Educational programs that feature relationships between young people and
their elders benefit everyone, said villagers involved in two local intergenerational
programs at the Nov. 14 meeting of the Yellow Springs Board of Education.
The Head Start program located at Friends Care Community has gained
state, regional and national attention for its pairing of nursing
home residents and small children, said the programs coordinator,
Brenda McCarthy of the Greene County Educational Service Center.
The program is unique as an intergenerational program because
the elders are fully immersed in the childrens activities,
said McCarthy, who also showed a video of Head Start children interacting
with FCC residents.
Started two years ago, the program evolved out of a need for a new space
for the Head Start program, said McCarthy. After she read of the FCCs
involvement in the Eden Alternative, a program in which nursing homes
enhance the life of their residents by encouraging the elders interaction
with pets, plants and children, McCarthy said, she approached FCC Director
Jeff Singleton about the possibility of housing the program on the FCC
site. Singleton agreed, and the program was housed in the FCCs multiuse
room until this summer, when Friends Care completed a new classroom specifically
for the students.
I want to give her credit said Superintendent Tony Armocida
because McCarthy is the one who came up with the idea of joining
the young children and elders. Armocida also credited Singleton for his
openness to the new idea.
Its a good example of taking a problem and turning it into
an opportunity, said Armocida.
The board also heard a report about the After School Tutoring program
at Yellow Springs High School.
These are retired educators giving back to the community,
said YSHS Principal John Gudgel of the programs tutors, several
of whom attended the meeting. Those attending were Joe Dowdell, Helen
Sparks, Nancy Lewkowicz, Shelbert Smith and Betty Hairston.
Gudgel said the program began about six years ago when members of the
First Baptist Church approached him with the desire to assist students
who are at risk academically. Since then, the tutors have helped
students with English, reading, math, science and social studies three
days a week, for an hour to an hour and a half after school.
The tutors keep notes of each tutoring session, listing what took place
along with suggestions for the next tutor, said Sparks. Keeping records
gives the program continuity, she said.
We enjoy this. Were happy to be working together to provide
this service, said Sparks.
The program offers an invaluable contribution to the community, said several
* * *
In other school board business:
Treasurer Joy Kitzmiller reported that the school district has
collected the first half of property taxes for 2002, as well as the first
payment on personal property taxes. Both amounts fell right on target,
leading me to believe that we shouldnt experience too much of a
fallout when Vernay closes one of its two Dayton Street plants in
January, she said. The other plant will close next summer.
The board approved 32 the first reading of a policy that
would offer high school diplomas for World War II veterans who left school
in order to fight in the war. School board president Rich Bullock and
members Mary Campbell-Zopf and Angela Wright voted for the policy; Bill
Firestone and Tom Haugsby voted against it. At an earlier meeting, board
members expressed discomfort with awarding unearned diplomas, no matter
how worthy the reason, and with recognizing those who fought in the war
but ignoring conscientious objectors.
However, Bullock reintroduced the policy, saying that after researching
the issue, he felt the need to thank veterans outweighed his concerns
over setting a precedent of awarding unearned diplomas.
The board will hold a second reading on the policy at its meeting Dec.
The board unanimously passed a resolution written by Bullock that thanked
both WWII veterans and conscientious objectors for their contributions
to our country.
The board approved as substitute teachers for the 20022003
school year: Martha Kline, Laura Patterson, John Barber, Jennifer Smith,
Jeffrey Showen, Michael Morgan, Kim Peyton, Carolyn Pinkston, Robert Vaughn
and Nate Hollinger, all at the rate of $70 per day.
Firestone expressed frustration at the pay rate for substitute teachers,
saying that he feels the amount is inadequate.
The board approved a resolution offering co-curricular contracts
to the following persons who are not employees of the school district:
Shirley Martin, $850 as seventh-grade girls basketball coach; Phyllis
Downing, $850 as the eighth-grade girls basketball coach; George Yelton,
$850 as the seventh-grade boys basketball coach; Robert Martin, $850 as
the eighth- grade boys basketball coach; Deborah Bellamy, $1,475 as the
YSHS girls JV basketball coach; Perry Williams, $1,475 as the YSHS boys
JV basketball coach; Neal Perry, $1,050 as the YSHS assistant boys basketball
coach; Seth Moore, $1,475 as the YSHS girls swimming coach; David Wishart,
$1,475 as the YSHS boys swimming coach; Lisa Crosswhite, $675 as the YSHS
cheerleading advisor; and Roberta Perry, $843 as the assistant site manager
Regarding the expense of hiring coaches for so many separate teams and
the limits of available practice space, Haugsby questioned whether the
schools might be better off combining some teams. However, other board
members supported the current system.
I want to come out strongly in favor of how we do it now,
said Firestone. To a lot of kids playing basketball is very important.
Its wonderful at the junior high level that everyone gets to play
and no one is marginalized.
The board also approved co-curricular contracts for two current
employees of the school district. Sue Smart was approved as the community
service advisor at a stipend of $1,000 and Pam Stephens was approved as
student council advisor at a stipend of $984.
Mills Lawn Principal Christine Hatton reported that fourth-grade
proficiency test scores improved this year, with 67 percent of Mills Lawn
students passing the test the first time. Only six students failed to
pass, she said, a number that marked a 2 percent improvement over last
Hatton also reported that more than 95 percent of Mills Lawn parents attended
the recent parent-teacher conferences.
Gudgel reported that a focus on sportsmanship at the high school
seemed to pay off during this falls sports season. While in the
past some YSHS athletes have been evicted from games due to poor sportsmanship,
no evictions took place this year.
I attribute this to greater awareness on the part of students, parents
and teachers, he said.
Board members approved Thursday, June 5, 2003, as the date of this
years YSHS graduation. While a few board members expressed concern
that last years graduation date had inconvenienced out-of-town family
members because it fell on Thursday, Gudgel said that he had received
no negative feedback about the Thursday date.
Bullock announced that a new foreign language committee has been
formed to study the districts foreign language program. The committee,
composed of Armocida, a board member, three language teachers, two students,
an elementary school teacher and two community members, will review the
current foreign language curriculum, considering such questions as whether
foreign language should be introduced at an earlier time than high school,
or whether the schools should focus on one language rather than two.
Im concerned that board members should enter into this with
an open mind and not foregone ideas, said Firestone. We have
a lot to learn about what the community wants.
The next school board meeting will take place Thursday, Dec. 12.