Morenci school board 2011.12.14

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The common perception of a homeless  person is of someone living in a shelter outside or in a vehicle or an abandoned building.

That’s the case in the worst of situations, but there are also people who have lost their home or apartment due to financial reasons and are now living in a public shelter for the homeless. In some cases, they’ve crowded into the home of family or friends as they desperately try to get by until they can find something of their own.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act was reauthorized by Congress in 2001 and became part of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind program.

The act defines homeless children as lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”

When it was time for Michigan Department of Education personnel to check on the implementation of the act in Lenawee County schools, the county coordinator suggested starting in Morenci.

“She knew we have a well-run program,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne.

The state staff had nothing but praise for school counselor Diana Fallot, who serves as the liaison for Morenci schools, and for the school staff members who work to support the program.

“Mrs. Fallot makes sure we follow the law and remain mindful of needs,” Osborne said.

 Federal law allows students to remain in their home district before they lost their residence, if they choose, or to transfer to the district where they now reside. A 17-year-old student staying with friends would have the right to enroll in a district even without a parent’s signature.

In addition to enrollment assistance, homeless students are given help with transportation, school supplies, special education services and referral to other needed services.

At the start of the school year, Mrs. Fallot said, 18 Morenci students were identified as homeless. Since then, five have found permanent housing and one student has been added to the list of homeless.

“It’s always a fluid number,” she said. “However, once students are identified, they stay eligible for the school year.”

Board trustee Phil McCaskey stated that veterans having housing problems should contact him for assistance through the Veterans Administration.

FINE ARTS— Dr. Osborne reported on a program that he attended with art teacher Kym Ries and music teacher Keith Filipek in Fayette last month to discuss the state of the arts in public schools.

“In tough times,” he said, “fine arts typically gets cut.”

The program offered “great conversations” about how communities and organizations within communities can work together to preserve the arts in schools.

JR. VOLUNTEERS—Middle school teacher Sally Kruger told the board about the Junior Volunteer Club for eighth grade students.

She said the effort started six years ago as a service learning class, but later changed to a club format.

The club’s projects include “adopting” residents at the CQC adult foster care home, helping with the Kiwanis Wishing Tree project, collecting Boxtops for Education ($530 worth last year), collecting pull tabs for a Ronald McDonald house, tutoring fifth grade students, earning funds for the Toledo Zoo Pal project, participating in a canned food drive, collecting recyclable items, and helping with the Teen Book Drop that furnishes books for the Department of Social Services office in Adrian for its “self-serve library.”

COACHES—Jaren Stutzman was hired to serve as Morenci’s varsity baseball coach for the 2012 season. The Findlay native is a student at Adrian College.

Morenci athletic director Taz Wallace said he spoke to several people about Stutzman and received strong recommendations.

“I’m looking forward to having him part of the athletic program,” Wallace said.

The following volunteer assistant coaches were approved: Sarah Cool (bowling), Brett and Jacob Bovee (boys basketball), Tess Ramsey (JV girls basketball) and Loren Delmonico (wrestling).

READINESS—The board approved a resolution to continue participation in the state’s Great Start Readiness program for preschool children.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.

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