NEW BUFFALO — The summer Day Camp program, now in its eighth year, was the focus of New Buffalo Area Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday, Oct. 14.
High School Principal Wayne Butler thanked the board for supporting community initiatives such as the camp. The program has grown to last season’s enrollment of 129 campers with a daily average attendance of 83 campers from kindergarten through seventh grade students.
A review of last summer’s activities was given by Curtis Brewster, camp director and third-grade teacher. Assisting Brewster this year were 30 staff members and nine volunteers. Brewster noted the “return on investment” since many are former campers who return to help with the program, adding that his goal for the future is to foster more community involvement.
In addition to daily activities that range from creative writing and art to life skills such as making homemade applesauce, campers took many field trips to the beach, area parks and local attractions. Campers also participated in activities at the New Buffalo Township Library and projects with the robotics team.
Trustee Patricia Newton thanked Brewster for the presentation and for his role in recognizing the importance of play and resisting pressure from parents who wanted the camp to emphasize more educational elements.
Due to the absence of Board President Chuck Heit, the scheduled closed session to conduct the personnel evaluation of Superintendent Jeff Leslie was postponed until the next board meeting on Monday, Oct. 28, when the full board will be present.
Leslie reviewed the proposed changes to the recreational facilities on Clay Street adjacent to the planned new STEAM facility, including additions and improvements to the pickle ball and tennis courts and skate park. The land includes the two plots recently deeded to the district by the City of New Buffalo. The board approved $72,300 for Abonmarche’s additional blueprints and engineering cost.
The board also approved a Student Honor Credit Union program to begin in January 2020 to teach the basics of saving and financial literacy through hands-on experience. For every student opening an account, Honor Credit Union puts in $10 seed money. Participation is voluntary.
The board approved the summer school tax levy to collect half of the annual school property tax. Trustees also voted to relinquish federal fees for Title III since the cost of the required audit exceeds the amount the district would receive from the program to underwrite instructions for non-English speaking students.
The board also approved proclamations for National School Lunch Week as Oct. 14-18 and American Education Week as Nov. 18-22.
The board approved requesting $333 of The Pokagon Fund grant to buy formal wear for new members of the New Buffalo Choir.
At the beginning of the meeting, Shelley Wheeler, accounting and yearbook teacher, expressed the high school staff’s appreciation of Devinnie Wysocki, high school secretary, for her on-going support and especially her recent effort in making the banners that decorated the hallways when New Buffalo Senior High School was one of 13 Michigan schools recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Trustee Frank Magro agreed, noting that Wysocki always greets everyone entering the building with her smile.