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.sculpta
    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.
  • 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.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.

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