By John Stephens
I want to take this opportunity to thank the students, parents, families, Board of Education members, and the entire Arcanum-Butler staff for an outstanding first semester and for supporting Arcanum-Butler Schools! As we move forward into the second semester, the ending of the first semester marks a great time to celebrate our successes.
K-12 enrollment at the start of the year was 1094, which was an increase from last year, and the second highest overall enrollment in the last ten years. The Arcanum Virtual Academy is operating at capacity and the preschool has 80 students. The average class size is 84 students. Our smallest class is the seventh grade class with 70 students and our largest class is the second grade class with 94. The district has a total of +140 open enrolled students this year, the highest it has ever been, which has forced the district to close the majority of its grade levels to maintain appropriate class sizes.
The Ohio Department of Education made several changes to the State Report Card. The report card is intended to provide a picture of how our district and buildings are performing using an updated five-star rating system rather than the previously used letter grades for various measures under six broad categories: Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate, Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers and Prepared for Success. Arcanum-Butler received 4 Stars on the Achievement Measure, which measures students’ performance on math, reading, science and social studies assessments in grades 3-12. The district scored higher than the state average on all tests, and scored higher than similar districts on all but just two tests. The State Report Card includes a variety of “other” information about the district.
Arcanum-Butler ranked 49 out of 264 in a comparison group of schools ranking the percentage of funds used for classroom instruction. Per pupil the district spends 70.6 percent of all funds on instruction or $11,048 per student. The comparable school districts spend less on classroom instruction than Arcanum at 67.9 percent. The breakdown of the sources of funding include: 35 percent local, 50 percent state, 9.8 percent federal and 4.4 percent other (grants, non-tax sources, fees). While informative, the district recognizes that many of the report card indicators are based on tests given on a specific day, during a specific time, and may not provide the entire picture of a child’s learning experience nor does it define the district as a whole. The Arcanum-Butler Local School District is proud of our students and staff for their continued efforts and accomplishments. The Arcanum-Butler Local Schools staff will continue to seek growth and improvement in providing the best experience for students and preparing students for college and careers.
This fall, AHS welcomed a large group of National Honor Society Inductees. New members included: Lily Johnting, Lydia Kauffman, Kolin Frazee, Carley Rieman, Dominic Rhodehamel, Arianne Garrison, Ethan Bennett, Rylee Leeper, Caleb Hartman, Katie Sharp, Taelen Unger, Hannah Kendig, Katie Weiss, Isabella Harleman, Jaelynn Hatfield and Kathy Kuhbander, who was chosen as the honorary staff member.
The elementary and middle schools held their annual Spelling Bees. In the elementary, Hallie Riffell became the champion and Eli Huffgarden was the runner-up. For the middle school it was Hunter Eley winning and Ashton Turpin coming in second. Hallie and Hunter will represent the district this winter in the Darke County Spelling Bee.
In other positive academic-related news, the Arcanum-MVCTC FFA Ag Tech and Mechanical Systems team were name Champions at the Big E Fair. Team members include Caleb Hartman, Luke Brinksneader, Nathan Wright, and Carson Tegtmeyer with Caleb taking first place overall as an individual.
Also, 2022 graduate, Landon Haney, was named the Big E Star in Agribusiness. In other FFA news, a very “The Arcanum-Butler Local School District provides a caring and safe environment where students are challenged to become lifelong learners and productive citizens.” Talented singer, Mora Menzie, was a top 15 finalist in the FFA National Talent Contest.
This year the high school implemented “Real Life Wednesdays” on our scheduled two-hour early release days. Students learn about day-to-day activities such as changing a tire, balancing a checkbook, investing for retirement, doing laundry, and several other activities that were taught by community members, local business owners, alumni and school staff. Students continue to be provided opportunities to learn and engage in Career, College and Military related events and activities. For Manufacturing Day, the eighth graders went to Henny Penny and the tenth graders went to Whirlpool to learn more about what each company does and the career opportunities available. The MS hosted Military Week with some great activities so students can learn more about our Armed Forces, and students participated in our Veterans Day Program organized by our Leadership Class. Community members, alumni and friends came in to share career opportunities with our high school students and recent graduates stopped in to talk about the transition from high school to college. We’ve had visits from the Arcanum Fire Department and local meteorologists, among others, in the elementary.
