By DAVID GREEN
Morenci schools should soon have a "student success coach" in place to assist students that may have trouble graduating. Funding for the position would come from state money for at-risk students.
The coach would follow middle and high school students in need of extra help, explained secondary principal Kelli Campbell, and make daily contact with the students, and their parents and teachers as needed. Tutoring time would be organized and students would be assisted with organizational skills.
The coach would also be in charge of in-school suspension students in a classroom rather than in the school office.
Several factors would be considered in identifying students most at risk, added superintendent Michael Osborne.
"If any student is struggling, whether you’re labeled or unlabeled," he said, "our goal is to support you."
The district has limited funds to use and decisions need to be made about where to focus the money.
"To me, this fits in real clearly with what we’re trying to do,“ he said. “This is a really good use of funds and fits well into our plan for student success.”
There's a strong effort at the state level for intervention...
The only problem with the new position, said board member Phil McCaskey during a committee meeting Oct. 1, is to put the program in place only to have state funding later cut. That would leave Morenci to pay for continuing the program.
That’s true for most any state funding, said finance director Erica Metcalf, but there is strong support at the state level for intervention of this kind.
A job posting was expected to be listed by the end of last week.
BOND—Metcalf reminded the board that work needs to move forward if the board intends to seek additional financial support from taxpayers. In the past the board has discussed the possibility of voter approval for a bond, or for extending the current levy at no additional cost, to pay for several maintenance projects.
Roof and parking lot repair, a security entry system and computer upgrades are among the needs discussed in the past.
"We need to get a more accurate view of needs and costs and determine the best direction to take," said finance committee chair Laura Spencer.
SPORTS—Athletic director Phil Stark sought direction from the board about moving forward with a golf program in the spring. The board approved an agreement to accept Waldron students on the golf team, but Stark said there is only one student interested. Morenci had only two students last spring.
McCaskey said that no matter what the sport, student participation is needed if the district is going to pay for coaches, transportation, fees, etc.
"Let’s get the word out," he said about golf. “Let’s find out if there’s interest.”
Spencer asked if any other sports were in a similar position and Osborne mentioned that wrestling numbers were quite low last year.
Later, in the regular board meeting, Jeff Nofziger and Loren Delmonico were hired as co-coaches for the wrestling program.
OFFICE—Osborne said that he is still looking at the proposal from the Lenawee ISD to take over the district's business office duties and he's also continuing to examine a proposal to move the board office to the empty rooms at the high school.
He told the board that the Morenci Education Foundation is seeking office space to store files and to meet on a monthly basis.
GLASSMEN—The agreement with the Glassmen drum and bugle group for use of the school during the summer will not be renewed due to occasional scheduling problems for use of the building.
INSPECTION—A visit from the county health department found two non-critical items at the elementary school kitchen which were corrected and two critical problems with the new steamers at the high school. Minor issues at the concession stand were addressed.
The board voted to buy an upgrade to the district's point-of-sale computer system for school lunches.
RADIOS—The district has until the end of the year to buy 10 new bus radios before a change in federal regulations makes the existing units inoperable. Osborne suggested that a cost savings might be realized if buying with Hudson.
STAFF—Tina Rohr was hired as a middle school aide/paraprofessional and Levi Hoffman as a lunch room supervisor and instructional aide. Teachers Doug Rupp, Lisa Runion and Brad Brown will be paid to serve as lunch room supervisors, with pay coming from the cafeteria fund. Runion will also serve as an after-school tutor.
Teacher Ashley Joughin was hired to serve as a lunch-time tutor for middle school students and Kim Mohr as a tutor for both lunch-time and after school. Pay for the tutors will come from at-risk funds.