Independence school seeks new CTE coordinator

The Independence School District is looking for a career and technical education (CTE) coordinator to run the district’s Youth Apprenticeship Program after staffing shifts at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau meant that district could no longer offer services to schools in the Trempealeau Valley Consortium.

Amy McCutchen served as the youth apprenticeship coordinator for G-E-T as well as the four schools in TVC 2.0, including Independence. Independence voted last month to continue the agreement, however G-E-T chose to hire McCutchen as its high school guidance counselor. With that hire, G-E-T elected to only offer the youth apprenticeship program in-house.  

In the meantime, Independence’s CTE duties will be covered by Jessica Gruber,the academic and career planning coordinator. 

“She’s willing to help get the kids set up and such, but outside, we’re still looking,” superintendent Paul Franzwa said. 

In related matters, board members approved an in-house youth apprenticeship for a senior student. The student wanted to work at a daycare, but daycare employees have to be 18 or older. Instead, she’ll be assisting with the pre-k students for three hours a day. 

School board members voted to purchase a 2019 Chrysler van with 36,500 miles for $21,000, not including trade-in value. The purchase also prompted discussion about updating the school’s fleet in general. 

Board member Jen Rombalski encouraged the school to set up a cycle or some sort of advanced planning, so the board could prepare for such purchases in advance next time. Franzwa agreed, but also pointed out that it was also a matter of opportunity.

“In three years we might be in a worse situation than we are now,” Franzwa said. 

In staffing matters, the board approved adding two hours a day for one of the custodians. The additional hours will help alleviate some of the transportation needs at the school. 

Franzwa suggested setting up a page on the school website for contract opportunities.  Placing bid requests in one location might simplify smaller requests, such as snowplow bids. It could also cut back on the number of advertisements purchased. Board members agreed to look into the matter. 

Board members also discussed the upcoming fifth-grade Building Alliances, Delivering Guidance, and Educating Students (BADGES) program. The program, designed as a replacement for DARE, will be taught by Department of Justice-certified individuals.  There will be one 45-minute class once a week for 10 weeks, featuring such topics as bullying, online safety, peer pressure, and stress management.

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