Morenci school board 2012.03.07

By DAVID GREEN

The Morenci Board of Education is expected to hire an interim assistant principal in a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Following the resignation of athletic director/behavioral specialist Taz Wallace two weeks ago, a notice was posted to hire a temporary athletic director/assistant principal for the remainder of the school year. Twelve applications were received and interviewing got underway Monday.

Many athletic director duties are covered, said Morenci Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Osborne, but the most critical need is for someone to address discipline issues during the school day.

 Osborne said the administration is acting quickly on the matter and he expects to have someone in place by the start of school next week, if not earlier.

He will begin seeking a permanent employee within a few weeks. The key, he said, is to make sure the right person is found to cover both the athletic director position and assistant principal duties.

He also expects to begin the search for a new football coach within a few weeks.

ASSESSMENT—Secondary principal Kelli Campbell and elementary principal Mary Fisher reviewed the recently released state test scores and pointed out both upward trends and some drops in scores.

“There are 18 tests total in grades three through nine and we were in the top five in the county on five of those tests,” Campbell said. “We increased our proficiency on 11 out of 18 tests, and if you’re looking at the state improvement average, we were above that average on nine out of 18 tests.”

When scores are released, she said, staff begins analyzing the results.

 “Ms. Fisher and I have come up with a few strategies to improve our scores,” Campbell said. “One thing we’re going to continue to do is the literacy program which includes intervention.”

They also intend to focus more on what the state refers to as “partially proficient” students—those who didn’t meet the proficiency standard but were close. An analysis of scores will determine where they fell short and remediation will be given.

It might be interesting to look at the trend of scores and to compare districts, but what’s more important for school staff, Campbell said, is to follow each class of students through the grades to see how they’re improving or going down.

 The literacy program started with the youngest students, Fisher said, and is now used throughout the elementary school. She expects this effort to show positive results.

Annual MEAP scores get the most press, Osborne said, but he agreed with the other administrators that the most value in the program comes from studying the data to determine what’s missing from the curriculum. 

What he really appreciates about the teachers’ response is how they’re looking at the data and turning it into action to fill in gaps in the curriculum.

BULLYING—Campbell said that a bullying awareness program will be implemented in the middle school during the third trimester.

The effort is expected to help students identify forms of bullying and to suggest ways to respond. The program will be presented during the daily 25-minute seminar period.

BULLDOG APPLAUSE—Campbell told about the start of a program to highlight exemplary actions by students and school staff. Nominations can be submitted by anyone, including community members. Forms are available on the school website or at the high school and middle school offices.

She read the first “applause” submitted. Student Brennen Mellon and his mother, Stacy, recognized teacher Karen Shaner for her ability to understand and assist students. She was described as a teacher who can make a difference in a child’s life.

PERSONNEL—Tenure was granted to elementary school teachers Keith Filipek and Paula Grieder. 

Both have proven themselves to be excellent teachers, Fisher said, and she’s pleased to keep them in the Morenci school system.

The resignation of middle school football coach Fred Love was accepted. It was estimated that he’s served in that role for at least 17 years.

BAND—Morenci’s high school band will join with Camden-Frontier and Reading again this year for a series of three Master Works concerts. The effort gives three small bands the experience of performing together as a large band. The Morenci concert is scheduled at 7 p.m. March 20.

A middle school band concert is planned at 6 p.m. March 29.

RENEWAL—The board voted to move the 18-mill operating millage vote to Aug. 7. By pairing the vote with the state primary, the cost of the election can be split with the city. The millage brings in about $372,000 in operating funds.

  • Front.web
    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.