PIERCETON — With the first day of school on Aug. 15, the Whitko Community School Corporation’s Board of Trustees held its regular monthly meeting Monday evening to recognize new staff and faculty members who are prepared to tackle the new school year.
New staff members include: Whitko Middle School (WMS) Resource Assistant Darlene Truman; Whitko High School (WHS) Apex Megan Manning; Whitko Psychologist Jonna Watson; WHS Biology Teacher Great Miller; WHS Math Teacher Vicki Troyer; WHS Custodial Linda Hoskins; WHS Assistant-Principal Jason Ridge; WHS Art Teacher Daniel Malicki; Whitko Athletic Director Casey Stouffer; WHS Physical Education/Boys’ Basketball Coach Scott Wessel; WMS/WHS Band Director Joseph Shepherd; WMS Physical Education Teacher Mercedes Plummer; PES Third-Grade Teacher Gabe Fitzsimmons; PES Second-Grade Teacher Ashley Roberts; WMS Resource Assistant Yvette Palmer; WHS Resource Assistant Lana West; PES Pre-School Resource Assistant Shala Bradley; PES Health Clerk Nicole Tucker; WHS Office Assistant Whitley Staller; Administrative Assistant Maintenance/Transportation/Technology Rhonda Snavley; WMS Health Clerk Jolee Diamente; WHS Study Hall/ISS Supervisor Toni Webb; and PES Crossing Guard Michelle Crum.
“Nice staff transition,” WCSC Superintendent Steve Clason said. “New staff needs to be really good quality.”
In new business, WCSC Marketing Intern Caitlin Steiner was in attendance and presented information on the school’s marketing program.
“My results are from the past seven months and show where WCSC should be heading in the future,” Steiner said. “One of the main results we have seen so far is the increase in communication. There have been a lot more people sharing photos, flyers, ad information between us here at the corporate office and all the individual schools.”
Steiner said communication with parents and the community has improved as well with WCSC’s Facebook page updated on a daily basis.
“People are seeing our name and logo more often,” Steiner said. “WCSC also has better utilization with technology.”
Steiner would like to see three major areas improve within the school corporation which include communication, visibility improvements and more interaction with the school and community.
WCSC Board Secretary Roger Boggs questioned how student successes can be shared with the community other than through media.
“Facebook and submit a survey online,” Steiner said. “Right now, we are very focused on telling people what our schools are doing and I think we need to be more focused on telling people what our students are doing and what they are achieving.”
“If we don’t start differentiating ourselves from the other schools, students are going to go the other way,” Boggs said. “We have to reach out.”
In other business, Clason distributed and reported on the initial enrollment summary for August, 2012.
“We (WCSC) tend to grow after the beginning of the year,” Clason said. “Right now, we are at 1,737 students which is down about 17 from last year so that would put our Average Daily Membership (ADM) at 1,674.5 and last year it was 1,696.5. We are right where we actually predicted we would be as far as number of students down.”
Clason commented on Senate Bill Number 1 which was passed a couple of years ago.
“We have put in place all of the requirements and changes due on this bill,” Clason said.
As far as requirements for teacher and certified staff evaluations, Clason said he has met with all facility principals regarding future changes which will aide in drafting an evaluation document.
“This (evaluation) document is to come into complete compliance with what the Department of Education (DOE) says,” Clason said. “This will be submitted by Sept. 15.”
Clason said grant updates will be available and reported on in late September or early October.
The board granted Director of Financial Operations Tom McFarland permission to move forward with online electronic payment systems with a credit card swipe machine to be located at the treasurer‘s office in WHS.
The final paperwork was just filled out on credit card payments,” McFarland said. “Parents can also get on their computer and see what their student spent on lunch money and what their balance is, along with textbook fees.”
“This is an opportunity for parents to know their money is actually going to lunch,” WCSC Board President Deborah Collier said.
According to McFarland, the only disadvantage to credit card payments is participants will incur a 4-½ percent user fee.
The first reading of board policy revisions regarding the method of election and proposed revisions from Neola Volume 24, No. 2 was read. The second reading and request for adoption will be presented at the September monthly board meeting.
The board made a recommendation to approve the contract with Formative Learning, Inc. which will be used for the implementation of the teacher evaluation process.
The board accepted donations from Judy Hinora who donated an electric stove to WMS and the Aetna Foundation donating $143.04 to the Whitko Cheerleading Program.
The WCSC soccer teams will now be able to practice on vacant cemetery grounds at WHS per authorization from Cleveland Township Trustee Ron King.
“Kids will not have to drive to WMS for soccer now,” Clason said. “And, the rent is zero, just more liability.”
WCSC board goals will be the topic of discussion at the next scheduled meeting which includes Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP) scores, ECA, Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) Testing and a five-year (technology included) instructed plan.”
“I would like for WCSC to be above state average on ISTEP scores, Boggs said.
“We know we can’t achieve achievements in one school year,” Collier said.
With a draft of board goals to be completed no later than Oct. 1, Clason said the board plans to achieve these goals.
A 24-member facility planning committee consisting of administrators, teachers, parents and civic and political leaders has been formed and provided board members with a 25-year plan for all four locations within the corporation last fall.
The next meeting is at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 which will include a public hearing on the adoption of the Capital Projects Fund and bus replacement plans.