

“We’re at ground zero, as far I’m concerned,” said superintendent Kurt Lindau, “and there’s only going to be one direction our test scores are going to be moving, if I have anything under my leadership to say about it.”

The scores are based, for the elementary and middle school on the forward exam, which is an online test, while the freshman and sophomores take the ACT Aspire and juniors take the ACT, regardless if they are college bound.

Lindau says, along with staff, that he is looking at the district’s curriculum to make sure it is relevant and up-to-date for tests, as well as the breakfast and lunch program, which could be increased as to the number of students who eat.

“If kids are hungry, they’re not going to learn and do well,” said Lindau.

After the fall break, Lindau plans to visit classrooms and talk to students about taking tests seriously.

“Letting them know this is important, that we want Lake Holcombe to be back where they were four and five years ago,” said Lindau. “The feedback from staff I get, is Lake Holcombe used to be the highest scoring school in Chippewa County.”

Lindau says he wants to see a culture for high academic studies with the district, but reminds the community and board members that the report cards are just one snap shot, based on a test, and that Lake Holcombe still has a lot of good things going on, with well-rounded students.

“One of the beliefs that you have to have, is that all students can learn and all students can learn at high levels, and so we have to help them do that,” said Lindau.

Because he is new to the district, Lindau says he has two main goals: to exceed expectations on report cards and to be named with the Wisconsin Promise Schools of Recognition.

“Because if you can attain those two things, you probably have a lot of other things going right for you, as well,” said Lindau.

To help with those goals, the board approved a John Baylor prep contract (On to College), to help raise the bar for ACT scores. The preparation program can be used throughout the year, for a three-year agreement, at a cost of $1,600 annually “I say, give it a three-year shot,” said Lindau.

Lindau also brought up something he thinks could benefit the school and community, asking members if they would be interested in contracting services for a school resource officer, through the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department. The part-time position would be eight to 10 hours a week, and could be paid for out of Fund 80 (Community Service Fund). “When I got here, in the first month of school, I didn’t see a cop in town, nobody ever stopped in, so that just kind of jumped out at me,” said Lindau.

“We’re the only school district in the county, serviced by the sheriff’s department,” said clerk Jeff Anders.

Because of that, Lindau invited deputies to stop in whenever they are in the area, saying one deputy took him up on the offer and toured the school. The responses Lindau got from students and staff was, Why is he here? What happened? Who’s in trouble?

“The kids shouldn’t have that kind of attitude about the police,” said Lindau.

Members agreed Lindau should look into the matter and keep them updated about hiring a resource officer.

“It is about safety and security, but it’s about relationships,” said Lindau.

With the high school band and choir concert Monday, Dec. 16, the regular meeting time has changed to 6 p.m., to allow the board members to attend the concert.