Martins Ferry schools ready for students, faculty

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Ready for school Aug. 20, Martins Ferry Elementary School Principal Nick Stankovich, left, Middle School Principal Mike Delatore and High School Principal Joe Mamone give updates to the board of education Thursday.

MARTINS FERRY — The city schools are preparing for the start of classes Aug. 20, with work on the roof repairs and new classes nearing completion.

The board of education addressed these, and accepting proposals on slip repairs, Thursday evening.

Elementary Principal Nick Stankovich, Middle School Principal Mike Delatore, and High School Principal Joe Mamone updated the board on the work being done.

Superintendent Jim Fogle said ongoing roof replacement on the three buildings continues, with tear-off and deck replacement of the elementary school roof complete. Another layer of insulation must still be installed on top of the replaced deck.

“We are on schedule as far as the elementary is concerned,” Fogle said.

The elementary children would not be attending class while work and excessive noise was going on above them. The project of about $7 million is expected to be completed by December.

“They’re doing a fantastic job over there. It’s probably going to limit our outside access, morning recess, lunch time recess for a little bit, but we’ll work it out. The roof-project is much-needed,” Stankovich said.

Delatore said this year the school would have a full-time art teacher and projects include building a digital yearbook. He added that the middle school would have fifth-grade orientation at 7 p.m. Wednesday. He said he expects enrollment to be high, noting that last year’s 480 was among the school’s highest.

Mamone said there are plans to introduce a ceramics class, a Supreme Court class and a welding class.

“There’s a lot of kids, especially with the oil and gas boom, trying to get into welding at the (joint vocational school), they just don’t have enough spots. I’m sure that class will fill,” he said.

The class is in the introductory phases and will work out of the metal shop. The teacher, Jon Falbo, has taught welding at Belmont College.

Mamone said he is also in contact with the University of Akron to possibly expand distance learning services.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for our kids, because it will allow them to pick up more college credits without even having to leave the high school,” he said.

Mamone added that the building will have an additional intervention specialist this year.

“We’ll be able to get some more intervention support at the upper level classes that are required for graduation, which we’ve really struggled with the past few years,” he said.

Mamone said about 30 percent of his students participated in the Belmont County Schools Staying Clean club last year, and more incentives will be offered this year. He also noted the tech club will be expanding the scope of their projects, including mastering the use of 3-D printers and tackling projects such as printing out wheels for model cars and assembling prosthetic hands.

All of the principals are also implementing Positive Behavior Interventions and Support strategies with the goal of improving classroom behavior. Mamone, who said the high school has long been using PBIS methods, said they focus on reinforcing positive aspects of behavior.

“It’s a proactive approach at looking towards discipline. It’s going to tie into what we already do,” Stankovich said.

Fogle also addressed the status of slips around campus. There are two slips, one located behind the elementary school and one behind the bus garage. Remediation proposals are due Aug. 30, and the projects will awarded Sept. 6. Work will begin Sept. 9. The projected completion date is Oct. 18.

Stankovich also said kindergarten orientation is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday. Kindergarten parents are welcome to attend.

Board Members Nick Stankovich Sr., Dorothy Powell, Bill Suto, and Brian McFarland heard their reports. Board Member Scott Ballint was out of town.

Suto suggested more benches and seating be placed around the track.

“I just think we should clean it up a little better and make it look as nice as the ball field,” he said. “We have a premiere facility, but we have no place for anybody to sit.”

The board also hired four new teachers for the 2019-2020 school year. Julian Funari will teach sixth grade; Amy Orzolek will teach kindergarten, Steve Kernick will be a high school intervention specialist; Maci McEndree will be a middle school intervention specialist. Their salaries will be decided at a future date.