The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Fayette school board 03.23.2011

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette Board of Education members received a brief overview Monday of the federal Race To The Top (RTTT) program that now includes Ohio schools.

High school teacher Pam Wise and Educational Service Center consultant Sally Kovar spoke about changes ahead in Fayette.

Kovar is pleased that Fayette’s board voted to join in the program because many of the changes will be mandated by the state for all schools. Since Fayette signed on to the program, the district will receive funding to help pay for much of the work coming up.

The district should receive about $25,000 in each of the next four years—and maybe an additional $14,000 made available by some districts dropping out of the program—but she cautioned the board that guidelines are very specific on how the money may be spent.

For the most part, funding will be spent for professional development. The money could be used to hire substitute teachers who would work while the regular teacher attends a professional development session, but it couldn’t be used to hire a new teacher.

Ohio’s chief goals are to improve graduation rates, improve performance on state and national assessments, and reduce the gap between Ohio and the best-performing schools in the nation.

Fayette will also work to revise existing curricula to make it align with state standards. Documents known as “curriculum crosswalk” will guide staff to make the transition to new standards.

Fayette’s “transformation team”—consisting of seven staff members, board member Karen King and Kovar—will lead the district’s efforts.

Value added assessment will be used to measure a student’s growth in skills from year to year. Traditional assessment measures achievement only on a single test such as an end-of-the-year test.

The process is very data-driven, Kovar said.

“As we collect data on students, we’ll begin to see trends, both good and bad,” she said.

That data will help determine the focus of professional development needs.

The district must commit to a comprehensive evaluation system for both teachers and principals. This will be partially tied to student achievement.

Staff evaluation results will be used in employment and tenure decisions, but staff will be given ample time to improve, Kovar said.

Many features of staff evaluation are already in place, she said, and part of the process is self-evaluation.

BUDGET—Superintendent of schools Russ Griggs told the board that per-pupil support is expected to increase for the next school year, but other support will decrease.

AUDIT—District treasurer Kelly Bentley said the district received a clean audit report from the state.

ENROLLMENT—Elementary principal Dr. Luann Boyer was encouraged with the kindergarten registration number of 37, which is higher than usual at this time of the school year.

ELECTRONICS—High school principal Dan Feasel said to expect continuing changes in policy governing electronic devices in schools as the devices themselves change. He said he’s had fewer problems with cell phone usage this year.

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