Achieving "a balance between foundational skills as well as tending to their social and emotional needs to be able to have post-secondary success" describes the primary emphasis of Eau Claire schools, Superintendent Mary Ann Hardebeck told 75 Chamber members at Eggs & Issues on Friday, November 15.
Hardebeck and School Board Member Laurie Klinkhammer talked about the key indicators of student success, described the challenges facing the district, and celebrated the partnerships schools enjoy with the Eau Claire Community, including those with the Chamber.
Key indicators of whether a student will be a success include attendance, 3rd grade literacy, 8th grade math abilities, Academic and Career Planning participation, as well as ACT and Work Keys test scores. With 11,500 students, ECASD is the state's eighth largest district and leads the top 10 largest cities in math, reading and ACT scores.
Top right: Board of Education Member Laurie Klinkhammer
Big challenges, paths to success
"The community's challenges are our challenges," noted Hardebeck, who listed poverty, trauma, homelessness, growth and the need for leadership among those key issues that impact the district and its students.
Providing students with a path to success is important. Klinkhammer and Hardebeck celebrated partnerships throughout the community and singled out the Chamber's recent commitment to administer the state Youth Apprenticeship program for schools in Eau Claire County. Among the emerging success stories highlighted were Youth Apprenticeships that have led to success in registered apprenticeships and other after-high-school choices, and the growing partnership with CVTC to provide dual credit, including students in the new academy program who will graduate high school with a two-year college degree. Programs like this save students up to $1.75 million annually in post-secondary tuition costs.
School Board Vacancy
In response to questions from the audience, Klinkhammer and Hardebeck pointed to remaining management and financial challenges facing the district, including a resolution related to unfunded post-employment benefits, changing demographics, and challenges related to the state school funding forumla.
Klinkhammer pointed to the School Board Vacancy created on November 1 with the resignation of Joe Luginbill, and encouraged citizens to seriously consider applying to join the board. "My personal view is that we are under-represented from the business community right now," she said.
The Board is accepting applications from citizens interested in joining the School Board to serve through the next election in April 2020. The application deadline is November 26. Candidates will be asked to make a statement at the December 2 School Board Meeting, followed by a vote of the Board to select a member who will begin serving as of December 4.
School Board Vacancy Information
Eggs & Issues PowerPoint presentation (Mary Ann Hardebeck and Laurie Klinkhammer)
Superintendent: Homeless students one of district's biggest challenges (Leader-Telegram)
South side referendum or renovations could be on the horizon (Leader-Telegram)
Report cards out; most area school districts meet or exceed expectations (Leader-Telegram)
Board to discuss referendum possibility Monday (Leader-Telegram)
Posted by Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director