The new dean of students at Decorah High School is helping students make the grade.
Dave Waskow, who was hired for an interim position second semester of the 2013-2014 school year, and recently hired permanently for the 2014-2015 school year, met with the Decorah School Board Monday night to report on student gains since he began with the District.
Decorah High School Principal Kim Sheppard said the faculty has appreciated having Waskow, who she said works as a kind of “triage” person when it comes to truancy, minor discipline and grade improvement.
“When I started, there had been 1,200 tardies first semester. We got that down to 800 for the second semester,” said Waskow.
In addition, he said when he started there had been 1,310 discipline referrals, including unexcused tardies for the first semester. Second semester, that number dipped to 990.
Waskow said he thinks the key to changing student behavior is catching it right away.
“No disrespect to Adam (Riley) or Kim (Sheppard), but I think dealing with it as soon as you can and trying to curb it helps,” said Waskow.
When Board President Ron Fadness asked Sheppard if she and Riley have had an opportunity to be more proactive with the duties Waskow has been able to take off their plates, Sheppard said they have.
“I have at least eight new classes starting next year. Without Dave, I wouldn’t have been able to work with those teachers. There’s also more opportunities and time for things like applying for grant funding,” she said.

Working lunch
Waskow added students are responding well to the school’s “working lunch” program, where students get special help during lunch.
He said first semester, 12 students earned a total of 19 Fs on their report cards. By second semester, that number was down to just two students who earned a total of three Fs.
“It (working lunch) also helps them with catching up on their homework. Cindy (High School Associate Cindy Larson) is right there, and she knows what they have to do,” said Waskow.
In addition, students have a second option of coming in after school for special help.
“We’re not going to quit and we’re not going to give up,” said Waskow.
Sheppard next thanked the Board for their support in creating his position.

About Waskow
In his nine years at Jefferson-Scranton, Waskow, 56, worked as a social studies teacher and athletic director. Prior to that, he spent 20 years in the Montezuma school system, where he served as athletic director and was the coach of boys track, among other responsibilities.
He said he moved out of the area after retirement, but recently came home to Sumner to be closer to family.
He commutes to Decorah from Sumner and is paid a yearly salary of $60,000.