Arcanum-Butler Local Schools mid-year report


By John N. Stephens - Superintendent



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! Our Board of Education, on behalf of the Arcanum-Butler Local School community, trusted us to provide in-person instruction for our students. With the exception of a week in the fall when the middle and high school went remote and the week returning from Christmas break when all students were remote, the district has been able to provide safe in-person instruction for the over 90% who chose to attend in-person this year. The Arcanum-Butler staff has been amazing and everyone has not only dealt with the typical daily challenges, but has also tackled the additional burdens of making in-person learning happen.

Despite the challenges, it was a successful first semester for the 2020-2021 school year. 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 1066, which includes both in-person and remote learners. The Arcanum Virtual Academy is operating at capacity and the preschool has 76 students. Our smallest class is the 3rd grade class with 68 students and our largest class is the 10th grade class with 97. Approximately 90% of our students returned to in-person learning at the beginning of the year, and we will add another 25 students back for the second semester who had been remote learning. We had approximately 25 more students than usual opt for homeschooling this school year.

Arcanum-Butler teachers and staff came back prepared for all challenges and ready to teach our students under difficult circumstances! Teachers utilized skills and resources provided that incorporated the use of Google Classroom and Schoology platforms in order to transition back and forth from in-person learning to remote, if necessary. Guidance Secretary Deanna Monnin and Arcanum Virtual Academy Director Jim Gray took on additional responsibilities to assist the principals with over 100 remote learners through the use of the Edgenuity platform.

A return to safe learning was a priority and many tasks were completed to make it happen. Elementary Principal Joni Pechie teamed up with Spartech to obtain enough Plexiglass for teacher and student classroom barriers. Spartech’s generous donation helped provide a safe return to learning. Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Brown and the maintenance staff spent the summer implementing additional procedures and preparing for a safe start to the year.

The return to safe in-person learning did come at an increased cost, but the district received local assistance in addition to the state and federal aid. New Treasurer Kip Gray worked with local townships on sub-grant funding through the CARES Act. The District was assisted by Twin and Van Buren Townships, who sub-granted approximately $100,000 to assist with COVID-related cleaning and education costs.

A return to school has also included the need to not only keep students engaged academically, but also provide extra-curricular opportunities. Never lacking in creativity, Arcanum High School Principal Jason Stephan, along with HS Student Council Advisors Heather Whittaker and Kathy Kuhbander, pulled off a fantastic Homecoming Week with a reverse parade and festival! Athletic Director Abbey Moore,

assisted by Nurse Terri Greve, our admin team, and the athletic department, prepared and implemented safety measures to get our sports rolling for the year. Coach Schondelmyer and the Trojan football team were tough on the gridiron winning a first-round playoff game and finishing over .500 in the regular season in back-to-back years. Bryce Schondelmyer, Ian Baker, and Brennan Troutwine were successful in rewriting the records book for passing and receiving! Will Brubaker became the CCC boys golf individual champion. The team finished strong with a 3rd place finish at the conference tournament and 3rd place overall finish for the year. Under first year coach Jordan Greve, the boys qualified for districts after finishing 2nd in sectionals. Coach O’Dell’s Lady Trojan volleyball team had another strong year and finished the season making it to the district semi-final game.

The Girls Cross Country team won back-to-back CCC championships, led by Brooklyn Miras’s 3rd place finish, Arianne Garrison’s 7th place finish, and Lani Hollinger’s 8th place finish! The girls just missed out on qualifying for Regionals, finishing in 4th place at District. The boys team finished 3rd at the conference meet led by Logan Todd’s 3rd place finish and Landen Kreusch’s 10th place finish. They finished in 3rd place at District, qualifying for the Regional meet. Led by first year cross country coach Tim Pfahler, the MS XC boys were CCC champs and placed 2nd as a team at the state cross country meet!

The Arcanum-Butler MVCTC FFA program continued to grow and add accomplishments finishing in the top 10 in Ohio FFA Career Development Events (final results from 2019-2020). Those accomplishments include: Ag Tech & Mech Systems – 6th; Grain Merchandising Team – 9th; Farm Business Management Team – 4th; Ag Mechanics Skills Team – 6th; and Gold Rated Officer Books from Madelyn Fearon, Maggie Weiss, and Landon Haney. Also, the members who earned the Ohio State FFA Degree, which is the highest honor, are Ray Denniston, Laney Fourman, Gracie Garno, Anna Loxley, Emily Wenning, and Isaac Smith. This year’s Ag Mechanical and Technical Systems Team placed 10th at State! Members include Brody Williams, Owen Stephens, Luke Brinksneader, Isaac Smith, Landon Haney, Jenson Whittaker, Blayne Hess, and Nick Sharritts.

During National Bus Driver Safety Week the district recognized the work of district drivers. The district transports over 400 kids daily, averaging nearly 800 miles daily with our seven regular routes and one CTC route. Bus #3 is brand new to the fleet this year, and was purchased, in part, by a grant that covered over half of the cost.

Band Director Heather Marsh organized alternatives for the marching band due to the OMEA season being canceled. Despite the challenges, the band was able to perform at football games and had a special event night for parents and families. The show must go on and it did as Marla Miller and Mike Henry directed this year’s fall play for the high school. The music department also kept the music playing with Bobbi Wiseman leading a fall concert and Becky Hootman creating a virtual 3rd/4th grade concert.

Congrats to EL and MS Spelling Bee winners: EL – Carson Miles (champion) and Sadie Waldo (runner-up); MS – Grace Psczulkoski (champion), Hunter Eley (runner-up), and Mora Menzi (second runner-up). Thank you to the Arcanum PTO who organized another amazing Santa Shop for students, this year taking advantage of the new Community Room!

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 about 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!

By John N. Stephens

Superintendent