Morenci school board 2012.12.12

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

A 13-year member of the Morenci Board of Education was honored last week at his final meeting.

Gary Ries first joined the board in April 1999 when he was appointed to fill a vacancy. He was elected two months later to fill out the vacancy, then elected to his first full term in 2000.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Osborne noted that Ries has served through some very busy times, some very difficult times and some joyous times.

"For the many issues you've helped guide us through, we offer our thanks and appreciation," Osborne said.

Newly-elected member Larry Bruce will join the board in January.

BUS—Osborne said the safety of students is a primary concern of school staff, and that includes the transportation system. The district's buses received a 100 percent inspection rating for two years in a row—not an easy thing to do, he said.

Osborne recognized transportation director Devon Vernier and mechanic Fred Wegner for their efforts.

Osborne noted that a discussion occurred about safety concerns in the school bus parking loop. An "alert" notice was sent to parents reminding them not to drive in the loop when buses are parked there. Additionally, traffic cones are now placed at the entrances of the loop.

STAFF—Board members approved the following: Zach Craig, volunteer middle school boys basketball coach; Robyn Taylor, volunteer cheerleading coach;  Emilie Beach, eighth grade girls basketball coach; and Brandy Woodring, part-time account clerk.

The board accepted the resignation of elementary school secretary Karen Wood. She also served as the alert message coordinator and put in a lot of extra effort, Osborne said. She is returning to a banking job that's closer to her home.

Laura Desmet, a paraprofessional who worked in the media lab, also resigned to take a position closer to her home.

Board members approved a settlement with former staff member Deb Hertler.

T.E.A.M. TIME—Counselor Diana Fallot explained the new T.E.A.M. Time program in the high school and middle school. The final 35 minutes of each Wednesday is spent with groups of 14 to 18 students and a teacher.

The program allows students from different grade levels to get to know one another better, Fallot said, and gives students the opportunity to develop some "soft skills" that aren't always learned in the classroom.

BAND—Osborne noted that at the recent band concert, the bleachers were completely full. The middle school, the high school band and the new jazz band all performed.

SERVICE—Due to a change in scheduling, teacher Sally Kruger told the board that the middle school Jr. Volunteer Club went by the wayside. Instead, she's using the final 30 minutes of her career class to take on various service projects. For example, she said, a library crew prepares the media center for board meetings. The class has also assumed responsibility for collecting recyclables in the school.

ANNOUNCER—Board member Phil McCaskey noted that an announcer is needed for the varsity girls basketball games.

POLICY—Policy updates from the company that reviews school policy books are now sent to all board members electronically.

  • 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.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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