By John Stephens



The recent end of the first semester marks a great time to celebrate our district’s successes, reflect on where we have been and where we are headed, and update our plan to “Increase Our Excellence” for the remainder of the school year. I want to take this opportunity to thank the students, parents, families, Board of Education members and the entire district staff for an outstanding first semester and for supporting Arcanum-Butler Schools.

Below are just a few of the many successes worthy of noting so far this year.

• The construction project is 50 percent complete. Weather permitting, crews will be back in mid-March on the remainder of the project.

• Currently 1,101 students are enrolled in K-12 including the Arcanum Virtual Academy. An additional 80 students are enrolled in the Arcanum Early Learning Center. The district saw open enrollment increase again leading to some grade levels being “closed.” Just 10 years ago, the district lost more students out to open enrollment then those coming in. Over the last few years the district has averaged an annual open enrollment of 81 students.

• The Middle School and High School officially kicked off their Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) plans, making PBIS a K-12 initiative at Arcanum-Butler. In addition to the PBIS plan, the district joined Rachel’s Challenge to promote and kick-off a “Chain Reaction of Kindness.”

• Margaret Searle presented to the A-B staff on Response to Intervention (RTI) as the district moves towards a K-12 implementation. RTI is a way to systematically address students needing interventions for academic success.

• The elementary implemented “Kid Talk” as a part of the RTI program. Kid Talks are weekly grade level meetings to discuss student progress and interventions.

• Staff transitioned to using AESOP for requesting substitute teachers. AESOP provides an online generated substitute teacher assignment program.

• The College Credit Plus Program was implemented, providing additional options for students to earn college credit. Middle school students began developing their career plans as a part of the College and Career Readiness Initiative. A special thanks to counselors Tara Hagan and Ashley Matheson for all of their efforts.

• The high school marching band earned a Superior Rating and qualified for state competition, earning an Excellent Rating for their performance. They are now planning for their March trip to Disney World.

• Our sophomores visited GTI as participants in National Manufacturing Day. Additionally, the district will be partnering with Ramco Electric Motors to have paid student internships starting in the 2nd semester.

• The HS boy’s golf team won the CCC and was only strokes away from a trip to state competition, led by CCC Coach of the Year, Jim Gray, and Darke County Golfer of the Year, Conner Pohl.

• The HS lady’s golf team was CCC runner-up led by medalist Haleigh Shaffer and Coach Andy Bryant.

• Marcy Bradshaw and Isaac Stephens qualified for Regionals in cross country. Marcy went on to qualify and compete at the state cross country meet.

• The high school football team finished the season with 5 straight wins with Daniel O’Donnell being named the Advocate Football Player of the Year.

• The Arcanum-Butler Board of Education voted to approve an agreement with MVCTC to bring Agricultural Education back to Arcanum. The program was discontinued back in the early 1990s.

• District staff participated in Active Shooter Training, led by the Darke County Sheriff’s Department and in conjunction with the Arcanum Police Department.

• The district, led by a high school steering committee, hosted the popular Senior Citizen’s Luncheon to thank our community members.

• The Athletic Hall of Fame inducted Mrs. Julie Miller-Wolfe, Class of 1989, and Mr. Paul Shahan, Class of 1961.

• The elementary is kicking off the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program that encourages dads and father-figures to become active in school.

• HS staff is completing a Written Reports Guide that provides consistent guidance and expectations for the main types of writing our high school students will use.

• The MS implemented a building-wide homework policy to provide consistency among teachers and classes.

• Sixth grade teacher, Marla Miller, received a $14,000 grant from Cargill which was used for a new set of Chromebooks in the Middle School. This brings the total number of Chromebooks purchased in recent years to approximately 150, with plans to add more in the near future.

• The MS cross country team won the CCC and the middle school girls finished as runners-up, led by Coach Amanda Townsend.

• Detective David Hawes from the Darke County Sheriff’s Office and Darke County Assistant Prosecutor Margaret Hayes met with middle and high school students during the day and parents in the evening to provide information about the dangers of inappropriate social media behaviors.

• The District hosted its annual Veteran’s Day assembly, led by Eric Weibel, that included participation from students in the elementary, middle and high school.

• HS students are participating in leadership development training, completing a session in the summer and then again in October.

• To celebrate Trojans of the Month, the elementary hosts a donut breakfast for monthly winners and parents as a part of their PBIS program.

• The PTO hosted the COSI on Wheels Program. Staffed by HS science students, students in grades 1-4 participated in activities to help them learn about the human body.

As you can see, it has been a busy 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 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.

With the second semester upon us, we will continue to Increase our Excellence as we strive to be the best we can be and provide our students with opportunities to grow and learn. The district will continue to work with Margaret Searle to develop a quality RTI program that further drives the need to increase and improve intervention opportunities to help all students be successful. The District Leadership Team will explore 1:1 technology programs and prepare a plan for future 1:1 implementation, further increasing the use of technology in daily instruction. Once the final report card is released, the district will analyze results to look for trends to address any issues related to student performance and instruction. The district will continue to monitor any changes from the

federal and state levels and adjust/adapt to new mandates, requirements and expectations. While the moving targets present challenges, we will maintain our focus on students by embracing The Trojan Way with an attitude of gratitude. We have much to be thankful for and I am fortunate to be the Arcanum-Butler Local Schools Superintendent and work with a caring, motivated staff.

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!

By John Stephens

John Stephens is the superintendent of Arcanum-Butler Local Schools, and this is his mid-year school report.

John Stephens is the superintendent of Arcanum-Butler Local Schools, and this is his mid-year school report.