The ability to read, write, and spell proficiently in elementary school can be vital to a student’s adult success, the Wauseon Board of Education was told Monday.
In a literacy update of the district’s elementary school students presented by Principal Theresa Vietmeier during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting, she told board members, “Essentially, we want kids to be able to read, write, spell. We want them to be able to articulate themselves and speak. But we want them to think before they do that, so that when they go out into the world they are just prepared.”
During a presentation heavy on statistics, Vietmeier outlined facts and figures that emphasized the importance of elementary school students’ ability to read and write proficiently at those grade levels. The presentation began with a list of facts that included: students are more likely to drop out of school if they can’t read proficiently at grade level by third grade; adults have a greater chance of receiving government support or being incarcerated if they can’t read proficiently by fourth grade; and technology is influencing literacy.
“This is the reason we have a third grade reading guarantee,” Vietmeier said.
She added that the technology aspect alone – increasing screen time among students results in decreased reading time – “is huge. This is shocking to me. Frightening.”
The problem of literacy extends to adults, Vietmeier said. She said it’s common for parents to admit that their own deficient reading skills make it difficult for them to help their children with math problems that are solved through reading.
To emphasize how failed literacy skills can haunt adulthood, she showed board members content from a resume she received from a college graduate. Vietmeier pointed out basic, low-level paragraph structure the individual, who graduated with honors, used to list their attributes.
“It needs to have detail. It needs to have a little bit more depth to it. I would not want this person (teaching) in our school,” she said.
Vietmeier said after analysis of its own curriculum the elementary school administration has implemented changes over the past couple of years to intensify the literacy process. She said the school is concentrating on more student writing and more analysis of that writing.
“We can do the job. Our teachers – they know how to teach reading, and they take it seriously,” she said.
At the onset of Monday’s meeting, Superintendent Troy Armstrong introduced members of a newly-formed Superintendent Student Advisory Council. Armstrong said the council was created to allow student input into the goals of the school district.
The council members are: Eli Delgado and Mary Gerig, ninth grade; Andrew Eberle and Eva Mennetti, 10th grade; Benjamin Allen and Bailey McGuire, 11th grade; and Megan Carroll and Noah Tester, 12th grade.
In other business, donations to the school district included: $100 from the northwest Ohio chapter of the American Public Works Association to the high school art club for the Paint and Plow project; $274 from Joe Nafziger and Everence Financial, and 100 pounds of bulk hamburger, taco shells, and Hamburger Helper from the Wauseon Rotary Club, for the district food bank; $1,645 from the Tomahawk Wrestling Club for wrestling warm-ups; hats and gloves from Christ United Methodist Church to the primary school; $1,000 from an anonymous donor to cover student admissions to girls basketball; $1,000 from Don’s Automotive Group for scholarship awards; $450 from VFW Post #7424 for 21st Century supplies.
In personnel matters, the board approved Ashley Freestone and Natalie Kuntz as pool workers for the school year.
It also authorized continued membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association for the 2020-21 academic year.
Board members entered into executive session to discuss compensation of an employee. No action was taken.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010