West Branch board accepts donations

BELOIT- The West Branch school board Thursday night accepted several sizable donations.

The board accepted anonymous donations of $5,000 for leadership training expenses and $1,000 for the Above & Beyond Award teacher award, as well as donations of $2,281.26 from the athletic boosters for football helmets and $3,910.81 from WB Little Warriors for the stadium sound system.

The board also accepted donations of $500 from the American Legion Youth Foundation Sebring to the softball program for dugouts, $200 from Everett Health Center for West Branch Local Schools Strategic Planning Team Experience, $140 from local donations to the McVicker Memorial Scholarship, $150 from the Pine Lake Christian Church for the musical, $50 from Carol McFall to the West Branch Library, $3,051.19 and hundreds of canned goods through the National Honor Society’s annual Share a Christmas Drive and fruit from the West Branch FFA for the NHS Share a Christmas Drive in addition to a donation of $216.25 from each board member to fund a breakfast for school employees earlier this month.

In other business, the board adopted the school calendar for the 2013-14 academic year, including the first day for students Sept. 4, last day for students June 4 and commencement June 1.

The board also hired for the 2012-13 school year Janet Simmons as a three-hour cook’s helper, Lisa Carroll as a two and one half-hour cook’s helper, Bobbie Rohaley as a classified substitute and Frank Voss as a certificated substitute; granted a supplemental contract to Andy Lamancusa as an assistant wrestling coach for the 2012-13 school year; and acknowledged Caroline McDermott as a volunteer swim coach for the 2012-13 school year.

Additionally schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart recognized the school board as part of School Board Appreciation Month.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in the high school Library.

Presentations to the board: Faculty members reported to the board curriculum updates and changes at the preschool and kindergarten levels.

Kindergarten teachers encouraged the board to consider offering full-day kindergarten in light of more stringent and rigorous state standards and the implementation of the Third Grade Guarantee, which will require students to perform at a certain reading level before advancing to the fourth grade.

Currently the district offers a half-day with a teacher and half-day with an aide, which the teachers said limits the instruction a student receives, especially when the half-day is filled in large part with assessments required by the state.

Weingart responded with encouraging news that Gov. John Kasich has proposed legislation that will fund full-day kindergarten for public schools.

School Resource Officer Craig Crider also reported to the board about new emergency crisis training that will hopefully better prepare staff and students for armed attacks. Referred to as ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Information, Counter, Evacuate), the training encourages a more active attempt at escaping situations rather than the typical duck and cover lockdown tactic that had previously been taught, he said.

Crider said he and Lt. Mike Golec of the Goshen Police District have received the training.

Kevin Howell can be reached at khowell@salemnews.net