UL art students recognized

BELMONT-At Thursday night’s Union Local school board meeting, high school art teacher Lisa Marple gave members an overview of her students’ accomplishments for the current school year. The students have consistently performed well in all of the shows and competitions, taking many first, second and third places and “best of shows,” in addition to winning full and partial college scholarships.

Marple says that by the end of their fourth year, art students have compiled complete portfolios of their work history in binders and digital media to show colleges and prospective employers. She, too, keeps a record of student work and show histories as reference for future art students.

Most recently Union Local artwork took several ribbons and had numerous honorable mentions in April’s Belmont County Art Show at the Ohio Valley Mall.

In addition, Union Local was notified that two of five entries were recognized in the Congressional Art Show in Washington, DC. Raegan Rice’s scratchboard piece, “Coy,” was chosen to represent Congressman Bill Johnson’s district and will hang in his Washington office for the next year. Johnson called Marple’s classroom to notify her and congratulate Rice. Kevin Husvar’s word art piece, “Toot Toot,” was the runner-up. Union Local has won honors in this show for the past five years.

“I think it’s important to know that our kids are so strong that they actually tie with each other in competitions,” Marple added.

She presented certificates of recognition to several of the award-winning students at the meeting. Board president Dean Lancaster congratulated Marple and her students for their work and accomplishments. Union Local is currently the featured high school at ArtWorks Around Town at Centre Market in Wheeling.

Lynne Mamone, Union Local’s gifted program coordinator through the Educational Service Center, reported on the status of her program. Last year, in the first year of this gifted program, reading and language arts tests were given to fourth and fifth graders. This year tests were expanded to include whole grade evaluations for third graders. The whole grade tests allow teachers to more readily identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, so the students can receive more accelerated work or assistance with certain subjects. Next year, Mamone said, the district will be testing grades six through eight and doing whole grade tests for fifth graders.

She congratulated eighth grader Justin Hamilton on his county spelling bee win and noted that she’ll be attending the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC to cheer him on there.

Superintendent Doug Thoburn added his thanks for her efforts in the gifted program and said that bringing the program back to the middle school will help bring Union Local in line with other

Belmont County districts.

Board member Terry Puperi updated members on the Ohio School Board Association’s Student Achievement Leadership Team. After hearing about the art student accomplishments, Puperi asked the SALT committee how artwork is chosen for the annual Capital Conference in November. He was told that the process is changing and that the committee would entertain suggestions on how to improve the process. Puperi asked Marple and her students to come up with a list of ideas on a new selection process for the statewide show.

Puperi also provided information on a national and state campaign to support public schools. He says Ohio is a state where the government is trying to move toward the privatization of education. Bills are being presented at the state level which will decrease financial support for public schools while increasing support for private entities. Information is available on the website www.standupforOHpublicschools.org, including success stories about public education, a form to submit success stories about local districts and ideas for getting the word out about standing up and speaking out in support of public schools.

Members approved the creation of a new elementary school program, the Intensive Services Resource Room and the hiring of a teacher dedicated to the program. The Intervention Specialist will serve children with significant special needs, including autism and physical or learning disabilities, providing targeted attention and assistance.

Next school year’s lunch prices will be going up by 25 cents. The board approved the raise in accordance with federal requirements for funded food programs. Elementary school lunches will increase to $2.50 from $2.25; middle and high school lunches will increase to $2.75 from $2.50.

Board members discussed and approved a means of honoring those who have served on the Board of Education for 25 years or more. Members felt that such long-term dedication should be recognized and will have further discussion on how it will be accomplished.

The Union Local school board meets the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. in the high school library.

Valenti can be reached at gvalenti@timesleaderonline.com.