By Dawn Hatfield
PITSBURG — The Franklin Monroe Board of Education met on Monday, Sept. 20 with a theme of school culture and climate as a top priority of the 2021-2022 school year.
New staff members were celebrated prior to the start of the meeting, and there was an air of excitement in kicking off a solid new school year.
In attendance were Scott Myers (Board President), Claudette Diceanu (Vice President), Teresa Wolf, Jason Baker, and Amanda Brumbaugh. Principals, Megan Linder and P.J. Burgett, as well as Superintendent, Jeremy Pequignot, and Treasurer, Morgan Bridenbaugh participated in the meeting. No members of the public were present to address the board.
The agenda and previous meeting minutes were approved. Financial documents and 2021-2022 appropriations were approved. The board unanimously agreed to accept backpacks from Nicole Straight.
Megan Linder, Elementary Principal, gave the elementary report in reference to her goals:
— Implement and guide K-2 teachers in new reading series, Into Reading
— Sustain and build morale and communication to ensure needs of students, staff, and community members are met by using Satchel Pulse program HMH Into Reading® is a K-6 reading program intended to inspire readers, writers, and lifelong learners. The Into Reading website explains by providing high quality books that are both intriguing and challenging, “HMH Into Reading is differentiated by design to offer a balanced approach to literacy instruction, support teachers in developing a culture of learning and growth, and help all learners believe in the power of ‘I can.’” Linder explained the school purchased the program in May of last year. Teachers have been training and are excited to close the gap in reading from K to grade 2.
Satchel Pulse is a program that targets culture and climate. The Satchel Pulse website promises an early warning of issues through school climate surveys, “Satchel Pulse provides real-time data, helping Superintendents see how their school communities are feeling, HR leaders understand the reasons behind teacher attrition, and student and family leaders engage with their key stakeholders.” The Satchel Pulse program was a focus at the school’s professional development meeting two weeks ago.
Furthermore, STAR assessments were conducted at the start of the year and grade 3 ELA testing will be Oct. 27 to 28.
Fundraising this fall will support a Fun Day in May where top fundraisers will get their chance to dunk the principal and various staff in the dunk tank. Linder reported this is a favorite activity of students and is back by popular demand.
Upcoming events include Doughnuts with Dad, a Boonshoft visit to school, and Grandparents’ Day.
Athletic Boosters are selling shirts for $30. When a student buys a shirt, they may wear the shirt to attend all home games for free. This was an incentive designed to increase student involvement in athletics and has been a great success so far.
P.J. Burgett, Secondary Principal, followed with a report on the middle and high schools with a highlight of his goals:
— Review quarterly ALEKS assessment with math department to monitor and improve student achievement
— Improve overall climate and culture of school using targeted interventions identified through Satchel Pulse
“ALEKS is a research-based, online learning program that offers course products for math, chemistry, statistics, and more,” according to their website, which also boasts students achieve mastery more than 90 percent of the time.
Burgett reported a fantastic start to the year with new staff. He has observed and met with all new teachers and is convinced the district “hired some really good people.”
Athletic Boosters have completed planning for almost all events of the year including the Booster Carnival on Oct. 15 in the high school gym. The Boosters and PTO came together to plan this event and will offer a dunk tank there as well.
Upcoming events at the secondary level include Senior Parking Spaces, Golf Sectional, M.S. Arts in Education, and Senior Servants Breakfast. Manufacturing Day, originally scheduled for Oct. 1, has been postponed (not canceled) due to a change in COVID protocols at the business locations.
The superintendent’s report was given by Jeremy Pequignot who provided current district enrollment at 557, stating this is another strong year for open enrollment and a major financial advantage for the district. Pequignot reported his administrative goals for the year:
— Continued facility management, including repairs and updates throughout district
— Ongoing district operation with regard to safety, sanitation, and disinfecting
— Long-term planning for Chromebook and technology replacement cycles
A $40,000 grant for rural schools helped to replace a large percentage of Chromebooks for the current school year.
Approval of Bricker & Eckler LLP as legal counsel, a partnership with Darke County ESC’s Business Advisory Council regarding H.B. 49, and a Sports Medicine Service Agreement with Wayne HealthCare were all granted. All personnel requests were unanimously approved as well as the first reading of several minor policy changes, which mostly consisted of rewording language and not changes to the content of policies. One change to the elementary handbook did make consistent the vacation policy for students and the number of days granted to complete work. There had been an inconsistency between the request form and the handbook, which is now clarified.
The next regular meeting of the Franklin Monroe Board of Education will be Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. in the Conference Room.
Dawn Hatfield covers education stories for The Daily Advocate. Have a school-related event to share? Reach out by email at [email protected] or by phone at 937-569-0066.