Morenci school board 2013.04.10

Written 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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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