Franklin Monroe Education Board shares school culture and climate goals

By Dawn Hatfield

PITSBURG – The Franklin Monroe School Board met on Monday, September 20 with a theme on school culture and climate as a top priority for the 2021-2022 school year.

New staff members were celebrated before the meeting began, and there was an air of excitement to kick off a strong new school year.

In attendance were Scott Myers (Chair of the Board), Claudette Diceanu (Vice-Chair), Teresa Wolf, Jason Baker and Amanda Brumbaugh. The directors, Megan Linder and PJ Burgett, as well as the superintendent, Jeremy Pequignot, and the treasurer, Morgan Bridenbaugh participated in the meeting. No member of the public was present to address the council.

The agenda and minutes of previous meetings are approved. Financial documents and credits for 2021-2022 have been approved. The board unanimously agreed to accept Nicole Straight’s backpacks.

Megan Linder, Elementary Director, gave the Elementary report in reference to her goals:

— Implement and guide K-2 teachers in a new reading series, Into Reading

— Maintain and build morale and communication to ensure the needs of students, staff and community members are met using Satchel Pulse HMH Into Reading® is a K-6 reading program designed to inspire readers , writers and lifelong learners. The Into Reading website explains by providing high quality books that are both intriguing and thought provoking, “HMH Into Reading is differentiated by design to provide a balanced approach to teaching literacy, helping teachers develop a culture learning and growth and helping all learners believe in the power of “I can”. Linder explained that the school purchased the program in May of last year. Teachers have been trained and are excited to bridge the K-2 reading gap.

Satchel Pulse is a program that targets culture and climate. The Satchel Pulse website promises early warning of issues through school climate surveys, “Satchel Pulse provides real-time data, helping superintendents see how their school communities are feeling, human resource managers to understand the reasons for attrition of teachers and student and family leaders to engage with their key stakeholders. The Satchel Pulse program was the focus of the school’s professional development meeting two weeks ago.

Additionally, STAR assessments were conducted at the start of the year and ELA Level 3 testing will take place October 27-28.

Fundraising this fall will support a fun day in May where top fundraisers will have the chance to dunk the director and various staff members in the dunk tank. Linder reported that it is a favorite student activity and is back by popular demand.

Upcoming events include Donuts with Dad, a Boonshoft visit to the school and Grandparents Day.

Athletic Boosters sells shirts for $30. When a student buys a jersey, they can wear it to attend all home games for free. This was an incentive designed to increase student participation in athletics and has been a great success so far.

PJ Burgett, Principal of Secondary, followed with a report on middle and high schools with a highlight of his goals:

– Review ALEKS quarterly assessment with math department to monitor and improve student achievement

— Improve the general climate and culture of the school using targeted interventions identified by 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 that students master over 90 % time.

Burgett reported a fantastic start to the year with new staff. He has observed and met all of the new teachers and is confident that the district “has hired some really good people.”

The Athletic Boosters have completed planning for nearly every event for the year, including the Booster Carnival on October 15 in the high school gymnasium. The Boosters and PTO have come together to plan this event and will also offer a dunk tank there.

Upcoming high school events include Senior Parking Lots, Golf Section, Master of Arts in Education and Senior Servants Breakfast. The Build Day, originally scheduled for October 1, has been postponed (not canceled) due to a change in COVID protocols at commercial sites.

The Superintendent’s report was presented by Jeremy Pequignot who provided the District’s current enrollment at 557, stating that this is another strong year for open enrollment and a major financial benefit for the District. Pequignot announced its administrative objectives for the year:

— Ongoing facility management, including repairs and upgrades throughout the district

— Continuous operation of the neighborhood in terms of safety, sanitation and disinfection

— Long-term planning for Chromebook and technology replacement cycles

A $40,000 grant for rural schools has helped replace a large percentage of Chromebooks for the current school year.

Approval from Bricker & Eckler LLP as legal counsel, a partnership with the Darke County Business Advisory Board ESC regarding HB 49, and a sports medicine service agreement with Wayne HealthCare were all granted. All staffing requests were unanimously approved as well as the first reading of several minor policy changes, which were mainly to reword the language and not change the content of the policies. A change to the elementary textbook standardized student vacation policy and the number of days allowed to complete work. There had been an inconsistency between the application form and the manual, which is now clarified.

The next regular meeting of the Franklin Monroe Board of Education will be October 18 at 8 p.m. in the boardroom.

Dawn Hatfield covers education stories for The Daily Advocate. Have a school-related event to share? Inquire by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 937-569-0066.

Carol C. Reed