Peshtigo school teachers provide updates of goals and achievments

By: 
Lynette Brosig

PESHTIGO – The March 13 Peshtigo School Board Meeting included a Mayoral Candidate Forum, a new reading curriculum and the AGR Report. 

One person commented in Public Comment, Michelle Pierce stating, “I chose this area for being what I thought was the better of the schools between Peshtigo Elementary School (PELC) and the Crivitz School System. I was very disappointed when my six year old began to cut herself because she was being bullied by both students and adults. Within two weeks, she wanted to end her life, not only because of students, but adults as well. I am here with answers and solutions. Posts on Facebook get brushed under the mat. I had meetings with the Superintendent, which was not enough. If this is what is to become of this school, it is extremely disappointing. It is not taken seriously. We as a community should be raising our children as a Village. I don’t see how many children so loosely is in the best interest of anybody. I have a lot of solutions but don’t know how to articulate to you, but if you want to meet as a separate entity I will do that.” 

The School Board offered a platform for both of the Mayoral Candidates to present what they have to offer. 

First up was Mayor Cathi Malke, as she begun with her background Malke spoke about her 30 year involvement with the Emergency Rescue Squad as a volunteer Energency medical Technician as well as her area of leadership on various operating committee positions including equipment, Recruiting & Scheduling and Public Relations.

An impactful project that Malke has taken part of is the “Every 15 Minutes Program,” which is a two-day program that demonstrates to Peshtigo High School juniors and seniors the consequences of drinking and driving. “Being on the Rescue Squad I had witnessed the tragedy that is related to drinking and driving, so I wanted to be a part of bringing a program like “Every 15 Minutes” to Peshtigo,” said Malke. As the current Mayor, Malke plans to partner with current City of Peshtigo Police officers to produce this event again. 

Malke spoke on her involvement with the Peshtigo Historical Society and the importance it holds. “I take a great deal of pride on never forgetting our past and preserving it for future generations,” Malke said.

“Over the past 8 years I have had a motto, ‘Peshtigo takes care of Peshtigo’. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve and represent the City of Peshtigo as Mayor. I am committed to providing a fiscally responsible budget that provides necessary services. Responsible budgeting provides services which keep our community safe. I appreciate our police, volunteer fire fighters, soon to be 911 medical response service personnel and public works. Our city continues to move forward with their dedication,” continued Malke. Malke then spoke to her various grant projects and how she has implemented her ‘Peshtigo takes care of Peshtigo’ mentality. 

Malke concluded her speech by talking about goals and projects she would like to move forward with in the future if she were to be reelected. This includes expanding the Our Hometown Hero Banners program, reclaiming property with three year unpaid property taxes for the intent of reselling the property and accessing and expanding housing needs in the City of Peshtigo.

“Our people are our strength and I would be most honored to continue to serve and lead as your Mayor,” concluded Malke.

Katie Berman opened by addressing the people in attendance and giving a background on how she became interested in politics. With extra time on her hands and a curiosity for local government, Berman began attending meetings and joining area clubs and committees. In addition to her curiosity, her position as a hairstylist allowed her to share the information she learned at meetings, which she grew to enjoy. 

This enjoyment brought her to the decision to become an Alderman. “That first year was a great learning experience. For the past almost three years, I have tried to attend as much education as I can on the topic of municipal government. Before becoming an Alderman I could see the lack of communication was evident. Being a part of it clearly shows me where we are lacking. Our internal communication and with our citizens needs to be better and more transparent,” explained Berman. 

This communication is one aspect she would like to improve upon if she were to become Mayor. “Internal communications, along with updating our ordinance book as well as our website. Doing these things keeps us accessible, accountable, and transparent to the community. I feel it is an absolute priority for everyone,” said Berman. Branching off of this, Berman wants to make city government positions feel more approachable out in the community to allow for collaborations on mutually beneficial projects and heightened transparency. To assist with the transparency portion of her goal, Berman would like to utilize technology to record council meetings to become more accessible to a wider audience. 

“Over the years I have talked to students on an array of topics, whether it’s about the food pantry, a job as a cosmetologist, or municipal government, keeping myself available to the school as a resource has been a privilege,” said Berman. 

In conclusion, Berman said, “I know the city of Peshtigo is ready for change and to move forward into the future. I want you to know that I have the drive and energy to take us into the future and that I will do it with all of the respect and integrity this city deserves.”

A presentation was provided on the ARC (American Reading Company) by Kindergarten Teacher, Amanda Lesandrini, First Grade Teacher Yen Williams and Third Grade Teacher Rhonda Madsen. The program provides teachers an ongoing formative assessment. It tells the teacher where a student is at and the sequence of skills that the student needs to acquire in order to accelerate their reading growth. 

In final thoughts, they all feel that it shows positive results just in year one, continuing to receive implementation coaching from and in turn builds their coaching capacity at the PELC to support teachers in day to day work and they are excited to see the impact on reading and writing as they move forward. The transition was phenomenal from when they first started until now in how much they have progressed in all of their skills.” 

The meeting then moved on with resignations and hiring’s including the only resignation being of TJ Buscher as an Assistant Football Coach. Hiring’s included John Bell as the Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center (PELC) Principal, Michael Berth as Varsity Head Football Coach, Scot Skarda as the Varsity Head Golf Coach and Aric Chaltry as a Middle School Track Coach. Nate Michalski was then approved as a Volunteer JV1 Softball Coach.

Four donations were received, all to benefit Post Prom, from Stoney Acres Dairy and Franks Logging, $500 each and Waupaca Foundry and Peshtigo Lions Club, $300 each for a total of $1,600. One more donation was approved in the amount of $369.59 from the Eagle Express/Spirit Pump to benefit Student Engagement. 

Director of Buildings and Grounds, Brian Williams gave an update of the 10 year Capital Improvement plan, saying they will be bringing the full plan to the board in April for the 2024-25 year. 

The Buildings and Grounds Committee will be working on identifying specific projects with some of them being LED lighting in the West wing in the main rooms where the students are, and during the day and in the multipurpose rooms with a focus on energy. New carpeting replacement will be on the radar in about five to seven years. Other projects include updating of installing ADH compliant sinks in the washrooms; ceiling grids/tiles, new carpeting and lights. 

Software updates also need to be done to bring it up to a 2019 server. Asphalt sealing with crack filling will be done to maintain what they have replaced. They will also be asking for an additional transportation plan, money for Lil Paws, removal of some walls.

Lastly the AGR (Achievement Gap Reduction Report) of 2023-24 was presented with a goal to improve student achievement with strategies of class size reduction with ratio of 18: and coaching by licensed teachers and 1:1 Tutoring provided by a licensed teacher. 

There are benchmark assessment for levels of 5K & 1st Grade - STAR Early Literacy; 2nd-6th grade - STAR Reading, universal screening tool/ correlates to Common Core State Standards and Forward Exam; Grades 1st to 6th Grade STAR Math is a universal screening tool that correlates to the Common Core State of Standards and forward exam. 

Kindergarten 5K had a 16% growth, The 1st Grade Star Early Literacey had a 13% proficiency or above; Star Math had 16% growth; 2nd Grade Star Reading showed a 10% growth and the 2nd Grade Star Math increased by 5%; The 3rd grade Star Reading showed a 5% growth and Math showed a 7% growth. 

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