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.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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