|Elida District to develop Digital Opportunity School|
|Tuesday, March 18, 2014 8:01 PM|
BY CYNTHIA YAHNA
ELIDA — Incoming Elida School Superintendent Tony Cox spoke to the board of education Tuesday about a definite need to develop a Digital Opportunity School for at-risk students.
“The purpose of the opportunity school is to provide an alternative pathway to graduation for students while re-capturing funding that is leaving the district,” he said. “In the first semester we lost 34 students to digital academies and 12 students left as drop-outs. This school would literally pay for itself. We want to keep our students here at Elida to help them. There is a trend for students who want to do an alternative way of learning. We need to implement this by fall school year 2014.”
Superintendent Don Diglia agreed.
“The concept is wonderful. In the last five years, we’ve had to cut our budget. With this digital school, we can offer students an alternative way of learning and the savings is phenomenal, plus it is helping the parents out,” he said. “What is really neat about this program: it is very flexible. It gives us another tool in our tool bag to give these students a chance. We need to start this right away.”
The board approved the development of the Elida Digital Opportunity School 4-1.
The board announced the employment of middle school principal Doug Drury beginning Aug. 1.
School board members recognize the importance of fine arts to all students, not only while they are in school but also throughout their lives and they have voted to designate the month of March, as National Arts/Music month. The students of the cast of Peter Pan, a musical presented in March, were at the meeting and spoke of the musical as a very rewarding experience. Mrs. Bargerstock who directed the play was impressed with how the students performed and over 2,300 people attended the show.
“I wanted to say thank you to the Elida community for supporting this school and allowing the students to participate in the musical,” she said.
Also, in further business, the board proclaimed the month of March National Nutrition Month within the local schools, and encouraged all citizens to join the campaign and become concerned about their nutrition and the nutrition of others in the hope of achieving optimum health for both today and tomorrow.
Jenny Earl, the director of Meals Til Monday, spoke on the benefits of the program. The program provides nutritional kid-friendly weekend meals for children whose primary source of food is the school cafeteria. Staffed by volunteers and funded by donations, they pack sacks of food on Mondays to be delivered and distributed to students on Fridays.
“It is our goal that students distracted, discouraged and disadvantaged by hunger would gain encouragement, focus and confidence by having this basic need met,” Earl said.
The following students were designated as students of the month for March: Cadence Hyde, Michael Niebel, Samantha Niebel, Blessings Gurley, Cienna Kuhn, Tyler Long, Allison Sandy, Mallory Etzler, Simen Domaas, Noah Kendall and Brennan Swick.
The board approved for employment personnel, volunteers and school-related organizations:
— Nurse Jan Kerns, substitute school nurse, non-certified: Kathy Thompson, substitute aide, supplemental: Trisha Smith, middle school cheerleading advisor; and summer employment: Derrik Long;
— Substitute teachers Sarah Amstutz, Abigail Cash, Lynn Bouillon, William Vermillion, Laura Fox, Timothy Surfield and Teresa St. Clair;
— Volunteers for Kids Hope: Matthew Burkholder, Lesley Crites, Randal Pitson, Erica Moening, Brandi Niebel, Carla Zerbe, Frank Zerbe, Jolene Burkholder and Amy Long; and
— Baseball volunteers Mark Albright, Rod Hansen and Kyle Harmon.
The board also accepted the resignations of the following employees:
— Administrative: Dave Morman, middle school principal effective June 30 for retirement purposes; and Doug Drury, assistant middle school principal effective Aug. 1;
— Non-certified: Susan Tomlinson, cashier/cook effective July 1 for retirement; and
— Supplemental: Leisa Stratton, ninth-grade reserve volleyball coach.
In other business, the board voted with a 5-0 approval of the fieldhouse improvement project, a waiver of use for facilities policy, the Team Lima/Tier 1 sports, high school and middle school gyms for a basketball tournament held from 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. April 13, the development of the Elida Digital Opportunity School (4-1) and the calamity day policy change as previously distributed.
The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 15.