Students learning to lead and serve our community continue to be key programs. Arcanum FCCLA hosted the Cancer Awareness Luminary Walk along with regular Blood Drives, we welcomed back around 100 senior citizens to our Christmas Luncheon, and our middle and high school students once again collected donations for our local food pantries. The fifth and sixth students created Christmas cards for Dayton Children’s Hospital and the seventh and eighth grade students made cards for nursing home residents while our elementary students collected hats and mittens for those in need.
Students have been active and successful in extra-curriculars so far this year. In the second year of play in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference, AHS teams won 3 of the 6 conference titles up for grabs this fall, including boys golf, girls cross country and boys cross country. The boys golf team finished as co-conference champions for the second straight year behind Will Brubaker’s individual championship. Led by WOAC Coach of the Year, Jordan Greve, the Trojans went on to win Sectionals as well. The Lady Trojans Golf team wrapped up their regular season with a second place overall finish and second place at the conference tournament, led by sophomore Brooke Anderson’s fourth place finish.
The high school girls cross country team had another successful season, winning an astonishing fourth straight conference title. The team was led by the conference runner of the year, Brooklyn Miras, and all-conference runners, Arianne Garrison and Kylee Freeman. Coach Jon Junkins was awarded the WOAC Coach of the Year for both boys and girls. Miras, a senior, finished her career with back-to-back state appearances, finishing 54th this year. The boys cross country team finished with a WOAC championship also, led by all-conference runners Jacob Rice, Ashton Paul, and Collin Frazee. At the middle school level, the girls finished as WOAC runners-up behind a top 10 finish by Ella Warren. Dash Thacker led the boys with his second place finish. Dash and Ella went on to run at state where Dash finished in the top 10.
The football team welcomed new head coach and alumnus, Matt Macy. The team picked up three conference wins while many younger players gained valuable experience. The following football players earned all-conference honors: First Team DB – Garrett Garno, Second Team LB – Jacob Rayburn, Second Team DL – Peyton Stout, Special Mention LB – Dakota Kendig, Special Mention DB – Zade Shank, Special Mention RB – Jacob Rayburn, Special Mention OL – Marcus Rayburn, Special Mention OL – Landon Subler. Jacob, who broke AHS records for tackles in a game and a season, was also named to the First Team Southwest District. With a clean sweep and undefeated season, the junior high football team captured the WOAC title and look to boost future success for the high school program.
The Lady Trojans had another successful volleyball season, finishing with a 7-4 record in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference under first year coach Jacie Holman. Several players earned all-conference honors including: First Team – Mollie Ericksen; Second Team – Haley Smith, Mackenzie Byrne; Honorable Mention – Ashlyn Miller. The future looks bright as the JV team finished 17-3 overall, the eighth grade volleyball team finished as WOAC runners-up, and the seventh grade team made it to the WOAC tournament semi-final game.
AHS and AMS Cheerleaders have represented the school showing their Trojan Spirit at football and basketball games. Additionally, they have performed well at several competitions this fall including our own Booster Cheer Event.
Under new director Bryce Hopwood, the high school marching band continued their dominance on the field throughout the year in OMEA competition. They finished the year with a stellar performance at the OMEA State Marching Band Competition with a “Superior Rating” competing in Class B. In addition to their competitions and performances at football games on Friday night, the band was honored to travel to Indianapolis to compete at the Band of America Grand National Competition. They also found time to participate in the Village of Arcanum’s Purple Heart Ceremony and the Halloween Parade. The middle school concert band held a concert in the late fall and the high school concert band performed at Christmas. The Arcanum High School Drama Department presented an entertaining performance of “The Groom Has Cold Feet” under the direction of Becky and Joel Hootman. Our middle school and high school choirs held winter concerts and performed at the Veterans Day Program and Christmas Extravaganza. Additionally, our third and fourth graders sang for family and friends for the annual Christmas Concert.
It has been a rewarding first semester with programs, activities, and extra-curricular participation that further supports our students and the goals of the Arcanum-Butler Local School District. The list could easily go on to include the many other music, drama, art, academic team, and other sports activities. A special thanks to all of the coaches, directors, and program advisors! Arcanum-Butler is proud to provide quality instruction while offering a variety of ways for students to explore their passions.
The Arcanum-Butler School District has much to be proud of and I am thankful to be able to lead and serve with such a talented group of educators, support staff, and students! A special thank you to all of our district staff; from teachers to cafeteria staff, from aides to office staff, and from bus drivers to custodians. Furthermore, thank you to the Arcanum-Butler Local community for your continued support. I look forward to a positive second half of the school year!