BELMONT-A special group from the Union Local community attended the board of education meeting Thursday night and presented the flag for the "Pledge of Allegiance."
Members of Junior Girl Scout Troop #5798 observed the meeting as an exercise for their "Inside Government" badges and will be writing papers on those observations. Troop leader Janet Hissrich explained that since the girls are from various towns, one of two governing bodies that they have in common is their school board. The other is Belmont County.
All of the scouts are fifth graders at Union Local Elementary and will be working on their Bronze award over the next school year. The project they've chosen will involve collecting toys, books and blankets for Shriners Hospital for Children in Erie, Pa. The girls added that what they collect will go to hospital waiting rooms for children going into appointments and procedures.
Girl Scouts from Troop #5798, all from Union Local, observed the Union Local school board meeting Thursday to complete their “Inside Government” badges. From left, Amy Hissrich, Nicole Puperi, Sarah Bonnett, Paige Funkhouser, Brianna Pruitt, Jessica McKeen and Mackenzie Trigg.
Elementary School Principal Scott Bowling presented the board with a new state mandate. A component of Senate Bill 316 requires that all schools provide the "Third Grade Reading Guarantee:" all students must be reading at grade level in the third grade before they can move on to the fourth grade. Bowling says diagnostics will start at kindergarten level to identify children who may struggle with reading to begin addressing those difficulties as early as possible. These diagnostics must be completed by Sept. 30 each year. The law takes effect on Sept. 26.
The new law requires intervention and monitoring plans within 60 days for K-3 students identified as "not on track," and parents must be notified by letter. The school will also include diagnostics for grades 4 and 5 as well. According to Bowling, the controversial issue is keeping a child in the third grade because of his reading skills for even up to two years.
"We're on top of it, and most of the points are sound educational practice," Bowling noted. "What I have a bit of a problem with is that if a child doesn't improve in reading, he'll fail the third grade. Potentially a child that should be in fifth grade could still be in third grade."
Bowling added that the legislation requirements for assistance and intensive remediation will mean more expenses in professional development for teachers, specifically for reading endorsements. In the 2013-14 school year there are provisions for exemption, but generally students not scoring to the designated level will be retained. Information on the new law can be found by visiting the Ohio Department of Education website, www.education.ohio.gov and searching for "Third Grade Reading Guarantee."
Board members approved the following personnel for the 2012-13 school year: recall of Kelley Hercules, fourth grade teacher; Mechel Sorge, speech language therapist; voluntary transfer of Marilyn White from ULHS para professional aide study hall monitor to ULES secretary; voluntary transfer of Joyce Nardo, para professional library aide to ULHS para professional aide study hall. The board also voted to accept the resignation of G. Everett Mace, special education and federal programs director effective August 17, 2012.
The following substitutes were approved by the board: Mark Hissrich, 1-8, Renee Britton, Marcy Loy, Amy Jadus-Norman, all P-3; Lisa Borkoski, K-8, intervention specialist P-3; Roberta Warren-Neff, Shelly Studenc, aide; Kyle Tomolonis, custodian.
Supplemental contracts were approved for Joan Lepic for NHS advisor and junior class advisor; Brian Schiappa, co-football coach, varsity assistant; James Bero, co-band auxiliary advisor; and voluntary transfer of Vaugn Butler from co-football coach, varsity assistant to football coach, varsity assistant.
Volunteers John Kutcher for football, Renee Britton for ULHS student council advisor and Beth Seneff for JSA advisor were approved.
Board members also recognized Glynis Valenti from The Times Leader and Cathryn Stanley from the Barnesville Enterprise as being named to the 2012 Ohio School Boards Association Media Honor Roll for "providing fair and balanced reporting and valuable information to the community about the Union Local School District."
The Union Local lawn flag has been completed, but work will continue on the memorial wall and contemplation area as funds and materials are available. The board thanked Carolyn Fraley and Don Barbe for their work painting the stars.
Valenti can be reached at email@example.com.