Morenci school board 2013.04.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

To move or not to move. That's the decision the Morenci Board of  Education is pondering with a proposal to move fifth grade students back to the elementary school.

Morenci followed the usual kindergarten through fifth grade alignment until the new middle school was built and fifth grade students then joined sixth graders in one wing of the school.

The proposal to move the students back to the elementary school building has been mentioned from time to time in the past, explained superintendent Michael Osborne, and it was recently suggested as a cost-cutting move. 

Actually, he told board of education members Monday, there's little savings involved, but there are other reasons, such as the interaction with the other elementary school teachers.

"I want to make sure the public has a chance to weigh in before we make a decision," he said.

Elementary school principal Mary Fisher said the move makes sense academically and developmentally. In terms of administration, she's still responsible for fifth grade students.

Fifth grade teacher Melissa Elliott said at the start of the year she heard some frustration expressed by her students about the behavior of the older pupils, but it was a matter of observing the older ones rather than having negative encounters with them.

"I think we're a good fit here," she said, "but I think it would work well at either location."

The move would probably mean the end of her life-long learning class that uses the kitchen facilities at the middle school.

"It's been great for parental interaction," Elliott said.

"That really is disappointing to me," said board member Laura Spencer, who appreciates what the class has done for her son.

Osborne said two classrooms would be needed for next year's fifth grade class. He's hoping to hear opinions from parents before the board makes a decision next month.

Fisher mentioned that 13 new students have enrolled at the elementary school in the past month.

OFFICE—The business office move to the former high school offices is complete. Visitors should enter the school through the middle school entrance on Page Street.

STAFF—Christine Grondlin was hired to assist high school success coach Jay Neiman. Grondlin has served as a substitute teacher in area schools for several years, Osborne said, and he expects her to be a great addition to the staff.

Neiman’s work has produced many positive outcomes, Osborne added, and Grondlin will allow 15 more students to participate in the program that assists students who are falling behind academically. During her interview, Grondlin presented several good ideas for motivating students, said secondary principal Kelli Campbell.

Grondlin’s will be paid with At-Risk program funds.

Mike Taylor was approved as the volunteer head golf coach.

CONTRACTS—The board approved contract extensions with Road Runner for custodial services and with T&R Total Lawn Care for grounds services.

  • 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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