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Westby School Board votes to commemorate fieldhouse basketball court in honor of Bob Constalie

Westby School Board votes to commemorate fieldhouse basketball court in honor of Bob Constalie

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The Westby School Board approved commemorating the fieldhouse basketball court in honor of longtime boys basketball coach Bob Constalie at its meeting, Monday, March 9.

The board approved commemorating the fieldhouse basketball court “Constalie Court.” The school board discussed commemorating a district space in Constalie’s honor at its February meeting.

District Administrator Steve Michaels said that so often a coach is recognized after they leave. Michaels said he isn’t sure if the commemoration will be on the wall or on the floor. Michaels said he is working with the booster club and the athletic director on what the commemoration will look like. Constalie coached boys basketball for 30 years.

Board members approved the retirement of Constalie who submitted a letter of his intent to retire from his position as fifth-grade teacher at Westby Area Middle School and varsity boys basketball coach at the end of the 2019-2020 school year after 31 years of service. The board also accepted the resignation of Jeff Raasch from the position of assistant high school baseball coach effective immediately.

The school board approved hiring Jessica Slack as school psychologist; Becky Molledahl, as first-grade teacher at Coon Valley Elementary School; Sherry Jensen as second-grade teacher at Coon Valley Elementary School; Leah Thurin, as middle school volleyball coach; and Ben Warneke, as middle school baseball coach.

Board members approved the girls hockey co-op renewal. A new cooperative team sponsorship had to be approved because Cashton School District was added to the participating schools of the Viroqua girls hockey co-op. The co-op includes Viroqua Area School District and Youth Initiative High School. Michaels said renewals are made when a new school district joins a co-op.

During the discussion portion of the meeting, Michaels asked the board for input regarding Seasbranch Country School. Michaels said the school was moved from near Viroqua to the Westby Elementary School campus, and is in need of “TLC,” in the way of windows, paint and doors. It was discussed to have Michaels reach out to Mark Anderson who was principal at the time the country school was moved to the campus.

“Mark and I will talk about who are the groups or volunteers to make the school look good and last a long time,” Michaels said.

Michaels said he will also reach out to the Westby Area Historical Society and the History Alive Project.

The board heard a presentation by Erica Manix, fourth-grade teacher at Coon Valley Elementary School, and Mike Berg, Coon Valley’s principal, about project-based learning and a potential choice school at Coon Valley.

Michaels said he had asked Manix to look into choice schools within a school and learn about them, with the possibility of having a choice school at Coon Valley by the 2021-2022 school year.

A choice school, Michaels said, is not a charter school; it’s project-based learning with dedicated time in the day for students to engage in projects within a content area. A charter school, he said, has a long application process, there is the freedom to alter the curriculum, and there is a governing board. A choice school follows the curriculum implemented by the school district and is governed by the school board. Michaels said charter schools sometimes come with money through grants, while a choice school is school-board sponsored.

The board continued its discussion of the Gender Sexuality Alliance Club. The purpose of a gender-sexuality alliance is to create safe spaces for students who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as those who support them. Michaels said the school district seeks to create safe places for all students. Middle school counselor, Tessa Solberg, has received some training in GSA’s.

According to a flyer created by Solberg, the Westby Area Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey found 64% of Westby LGBTQ+ students reported being bullied compared to 31% of straight, cisgendered students. The survey also found 78% LGBTQ+ students reported having mental health concerns compared to 40% of straight, cisgendered students.

The board presented a Community Volunteer Service Award to Tom Sharratt. Sharratt was nominated by Michaels. Michaels stated in the nomination form: “Mr. Sharratt has exemplified servant leadership in our community and his support of our schools is widely noticed and appreciated. Mr. Sharratt works to ensure our military men and women are acknowledged in many ways throughout the year. He values celebrating the accomplishments of students and staff in many ways. Mr. Sharratt gives generously to innovative programs and encourages our schools to promote citizenship. Additionally, he takes students ‘under his wing’ by giving them work opportunities and teaching them the value of hard work, commitment, and follow through. Mr. Sharratt is a gift to our community.”

Angela Cina can be reached at angie.cina@lee.net.

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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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