What's New in Waukee Schools?
The 2011-2012 school year is in full swing. Here's a quick rundown of a few of the things going in the Waukee school district.
Summer, in public school terms, officially ended on Aug. 17 when almost 7,000 kids went back to school in the Waukee school district.
That number, 6,972 to be exact, was the largest number of students to-date to attend the 10 schools that comprise the ever-expanding district.
Dave Wilkerson, Waukee schools superintendent, said the district added 230 students beyond those entering kindergarten this year. Numbers presented at the Aug. 23 school board meeting listed the total number of kindergartners at 678.
A report released in mid-August found that Iowa is ranked second in the nation among states where high school students took the ACT college entrance exam.
The report said 61 percent of Iowa's 2011 high school graduates took the ACT this year, with an average composite score of 22.3 out of a possible 36.
Wilkerson said 204 Waukee students — that's 66 percent of this year's incoming seniors — took the test, scoring an average composite of 23.5. That's up from last year, when Waukee students scored an average of 23.3, still above the all-Iowa average.
"Our scores stayed within a fairly close range over last year from 23.2 to 23.5 composite," Wilkerson said. "It's always nice to see them pop up a little bit."
Waukee Schools Communications
One of the biggest problems in the district, some Waukee board members say, is a disconnect in communication between parents and the district.
A new website, launched the first week of school, was a step in improving those lines of communication, but the board has suggested something else.
Later this semester, the Waukee school board will begin the process of hiring a communications director for the district. This person will manage communications between parents, teachers, board members, the media and the public.
Jerry Ripperger, school board president, said this position will be even more important as the district begins to explore the idea of building a second high school to accommodate Waukee's increasing enrollment.
"This could be a very emotional community conversation," Ripperger said. "It’s the community’s district. We have to communicate to make this a better, more productive discussion."
The terms and salary of the postion still need to be decided. Board members said the matter would be discussed later this fall.