It is hard to believe we are halfway through the school year. I am very proud of the progress we have made thus far and very excited to share some of the district-level highlights. First, I’d like to introduce our recently hired employees: Tera Thompson (Treasurer’s Assistant), Alyssa Finley and Casey Johnson (custodians), Tarama Louth (cook), Sarah Burden (bus driver). We added a new position called TESOL (Teacher of English as a Secondary or Other Language). We welcome Mr. Dave Lenhart to this position. Mr. Lenhart is also one of our newly licensed substitute bus drivers. We now have several sub bus drivers, including myself. However, we are still looking to fill our preschool van driver position. One of our art teachers, Mrs. Amy Gratz, was recently recognized as being named the Ohio Department of Education VFW Grades 9-12 Teacher of the Year. We are very proud of Mrs. Gratz!
We were recently awarded several grants that include: $45,000 School Bus Purchase, over $180,000 in ESC mini grants (state funds), and a $150,000 School Safety grant. Plans are underway for purchasing a new 84 passenger transit bus, much like the other route buses we are currently running. Numerous teachers have been working diligently to utilize the grant items or training they received from the mini grants. We are working on plans to upgrade our security system, including doors, cameras, alert/panic buttons, as well as handheld and transportation radios. A fence around the playground will be installed later this spring. Thank you to our community stakeholders for sharing input on these measures. I especially enjoyed the open conversations at our recent Senior Citizens Days. The next one is set for May 16th from 9:00-10:00 in the cafeteria.
Additional improvements we are working on around the district include upgrading our sound system in the cafetorium for musical performances, replacing the carpet in the wings with vinyl plank flooring, replacing tables in the cafetorium as well as furniture in several classrooms and staff workrooms, upgrading lighting at the football stadium, purchasing drumline instruments, and purchasing all new staff laptops. Of course, there are always unexpected projects like the fire damage in the administrative building gymnasium. We are expecting to reopen the gym very soon and are pleased with the work being done to replace the light, floor, and wrestling mats.
Our staff continue to pursue professional development to grow and expand opportunities for our students. Mr. Edinger recently took several MS teachers to a state level conference. Our Threat Assessment Team of 16 staff all have or will be attending a full day of safety training. On January 26th, all staff will learn strategies on how to work with students with English language challenges. Staff, like students, are continuously learning for personal and professional growth.
Lastly, I encourage everyone to support the Education Foundation. We have been making a strong effort to increase funds for student scholarships. Thank you to those who have chosen to create a scholarship in honor of a loved one. All scholarships are awarded to senior students who plan to continue their education after graduation.
Thank you for your continued support for the school and especially for our students. We have excellent staff, programs, and facilities. Let’s continue to work together to put “students first” in all that we do!