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Gilman School District undergoes staffing changes

Gilman School District has undergone several staffing changes recently.

Mackenzie Ewings, a recent graduate of UW-Eau Claire, was hired as an English teacher at Gilman Middle School. She will start in the coming fall, when the next school year begins.

“We had an excellent candidate pool; we interviewed several high quality individuals. Mackenzie has experience with writing interventions, and part of this is to provide interventions to middle school students... Interventions are skill-specific and intensive lessons in reading, writing, and math for students that need additional instructional support beyond the daily classroom lessons... So we’re really excited to have her come on.”

Gilman is also getting a new head cook, Laura Hendricks, who has an extensive background in managing food services; her family owns Gilman Market.

“She’s done a tremendous amount of large group catering. We chose to bring Laura on because of her customer service and care, both of which I think will be a huge asset, especially while working with students and families,” said Leipart.

Hendricks will be starting her new position effective immediately.

Leigh Dobberstein resigned from her position as agriculture instructor at Gilman, and will now be going into consulting services for the agriculture industry.

Three paraprofessionals have been laid off due to the reduction of work.

“We had certain individuals that were one-to-one aides. That service would be non-essential during this period because of the way we were able to format access to the teacher,” Leipart said. “In our high needs special education classroom we had a one-to-one aide, and because of the level of work that those students are doing, the classroom teacher can now provide the service [instead]... There was a lot of one-to-one supervision for going down hallways and all that, but because that isn’t happening anymore, there wasn’t as much work available.”

For information regarding the coronavirus, Leipart directed attention to the school website, specifically to the COVID-19 response button. A black and yellow button on the front page of the website, it allows people to get the most recent information in regards to Gilman School District.

“We have ongoing communications, and are posting as up-to-date information that we can on our webpage,” said Leipart. “We want people to know that this resource is available to them.”

The board will continue to brainstorm on what graduation might look like for those who had to forgo it due to the safer-at-home-orders.

“We are going to be reaching out to parents and check in with students. But the big question is ‘how do we make these events happen?’ And, in July, we’re seeing [more of the same restrictions],” said Leipart, adding that they are taking precautions in case the shutdown lasts longer than expected. “What is this going to look like next school year? We’re hoping it’s not the case, but we may just have to start the school year in a distant learning environment like what we are doing right now. Only time will tell us that.”

The board will continue to work towards solutions, and say they are dedicated to doing everything they can to help their students and the community.

“It’s our responsibility as a school and as a board to plan for any of those scenarios,” said Leipart. “So over the next three months, that’s what we’re going to be doing.”