A Message from the Superintendent
By Mr. John Zegers
Dear Friends of the School District of West De Pere,
I want to take this opportunity to report on the progress and discussions the Administrative Team and the School District of West De Pere Board of Education have made with regard to our increased enrollment the past ten years and how we anticipate moving forward with a “Vision of Pride and Excellence.”
In the 2014 fall edition of the Phantastic News, we began the conversation by communicating to our taxpayers how frugal and cost conscious our school district has been and will continue to be with regard to the best practice of lean thinking. Lean thinking has paid off in many ways since then. We were able to set aside $4.1 million dollars for the addition of Hemlock Creek, and maintain a progressive budget to afford us the opportunity to stay current in our educational practices and keep up with the ever changing world of technology. I would again like to thank all of our taxpayers for trusting us to manage the resources you give us to ensure that WEST is BEST as we continue to provide a first class education for all of the students in the School District of West De Pere that attend our schools.
In the spring of 2016, the Board of Education directed the administration to investigate and recommend an architect to examine our facilities and current space utilization in all district schools. Bray Architects was chosen and the study began. Simultaneously, the Administrative Team investigated options that would maintain building level capacity and optimal classroom sizes while embracing our enrollment growth. School Perceptions, LLC, an independent, Wisconsin-based firm with expertise in conducting community surveys, was hired in the fall of 2017 to assist in reaching out to the West De Pere community for your opinion on two options with regard to upgrading our building capacity. Thank you for your participation in that process as the results gave us ample information with regard to building options and cost tolerance. All of the survey results can be found on our website home page.
Based on the survey feedback and data analysis, the recommendation by School Perceptions, LLC, was for the district to adopt a facility plan that aligns with option 1 (renovate the existing high school, upgrade Westwood Elementary and our current middle school, and build an elementary or intermediate school). The Board of Education approved on February 13, 2018 a new grade configuration for the School District of West De Pere that would align with the recommendation of School Perceptions based on the survey results.
The new grade configuration would change Hemlock Creek and Westwood Elementary Schools to K-4 buildings. 4K will continue to be off site and at Westwood. Our current middle school would convert to a grade 5-6 building, a new 7-8 grade building would be built on the property directly behind our current middle school, and renovations/additions would be constructed at our high school. In order to accomplish this scope of work it will require taxpayer support through a referendum. A referendum schedule is being created now with a tentative referendum date of November 2018.
Our next step is to invite our community stakeholders to information sessions (Monday, April 16 and Tuesday, May 15) to share the educational pathways that the Board and Administrative Team is proposing to make OUR schools CHOICE SCHOOLS. In the near future, all district residents will receive a postcard inviting them to participate in our focus group. We are a growing community and “it takes a village to raise a child”.
If you’re interested in learning more about our focus group, have any concerns, or would just like to talk, please call me at 337-1393 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s continue to live our “Vision of Pride and Excellence”.
The mission of the School District of West De Pere is to create a safe comprehensive educational and social environment for students and staff which will produce life-long learners with the capacity to succeed in the local and global community.