Morenci schools open for year 2011.08.31

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci students will face some changes when they return to class Tuesday for the 2011-12 school year.

With less than a week until the doors open, last-minute preparations remain ongoing as administrators wrestle with staff cuts and uncertain enrollment.

Elementary school students will see the fewest staffing changes. As of Monday, Chris Mansfield was slated to move from third grade to developmental kindergarten.

Melissa Elliott will join Brigell Bovee-Vernier and Holly Bella in a kindergarten room. Other grades will have two teachers each: first, John Craig and Liz Jarrell; second, Teresa Barrett and Tatum Penrod; third, Robin Borton and Kelly Bush; and fourth, Beth Wright and Natalie Zuvers.

Andi Rorick will spend half of the day at the elementary school  in a Title I role and half the day at the middle school as a special education teacher.

Middle/High School

Closer ties between the middle and high school are in place for the new school year, with more staff members serving in both locations and with an updated student handbook that serves both schools.

New principal Kelli Campbell worked over the summer with staff members to make the changes and create a shared policy book.

Students and parents have been alerted to changes in the handbook, including alterations to the dress code and a rule that forbids the use of cell phones and other signal-receiving devices during all school hours.

The handbook lays out the consequences for infractions—first offense, second offense, third offense, etc.—with continuing problems generally resulting in in-school or out-of-school suspension or attendance at Saturday School.

The handbook, which includes athletic policies, is available on the newly designed school website.

Academic changes include a new approach to foreign language. After experiencing continuing difficulty in trying to attract a part-time Spanish teacher, the decision was made to give the commercial product Rosetta Stone a try. Hudson schools have already taken that approach.

The obvious disadvantage, said counselor Diana Fallot, is the absence of a certified Spanish teacher, but the highly-regarded program allows a student to study one of many languages other than Spanish. A course is also available for students needing English as a second language.

All teachers will either take a turn in the computer lab for one trimester or take on an extra class for a trimester. This will serve staffing needs and also work toward equalizing the amount of planning time available for the upper grade teachers compared to those at the elementary school.

A paraprofessional is expected to be hired for the computer labs, but a certified teacher is also required to oversee on-line courses.

Matt Bostick will put his social studies credentials to use this year by teaching history and social studies classes at both schools, splitting his time between the two schools.

Brad Brown will teach a new probability/statistics course to provide one more option for the fourth year of mathematics. He will also serve as the “guided academics” teacher for the first trimester to provide help to students needing extra assistance.

Kerry Neiman, Kim Mohr and Dennis Quist will each have at least one class in the middle school, and middle school teachers Jim Bauer and Renae Schaffner will each spend some classroom time at the high school.

Fifth grade teacher Dan Hoffman will continue to teach Project Lead the Way science courses. By the end of the school year, all seventh and eighth grade students will have completed the experience—a necessary requirement before the class is introduced at the high school level.

The administration will keep a close watch on fifth grade enrollment over the first two weeks of school before deciding whether or not a third section is needed. A classroom aide will be present in each room to start the school year to help with the large enrollment.

Once classes are underway next week, there are no planned days off for students until the first parent/teacher conferences Oct. 20.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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