BELMONT-Retiring Union Local Board of Education member Allen Mann was recognized at Thursday night's meeting for his long-time service to the district.
Terry Puperi, board president, presented Mann with a plaque of recognition and a gift and noted that Mann has always wanted the best for the students and that it had been a pleasure working with him.
Board member Ed Stenger said Mann has "been a mentor" to him and wished him "the best of luck." Fellow board member Dean Lancaster commended Mann for "leaving disagreements at the meetings" and "shaking hands as friends" on the way out the door.
Paul Muck, southeast regional manager, presented Mann with a plaque on behalf the Ohio School Boards Association. Mann has been with the OSBA for 36 years and on their executive committee for 24 years.
Mann talked about his 48 years with Union Local saying, "Booster clubs, committees, parent-teacher groups--you name it, I've been a member of it." He added that the hardest times for him were when the district was facing layoffs and major cuts ("It's hard to interfere with people's lives.") He decided it was "time to do something else" and told the board how much he appreciated a farewell dinner they held for him and wished everyone the best.
Other recognitions at the meeting included high school student Shana Glasgow who received a citizenship award for her "superior service" to the schools. A group of elementary school students who call themselves "The Dream Team" was recognized for efforts to improve their school and environment. Superintendent Doug Thoburn gave certificates of recognition to Claude Romshak, Parri Gatten, Baylee Magnani, Rylee Magnani, Allison Gray, Jaeda Nowak, Casey Kildow, Lacey Bilyea, Marissa McGary, Emma Sroka and Ava Lucas.
Four Union Local staff members were given certificates of recognition for December: Drew Greenwood, middle school intervention specialist; Andrew Susick, elementary school music teacher; Pia Petrey, high school custodian; Tina Greenwood, retiring high school secretary.
Elementary school principal Dana Kendziorski provided December's administrator report. She noted that the school's enrollment has increased to 745, up 20 students from the beginning of the school year, and that there are around 70 total staff, including teachers, para professionals, aides, office workers and custodial staff. This fall's Reading Days and Math Days with parents were very successful, and the school is planning Science Days and Social Studies Days before the year is over. She says that they are focusing on improving state test scores.
They have implemented a "Positive Rewards" program which includes a Star Jet Student of the Month selected by teachers, a "Gotcha Being Good" program that rewards students for acts of kindness and a "Positive Behavior Reward" every two weeks.
Kendziorski and the board briefly discussed a current lunch program which separates children with nut and food allergies from children who bring lunches from home with nut products. The students eat at opposite ends of the cafeteria, and the children who eat nut products at lunch wash their hands before recess.
Holly Sroka from the Belmont County Health Department dropped off four banners, designed by Union Local high school students, that proclaim the campus tobacco free. Tentatively there will be one displayed in each school and one at the football field.
T he board approved the purchase of grade 6 through 12 math curriculum from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for $52,156.40. Thoburn noted that the district is receiving a year-end discount which includes free shipping, saving a total of $22,000. He is hoping to add a computer lab to the middle school with the funds saved.
The elementary school will be getting a second computer lab with the purchase of 28 Gateway desktop computers. This lab will serve the Preschool, Kindergarten and first grade classes. The PTO is planning to purchase computers for a lab for the fourth and fifth grades.
Members approved a Resolution to enter into another gas and oil lease, this time with Rice Drilling D, LLC. The lease specifies 6.95 acres in Smith Township for $6,250 per acre.
The annual reorganizational meeting of the Board of Education will be held Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 at 6 p.m. in the high school library. The regular board meeting will follow at 6:30 p.m.
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