Morenci school board 2012.10.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci schools should soon have a "student success coach" in place to assist students that may have trouble graduating. Funding for the position would come from state money for at-risk students.

The coach would follow middle and high school students in need of extra help, explained secondary principal Kelli Campbell, and make daily contact with the students, and their parents and teachers as needed. Tutoring time would be organized and students would be assisted with organizational skills.

The coach would also be in charge of in-school suspension students in a classroom rather than in the school office.

Several factors would be considered in identifying students most at risk, added superintendent Michael Osborne.

"If any student is struggling, whether you’re labeled or unlabeled," he said, "our goal is to support you."

The district has limited funds to use and decisions need to be made about where to focus the money.

"To me, this fits in real clearly with what we’re trying to do,“ he said. “This is a really good use of funds and fits well into our plan for student success.”

There's a strong effort at the state level for intervention...

The only problem with the new position, said board member Phil McCaskey during a committee meeting Oct. 1, is to put the program in place only to have state funding later cut. That would leave Morenci to pay for continuing the program.

That’s true for most any state funding, said finance director Erica Metcalf, but there is strong support at the state level for intervention of this kind.

A job posting was expected to be listed by the end of last week.

BOND—Metcalf reminded the board that work needs to move forward if the board intends to seek additional financial support from taxpayers. In the past the board has discussed the possibility of voter approval for a bond, or for extending the current levy at no additional cost, to pay for several maintenance projects. 

Roof and parking lot repair, a security entry system and computer upgrades are among the needs discussed in the past.

"We need to get a more accurate view of needs and costs and determine the best direction to take," said finance committee chair Laura Spencer.

SPORTS—Athletic director Phil Stark sought direction from the board about moving forward with a golf program in the spring. The board approved an agreement to accept Waldron students on the golf team, but Stark said there is only one student interested. Morenci had only two students last spring.

McCaskey said that no matter what the sport, student participation is needed if the district is going to pay for coaches, transportation, fees, etc. 

"Let’s get the word out," he said about golf. “Let’s find out if there’s interest.”

Spencer asked if any other sports were in a similar position and Osborne mentioned that wrestling numbers were quite low last year.

Later, in the regular board meeting, Jeff Nofziger and Loren Delmonico were hired as co-coaches for the wrestling program.

OFFICE—Osborne said that he is still looking at the proposal from the Lenawee ISD to take over the district's business office duties and he's also continuing to examine a proposal to move the board office to the empty rooms at the high school.

He told the board that the Morenci Education Foundation is seeking office space to store files and to meet on a monthly basis.

GLASSMEN—The agreement with the Glassmen drum and bugle group for use of the school during the summer will not be renewed due to occasional scheduling problems for use of the building.

INSPECTION—A visit from the county health department found two non-critical items at the elementary school kitchen which were corrected and two critical problems with the new steamers at the high school. Minor issues at the concession stand were addressed.

The board voted to buy an upgrade to the district's point-of-sale computer system for school lunches.

RADIOS—The district has until the end of the year to buy 10 new bus radios before a change in federal regulations makes the existing units inoperable. Osborne suggested that a cost savings might be realized if buying with Hudson.

STAFF—Tina Rohr was hired as a middle school aide/paraprofessional and Levi Hoffman as a lunch room supervisor and instructional aide. Teachers Doug Rupp, Lisa Runion and Brad Brown will be paid to serve as lunch room supervisors, with pay coming from the cafeteria fund. Runion will also serve as an after-school tutor.

Teacher Ashley Joughin was hired to serve as a lunch-time tutor for middle school students and Kim Mohr as a tutor for both lunch-time and after school. Pay for the tutors will come from at-risk funds.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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