At their April 10 meeting, members of the Yellow Springs Board of Education
approved for submission to the Yellow Springs Endowment of Education two
grants that involve students from Yellow Springs High School and the McKinney
Helping Students Shape their Educational Experience An Action
Valuation of Yellow Springs High School is a grant proposed jointly
by the high school and The ARIA Group, a Yellow Springs-based business
that specializes in mediation and conflict resolution. The $9,000 grant
would fund a yearlong process of unique, participatory goal setting
and consensus building, which would take place during the 200304
The essence of this process is kids reflecting on what they want
to get out of their educational experience, said YSHS Principal
John Gudgel. The process would help students consider how what theyre
doing now in high school helps them envision who they want to be,
The process, called Action Evaluation, would require students, teachers
and staff to initially fill out questionnaires that ask them to identify
their goals for the future of YSHS for the next three years, and ideas
about how those goals could be achieved. Next, small groups would gather
for facilitated discussion, which serves as a team-building function,
as it helps the group find common values that all individuals share in
regards to the high school, the grant proposal says.
In the next step, goals of each of the three stakeholding
groups would be integrated into shared, unique and contrasting
goals for the high school, according to the proposal. At this point, representatives
from the groups would gather together to examine the values articulated
by all three groups, which helps foster understanding and communication
in very powerful ways, as students gain insight into the core values of
the teachers and staff, and vice versa, the proposal says. Finally,
action teams will be formed to implement goals.
The process is the same one The ARIA Group used last year in Cincinnati
when it sponsored a conflict resolution process involving various groups
of stakeholders in the city, according to ARIA Group employee Vaughn Crandall.
The Action Evaluation process has never before been used in a high school,
said Crandall. Yellow Springs High School would be the model,
School board members expressed enthusiasm for the proposal. I think
empowering our students to become young adults is the most important thing
we can do, said member Bill Firestone.
Mary Campbell-Zopf said, This looks like a great process, refreshingly
clear and very thoughtful. I think its just exactly what should
Board members also approved a proposal for An Exploration of Storytelling
and the Oral Tradition, proposed by YSHS/McKinney School art teacher
Carla Steiger-Meister. The $3,700 grant would fund several residencies
and presentations by professional storytellers during next January and
February, and would involve students in both the high school and the middle
Storytelling is a valuable tool that can be used successfully across
the curriculum, in language arts, history, science and the arts,
the proposal says. Storytelling can enrich a students life
by assisting in creating classroom communities, improving students
emotional health and enhancing students grasp of our social and
environmental responsibilities. It is a powerful artistic tool for a student
The grant proposal shows leadership and vision, said Superintendent
Tony Armocida, who especially appreciated that the grant is a school-wide
initiative, crossing several disciplines.
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In other school board business:
Treasurer Joy Kitzmiller reported that school district finances
are doing fine, regardless of a recent state cutback of almost
A lot of districts will be in the red this year, said Kitzmiller,
but were all right.
Kitzmillers report stated that an additional $350,000 revenue from
real estate taxes has been included in this years budget. Previously,
Kitzmiller said, a lesser amount had been projected due to an error in
the Greene County auditors calculation, but the auditor has now
certified the correct amount. Open enrollment revenue has also increased,
In expenditures, the school district has increased expenditures for benefits
by $3,340 due to several employees changing from single insurance to family
insurance, Kitzmiller said. A nonuse of legal services for
the year resulted in an almost $5,000 decrease in expenditures, she said.
Board members approved the resignation of school bus driver Roger
Brown, and approved Jerome Holland and Joe Fodal as substitute bus drivers
at $11.67 per hour.
Board members approved a co-curricular contract for Yvonne Wingard
to serve as assistant co-director of the YSHS/McKinney School spring musical,
for $932. JoFrannye Reichert was also approved as assistant co-director
Board members approved Donna Silvert as volunteer tennis coach.
For summer school, John Gudgel was approved as a district summer
school coordinator for the summer tutorial programs, at $300, and Kevin
OBrien was approved as summer school teacher in physical education.
The board approved the calendar for the 200304 school year,
which begins for students on August 27 and ends on June 4, 2004.
Regarding the construction at Mills Lawn and YSHS/McKinney, Everything
is coming out well. Im pleased with it, Armocida said. At
Mills Lawn, lots of progress was made last week during the
good weather, he said, and at YSHS/McKinney, new construction should be
finished this month so that renovations of existing rooms can begin.
The board will next meet Tuesday, April 22, at 6 p.m., at the board
office, during which the board will meet in executive session to review
The boards next regularly scheduled meeting, Thursday, April 24,
will feature a discussion of the school districts 200304 Education
Plan. The plan is available to the public at the board office, 201 South
Walnut Street, and at the Yellow Springs Library.