Overman Tabbed As Next Super

NEW BREMEN — Middle School Principal Howard Overman was named the new superintendent for the New Bremen Local School District Wednesday night, effective Aug. 1.

“We’re really happy to announce that Mr. Howard Overman will be our next superintendent,” Board of Education President Kami Fox said at the board’s meeting Wednesday night. “We are very excited about having him do that. Howard (Overman) has been a very loyal employee and advocate for New Bremen schools, and we’re excited. We think it’s a great move for the district.”

Before the regular meeting, the board welcomed newly elected Scott Bertke and returning member Fox with a swearing in ceremony. Fox and Keith Bornhorst were named board president and vice president, respectively.

Board members also heard a report from kindergarten  teachers Donna Schmitmeyer and Debbie Miller about the possibility of switching to all day, everyday kindergarten.

“Young children learn better in smaller chunks and repetition, and we feel we’re not able to do that with two full days and a half day per week,” Miller said. “We feel like we have enough time to present and then we have to move on to the next thing.”

Miller noted that all day, everyday kindergarten would also give students more time to develop social skills and time to get into deep learning. Schmitmeyer said the  switch would give teachers more time for hands on learning and for informative assessment.

She noted most students attend preschool before kindergarten and are ready for the switch to a full day. The extra time, she added, would allow teachers to challenge the students that are ahead of their classmates.

“They come to us with a wide range of abilities,” Schmitmeyer said. “Most of the children who have attended preschool are writing their names and some of them are ready to read as parents have progressed with them. Unfortunately not everyone does that, and we have some come in that have really never held a pencil. Those are few, but they take a tremendous amount of time.”

Elementary Principal Diane Kramer said she has witnessed the success of an all day, everyday kindergarten program.

“I was so impressed with where those kindergarteners came in and where they left after being in an all day, everyday kindergarten,” Kramer said. “Students who were reading were reading easy chapter books and it’s because — those kids weren’t any brighter than the kids we have here — they had the time, they were at school all day, every day.”

Board members will further discuss the possibility and vote on an all day, everyday kindergarten program and next month’s regular meeting.

Board members also heard an update on the possible building project from Freytag & Associates. New drawings were presented to the board, showcasing an updated floor plan for the building.

“There have been a couple updates, since we’ve had numerous meetings with the building committee and talking with the staff,” Dan Freytag, of Freytag & Associates, said. “Things keep changing. It’s evolving as we get more information.”

He noted special education rooms were increased in size and small group rooms were added for use in the library or for special education.

“They may shift around,” he said. “If it passes, then we’ve got a lot things to do in maneuvering things around. I just wanted to point out that we’re finding some opportunities and we’ve gained some space, so we could still have our extended learning area and also some smaller group spaces.”

The potential floor plans will be on display in the high school and the elementary school late next week for the public to view.

In other business, board members:

• Approved the consent agenda for the organizational meeting.

• Approved the Dec. 17 regular meeting minutes, the Dec. 28 special meeting minutes and the Dec. 28 building committee minutes.

• Approved the general fund paid bills and the lunchroom fund paid bills.

• Approved an anonymous donation of $100,000 for technology needs.

• Approved the creation of a Race to the Top — My Voice fund for an additional grant with appropriation and revenue estimates of $5,355.

• Approved an increase in the Education Jobs Fund appropriations and revenue estimates by $5,186.55 to $198,419.58.

The next regular meeting of the New Bremen Board of Education will be held at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15.